They say raising kids is more about what is caught than what is taught. With that in mind I wrote a poem for my Mom’s 70th birthday several years ago. I found it the other day while I was digging through some boxes.
I CAUGHT IT
When you brought strangers to our home and fed them, I caught compassion.
When you stood for hours and ironed, I caught a work ethic.
When you beat me with a yard stick in the bath tub, (she really did that ), I caught that there are consequences to my actions.
When you baked for our family and every neighbor on the block, I caught homemade things mean you care.
When you made rainbow cake, onion rings, and fondu, I caught what it means to make someone feel loved and special.
When you shouted the loudest from the bleachers, I caught pride and encouragement
When you walked the streets inviting people to church, I caught evangelism.
When you had dinner on the table each night, I caught what it means to provide comfort.
When you had parties with friends, I caught the value of friendship and laughter
When you tutored children and taxied the sick, I caught community service.
When you went about your daily life, I caught how to live!
“Crap”, I thought, “my kids are so screwed!” If this is what I caught from my mom, what in the world have my kids caught from me? Especially these last few years when I was not functioning at 100%. I used to do all those things. Well, minus the ironing. I mean really, she ironed pillow cases and handkerchiefs. That would just be stupid if I caught that. I used to have dinner on the table every night, and help others, and bake for the neighbors. I worried; is the only thing my boys have caught from me is how to cry in the shower so no one hears you, or how to eat fast food 4 nights a week, or how to do just enough to get by? Those were certainly not on my original list of things I wanted to instill in my boys. I may be wrong; but as I thought about it, maybe there were things they were catching that might not be so bad…
I pray as you have watched our family change, that you have caught life doesn’t always go as planned, but how you respond determines the outcome.
I pray that as you have watched me lose a business and a dream, that you caught it doesn’t mean you quit trying. You learn from it, you get up, and you try again.
I pray that as you watched me take a job out of need and not want, that you caught being responsible isn’t always fun or easy, but it is the right thing to do.
I pray that as you watched me give myself grace to fail, that you caught enough grace for yourself when you fail.
Who knows what our kids are really catching from us? I do know they are watching. (And, I’m saving for future therapy for all the other things they may have caught !!!)