Several times in the last week, I have been feeling God correcting me about a personality flaw. I have joked about it and taken an unbecoming pride in it and now I need to work at changing it.
I have a mercy problem. That is I need to work my mercy muscles so that they can do the work God has me to do. I began to realize this in the past week when the Pillowfight fairy was starting to show problem behaviors as a result from anxiety, and I was trying to force her to push through it and toughen up. I suppose I felt the need to push, because I am an adult and I can see no good reason for her fears. But, when I look back to my own childhood, I see myself as an equally fearful kid. I remember the terror I had at things that were perfectly ordinary and the frustration the rest of the family had with me. I was labeled a "sensitive child" by my teachers and a "Cry-baby" by my peers. I wanted to give my daughter a different road, and in the process, I didn't see that she is a sensitive child and I need to be understanding instead of playing the meany.
I remember hearing a variety of stories (I think one of them is in Anne of Green Gables) where someone acknowledges a flaw of theirs but tells the person they are talking to that "that's just the way I am, you'll have to get used to it." The other person replies that such an attitude is crazy. Whether the habit is outbursts of anger, tactlessness, or in my case a lack of mercy when it is needed, the proper response is to try to change for the better. I have no right to hold on to hurtful habits out of selfishness. So I am going to try to turn over a new leaf and learn to show mercy to my children more. I will try to learn to use gentleness in getting around problems as much as I can.
Lately, the Pillowfight Fairy seems to be needing more one-on-one time with Mommy, so I will start there. I will do more of our daily activities with her instead of sending her off to do things on her own (freeing me up for other stuff). It is tempting to try to rush her growing up for my own convenience, but although she looks old enough to be seven or eight (because of her height mostly), she is only five and needs the gentleness that most five year-olds need. I remember that I was always tall for my age and so was mistaken for an older child. But, I was really slightly behind in my emotional development. I suspect my oldest girl is the same way. I'll try to remember what it was like to be that age a little more as I help her navigate the ups and downs of her life.