Monday, April 13, 2009

Simple Secret #1 - A Mother Who Loves Teaches Worth

I'm so excited to begin our study with you this morning! This book has totally set me free and I just know it will do the same for you. Just to give you a quick run down on how each secret will go, I will introduce each new secret to you on Monday mornings. We will reflect on that secret throughout the week and will learn how to boost that particular part of our mothering plan through individual soul searching tough questions. On Fridays we will work on our Mother's Promise for each secret and work to create that "lesson plan" for parenting that we will hopefully use with our children for the rest of our lives. Fridays will also be "Show and Tell" day! We will share with each other our struggles, weaknesses, strengths, triumphs, and experiences pertaining to each secret to encourage each other and hold each other accountable on this journey...remember Dr. Borba says that we need a buddy!! Hopefully through this experience, we will have quite a few!! I also have a few surprises for you along the way, including a giveaway that you can begin registering for on Friday!! This should be lots of fun and a great learning experience for all of us and I could not be happier to walk this path with all of you. So grab your journals, and let's get out of the fast lane girls...slow this train down and LET'S GET REAL!!!

Real Mom Secret 1

A Mother Who Loves Teaches Worth

What Real Mothers Know: If Your Children Have Unconditional Love, They'll Be More Likely To Thrive

What Really Matters Most for Mothering: Be Loving with No Strings Attached

The Real Benefit for Kids: Authentic Self-Esteem

The Lesson a Real Mom Teaches: Of course mothers love their children, but unconditional love goes deeper and is far more complicated. This is about our complete, unequivocal acceptance of our children's true selves - including all their little quirks, bad decisions, tantrums, weaknesses, and flaws. The lesson love teaches is profound: "You are a person of worth." "I believe in you, so you should believe in yourself." We convey our feelings through our everyday words and gestures: our excited voice, wide-open arms, eyes lit up just because our child is in our presence. This doesn't mean doing more, trying harder, being self-conscious. No, it just means staying in touch with our deepest instinctive feelings for our own flesh and blood. You don't plan these reactions: they just bubble over spontaneously in the natural ways we respond to our kids in the moment. Make no mistake - we do influence our children's opinions of themselves. The lesson our children learn from how they are loved by us will last long after we're gone. (p.61-62)

Welcome Mom Secret #1. I'm sure you have many, many thoughts on this introduction, as I do. What really struck me about this first secret is the words I have in bold above. Y'all, it hit me like a truck going 100 miles per hour. What we do on a daily basis with our kids, our body language, the looks on our faces all tell our children how we feel about them. YOU DON'T PLAN THESE REACTIONS: THEY JUST BUBBLE OVER SPONTANEOUSLY IN THE NATURAL WAYS WE RESPOND TO OUR KIDS IN THE MOMENT. No parenting book will teach you how to show your kids you love them and it be REAL!! It has to come from you, naturally. So, basically, we can say "I love you" a gazillion times a day, but unless we are GENUINE and SHOW it to our kids, they don't believe us.

Take a few minutes to jot down this secret and your thoughts about it in your own personal life and then we will take a look an actual situation to help put this in perspective.


I do not love him because he is good. I love him because he is my child.

"She Learned to Show Her Unconditional Love"

Everyone loved this boy. You just knew he had a great family life and his parents were so proud of him. He as popular 9th grader in Northern California. Very smart, well mannered, top of his class, best soccer player on the team, destined for a music scholarship, and most of all just wanted to make his mom happy. He had it all!!
His parents were well known in the community. His mother a pediatric surgeon, and his dad a businessman who traveled alot. His mom was very humble but everyone knew she was a Rhodes Scholar and in the top of her Harvard class. She did everything she could to make sure her son could become a successful doctor too. Everyone in town admired this family.

Wow, to have a mom like that, she loves him so much. All that would soon change though, and not for the better. One spring afternoon, the 911 call came in from a jogger who had seen a boy sitting in a creek with a rifle pointed to his head. Immediately 2 officers and a K-9 who were training nearby jumped in their patrol car and headed for the scene. Once they arrived they stopped dead in their tracks. Sitting down below in the creek was a young boy with a rifle clutched between his feet and dug into his chest. And the worst part...THEY KNEW THIS BOY!! Not wanting to startle him and cause an accident, they contemplated what to do. One of the officers knew that his dad was out of town and so they needed to dispatch his mom at the hospital. As the boy looked up and warned them to stay away, one of the officers let him know that they were calling his mom. He didn't seem affected at all by that and simply said not to bother that she would be too busy. And he was right. The hospital said that she was in surgery and could not be interrupted. As the boy began to look agitated the officers knew they needed to make a move, but didn't know what that move should be. Finally the officers decided that maybe sending the big German Shepherd K-9 dog down might be safer and could distract the boy and calm him down. With an uneasy feeling of waiting any longer they released the dog. The dog started down very cautiously towards the boy. As the boy looked up at the dog, the next few seconds seemed like an eternity as they didn't know what this boy's reaction would be to the dog. The next few minutes would remain a vivid memory in the officers' minds forever. The dog knew exactly what to do. He jump into the boy's lap and began licking him. Within minutes the boy returned the affection and totally surrendered to the dog's affection. As tears streamed down the boys cheeks, he held onto the dogs thick coat for dear life and hugged him close, stroking his fur over and over. The officers went down to the boy and the dog, who was very tuned into to the boy and wasn't moving an inch. As the officers stood silently, they just couldn't figure out how this could happen to this boy of all kids?? When the officers asked the boy what had happened, he replied that he was a loser and began to gradually tell his sad story. He studied and studied for his PSAT's that he was taking 2 years early to give him an edge when entering college, but he had only placed in the 98th percentile. This was not acceptable for his mom, who told him that he had to do better, but he said that he had done his very best and that there was no way he could have done any better. He went on to explain that she didn't love him they way he was and that he felt he would never be good enough for his mom, so what was the point of trying anymore. He was doing his mom "a favor." He then explained that the dog changed his mind. He said, "Don't you know that as soon as he saw me, he jumped in my lap and started to lick me. I didn't have to do a thing. He was happy just to be with me."

How could such a wonderful kid feel so worthless and unloved? And how could a dog figure out what he desperately needed when everyone else-especially his own mother-had missed it?

The next day when the officers sat down with the family, his mother had no idea her son felt this way. She was so upset that she had missed this. She just wanted him to have everything he could ever want. (paraphrased, p. 62-68)

What Can Real Moms Learn From This Story?
WOW!! Can you imagine if you were to ever be faced with this situation? I hope and pray that I am never faced with this kind of situation with either of my girls, but the statistics show that this is far more common that most parents know. The suicide rate in teens has increased 30% since 1970 and has tripled from 1962 to 1995. That is a very scary statistic. We have to find out if our kids know how much we love them. And, we have to show them unconditional love and teach them worth. It is not a maybe. It is a must!!
Dr. Borba says that the mother we just read about's love was never in doubt. The problem was that her son didn't know she loved him because she was so insensitive to his present day-to-day struggles and only focusing on his future. He was trying to earn his mother's love!! And what she missed was his need for her unqualified affection and approval, regardless of how he was performing.
The essential secret for real mothering here is that unconditional love doesn't have to depend on performance (or anything else for that matter). Unconditional love is your total, absolute commitment, devotion, and tender affection for your children exactly as they arrived to you and have developed so beautifully over the years. The basic foundation for all good parenting is the ability to convey this unconditional love and sensitivity to your child's needs. (p. 68)
So, how are you doing in your home at showing unconditional love? Do your children know that you love them, not because they are good, but because they are your children?? How would they respond to this same question?? Hmmm...that is the question, isn't it? Is a tune up in place or do you think you need to commit to a change in you with this particular part of your parenting plan?? Start today. Don't let another day get away from you and away from your child. Let's reflect on this story and this mom secret today and journal our thoughts about it. Tomorrow we will look at some questions to ask ourselves to see how we are doing at showing unconditional love in our own parenting.
As always, remember if you know of someone who may benefit from our study or if you know of a mom, who like the rest of us, is desperate to get out of the fast lane and back to the basics with our kids, please encourage them to join us on our journey!
See you tomorrow!! Have a great day!

1 comment:

  1. This is a very good question. I was just thinking about something similar recently...that my job now is just to love unconditionally, and though that is a relief it is also a challenge!


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