I was talking with someone the other day after our church service. Just one of those casual conversations that we have. Sharing our thoughts and experiences. Things that our kids have done. My one year old daughter calling a friend unbeknownst to me. But anyway I digress.
We were talking about my oldest son who is a bit of a perfectionist. He struggles a lot to keep it together and as time has gone by we have noticed that he does a lot of negative self talk. As I was talking with this friend it was brought to my attention how much my oldest son really just shines when he is receiving praise. Which made me pause and wonder if I need to do more of that myself. Praising him I mean.
My oldest son and I are very different. And I guess because of that it requires a lot more intentional working to build our relationship up. I got to wondering honestly if I am finding or striving enough to make opportunities to strengthen our relationship.
I am the first to admit that I can be pretty hard on my kids. I know what they’re capable of and I want so much for them. Don’t we all want the best for our kids? And don’t we all see so much potential within them? It’s hard to find a balance between letting kids be kids and training them up in the way they are to go sometimes.
And then I got to thinking about how the joy of the Lord is our strength. We can find peace when we spend time praising and worshipping Him. Wonder I can see the joy of the Lord in their momma’s life. How often do I have a bad day and respond to my children or react to them angrily or being annoyed or frustrated with them?
I think of how they see me and I think of how I want them to see me. And the vet said I need to plan to show more joy and more love to my children. How can I begin to show them the love and the grace but the Lord shows me every day.
I can smile more. I admit I don’t do this often. I have been told I make a great example of what it means to be stoic. Honestly it’s not that I’m not happy but I am just someone who usually has a plan. I know what I want to get done each day. So I stay busy about my tasks. I get very focused and I tend to think a lot. But perhaps I read somewhere it is good to work on smiling that our child before we respond to them. Of course this may not always be a good thing to do but when possible begin each interaction with a smile. And perhaps after those difficult times ended with a hug and a smile.
Being called is another thing I really need the practice. I am easily excited. I also admit that after the 3rd or 4th time of asking my kids to stop doing something or to not do something I tend to become a bit shrill. Maybe.
Perhaps I need to take some deep breathing exercises. Even if it’s only for a moment. Step back and breathe deeply before I say or do anything. My son’s coach in Bible quizzing always tells him to count the bananas. One banana two banana three banana buzz.
That sounds like good advice for a really frazzled and tired mama.
What about our tone of voice and our body language? My husband and I both come from families where everyone yells. It’s just how they talk. There is no inside or outside voice. Everything is screamed and shouted. Makes it really challenging for us to not do the same. Add to that four kids in our little house and sometimes we tend to just find that yelling gets us heard.
But what is that showing our children? I read not long ago that if I ask my child to do something I need to teach them to do it right away. In the same way we need to train our children to hear us before we are screaming and shouting. How can we teach them to listen?
What started out as a simple conversation that day after church has turned into a conversation that has really made me look more closely at how we interact with our children. I Ponder my actions in my reactions and I realized that there is much room for improvement unfortunately.
And so I have this planned. To practice being still a bit more. To manage my body language and my tone of voice. Just keep calm and smile more even if I don’t feel like it.
I need to remember daily that my children are not dirty but blessings. Those days when I longed to spend hours at the art museum or visit the Opera I have to remember that this is not the season for that. Rather I have been blessed with the children I have.
Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren these things cannot be.
How we live and what we say matters. Even those little things we do. Perhaps that moment but I throw something down on the table harder than I meant to. Or that moment of frustration or throw up my hands and say forget it. Every little thing that we say and do matters. What are we doing? Are we pointing them to the Lord?
That said it is my sincere prayer that the Lord would create in me a clean heart and renew a right Spirit Within Me.