A family from church came over to hang out with us last night. They've adopted three girls from China--one of whom is in the Sunday School class we teach--and they seem to have "adopted" us as well. It's nice to have a couple who are a little farther down the path share the things they've learned with us.
We talked for a while about some of the struggles we're experiencing with the girls. [If you're up for a raw, albeit well-written, glimpse into some of that, swing by my wife's blog.] At one point while we were talking about food issues I said, "If they were merely afraid there wasn't going to be enough food, I could handle that. We covered that in adoption class. But this, this is entirely different and it drives me bonkers!"
They smiled at me and offered some really good advice. Then some more. And even more after that. Some of it should be obvious--like the fact that I should focus on encouraging and building up, not just pointing out where they need to "shape up." But one idea was so totally different I just had to share it with you:
You make up the rules.
As a parent, we're in charge of the game. We make up the rules and if we need to change them for us--or our children--we can.
"But what about consistency?" I asked. "Consistency is key, right?"
"Yes, but if it's not helping anyone then it needs to change. The really important thing that must remain consistent is that they need to obey. But if it comes down to being consistent versus changing what needs to be done so you can help your child move forward... change."
That was good.
I have long felt trapped--painted into a corner--by my unyielding consistency done under the banner of "for the children."
This is my house. As the authority, the parent, I make the rules. And the rules can change. In fact, the rules should change if it will help me love the girls better and help the girls become the women they are supposed to become.
Filmmaker, Writer, Surrogate Father