Parenting Lessons From A Groundhog

Seven plus years ago when we moved to this property, a groundhog had already laid claims to the shed out back, or at least to the area ‘under’ the shed.

I didn’t really approve of sharing our property with him but as long as he stayed out back by the shed, it wasn’t too big of a deal.

But then…

He dug a big old hole right by the front porch.

And we had just got done mulching a day or two before that.

I filled it back in.

He gave up.

And then…

He dug two holes, one on each side of the back porch.

I filled them back in.

He dug them again.

I filled them up.

He dug again.

I filled.

He dug.

I gave up.

At least on refilling the hole. I googled instead…

Coffee grounds, they said. Put coffee grounds in the hole and Mr groundhog will be repulsed by the smell and will steer clear.

Not this groundhog.

In fact, I imagine him laughing while enjoying the new aroma wafting through his home.

I unsuccessfully tried a few more google remedies.

Either, google is confused or this groundhog is one of kind.

Finally we compromised, he could stay and he could keep those two holes as long as he didn’t dig more holes.

In reality, I gave up and he won, but I don’t want him to know that.

Since we don’t own a gun and my google remedies all failed, my only hope of getting rid of this thing was that he would eventually die of old age.

So, you can imagine my horror when I realized that this groundhog added 2 babies to our backyard.

I think, my exact words were: ‘That thing was supposed to die, not multiply!’

A couple days later, the kids were standing at the window watching these three groundhogs, (which are actually really cute BTW) when Kenzie declared, ‘ these groundhogs need to die not have babies!’

There was something about hearing my words coming from her mouth…

My opinion didn’t change, I still want less groundhogs, not more! But the way I said it or maybe it was the choice of words…

Either way, I realized, that my kids aren’t learning what I tell them, they are learning what I show them.

I can tell them all day long to pick up their toys ‘with a happy heart,’ or ‘how they should be thankful for their toys and therefore not whine about picking them up.’

But as long as I’m using words such as ‘seriously guys, why did u empty all the toy baskets at once,’ or ‘let’s get this mess cleaned up!’ (Said With a stressed tone.)

Those statements or at least the tone suggests that their toys are a problem. Which leaves them with a small dilemma…

Should they do as I say and see their toys as a blessing? Or should they do as I do and see their toys as a problem?

The truth is, actions trump words, every single time.

I already knew this, but somehow the groundhog statement made me realize just how deeply this actually goes.

I want my kids to know how to pray, like really pray ‘real connected to God prayers,’ I didn’t want it to be just a thing that we do, so I need to do something to really teach them, right?

As I listened to their prayers tho, I realized that they do know how to pray, they pray things over people that I wouldn’t even have thought of praying.

They know how to pray, not because we told them, but because we showed them, because we do it.

Next step: I want them to live a Christian life by being in tune with the Holy Spirit, not by following rules or mans ideas.

Now, I just need to figure out a way to practice this with them.

It’s a good thing, really, because instead of wasting time giving long lectures, I can simply be intentional about what we practice and do on a daily basis, it’s really much easier then giving well formulated and planned out lectures.

On the other hand, it also means, that they are picking up all my bad habits as well, and it doesn’t matter how much I contradict those actions with good words. They will ‘learn’ what I’m doing not what I’m saying.

As for the groundhog, he’s still around, he still has his babies and it seems he invited his friend ‘the snake’ over one day as well.

After living here for almost 8 years, I assumed there’s no snakes here but a couple weeks ago that happy theory came to a sudden end when we found a snake in the yard.

And since Mr groundhog has a really hard time keeping his end of our little deal, I’m assuming he is to blame for the snake’s sudden appearance.

I might just need to let him stick around, though, and see if he knows more things that I should learn.🤷‍♀️

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