Monday, November 14, 2011


image via pinterest

Today was a bit of a much needed wake-up call, and I need to write it down to hopefully avoid repeating this one {again}.

My patience has been thin lately when it comes to the kids accomplishing tasks set before them.  I'm sure de-Man's extra early wake-up call this morning didn't help matters, not to mention hormones, but I'm taking responsibility for my actions regardless of hormones and sleep-deprivation.  By the time we all piled in the car to take Miss A to school I was not exactly chipper and started into a discourse on how much I need their help and need them to meet the expectations I have for them.  I'm pretty sure de-Man was upset because he refused to put on his seat belt, a task he knows how to do but frequently prefers not to.  Finally he interrupted me and burst out, "But Mom, I'm trying my best," and exploded into tears.  His words hit me.  Although I wasn't sure that it was his best, after all I've seen him fasten his seat belt a hundred times, he said that it was.  I realized that maybe for today, it really was his best.  Maybe his early wake up wasn't giving him the energy he needed.  The fact that he felt it was his best and that I wasn't accepting that was hurtful to him.

Instead of clueing in at the beginning of the day, parts of this lesson came again tonight.  The witching hour (aka 5:00) was particularly bad today as I worked on dinner and tried to prod the kids to help get their toys/papers/art supplies/belongings picked up.  I remembered the instructions the husband gave them last night about expectations when he returned home today, and I wanted them to meet them.  Feet were dragging and gentle prodding turned to harsh demands and suddenly everyone was in tears.  I tried to gather them and discuss gratitude and the principles of how taking care of what we have shows our gratitude.  I think my earlier harshness caused it to fall on ears that weren't very willing to listen.

By the time we had Family Home Evening, I knew I had some apologizing to do.  I read a story about using kind words and then asked for forgiveness for the unkind words that have surfaced so readily lately.  I am blessed to have a patient and forgiving family.  We all admitted a need to try harder to speak kindly (myself being the one primarily at fault, no doubt), and we even came up with a code word to remind each other if we forget.

Sometimes I forget that one of the blessings of motherhood is to learn from my children.  I get so wrapped up in being the mom and being in charge that I neglect the valuable lessons my kids share with me daily if I open my eyes to see them.  Today they have taught me important lessons.

Yesterday I became aware of the sorrow felt by a sweet girl in primary.  With all of her youthful enthusiasm she was so excited for her dad to see her participation in the primary program.  It wasn't long before her enthusiasm turned to disappointment.  She turned to the leader next to her and lamented, "He didn't even see me do my part.  He slept through the whole thing."  The leader tried to soften the blow, telling the girl that maybe his eyes were just closed.  But children are perceptive.  She knew he was asleep and insisted upon the fact of the matter.  My heart broke for her and the lack of validation she received from someone so important to her.

Thoughts of her, and of my own children, have weighed heavily on me tonight.  I feel so blessed to have my own children, and indirectly many others currently entrusted in my care.  I've been freshly reminded that encouraging words, validation, praise, kindness, and gentleness can make all the difference.  It brought to mind one of my favorite quotes shared a few years ago by Jeffrey R. Holland:

We must be so careful in speaking to a child. What we say or don’t say, how we say it and when is so very, very important in shaping a child’s view of himself or herself. But it is even more important in shaping that child’s faith in us and their faith in God. Be constructive in your comments to a child—always. Never tell them, even in whimsy, that they are fat or dumb or lazy or homely. You would never do that maliciously, but they remember and may struggle for years trying to forget—and to forgive. And try not to compare your children, even if you think you are skillful at it. You may say most positively that “Susan is pretty and Sandra is bright,” but all Susan will remember is that she isn’t bright and Sandra that she isn’t pretty. Praise each child individually for what that child is, and help him or her escape our culture’s obsession with comparing, competing, and never feeling we are “enough.”

What wise words- I especially love the thoughts on comparing, something I've shared a lot recently with my kids.  I also love the reminder on the image above.  There is no time to leave important words unsaid.  Tonight I said two of those most important words, I'm sorry.  I followed them up with three more, I love you.  And I hope that I can maintain an awareness of how I speak to those around me, leaving them feeling uplifted and encouraged and happy and loved after every interaction.  There is always much to improve on.  


Jan said...

Beautiful thoughts and beautifully put. Thank you for saying the things that I think are so important. Children are so tender and then feel and know things that we truly have no idea about - -you are a wonderful mama and your children will remember your "I'm sorry" to them. It matters.


emily said...

I love this. I feel like I need to be doIng some "I'm sorry"ing around my neck of the woods.

I have never stopped to think that what I consider their best and what they consider the best are not always the same thing.

Thank you for the lightbulb.

Hannah said...

Yesterday, Emma had a very whiny day after school. She struck a nerve with me and I was completely impatient. Later, we found out that she had been left out at school and spent both recesses alone. When I found out, I thought back to this post. Emma was doing the best she could. I loved this post. You are an inspiration.