I’ve been obsessed with an idea recently.
A few weeks ago I was at a church service where my pastor spoke about giving and receiving criticism.
SUUPER touchy subject right?
On the one hand you don’t want to be walking around with metaphorical food stuck in your teeth and no one tells you–out of politeness, or fear, or something else.
On the other hand…yikes.
I remember my husband pointing out that I had a tendency to interrupt–a bad habit that I didn’t even realize that I had.
(Although I know where it came from, you should try to get a word in around my childhood dinner table. I relate it to crossing the street in New York City. You just start talking and hope that the other person will stop before you get run over.)
But, if my man hadn’t brought this habit up I might have never known, and spent my life slowly alienating people and annoying friends.
And, the most important thing about that conversation with Adam is that he loves me. I know he loves me, and he spoke those words of “criticism”–out of love.
(Doesn’t mean it didn’t bother me at the time though.)
It’s not easy to hear–it never is.
BUT, I’m discovering, it is also not easy to say.
I’m sure we have all had times where we saw someone headed down the wrong road–a bad relationship, financial decision, simple thought process–and just stood back and watched.
Honestly, I don’t know where the line is.
I wouldn’t want to meddle, I REALLY like to be liked, so I err on the side of “nice” over “right”. But at some point, “nice” isn’t really “nice” if my tendency to avoid confrontation causes the other person to stumble. . .
Which makes me think of my mother.
Of all the times we fought because she was critical of some issue in my life. I remember feeling like she was being nit-picky, I was just a typical teenager after all–she was expecting too much of me.
I remember we fought about gossip, and boys. About faith and friendship. I’m not saying that my mother was perfect, or that she always handled criticism perfectly. But, I’m realizing how much strength it took to stand up to me, to stand up FOR me, even when it caused so much tension.
How brave of her…how selfless.
To be able to face the angry-eyes of the children that she so desperately loved.
It never occurred to me, until I heard that sermon, just how courageous my mother was.
She may not have been fighting an actual war, but she was braving the battlefield of her children’s anger. Fighting for us, encouraging us to break our bad habits, warning us before we made bad decisions.
It wasn’t easy, we often resented her for it, but I KNOW that my life is SO much better because of it.
Will I be that brave?
Will I be willing to face my children’s annoyance in an effort to encourage them to be their best selves?
Or will I be like those T.V. parents who just sit back and watch? More concerned with being friends with their babies, instead of parents?
Obsessed with being “nice” instead of doing what is “right”?
Before she died I can wholeheartedly say that my mother was my best friend.
But there were definitely times that I disliked her. . .
I love this girl SO much.
I’m just a mess for her.
How will I live if she ever dislikes me?
I PRAY that I will be brave enough to face her resentment when I don’t allow her to stay-out late with boys.
That I will have the courage to speak up when she’s heading down a bad road.
That I can develop a tougher skin, because right now it KILLS me when she looks at me through angry eyes.
I simply adore her,
and I hope I can love her enough to fight for her.
Because I’m so grateful that my mom fought for me. (Oh, how I wish she was alive so I could finally thank her. It only took me 31 years to realize just how wonderful she was, honestly how amazing that she did all that without ever receiving–or asking–for any credit.)
May I continue her legacy and fight for my kids as well.
I love you, Mom. Thank you for your courage, my life was made so much better because of your strength.