Constant mess, checkout line tantrums, ignore-mommyitis, and that dreadful babysitter biting episode aside, the Maiden is not a bad kid. But sometimes– particularly when all the behaviors converge in the same forty-minute stretch– I get a little overwhelmed. How can I raise her to be a productive member of society, when her devil horns are sometimes so realistic that I could hang laundry on them?
I recently read a quote that puts things into perspective:
“When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family. Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.” ~Author Unknown
True indeed! Society is made up of families; in fact, families function like miniature societies (sadly, though, we rulers can’t tax our residents. Or can we?). And families are made up of individuals with different needs, interests, and strengths. Although we can raise our kids to the best of our ability, we can’t really control them any more than we can control our cities, our nations, or the world. However, we can change ourselves. If we want our family to go in a certain direction, maybe we’re the ones who need to start.
I can’t make the Maiden behave like a model citizen, although I can encourage her (with positive reinforcement when she’s good, and threats of reform school when she’s bad) to behave in a certain way. I can’t change the Man (and if I try, he tries to change me, and then we both change from happy to annoyed).
But I can change myself. I can change my attitudes and reactions and responses. I can change the way I deal with the people in my life. How I choose to act and think and speak is up to me, but it’s going have an impact that reaches my family, and through them, society at large.
I can influence the direction of the world without leaving the sofa!
But for now, the world will have to wait– there’s a Maiden who needs a bedtime story.