Tuesday, February 16, 2010

After Midnight

The kids are convinced that they scheduled the Olympics to coincide with President’s Week winter break, or visa versa, to allow children everywhere to stay up late and watch the games. I have been allowing them to stay up until midnight so that we can enjoy the figure skating competitions together. Although the routines are taped, the television station chooses to torture us by stretching it out from 8:00 PM through midnight.

We are used to having the kids to bed between 8:00 and 9:00. They all go to bed at the same time, with the occasional exception of my eldest if she has a big school assignment to work on. Then my husband and I have the evening to ourselves.

I dislike it when he allows them to stay up for a ballgame, so I have to see his point of view when he complains about my letting them stay up this late for figure skating. He’ll go upstairs to watch High Stakes Poker, and occasionally come down to laugh when a skater falls.

Last night my son fell asleep in a chair around 11:55. I put our three-year-old to bed and flopped on top of my own. My two preteen girls somehow found their way to my bed and we wound up lying there, chatting and laughing, for another half hour.

We talked about school, and funny things that teachers and other kids said. We talked about their friends. We talked about Lent, and why we are supposed to give up meat and other things. And we talked about softball.

Over the weekend we were approached by our coaches with the option of splitting the girls onto separate teams. Last year they were in different age divisions but this year they are back in the same division and I had been looking forward to simplifying my schedule by having them on the same team.

However, it has recently become apparent that having to compete with an older sister is not necessarily good for the younger one’s self-esteem and development as a ball player. I had been wrestling all winter with how to deal with this. When I found out the coaches had come to this same conclusion on their own, I was very encouraged. My husband was in agreement and the girls suddenly became very excited about facing off against each other on the field.

I did this to myself, and some may think I’m insane; I also have to fit my son’s baseball games in there. But the truth is that I love being on the field everyday (even though I am allergic to pollen and rely on my Claritin or Zyrtec to survive), and love watching my kids do what they love to do best.

People are always telling me that they are sad to watch their children grow up. Maybe I don’t feel that way because I still have a little one at home. But God gave each child a purpose for being and a gift to be fulfilled. So when I see my children blossoming and coming into their own, it fills me with great joy.

Sirach has some wise words on disciplining children so that they may bring joy to the parents when they grow up…

Chapter 30
He who loves his son chastises him often, that he may be his joy when he grows up.
He who disciplines his son will benefit from him, and boast of him among his intimates.
He who educates his son makes his enemy jealous, and shows his delight in him among his friends.
At the father's death, he will seem not dead, since he leaves after him one like himself,
Whom he looks upon through life with joy, and even in death, without regret:
The avenger he leaves against his foes, and the one to repay his friends with kindness.
He who spoils his son will have wounds to bandage, and will quake inwardly at every outcry.
A colt untamed turns out stubborn; a son left to himself grows up unruly.
Pamper your child and he will be a terror for you, indulge him and he will bring you grief.
Share not in his frivolity lest you share in his sorrow, when finally your teeth are clenched in remorse.
Give him not his own way in his youth, and close not your eyes to his follies.
Bend him to the yoke when he is young, thrash his sides while he is still small, Lest he become stubborn, disobey you, and leave you disconsolate.
Discipline your son, make heavy his yoke, lest his folly humiliate you.


Daily Grace said...

Like the book of Sirach you are filled with wisdom when it comes to bring up your children according to the love and laws of our Lord.

Reading about your family life is always uplifting and inspiring.

God bless each and everyone of you.

Loren Christie said...

We've been watching the Olympics too at night- but the kids are too little. Sirach's words can be interpreted many ways... The idea of bending them to the yoke and chastising children often causes me to pause...It is so hard to balance disciplining with knowing when to step back, or let up as a parent. On the other hand, it is very true that a spoiled child causes his/her parents much heartache, but parents who are too strict cause resentment and relationship problems with their children. I think (and hope) prayer helps me find a balance. Nice post!

Loren Christie said...

Also, the picture in this post is so beautiful!