Monday, April 15, 2013

Taming Mama Bear

My heart busts with joy when we are surrounded by a community of people we can laugh with, cry with, barbeque with, and play games with.

When we're in relationship with people, there will always be opportunities to get offended. If someone has rubbed us the wrong way, said something wrong...or...I'm sure you can think of a few examples.

As my daughters are getting older and having to work out issues with friends down the street, in church, or in different groups - I'm finding it quite a "political dance" to help them work through things at times. Dealing with MAMA BEAR can be hard to navigate.  It's so easy to get defensive if our (perfect) children (not!) get accused of  being not so nice, RIGHT?

I remember when my daughter was a toddler and went in those tubes at the McDonalds play park...and some kid hit her.  OOOOO, this 5 foot nothing mama turned into Hulk with a pink shoes in an instant.  Don't mess with MAMA BEAR!!!!!!

Here's the problem - if we're to look out for one another, stoop down and encourage one another - AND Iron out our differences (Philippians 4:2) that also must involve embracing those who wrong us, or our kids.

Here's an approach I've used over & over and it has actually produced MIRACLES - not just with the relationship among kids, but a high level of respect & authority among fellow mama bears.  To respect those in our lives, I will not be giving stories to illustrate, but this works.  When we've had issues with our girls' friends, we've approached the parents with 3 attitudes:

  1. Benefit of the doubt.  I NEVER go with the approach that their child is 100% wrong, and mine is innocent.  This IMMEDIATELY brings any defensive walls down.  I do an approach something like this, "I was just wondering if you were aware of ____.  This is the story I have, but maybe I'm wrong and I would love to just get it in the open before it gets worse.  ______ LOVES spending time with ______ so I'd just hate for things to escalate.
  2. I ask how I can help.  I love the "It takes a village to raise a child" mentality so I consider their child someone I can look out for and encourage.  So I ask permission to go out of my way to dote on that child.   This creates an atmosphere of safety & community.  Every time I've given this kind of support to a parent, it's literally a door to minister Christ's love to that family...whether they know Jesus or not.  What an opportunity to SERVE that family!!!!!
  3. I talk to my daughters about serving & loving that child - ESPECIALLY if they're not being oh-so-nice.  Didn't God say bless our enemies?  I've watched over and over my daughters lean into those who others would consider awkward or un-friendly.  And the reports I've gotten back is that the habits that caused discord lessen - because they were around positive friends, instead of being shunned for their attitude.
People that have children who tend to get in trouble have defensive parents - like the "What did he do now" attitude and feel quite rejected in the world of children.  We need to come alongside these families and encourage them.

I hear often stay at home moms feel like they have nothing to offer the Kingdom because they feel so isolated in the sink of dishes, or mountain of laundry & snotty noses.  My answer is to go out of their way to affect the circle of kids around them, and their parents. You NEVER KNOW the eternal impact you are having by just touching a fellow family with kindness.

6 comments:

  1. Stat at home moms are raising kingdom kid. For while they are wiping noses they are mirroring God's care and teaching them to be caring of others. My daughter always says, "I'm busy getting my kids ready for God's work and ultimately heaven." I had Mama Bear tendencies, too.

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    1. Amen, Pamela! I love that reminder of mirroring God's care & teaching them to be caring of others. Thank you for your comment.

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  2. Great points. I'm stopping by from Thrive at Home. My husband jokingly calls me Mama Bear, too, and the wild thing is that I just had to intervene last week at McDonald's, although my kids weren't involved in the altercation- a poor little boy kept getting shoved and held up against the wall by another much bigger boy. Kids are brutal, and kindness doesn't come naturally to most, so I need to make sure that I'm showing Christ's love and not getting too Mama Bear on them. thanks for the reminder!

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    1. Thanks for sharing that - you are soo right, kindness doesn't come naturally to most. What an amazing mission field us mamas have to be a light to families around us.

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  3. I love this post! I am currently reading "Unglued: Making wise choices in the midst of raw emotions" by Lysa TerKeurst. My husband suggested I read it. Can you imagine???? Ha!
    Anyway, your thoughts and experiences ring true with what I've been reading.
    And, as a Mama Bear, I can not only protect and love my own cubs, but also speak truth and blessings into the lives of children around me who may otherwise never experience that. Words that build and strengthen, rather than tear apart. Although believe me... I have wanted to do the tearing apart. Sadly. Must keep reading! Praying! And Practicing!

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I'm delighted to hear your own encouragement & experiences. Thank you for joining me

Christy