When I started college, I took organic chemistry and prayed every day the professor would grade us on a curve.    Several years later, I finished with an English degree.  (The chemistry didn’t work out).  Today, I still pray that I am graded on a curve – with my parenting.  Like this morning, I retreated to my office like it was a safe haven.  There, I don’t have to do battle with a 3.5 year old girl, who is constantly watching, learning, processing, and often debating everything. Battle 1:  she didn’t like the outfit I had laid out for her.  I think I am doing well by planning the outfits for the week.  Note to self – such planning does not always take into account the capriciousness of your audience!

 Often when parenting, words come out of my mouth,  and there are much deeper heart lessons at the core of the message.  Next, I think, “my God, I hope that I didn’t just screw up my kid’s psyche!”     This was me, twice this morning.  After a brief explanation on why “it’s not appropriate to wear the same strawberry shortcake underwear as yesterday,” I resorted to “sweety, if you don’t like this outfit, then get up, and make another choice.  Don’t whine and hope that something better comes along.” It worked.  BUT, subliminal message one – “stop complaining about wanting different, get off your butt and go get it.”  Interesting.  Perhaps a little too strong, for a pre-ker, or simply tough love?

 Battle 2:  picking out the ‘special items’ she wants to pack in her bag for school that day.  It was taking FOR-EVER.  “Sweety, make your choice, or Mommy will make it for you.”   A few minutes later, she screamed while her independence was taken from her.  I stuffed a pig, a zebra, and two books into the bag.  Subliminal message two – “take the opportunity, or somebody else will.”   Again, a little early?  I mean the kid isn’t even in kindergarten yet.

But these words came out of me for a reason.  They mold how I think, and influence how I go about my every day, either for the better or for the worse.

For the most part, I think they help me for the better.  However, sometimes I wonder why some women in the workforce (and I have had my own moments) come across obnoxiously strong, competitive, frazzled, dramatic, and really, just too much to be around.    There the kind you run into and want to say “no, thank you,” and go in the opposite direction.  Sure, I want my daughter to be a go-getter, and whining is really unattractive in the workplace.  Reality is,  a lot of times, if you don’t seize your opportunity, there is someone right there next to you, ready to pounce.  But I pray those mindsets don’t DEFINE my daughter.  I pray at her core is love, gentleness, kindness, peace, and self-control.

 A close, single, male friend recently asked me about qualities in a potential wife. “You want your velvet brick, man,” I instructed…..”soft on the outside like velvet, tough as a brick on the inside.”  I am not sure where I first heard this phrase over a decade ago, but it left a lasting impression.

 Which brings me back to my parenting….I used to pray for a grading curve in chemistry.  Now, as I help to shape and mold our own brick, I pray for a grading curve in masonry!