to care {aka how to raise manipulative children at least according to some but not me}

*** i actually expected to be done blogging for a few months.  i had a lot rattling around in my brain.  but i spent much time with a Bible, prayer, talking to my husband and to a dear friend and my heart, my mind have settled quickly.  i feel free right now.  i have things to say.  and, i think, i might have gotten my voice back.  what do you think?***

cool breeze blowing in from ocean as
children played in fading light.
we sat indoors as visiting adults are apt to do,
conversation ping ponging from deep philosophy to
light hearted sarcasm {thanks to my never too serious husband.}

one of my young children runs in,
hair damp from mist settling on the evening.
she grabs my hand, eyes pleading,
"mama can you push me on the swing?"
and i,
locked in the middle of conversation and not quite paying attention
to her, respond,
"not right now honey."
young blue eyes darken, fill with tears threatening
to overflow.
"maaaaammmmmmmmmmaaaaaaaa, yesssss!!!!!!!"
she sobs, instantly devastated.
i look up at husband and his understanding, perfect smile and
friends whose home we are in,
friends whose eyes bear that look of
"oh i know this and i know what you have to do about it."

i always surprise them.
i sweep my girl up in arms, loudly proclaiming,
"alright baby, let's go swing!" stepping out into cool of night,
i hear the gasp from the other mother,
the comment, "oh my.  i can't believe she did that."
wiping tears from cheeks just beginning to lose baby fat,
i set her down on the swing, make sure her hands are on tight and
push, telling her a story of the faerie princess who swings at night
under moon's glowing light.
she swings, laughing, for ten minutes and i
shut eyes, feel night's chill blanket covering me,
drinking in this moment,
the one i nearly gave up,
the one most everyone i know would have given up,
punishing, fighting,
for a few more minutes of talk.

holding hands,
my girl and i walk back inside,
smiles on the face of us both.
she runs off to find her twin and i settle back in,
joining conversation,
hoping it doesn't turn where i know it probably will.
friend turns to me, this mother, grandmother,
the one with twenty years experience on me,
turns and states,
"so, you give in so easily do you?  you know amy,
you are just teaching them to cry to get what they want.
they are learning from this.  they will begin to manipulate you.
you need to put a quick stop to this."

and i,
hating confrontation but needing to speak,
gently whisper,
"i don't believe that.  not for a second.
her cries were not manipulative.  her cries were disappointment.
by doing what she asked i was not teaching her she will get what she wants
when she cries.  i was showing her that i love her.  i was showing her
that i care about her. think about it.
when something matters to us, when we really want or need something,
we cry out to God.  we beg Him.  and when He doesn't give us what we want,
most often we continue to ask.  are you trying to manipulate God?
no!  you are desperate and your emotions are getting the better of you.
and if He finally gives you what you were asking for...
do you think He gives you what you want if you cry enough?  of course not,
you feel like He did something for you BECAUSE HE LOVES YOU.
you are in awe of His care, His devotion, you feel His love.
that's what i am modeling to my children.  i am not teaching them to
cry and be manipulative.  i am teaching them that i hear them,
that i love them."

i sit back and my girl wanders in,
climbs onto my lap, snuggling close.
conversation has ceased, a serious, almost holy air
has filled the room.
i look around at familiar faces then down at my girl
who smiles up at me, kisses me and
"i love you mama."

i know baby,
i love you too.


  1. So happy you are back Amy!!! This is breathlessly beautiful. You love well. Thank you for your inspiration and your gentle soul. xxx

  2. Thankful you are back.

    Awesome words :)

  3. Wonderful wisdom. Incredibly true and honest and I so enjoy your blog writing. always.

  4. Yay, you. This is beautiful.

  5. Beautiful. I, too, would do that. I, too, do not believe for an instant that it creates a manipulative child. It creates a child who knows she is loved, who knows she is more important than a conversation that can wait. Yay for you, and happy you are back. :)

  6. Amy,

    Oh yes! This is as good as I remember. I can just feel your love for your child. "...i am teaching them that i hear them,
    that i love them." Yes!

    Amy, you have such a beautiful way of expressing what's in your heart. I am so glad you left the link to this post on my blog today. Thank you!

    Parents say no so many times to their children without even thinking. How their faces light up when we say yes. Yes, they matter. Yes, we love them.

    I really enjoy reading your posts. I will have to subscribe so I can keep up with your blog. Thank you so much for linking to my blog! You have made me smile!

  7. I really needed to read this...