Covid-19 · Fostering · Parenting

Selfish

The only time you will be bothered by someone being selfish

is when you are being selfish yourself

source unknown

I heard a speaker say this once.

It rocked my world

As I thought it through I realized that in my life it was true! The only time I am really annoyed with someone else being selfish is when I had my own plan and their choices have interfered with it.

Selfishness doesn’t always look mean or self serving, it’s just someone choosing to do what works best for them. They don’t intentionally try to thwart you, after all how could they know you had plans that would intersect with theirs, they are just doing what they want.

This is annoying if you were about to jump in the shower and someone else suddenly does. You wonder why they didn’t check if someone else was about to shower, but then realize you didn’t check either. Or you head to grab the last Coke out of the fridge only to see someone else cracking it as they walk away… How could they take the last one, didn’t they know I was saving it for me…

I could go on giving you real life examples from my world but I hope you see what I’m getting at. When we are focused on what we want without consideration of others we are headed for problems. Either you are the selfish one that everyone is annoyed with, or you’re annoyed at everyone else’s selfishness… or both!!

Being a parent is a great way to highlight how many selfish tendencies you have. Children have this way of making sure the world revolves around them. Being a foster parent highlights it in new ways.

We have a rhythm of life that we have established over the last 31 years of marriage. It works for us. Our bio children grew up in the midst of it and we all adapted those rhythms together. They learned to enjoy what we loved and we accommodated their varied interests as we did things together. It wasn’t always a smashing success… I have a few family photos from vacations that have grumpy, unimpressed teenagers in them! But for the most part we all enjoyed the life we lived together and my bio kids have lots of great memories of the adventures we had.

Incorporating foster kids into these rhythms has been challenging. They weren’t raised in our rhythms! These rhythms are foreign to them and their ability to adapt is stifled by a fear of change and a need for consistency. As we learn more about the effects of trauma and how it has shaped them we are learning just how unselfish we have to be.

Trying to enjoy family vacation has been a challenge. My desire to relax and enjoy the moment, explore the landscape and the cuisine, see enjoyment in others… all these are elements of family vacation to me. I, selfishly, want my one week off to be a break that I enjoy with my family. My foster kids are resistant to a change in routine and spent the week, grumbling, whining and picking on each other. It is exhausting.

I think they enjoy the things we do. I think they like the idea of family vacation. They just don’t realize that they are sucking the joy out of it for me when they express more negatives than positives. It is hard work to introduce these two to the things we enjoy on vacation. It is hard work for them to explore and be open to new experiences. We both, selfishly, want what is easy for us as individuals.

This means there is work for both of us to do so we can relax and enjoy vacation!! Hmmm.

In the midst of the mess

Marny

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