Wednesday, February 29, 2012


My sister-in-law told me about an experience she had recently with someone in her ward.  This woman made the assessment that because so many people compliment her on how well-behaved her children are that she must be the perfect mother.  I shudder to think what will happen to this woman's confidence if her children end up making choices contrary to what she thinks they ought to make.  How horrible that her self-worth is based on the behavior of her children.  Did she forget the fact that a third of the host of heaven chose something other than what their Father (the perfect parent) wanted for them?  I understand that my parenting really has little to do with who my children are or who they will become.  Of course I matter but I believe my job is mostly just to remind my kids of things they already know.

These little people that surround me each day are special.  It's not because of me.  I just believe they came this way.    

Isaac had a special lunch at his school yesterday because he was chosen as student of the month.  The Core Value at his school this month was Compassion and she chose him for his kindness and compassion that he shows to all his classmates.  I've been in his class to volunteer and I've seen his compassion first hand.  When I ask him who his friends are at school, he just shrugs and says, "Everyone."  

He is going to make some little lady very happy someday because he has qualities that wives only hope their husbands will have.  He is so much like his father in so many ways...He has this very particular quality about him.  In the morning he takes his pajamas off and places them neatly on his bed so they are ready for the night.  Unlike his brothers who squeeze toothpaste on the floor, the carpet, the sink, themselves, etc, Isaac carefully puts toothpaste on his toothbrush, brushes his teeth, and then immediately puts his toothpaste and toothbrush in the cupboard.  He does his homework in a detailed, focused manner.  So much of what he does is carefully thought out beforehand.  

Of course, he also has some of his mother in him which he displays in a very sensitive personality.  He worries frequently about his choices and I am constantly reassuring him that he is a good, special boy that Heavenly Father loves. 

It has been so interesting to watch the differences in Will and Isaac since Laila died.  They deal with things in such a different way, neither better than the other, just different.  It's just become so apparent to me that they came to earth this way, each with their very separate personalities and spirits.  When I look at them I often tell myself, "I didn't do this--they did this all on their own."  Their kindness, compassion, sensitivity--all of it--came with them and my job is to just help them magnify those qualities and remind them the qualities they already posses.  I would never be so pompous or proud to assume that my boys are as wonderful as they are because of me.  

Really, I just got lucky I was chosen to have them come to my home.


Jason said...

I have to constantly remind myself that Lehi had his Laman and Lemuel and that I shouldn't be so hard on myself for the sometimes poor decisions I see my children make. However, you can't help but wonder if you could do more to ensure the spiritual well-being of your children. Eventually, it all comes down to their agency.

Mike and Adrianne said...

Jason, It's true. It does come down to their agency. I think the only way we can know that we have done enough is to sincerely pray and ask Heavenly Father if there is more we can do and how to do it. I think He will let us know that our attempts to teach our children are acceptable, regardless of the choices they make. You and Michelle are great parents!

The Duke said...

Adrianne, I feel exactly the same way you do only you express it a little better. I recognized quickly that all my kids had unique personalities and although the same rules in the house should apply, sometimes we had to figure out ways to work around the rules or to help the child figure out how they needed to appropriately respond. But I never wanted to change their basic natures. They are all good and have the freedom no to choose their path. You, as a young mother, just need to head them down that path and stay by their side, ready to steer them back to what they know. You do a very good job at that, if you ask me.
Jason, I think you will be surprised at how your children will end up eventually. They have lots of good spiritual grounding. I think you will be surprised.

kelsey said...

I noticed Isaac's picture at school the other day for Student of the Month. What a sweet boy. I've been thinking alot of what I want to see in my kids, and it is to be good, kind, and nice people. They do have their agency, and I pray constantly that they will choose to live the gospel every day of their lives, but whatever path they choose, I hope that they will grow to be good, kind people. And as my oldest grows, I'm wondering if that can even be taught...

Mike and Adrianne said...

Kelsey, I agree. In my classes at college we talked a lot about the nature vs. nurture debate and I believe that it is a good portion of both of those that make your child who you are. I do know and believe that my influence is so important but the more I get to know my kids the more I just see so much in them that they came with that make them so wonderful and I'm grateful I don't have to teach them every thing--that they already know some of it because it's an innate part of who they are, if that makes sense. Anyway, this lady that talked to my sister-in-law was so rude to her telling her that she was a bad mom because her son (my nephew) is "too angry" and stuff like that. She said she had a right to say that because her own kids are so good. That kind of attitude gets under my skin and makes me so mad. We are all just moms doing our best with our kids and trying to teach them and do our best but even then, sometimes our best efforts won't produce the desired results because our kids have agency just like you said. And that doesn't make us a bad parent.