I had one of those moments today. A moment of complete clarity. OK, well, maybe not complete clarity, but it resounded with me.
Nick was pushing a book off the table so he could do a puzzle on the table. I calmly told him we treat books with respect as I watched him push the book onto the floor. Normally, I may have raised my voice, gritted my teeth and demanded that he pick it up and sit in a time out.
You do what I say or else, because I am teaching you how to be respectful, responsible and follow directions.
But I’m not really teaching them any of those things when I raise my voice, grit my teeth and make demands. I’m teaching them to raise their voices, grit their teeth and make demands.
So while it crushed my soul a tad to watch a book, especially a book, being pushed off the table, it helped change my outlook when I listened to him correct himself, pick the book up and place it in a safe spot.
I didn’t demand it. I taught him respectfully. And even if he hadn’t picked it up this time, he heard the words. He didn’t hear me yell. He didn’t see a finger point him to timeout.
My children, they are a work in progress. But then again, so am I.