7.07.2017

What do my children think of me?


This little note taped to my kitchen cabinet sparked some interesting conversations during our 4th of July celebration. Our neighborhood hosts an annual Block Party, and we have approximately 60 friends filter through our house every year when they come to join in the festivities. Usually, I remove any personal notes when I put away books and other paraphernalia for large events, but for some reason, this one stayed put.
I didn't think anything about it until one of our young adults caught me in the kitchen and asked (with a curious and somewhat confused expression), "Mrs. Eastman? What is a "Mom Poll?"
I laughed and said, "Twice a year I ask my children to assess me as a mom. I know I have blind spots, so I want to make sure that my personal self-assessment matches their own assessment."
"Huh. So ... what kind of questions do you ask them?"
"Well, I ask what they would change about me, if I am meeting their needs, and if I cause them to stumble into sin."
"Really?"
"Yep."
And the conversation continued for another ten minutes.

Two days later, Luke said to me, "Sooooo, your little "Mom Poll" note on the cupboard sure created a stir!"
"What do you mean?"
"Every woman and girl that talked to me had seen it when they were getting food in the kitchen and asked what it meant."
"What did you tell them?"
"I said that a couple times every year you ask us if you are a horrible mother and then ask how you can be a better one."
"Um, okay. That is a rather broad definition. Did you give examples of questions so they understand the actual purpose of it?
"Nah. I didn't want to think that deeply at the moment."
<insert Mom eye roll here>

Though the questions are mine, I give credit to my dear aunt for this exercise. She was a great example to me of how easy and important it is to have an open dialogue with children and teens. She did not tell me she did this - I witnessed the conversations myself. And I was fascinated. She willingly humbled herself, placing herself on the same level as her kids so she could seek to understand what was going on in their hearts and minds. They told her things they loved about her, of course, but what blew me away was how easily they could be honest with her, telling her freely, yet respectfully, what they did not like/appreciate/enjoy about her as a mom. Even more impressive - she accepted their words with grace. She did not pout, get defensive, or walk away in a huff. She simply asked more questions, and they responded. Words, explanations, tears, frustration, understanding, compromises, hugs, and "I love you" followed. I said to myself, as a teenage girl, "I want this with my own children. Freedom to speak openly and honestly - with purpose."
Fast forward 30+ years later - I am doing it! Following her example, and reaping the same benefits and blessings she enjoyed decades ago. Thank You, Lord, for surrounding me with godly and wise women when I was a child and a teen, and as an adult. Much of my parenting comes from the wisdom and creativity shown by many who walked before me ... and I am grateful!

This is one of my favorite activities with my children. I do it with all of them ... ages 17 to 6 ... and I learn a lot about myself - and my children. The first few years I was nervous, fearing I would score an "F" as a mother, but as it turns out, they are far more gracious with me than I am with myself. I am always surprised by this truth when we walk through their assessments together until I remember that my children are not looking for "Supermom." They just want ME. And "me" is something I can give them. Every single day. ❤

Mom Assessment ~ Summer 2017

What areas do you feel I am succeeding as a mom? (with you personally)

In what areas do you think I can/should improve as a mom? (with you personally)

Do you see any hypocrisy in me - in word and/or deed?

In what areas do you feel I am inconsistent?

Do I encourage you in your walk with the Lord?

Is there anything I do that causes you to stumble in your walk with the Lord?

What can I do to encourage/challenge/hold you accountable in your pursuit of godliness?

Do you feel loved by me?
    Appreciated?
    Respected?

Do you feel like you get enough of my time and/or attention?
    If not, what would “enough” look like to you?

If you could change one thing about me as a mom, what would you change?

What do you appreciate about me as a mom?

If there was one thing I could do better that would make our relationship stronger and more secure, what would it be?

No comments: