13 October, 2014

Challenging parenting

Today I've put up some wonderful photos on Facebook that we've taken in the last few days. But I don't want anyone who reads this blog to be deceived. It's not been "all good fun". 
It was a magnificent day to go to the park. 

Yesterday we worked hard: two church services with an hour or more of talking to people after each one plus about half an hour of set-up time beforehand plus four times 20-minute commutes. The hardest thing, though, was children who didn't join us willingly, but resisted and complained and needed to be dragged out to get to these events in a timely fashion.

I know by writing these things here, I open myself up to criticism by others. Last time I wrote about how difficult my boys are finding all the socialising and being with lots of different people at weekends and some nights, I had people remind me that that is what children of pastors and church planters have to put up with. There was also someone who criticised my kids, saying they needed to grow up.
I think this is the Tall Kangaroo Paw that I
mentioned yesterday.

This manicured lawn is incredible. And it goes on and on
and on. Japan simply doesn't have lawn like this.
Indeed, we weren't happy with the situation. In fact I got quite angry with them. They aren't perfect and neither are we. And no criticism from others is going to change that. Telling my boys to "grow up" or "you're lucky we're not in church ministry all the time" isn't going to help either. Not that I haven't tried these. Please hear me: we're trying to do our best at parenting in a challenging situation, with challenging boys here.

Thankfully today we could take a break from fitting into other people's schedules. We indulged in some tourism Marshall-style. We roamed around one of the most beautiful parks I've ever had the privilege of visiting. King's Park in Perth is amazing. Even more so when you've lived in Asia for a while. The large swaths of beautifully manicured green lawns are a sight in themselves. Not to mention the views of the Swan and Canning rivers, and amazing array of fauna.

Looking down at the Swan and Canning Rivers from King's
Park. The blues were amazing.
But please, if you are a praying person, please pray for our family over the coming week. Tonight is the only night we have "at home". The rest of the nights we're in different people's homes, or churches, or just out. If our year in Australia has thus far been lacking a bit of routine, this week it's been thrown out the window. Compliant, helpful boys will go a long way to making it an easier week on all of us. The opposite, of course, will mean this ends up being much harder than it has to be.

We love being here and we chose to do this this way. I could have stayed home with the boys and kept their routine going. But by doing that I would have missed out on the encouragement of meeting with people who pray for us. We would have missed out on seeing a beautiful corner of Australia. So, despite the stress, I'm still glad we all came. I just hope that I don't come to regret the decision by the end of the week.


Joan Justiniano said...

Is it possible for your boys to hang with other kids during your meetings? Some family with kids their ages or a youth group or something? That helped us a lot during busy ministry times.

Georgia said...

So glad you got to roam around in wide open spaces for one day anyway. I know how important physical activity is to your clan. I dare say the children of your unhelpful critics haven't a concept of dealing with the changes you all have managed. Keep your head up, know I'm praying for you all. Love you Marshalls!

Hazel said...

I particularly have to work at loving the people who ask if we are "having a good holiday", while I am wrestling my two boys through yet another church service. Our crowning moment was when the then six year old ran out of the Sunday school shouting "I don't want to read the stupid bible". Luckily that was a church that knows us fairly well. That same kid still loathes and detests the home-leave round of churches and we still haven't figured out a good way of helping him to get through it without world war 3 breaking out at some stage during the tour.

Wendy said...

Joan, I'm planning to write a counter post today about the host family we are staying with, such a blessing! Other than that it is a little challenging when we turn up to churches we know very little about. Thankfully on Sunday one family sought us out and invited us over next Saturday for dinner. But it wasn't much help during the actual day.

Wendy said...

Georgia, we stopped at one point yesterday at an information station where a very friendly older woman took one look at our boys and suggested some energetic options in the botanical gardens. She said, "You've got your hands full with those boys." At the time the three of them were all trying to sit on the same seat at the same time...thankfully in a friendly manner at that point. Getting out yesterday was fabulous!

Wendy said...

I understand Hazel! My boys refuse to go to "strange Sunday Schools". Thankfully they are at an age where they can sit through a church service. I remember when they were very little I used to pray before each meeting for one sympathetic "babysitter" for the time when we were up the front. Perhaps I should be praying for friendly youth now?

Sarah said...

Glad you got to go out and about by yourselves with no schedules or pressure. I don't cope well with lots of people-oriented events either. Praying for you and your boys. x

Wendy said...

Thanks Sarah.