Relax and enjoy

{This letter is really a talk given by my great-grandmother about motherhood}

When Dean asked me if I would give a short talk on harmony and beauty in the home, it really startled me. I remember I said, “Harmony! Dean, didn’t you know my husband? Because we had companionship, spirituality, love, beauty, excitement and loads of fun but I think harmony would have been the last adjective anyone would use to describe the Brockbank home.” So he thought I could perhaps give the young mothers some advice, and that I’ll try and do, because there isn’t any experience you will be likely to have that I haven’t had.

First, relax and enjoy your children. 99% of them turn out all right anyway. Just let your memory go back to all the obnoxious little boys and girls you used to know and think of them now. They’re not delinquents. They’re married now and going to work each morning, coming home at night to work in the yard, play with their children, go out with friends. They don’t get their names in the papers as the 1% who are delinquents do, but they are the salt of the earth and yours will be among them, so love them and stop worrying.

Especially ease up on the oldest one. My, we expect a lot of the first one. We set out to show the world what we can do, and it is a wonder they survive at all with our constant, erratic, unreasonable supervision. It is a good thing that children are resilient and so loyal. They forgive us and love us anyway.

The second thing is don’t hold grudges. Let what happened yesterday go. There’ll be another crisis tomorrow you can put your mind on, so let the old ones pass and don’t be afraid to say you are wrong. It’s no disgrace. It only shows that you are smarter today than you were yesterday, and besides, it disarms your opponent.

Three, try and see the child’s point of view. They have one and it may well be as good as your own.

Four, the really biggest problem, I think, to a mother, young or old, is trying to help her children over the trials and disappointments that come in everyone’s life. It is all right to say trials help us grow, but it is cold comfort to a child who is hurt either in body or spirit. The greatest help and comfort here is prayer. It is surprising how early and completely children will accept the fact that God loves them and can and will help them and how often he does. Once they have this assurance (and God is very cooperative) they will learn to accept what trials they must face with their shoulders square, knowing that things will be all right.

Five, they must be taught to be kind and to share, and there is nothing as good for this nor as easy as a big family. I hate to say that, with all the current talk about the population explosion, but it is true. They discipline each other and they help each other. A family is the best place in the world in which to learn to get along with other people.

Well, there are days you think you can’t live through, and then suddenly it is all over and you are babysitting your grandchildren….Of course, your children know you very well and may not regard you with the respectful awe they might if you were not their mother.

Elsie Booth Brockbank (1894-1978) was the mother of nine daughters and 50 grandchildren

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3 responses to “Relax and enjoy

  1. This is wonderful Annie and thanks so much. Just today I was thinking that maybe I am expecting too much of Matthew and just need to ease up a bit. Thanks for the reminder/validation/encouragement!

  2. This is a treasure. Great writing and wisdom must run in your family!

  3. This is wonderful. What a wise woman. I hope that I can remember to ease up on my oldest. Poor guy…has me learning everything on him. I love how she said that prayer is the answer to everything, how easy it is to forget that. Thanks for sharing this.

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