I often get flabbergasted by things my children do:
They leave their shoes around the house.
They get frustrated with each other which leads to some not-so-nice confrontations. (It seems that this usually happens in the back yard where I’m sure all the neighbors within a mile radius are shaking their heads thinking to themselves, “why can’t that crazy family control those kids?!”)
They get distracted from the tasks they’re supposed to be doing.
They act as if I’m invisible…my words or instructions get lost on the way to their ears.
They are sometimes not as compassionate to others as I wish they would be.
When I notice these things that bother me I immediately try to come up with a plan of action:
“There will be a charge for all shoes left out!” I exclaim in a huff when I trip over their shoes. I rent the movie “A Little Princess” deep down hoping that psychologically if they watch it their hearts will start to spill over with empathy for others. I sit them on our bottom step and tell them they must stay there until they can speak respectfully to each other. Or I tell them to “start over” with the proper respect we expect in our family.
And then, without fail, it seems I’ll notice things:
My shoes will be in the middle of the kitchen floor.
I’ll get frustrated and speak in an irritated tone to them.
I’ll get distracted doing four different things at the same time.
Claire will take my face in her hands, look me right in the eye and say, “you’re not using your listening ears.” (ok, that only happened once, but I thought it was cute and a good reminder I may not listen any better than they do).
“Shake it off!” I’ll tell them when they come to me with their knee bleeding. Where’s the compassion there?
Hmmmmm….it seems I’m the one who may need to sit on that bottom step or make some time to watch “A Little Princess.”
It’s amazing the power of example a mother possesses over her children, for good or for bad. Sometimes it almost scares me a little!