When Your Kids Aren’t Like You…

June 24, 2013 in Belinda,lessons for moms,mentor moms

Your Kids Don't Make SenseI’m going to start with an analogy I read in Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches, by Rachel Jankovic. Pretend you are a tomato plant and your husband is a tomato plant. You have your first child and it is a tomato plant. You are all happy little plants in your garden. Then a second child comes along and although at the very beginning it has the same green shoots and tiny leaves, very quickly you discover that this child is not a tomato plant. This child is a watermelon. And tomatoes and watermelons really aren’t all that similar.

Should your watermelon try to become a tomato? It’s never going to happen. God created your child in all her wonderful watermelon-ness. No matter how much your child might have your eyes or your smile, she is not made in your image. She is made in God’s image. She is who God uniquely created her to be. And He chose you to be the caretaker of that watermelon. It’s no accident that she is in your garden.

It’s much easier to love our children when they are like us. It’s not so easy when they are foreign to us, when we just don’t get them. Maybe they have an interest, a talent, an outlook on life that is the complete opposite of yours. I’m confronting this in my own life as the personality of one of my daughters develops and emerges more completely. I don’t get her. Yet.

God placed her in my care. And I will admit sometimes I get very frustrated because I don’t see things from her point of view. But she doesn’t need to be like me, to like what I like, or see things the way that I do. She needs to be like God, to have a heart that is full of Him, and the mind of Christ.

I’m still working on this, trying to put myself in her shoes. In the process, I am growing. I don’t love her because she likes what I like or sees things the way that I do. I love someone who isn’t like me. I love her unconditionally. Although I have a long way to go, I’m thankful for the differences between us because God is using them to develop more of His character in me.

Mentor MomsBelindaBelinda is a regular contributor to  Pruning Princesses. She had a pet monkey when she was 8. In a past life, she was an adviser to college students.  Now she’s taking an extended sabbatical to focus on her mom job.  She lives in Michigan with her husband, three daughters – ages 10, 8, and 5 – and her son, who is 2. She enjoys travel, cooking, hanging out with her family, and the occasional game of competitive badminton. Read her other posts here.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Kesha of We Got Kidz June 29, 2013 at 2:16 pm

This post was honest, and refreshing. Mine are only two (twins), and their personalities are only beginning to “show their roots”. I can’t wait to see the sort of unique individuals God chose to place in my life. Great piece!

Visiting from SITS 🙂

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pruningprincesses July 1, 2013 at 9:06 pm

Oh Kesha what an exciting time this will be for you. When my kids were little like that I tried to peg their personalities too soon. Oh she is going to be creative. Oh she is fearless. I found later that such labeling was not helpful as they picked up on it and they changed so often that the label was often no longer true. I am sure God will bless and challenge you with the personalities of your kids!

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Kesha of We Got Kidz July 1, 2013 at 9:36 pm

That’s some awesome advice. I’ll be honest and say that I’ve already tried to peg my “creative” one and my “spirited” one, but you’re right – God only knows. But I’m definitely enjoying the journey 🙂

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Mariann June 29, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Your analogy was the absolute best! I don’t think this situation could’ve been described any better than with that analogy. I’m so thankful to have come across your words and this post! I have and continue to struggle with this situation. After 16 years, I now realize that I need to accept my son for who he is and stop trying to figure out how to change him into me or who I want him to be! Thank!
SITSShareFest

(I’m a Michigander, too! Just living in TX for the moment!)

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pruningprincesses June 30, 2013 at 1:06 am

Thanks for taking the time to comment, Mariann. I find that I think I am letting my girls be who they are, and then one of them says something and I realize how I have been trying to change them. I think the problem with not accepting them can creep on up on us. We are new to Michigan (in the last 5 years) and still exploring the state. Will you return here? Glad you enjoyed the post, Belinda, the writer, has an encouraging way with words.

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Belinda July 2, 2013 at 6:31 pm

At 16, isn’t the whole point for them to show us just how different from us they are? ( : That’s part of the reason I want my kids to know how much I love them now – because those years are coming when the world tells them a lot of lies about how worthless they are unless they are like someone else.

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Kerry June 29, 2013 at 3:11 pm

I have 3 kids and they are each so different. I actually find myself connecting more with the kids who are sometimes more different than me. The child who is like me – I can definitely empathize with and guide given we handle instances similarly. I love all of their gifts though. Great piece. Stopping by from SITS.

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pruningprincesses July 1, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Kerry, I find that in each season of life I connect with a different daughter a little bit better. It seems to change over time though I must admit that the personality of one of them baffles me more often. I know that trying to fit our kids into our own paradigms can sneak up on us so I hope I can successfully encourage and connect with my daughter who is not so much like me.

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Theresa June 29, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Our daughter is pretty much exactly like me! Our 1 year old son… well, I’m a little worried he may be like husband! LOL BUT I love him just the same. That you for this post!!!

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pruningprincesses July 1, 2013 at 9:01 pm

How old is your girl? I wonder if you will be saying the same thing as she grows and if you love that she is like you or if it will drive you crazy? As for the boy, I know nothing about them!

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theresa July 1, 2013 at 9:17 pm

My daughter already drives me crazy. That’s how I know she’s just like me. LOL She’s 6. Boys? I haven’t got a clue. I am girl mom and was done at one. Zach was definitely an oops. haa haa

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Belinda July 2, 2013 at 6:27 pm

The funny thing is my husband has an easier time not butting heads with our girl who is like me and I have an easier time not butting heads with our girl who is like him. But truly “getting” them is easier for both of us with the one that is more like us.

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Jennice June 30, 2013 at 12:37 am

I’m glad I came upon this post because even though I’m 24 yo,my mom has trouble accepting me for me. I dont think like her and it bothers her sometimes. I have a daughter myself and I allow her to,be her so that she never feels like I don’t love her because she isn’t me. I know how that feels,it hurts. Stopping by from #SITSsharefest

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pruningprincesses July 1, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Hi Jennice, I am hoping that I never try to make my girls like me. I think it is the sort of behavior and response that creeps into our life and we may not notice at first. Thanks for taking the time to comment. So nice to meet you.

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Belinda July 2, 2013 at 6:24 pm

Jennice, thanks for your honesty. I hope that when I look at my daughter, all she sees is that I love her.

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