Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bragging: Rights Or Wrongs?

I posted a picture of our Marine son, Paul, yesterday -- and worried later that I was preening a little while I was doing it. =sigh= Yes, my son, Paul.  We think he's pretty neat.  But, don't get me started; I have soliloquies I could sing of any one of our ten children.  I kinda like 'em.  I could go on and on.   But, I guess that's what we do as mothers, isn't it?    It's an offshoot of parental love, the pride we have in our children.  Is it a bad thing, though? I worry sometimes.

There's an image that comes to my mind of a parent waving around a wallet with an accordian of baby pictures three feet long and I have a recurring nightmare of my own mouth being a faucet of Mommy-ness that I can't shut off.  It's bad enough in normal day-to-day communication, but it's also a strange modern reality that we blogging moms are in constant danger of embarassing our kids right out of the school yard by blathering about them on the worldwide web...  I picture the eye-rolling of my children every time I press that publish key on a post about them.  But, I do press that key. Oh, yes, I do.   I mean, seriously, kids.  Your friends don't read my blog. (Do they?)

I guess the key, though, is to know the limits of propriety.  Sharing pithy kid stories with other mothers at playdates or on the internet is good, as long as you listen to at least an equal number of kiddy stories from other Moms -- and smile and laugh and nod appropriately and with heartfelt understanding and comaraderie.  I have a tally right here by my computer to make sure I'm on track.  If I haven't complimented anyone on their beautiful children lately it's only because I'm having computer problems.  (I promise I'll catch up when I can...)

It's also important to be aware of what kind of pride we're exhibiting, when we're bragging on our children.  I met someone once who only had bad things to say about her children, never a good word for any one of them.   It seemed she had a reverse kind of pride in her misery.  I'm sure it must have been her way of reaching out for help and I gave advice where I could, but I also made a point to praise the good qualities of her kids, too. Sure, little Telulah was a bully at school, but she was a great offensive linemangirl for their football team... It's important to kick out of the of quicksand of our own self-perpetuating misery and to give our girlfriends a hand out when we can. 

But the worst kind of pride a mother can have is that which sucks up the credit for her children's success.  It's easy to be tempted this way when we see our children are doing well.  I have to check myself sometimes when I catch myself preening.  Because you know... Well, here's an analogy:

The Horticultre of Children

I can't look  at a beautiful  tree in my yard and take credit for it.  Sure, I may have planted it, possibly pruned it, maybe watered it, but all I really did was help it to be what God made it to be. My job was an important one, of course; if I was a good gardener, I controlled the environment as well as I could, protected my tree from the worst elements while it was a sapling, and pruned it while it was young so it would grow straight and tall...  but I can't take credit for the tree.  Only God can make a tree.  And He also made the water that I watered it with, the manure  (HA!) that I fertilized it with, and He may even have inspired the Rodale series of books that I read to figure out the best tree-raising methods.

And, of course, He's the one who put all that good stuff in these kids of ours.  Yours and mine.  If we cooperated with God's Will, and also-- and here's the kicker -- managed to teach our children to cooperate with His Will, then we've prepared the way for God's Good to happen.  And you know, we can always brag about how God's good to us:

"Look at this great tree God put in my yard, folks!"

 We can also say: "Wow!  Dang! Look how straight and tall this tree has grown!  I'm so glad I had those stakes tied to it back in those windy years." 

And we might say, "Shoot, where'd all these other trees come from?!"

"Dang!  Why don't this one grow like that one?"
"Howcome this one needs twice as much water as that one? "

"Why does this one attract bees and that one keeps sendng out suckers?"

"Howcome that one keeps wearing that shirt when I told her not to?"

"Why does this one always start fights with that one?"

"Why aren't there more gardeners on this job?"



GrandmaK said...

Very good post. My children have always been a source of LIFE. By that I mean with every year since their arrival I have been able to marvel at the wonder of the creator. When the road was rough, there was always communication. We always talked (in love and anger). We cried together and laughed heartily, and still do. I thank God daily for these gems he has given me, for in them I see his love and compassion. God bless you, Lisa. You have just the right amount of "bragging right." My best!!! Cathy

GrandmaK said...

Just dropping by again to let you know you have been tagged for the Catholic Prayer Meme. Should have done this on my 1st visit but was still too sleepy! My best! Cathy

Mary Bennett said...

When your son is a MARINE, I think you have EVERY right to preen!!! :)

Laura said...

Because of the way you seem to "check" yourself on a regular basis, I can never see you crossing the line very far in regards to sharing your love and pride for your children. Honestly, you are so firm-footed and lucid that I it humbles me.

Dorraine said...

Oh, go ahead and brag. At least if people get tired of hearing about one, you can talk about the others! Me, I'm a one-song, broken record.

Bia said...

Oh my...i never get the sense that you brag...you're proud, but what mom isn't?

you seem to have a wonderful sense of balance, and i know it's you're faith that keeps things in perspective.

i like how you ended with the question about why aren't there more gardeners on the job:0)