There are moments - like when the girls are fighting and fussing or just completely ignoring any and all instructions and directions given them by me or Ed - when I think to myself "What am I doing wrong? I must be a terrible parent!" During these moments it is so easy to want to throw my hands up in defeat.
And then there are moments like this morning when I attended a Kids of Character breakfast at Gabrielle's school. Each month, the school recognizes students for a particular character trait. One student is chosen by their class to go to a special breakfast and receive a certificate in recognition of this trait. This morning Gabrielle was recognized for the trait of "tolerance." The school counselor explained the kids chosen for this trait were kids who treated everyone with respect and kindness. Everyone equally, regardless of any differences. I elaborated to Gabrielle this meant whether she agreed with someone or liked the same things, she respected their opinion and the person and that she showed love and kindness to them.
I have always tried to instill in both girls that they will not agree with everyone, they may not even "like" everyone, but everyone deserves to be treated with respect and kindness and love. That's what Jesus tells us to do. To love one another just as he loves us.
And I guess Gabrielle was listening. She may not always demonstrate at home these traits but I'm happy - and proud - to know she is indeed living these things out in the world.
Let's face it, in reality I think most kids act out at home in ways they would never imagine elsewhere. We get to see the "worst" but how comforting it is to be reminded of the best and to know that maybe I'm not that terrible of a parent and just maybe I'm doing something right.