Blaine and I enjoy being parents, in theory. However, lately it has not been so joyful. The kids have been acting in ways that make me question our decision not to beat them with sticks. I don't think this would help or change their behavior, but I'm going bald from tearing out my hair in frustration.
So, after church on Sunday, which was somewhat of a breaking point with dealing with their behavior: individually, together, toward each other, toward us and life in general (it's a whole gestalt thing), we announced we would be having a talk.
Blaine and I sequestered ourselves in our room and told the kids we would be out once we had collected ourselves. They knew we were not happy. So, it was a wonderful moment of them looking at us and then at each other and thinking, "oh no." (That only lasted for a second because as soon as we shut our door, they started fighting again).
We made a list of all the things they are doing that, frankly piss us off. It was actually a much longer list than either of us anticipated.
I would never approach kids, or anyone with a list of things I don't like or things not to do. It's counter productive and just begs people, and kids are people, to go on the defense and not be able to hear what you have to say.
Our kids are wicked smart and do not like to be pandered. For example, when Kalyn was 2 1/2 and was not brushing her teeth, I made a sticker chart to mark tooth brushing with promises of rewards at certain intervals. She promptly yanked it from the wall, tore it into pieces, threw it at me and informed me, "I don't need a sticker chart." How dare I have belittled my 2 1/2 year old with something as trivial as a sticker chart? Did I think she was 1 or something?
So, you see what we are working with. It is like survivor around here. It's not just parenting, it's outwitting, outplaying and outlasting the young ones of the tribe.
Forever ago I bought "The Family Virtues Guide" by Linda Kavelin Popov (published by Plume, a division of the Penguin Group, 1997). It's an amazing book. I've used it to teach Sunday School and for parenting a long time ago. There are 52 virtues in the book. Each has a quote from a spiritual text that exemplifies the virtue. Then they discuss why we should practice this virtue, how to practice the virtue, what success will look like, what the need to work on it will look like and it gives great questions to discuss the virtue. Each virtue chapter is ended with an affirmation.
Blaine and I decided to pick 4 virtues and stress those for the next month. We will use the language of the virtues for correcting and directing kids with what to do. The first 2 days have worked well and if nothing else have given a more positive spin to things.
I read our church newsletter yesterday. It was interesting because the letter from our pastor was about just thins kind of thing. Thinking about our actions in terms of virtues. So, I feel we are on a good track. If nothing else, the beating with sticks will continue to not be an option.
Below I will list the virtues we chose, the spiritual quote that goes with, the rule in our house that specifically is being addressed, and the affirmation. Feel free to read on, or if not interested the summary of this blog post is this: I was going to put my children to the streets to fend for themselves and this new approach has given them a stay, not a full pardon, but a stay.
"He who finds the right path does so for himself; and he who goes astray does so to his own loss; and no one who carries a burden bars another's load." - Al-Qur'an 17:15
- Keep all of your things in their proper place
I am responsible. I give me best to all that I do and keep my agreements. I welcome both praise and correction for my actions.
"In every aspect of life, purity and holiness, cleanliness and refinement, exalt the human condition and further the development of man's inner reality. Even in the physical realm, cleanliness will conduce to spirituality." - Selected Writings of Abdu'l-Baha
- Eat all snacks in the kitchen and clean up your mess
I keep myself fresh and clean. I put my things and my life in order. With God's help I am able and willing to clean up any mistakes.
"A man is not an elder because his head is gray...he in whom truth, virtue, gentleness, self-control, moderation, he who is stedfast and free from impurity, is rightly called and elder...is called respectable." -Dhammapada 260-263
- Listen to your parents. Stop talking when asked to do so.
I am respectful. I treat others and myself as we deserve to be treated. I show courtesy to everyone. I learn from the wisdom of my elders.
"Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins? Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God. Even the hairs on your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows." -Luke 12:6-7
-Ask others for help and respect in an assertive way.
I am assertive. I think for myself and do what I feel is right. I tell the truth about what is just. I know I have the right to be treated with respect.
This blog is a stream of conciousness from my head to the keyboard to the screen. There will be talk of random subjects. If you have delicate eyes, proceed with caution. I like to talk about controversial subjects and sex a lot. So, take heed my friends. This is not a blog for debate, but for love and sharing. If your views do not match my own, love to you, but don't bring the rest of us down. That's all I'm saying.