I remember a commercial from years ago. Two little kids are seen bring a breakfast tray full of goodies for their mom to have breakfast in bed. She just loves the fact that the children thought of her. The kitchen, of course, looks like a bomb hit it. But the sincere generosity of her kids trumps the mess she knows she is about to clean.
Everything in this battle is about choices and balance. Which means at any given time we have decisions to make. When it comes to our kids, if you get any measure of success, you truly need to encourage it as much as possible if you ‘want’ to see more.
Imagine the delight when we knew that Kaitlyn was carrying around ‘back-ups’ on her own. Years ago, of course, but I remember seeing items in her school bag that we did not put there. She was making correct choices.
We, sometimes, forget how very observant our kids can be. They watch everything and notice everything. They will, at some point, start to put things together in their minds and may not get it exactly right in the beginning. I sometimes think that we are faster to correct what they are doing wrong than to encourage what they get right….and we need to be better at the encouragement.
Kids do not think like we do; and we should not expect them to. If our children decide that they should carry around something in case they go low, they may not actually think to go and get when they need it. They may be in the car and say, “Mom, I feel low”, before they even realize that they have already prepared for the situation. They may not put those two pieces of the puzzle together in their young minds just yet. So do you get on them for not thinking of that, or do you congratulate them for remembering to bring it.
These ‘teachable moments’ happen all the time but we miss them because we are too fast to see what is ‘not’ being done instead of what ‘is’ being done. Keep an eye out for them and ‘connect those dots’.
“……..you feel low honey, what did you do today before we left to help with that?” Can work so much better than, “…..why are you asking me, I don’t understand that you just don’t think. You need to grow up a little bit. Look in your bag. YOU put them there.”
Now those two sentences may not seem ALL THAT much different. But your kids will pick up on your tone and EVERY one of your words; encourage them at each turn you can; it will pay off in the long run. The kitchen can always be cleaned up, and the lessons can be incredibly valuable if you choose the correct path; which in the long run will pay off so much higher than a temporary means of blowing off steam.
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