2.01.2008

Pearls of Wisdom

My maternal grandmother has lung cancer. How a non-smoker gets lung cancer, I dont know. She was diagnosed about Thanksgiving time and did about a month of radiation and chemotherapy. Since then, she's hardly been able to eat at all and has been in the hospital a bunch. My uncle had the brilliance to fly in from Ohio to video tape her life story before we miss that chance. I've been transcribing the videos so we have a written account. She's really very wise as well as witty. Here's a little pearl on parenting I transcribed last night:

"Besides my husband's advice about treating kids with respect, like each was Sister Kimball in my home, I made up my own advice later on. That is that if kids do something like stumble on a rock, they didn’t mean to do it. They’re the ones that got hurt and they’ll remember to watch for the rock the next time. You don’t have to say a word except just to hug them and comfort them. I think that would be true in nearly every case. Even if they’re doing something naughty, you just love them and tell them you’re sorry and want to help. Don’t give them a lecture; it doesn’t do a bit of good. They don’t want to hear a lecture. They want comfort.

We had an old table out here on the back porch and it haunts me that when our oldest grandson was about 12, he went out to saw something and when he sawed the board, he also sawed the table. I went out and got mad at him. What a stupid thing for me to do. I hope I never did that again. My daughter now has the table and she thinks it’s wonderful because it’s old. It’s her dining room table, even with the sawed off edge. I hope my grandson has forgiven me."

Undoubtedly, it takes a lot of practice to hold our tongues and not lecture but it's so true that we dont need to point out every mistake and shortcoming. Brad is a big advocate of teaching our kids principles and then letting them make their own choices and experience the consequences. I, on the other hand, would presume to take away everyone's agency if they can't use it "correctly". Mistakes are an important part of the learning process and what people need is a soft place to land during those hard times. If we, as parents, can be that soft place, our kids will trust us and come to us in their dark hours when it's most necessary. Their mistakes and bad choices will truly be learning experiences not just downward spirals into low self esteem and negativity.

Now let me practice what I've preached...

10 comments:

Lyndsay said...

That is a great "pearl of wisdom!" I definitely need to be better about that. My mom had lung cancer, too — the non-smoking kind. No one had any idea how she got it. One of those anomalies. (Luckily they caught it soon enough.) I hope your Grandma will be able to feel comfortable through this. And I am sure she will have many wonderful moments with her family! She sounds like a great woman. I lost my grandmother to cancer and while it was hard, it was also a strangely beautiful time in our family — we grew even closer.

Andrea said...

Hope your grandma is not too uncomfortable. That's hard.

Love her sweet advice. I guess I need to be better at the non-lecturing. Thanks for sharing!

Stephanie said...

oh, that is good advice. thanks for sharing. what a smart lady your grandma must be.

Mary Postert said...

Jill, I love this and I don't even have kids yet. Thanks for sharing it. I've started keeping a list of good advice I've heard about raising kids because it will be good to refer back to someday. This will definitely be added to my list.

Courtney said...

I love that advice. I need to be more like that...I tend to fall into what you described as yourself.

I know I will have memories like your grandma and the table when I am old, I just don't want so many that that is what I am known for!

emidinkl said...

What a blessing for you and your family to be open and available to learning from such a wise soul. Roger and I have been reading a lot about parenting with Christ centered principles.(Trying to bone up; ) This of course goes right with that. Thank you for sharing.

Jourdan Johanna said...

oh boy...feelin' the guilt.

What great advice.

Raysha said...

Derrick's dad passed away 4 years ago from Lung cancer, also a non-smoker. He was only 49 years old. Your grandma is amazing. I am so glad that your family will have this wonderful gift from her. I loved coming over to your little apartment at their house and getting to see them. And your grandpa's silly jokes! Loved it. By the way, What time did the China man go to the dentist????

Jill said...

Tooth hurty!

Amanda said...

parents are teachers (especially when our kids are so young). they need to be instructed and re-directed and given alternatives to nasty behavior. i agree about not punishing a kid for something that was an accident, but when s/he did it on purpose...that's a different story.