This past Sunday, the boys and I stayed home from church due to lingering fevers and coughs. What was meant to be a restful morning turned into a morning full of bickering and frustration...from all of us.
I said to the boys, when we finally sat down for a family meeting: "It's for your good that I train you to finish cleaning the kitchen. It's for your good that I ask that you pick up your shoes left throughout the house. It's for your good that I request that you make peace and cease fighting. However it is selfish, and not motivated by your good, when those words are dealt with an attitude of annoyance and disdain."
If I'm motivated by comfort, I will yell and make myself heard. If I'm motivated by the gospel-ward training of my children's hearts...I will remember today's post...
The following post was first published in June 2012. We have one more boy in the mix now, but the context is still the same. I'm reposting this today...for your encouragement and mine...
You know how it is when you are trying to get out the door with the kids. "Where's your other flip flop?"
"I need someone to put away the dogs!"
"What's this mess on the table? Get this cleaned up, quick!"
"Can someone PLEASE pick up the toys on the stairs before we leave?!"
"Why can't I count on you guys to get your jobs done!?!"
These and other orders are often barked out to the boys as I frantically run around the house to collect stuff, more stuff...and oh, the kids, as we head out the door. The littles horse around and end up in an argument over who hit who. I get frustrated, and raise my voice even louder in hopes of getting full compliance.
We finally all make it to the car (1, 2, 3, 4...and 5. Good, got 'em all!) and I'm deflated and discouraged as a mom; the kids are annoyed and uninspired. I keep the car in "park" and turn around to say, "I'm sorry, boys."
Clarity so often comes after the fact. This is what I come back to again and again:
- If I'm stressed and raise my voice, my kids only hear my tone, not my words.
- Explicit instructions = action; Random barking = guilty confusion
- You may think you're saving time by running around while yelling; but, calling the kids together for a team huddle usually proves much.more.efficient.
- Obedience motivated by joy > obedience motivated by fear.
That is all. Lesson learned. And now, I pass it on to you:
Stop, Drop, and...
Look your kids in the eye and lower your voice.
Praise God, He's not through with us yet, friends!
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