Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Serious Talk

I hear my own words repeated by my kids every once in awhile and most of the time it isn't flattering. I hear them say things like,"If you do that one more time I will lose it!" or "That didn't hurt that bad. Shake it off," and it makes me cringe. It's almost as if they record the moments where I'm at my worst but completely forget the times I'm using all the lines I've read from Bible verses, parenting books and seminars. But yesterday, I heard my words come out of my son's mouth and felt truly proud.

"Rosie was just so mean to me!" my oldest said as he tore around the corner into my bathroom. (All hell breaks loose whenever I try to put on a little mascara in peace.)
"Oh yeah? You okay?" I asked distractedly, wanting to stay out of their little dispute.
"She wanted to let the dog upstairs so she opened the gate and I said 'no' and I closed it and she screamed and she got so mad that she pinched me and she pushed me out of the way!" He stood back, wide eyed, waiting for me to rally by his side and put his sister in her place.
"Wow - Sounds like neither of you were being respectful to each other." His little shoulders deflated. He had been so sure that he was completely right. "Ro," I continued, "No pinching or pushing. Ever. Got it?"
"Yeah, I got it," she said as she completed her lopsided somersault. She was obviously very remorseful.
"Luke, if you'd like to keep the dog downstairs, what could you do? Other than fighting over the gate? Any ideas?
"I could get him and bring him down...But she shouldn't let him up there! He gets my Legos!"
"True. But who can you control?"
"Just me," he said in a low voice.
"Right." I got up to hug him and start our school day when I heard my middle child speaking in a firm and low tone.

"Rosie, we need to have a serious talk."
"Okay, Do Do!" This is her nickname for Drew and it still makes me smile. I hid around the corner to listen.
"I know Luke was mean about the gate but you can't pinch him, okay? When you are mad you have to take a deep breath. You can't hurt him. It's not nice. Got it?"
"I got it, Do Do!"
"Okay. I love you, Ro Ro."
"Love you too!"
They hugged and my baby girl ran to her big brother and sincerely apologized. "I'm so sorry for pinching, Luke. So so sorry," she said as she reached out for his hand.
"That's okay, Rosie. I'm sorry for closing the gate."
"Awww, that's nice. I accept your apology."
And finally, they were ready to move on with forgiveness in their hearts.

My Drew did what I couldn't do. He helped her understand that kindness was expected. He showed her that she had to take responsibility even though she felt justified. I was amazed.

I share this in the hope that you remember that your kids truly are absorbing all the good things you are working so hard to teach them. It may not always seem like it, but they are. They watch how we handle disputes between siblings, how we work things out with our spouses, how we work through the stresses of daily living. They are taking notes and practicing along the way. Drew said to me yesterday during a crying jag, "I'm not a grown up. I don't know how to handle all my emotions." I told him that I struggle with the same thing sometimes, even as a grown up. That's why we have each other. That's why we have God to guide us. So let's hope and pray that, as grown ups, we can be good examples. Let's pray that we can be a resource for our kids when things get tough and that we are daily examples of God's love and forgiveness.

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