Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Time to Insert "Kelle!"

Yes, I read another blog post from one of my "Mom" inspirations... Kelle Hampton! It was funny because Brendon and I are completely OBSESSED with the DISC Personality Profile test... it has completely helped us on how to understand people, relate to people and communicate with people based on their personality. So, we discuss our children's personalities a lot... obviously they are still little and developing but it is fairly evident who they are... I have known it since they were in my belly! These two were completely different in the womb... multiple times I would say Katelyn was a CRAZY WOMAN doing gymnastics in my stomach and Daniel just seemed like he was "flowing and moving freely, peacefully" in the belly... Daniel took his time coming out in labor.... Katelyn flew out during labor.... barely had her in the hospital! I think she was aiming to make the morning news... you know "baby born in the car on the highway to the hospital" story!

So... I found Kelle's post AMAZING!

If you know Brendon and I, then you know we are both LEADERS... strong LEADERS!

So, this is what Kelle said...

Later, when we were alone, Brett returned to the subject. "I don't want to tell the kids they have to be leaders," he said. "The world can't be full of just leaders, you know."

"So what, you want to tell them to be followers?" I asked, snarling at the preposterous suggestion.

"I want to tell the kids to be themselves," he confidently answered.

And for a second, everything about parenting made perfect sense.

I've always hated Right/Wrong Parenting where things are black and white and parents make blanket statements about how things should be done. Parenting, like so many other things in life, is gray. There is no one right way to raise your child. And yet, I've had this black and white idea of leader vs. follower in my mind--Don't be a follower. Do be a leader. And teach your kids to do the same.

But I love the truth that falls perfectly into the gray middle--teach your kids to be themselves.

It's true. We can't all be leaders, all the time. But we can help our children be themselves and, by doing so, discover ways in which they can both lead and effectively follow.

But following is important too, and we all have ways in which we both lead and follow.

The older the girls get, I find I am continually reconstructing my parenting views--my own views--as I take on more responsibility of being a role model for my girls. I think about what I say more, how I act, what I teach my kids, and sometimes that involves changing my perspective.

I won't always have the answers, but I do love the simplistic truth that lies in that one statement--be yourself. Letting that principle guide my parenting makes it seem so much easier. Whether my children are leaders, followers, extroverts, introverts, artists, scholars, sensitive listeners or strong influencers--I don't need to worry so much about how to make them that way. I simply need to encourage my girls to be true to themselves. To never apologize for expressing how different or alike they are to someone else.

There will be times in both my kids' lives when they will have opportunities to step up as leaders. And there will be necessary occasions when they will need to follow. Through all of it, I hope they will be themselves. Because we showed them how.

I will both encourage leaders and guide followers, but for now? They're still little. They walk on my feet and hold my hands. Baby steps for both of us.