"So clumsy. That kid is so clumsy. She has such big feet.." her grandmother noted to me.
Something struck an unhappy chord in me. I spent the rest of the day going over that scene in my head, even this morning I was still perplexed. It really bothered me.
I wish I could not see the wheels of time spinning fast forward in my head. First, it is a toddler's natural tendencies to toddle. This doesn't need to be criticized, does it?
Every stage of life has it's troubles, doesn't it? What do we as parents and grandparents to help them get through those stages? Is it our job to sit back and criticize the natural stages or love and support them through it?
And why is it that those who are closest to the children feel the need--the compunction to openly criticize them in front of others? Is it their way of laying claim on their existence as people?
For example, "I own that child; therefore, I can criticize them" or is it pride? "Others are noticing this bad behavior, so I had better make a comment to make sure they know that I know it is bad also?" What?
Either way, it needs to stop. In the case of age-appriopriate behaviors, it is perfectly normal for:
a toddler to toddle
a young child to stumble in words and reading
a young adult to have pimples
a young mother to be sleepy
a young father to be discouraged
a middle-aged man to be overwhelmed with work
a middle-aged woman to be trying to re-find herself
and for the elderly to have wrinkles and pains
This is not to say that children and grandchildren do not need correcting: they do! They need loving exhortation on improving their character. For the little ones, they need constant reminders to obey their parents in the Lord for this is right. We all need encouragement in that area! When people are criticized for things that they can not help, they start to feel hopeless and they start searching for acceptance outside of the home.
We have been wondering why the church is loosing its young people to the world. I think this is it. It starts right here. We fail to correct their characters, and we over correct in the non-essentials. We let pride dictate how and what we correct. That would cause me to rebel too.
Of course, they are going to leave their families and the church when this is the type of scenario they have going on. I was so blessed to have SUCH an encouraging mother to be an example to me! Even before she knew Christ, she gave us oodles and oodles of encouragement--not criticism. I know that's why I am 1) close to my mom to this day and 2) love being a mom.
I hope my own children will grow up wanting to hear what grandma and mom have to say; that is, after they recover from my craziness... (which also is attributed to my MOTHER)!!!!