What Will They Remember? and Am I Responsible?

I've heard it both ways:

"They (children, when grown) will remember the good."

"They will remember the bad."

So which is it?

I think the comments depend on the one saying it, on what they remember.
And I think what they remember depends more on them,
their disposition,
on what they choose to remember.

And this Mama Bear, that takes so literally
(maybe too literally?)
the statements about how a mother crafts,
no, creates
a home atmosphere, and
sets the tone for everyone else,
I wonder…
I fear…
are my flaws, my failures, my mistakes, my stumblings
scarring my children?
Am I forming their dispositions, with no hope of reclamation?

Yes.
and No.

I do set the tone, the atmosphere, the mood for our home.
I am a HomeMaker.

Knowing that,
when I snap, when I am irritable, when I am impatient, when I don't listen to the heart-cry of a voice-whine,
then I realize:
I've failed.
I've set a bad tone.
I've breathed out a toxic atmosphere for my children to try to breathe in.

I am tempted to despair of them having any good memories.
I am tempted to give up.
I dwell on the fragility of a moment, realizing I've destroyed this one.

But.

I am learning:
that it is not all Pollyanna poppycock to remember that
an atmosphere is broader than a moment.
a tone is for all day, not only this minute.

Do I then shrug it off, and tell myself:
"They will remember the good." ?

Only if:
I seize this moment,
this instant of realizing failure,
and show my children the path of redeeming these moments,
of salvaging beauty from the wreckage our selfishness creates.
(because isn't that what it is that causes the impatience, the snappishness, the non-listening? Ugly old Selfishness?)
By calling it what it is:
Ugly. Mean. Selfish. Unloving.
and then, from there,
deliberately seeking beauty,
seeking joy,
seeking these together,
teaching them by holding their hand and having them walk with me as I do it (children are wonderful example-absorbers!)
how to rescue,
how to turn,
how to make good to remember,
how to choose good,
to focus on it.

I am slowly,
painfully yet with relief
realizing
that I cannot control,
or truly create,
my child's disposition, or their memory.

This is painful, it is always painful, to relinquish control of something that we hold dear,
something we have great hopes for.
And yet it is a relief, and huge relief, because those hopes, those dreams, are great.
Great big.
Too big for me to carry.

But I can,
I ought,
I must,
teach them the way of recovery, of turning, of changing,
of seeking that which is in His image:
He who returns beauty for ashes.
He who gives the oil of joy for mourning.
He who puts LOVE above all else.
He who is salvation, which is "salvaging".

Posted on February 16, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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