Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Labels

#1 has been gone for two weeks, now.

No, no, this is not a bad thing --she's with her grandparents. Had you worried, eh? Anyway, she should be home late, late, late tonight, and I'm excited to see her again. But at the same time, I realized I handled this separation quite well. Much better than expected! I learned a lot, too.
What did I learn?
Well, golly! Thanks for asking. I learned:

1. #1 deserved this vacation. She has been my biggest helper and "right-hand-woman" for most of her life; she definitely needed a chance to go have some fun on her own without the same responsibilities I shove her way. Because sometimes I forget she's only 8 years old; she's a child, too, and deserves to have loads of fun!

2. #2 and #3 like each other. Who knew?! They have been putting on a show of contempt for years, dear reader --these two actually get along. Of course, this could only be because #1 is gone and they HAVE to get along --who else is there to play with? But it's been wonderful to see them enjoying each other's company without fighting. The best scene: Walking behind them (at least a block or so) on our way home from church and watching them walk side-by-side, talking intently in confidence, laughing...

3. #2 is just as reliable and helpful as her older sister. I think I knew this, but once again, I was guilty of making #1 responsible because she's older and around.

4. I'm so proud of #1. I've heard countless remarks and messages of her sweetness and maturity. I think "adorable" was used, too. Of course, they could all be lying for my sake, but I doubt it. #1 is pretty awesome; I'm just glad to know I'm not the only one who thinks so!

You know, I have this friend who gives me good advice a lot of the time. I've heard her say more than once that we should never pigeon-hole our kids --we should never label them. I've caught myself more than once labeling my children as such: #1 is the helper. #2 is the drama queen/diva. #3 is the angry child. #4 is a squishy-cute-2-year-old.
How is this good for their development? Self-worth? The thing is, I think we all tend to do it, don't we?
This makes these last few weeks so invaluable to me. I have seen that no, #1 is not just the helper, nor is #2 always a diva. #3 isn't always angry --in fact, he can be quite sweet! #4 has an incredible imagination, and he's smarter than I think he is...
Interesting, eh?

Sometimes I think this can be used on adults, too, and on our friends (which was another thing this friend told me. Dang, she's smart!), like this: She is the smart one. She is the planner. She is the diva. She is the pity-party. She is the sarcastic one, etc. But we're not just one thing. At least we shouldn't see each other that way, right? I would hate to be the..."Depressed one" or the "Wordy one" or the "Musician" or even the "Glue" (although I take that one as a compliment), because I'm more than the sum of my parts.
Aren't you?

Let me take it further, too: We shouldn't pigeon-hole our spouses, in-laws, parents, or siblings, either. Yeah, my sister is a super-freak-organizer. In fact, she's dang good at it and she loves it. But she's more than that, you know? It's worse when we label our spouses/family in negative terms, too: He's the cheapskate. She's the addict. He's the manipulator. She's the "emotional" one.
But we still do it, eh? I'm guilty. Totally guilty. However, I'm trying to change and see people in a better way; yeah, it's easier to get into labels, but it's not really fair. And I like to be fair! So, starting with my kids, I'm not going to be labeling them anymore --or at least I'm going to try not to! Their potential is infinite --I can't even comprehend all of their future abilities, yet. Sure, they may have stronger talents/traits/abilities over others (meaning other talents), but why label those now? Talents can be born and nurtured throughout life --so can personality traits. We can all change for the better.
Ha! I think that's the point.
But still, I never want to be accused of stunting my children's emotional/social/mental growth because I refused to see them as anything but a label.

So, thank you to my friend for showing me this. I hope to always remember it!

OH! And btw, this topic reminds me of this scripture. And this one. And this one.

*Hey, so the countdown begins. 6 days until B-Day!

6 comments:

Gio, Judi and Boys said...

Thanks! I needed that!!!

bythelbs said...

I'm the sarcastic one, right?

I need to remind myself of this all the time. Thanks for helping me out today. (Oh, and I was referring to the labeling thing, not my being sarcastic. No reminders needed there.)

Annette Lyon said...

This is was exactly why it was good for me to have my son gone for a week at Scout Camp and #2 gone at Girls Camp this summer. The family dynamic changes, and you do realize how you'e labeled people.

Mother of the Wild Boys said...

Very good points, thanks Cheryl.

Ann said...

I needed to hear this today. Thanks, Cheryl!

flip flop mama said...

So true. Thanks for the reminder.