Friday, October 09, 2009

Anything but that ... please?

Among my favorite reading materials is a passage about acceptance that always challenges me - and most of the time really ticks me off. Read it and you'll understand why:
"And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation - some fact of my life - unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. ... I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes."

My challenge these days is reconciling this serenity-inducing notion of acceptance with the responsibility I have as a parent to ensure that my son does not remain the wickedly self-centered, demanding, pants-wetting 2 year old that he is today. As if I don't have enough on my mind already, thank you very much.

I often come away from this passage feeling as if I'm being too hard on my son for expecting him to use the potty, mind his manners at the table, not hit or take toys from his sister or his friends, and on and on and on. Of course, this is not the passage's intent in the least, but that doesn't stop me from taking it to this (il)logical extreme.

How am I suppose to transcend his banshee-like screams in response to simple requests and somehow end up with acceptance and serenity? How do I accept his behavior as being exactly as it should be at this moment and, at the same time, want it to change (or not have occurred in the first place)?

This really seems impossible, especially when I want anything but acceptance to be the answer to all my problems. See, I have my own ideas ... a child who doesn't talk back, misbehave 90 percent of the time and wet his pants once a day would be real nice. That's the answers to my problems, God. Can you just work on that, please?

As you can tell, I have more questions than answers at this point. Pray for me, if you will.

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