Why are sincere compliments so hard for people to give?
Recently at a grocery store, the cashier was admiring my children. She gushed about their consideration of one another and their helpful spirit. She polished all her kind words off by saying, “they grow out of it!” Referring, of course, to their loving hearts and particularly their desire to help me, as being a “phase.”
Not at my house.
After 11 years of rejecting comments like that, I’ve gotten pretty good at simply smiling and saying (as sweetly as I can bring myself to…) “Not At My House.” She gave me a confused look. Then she realized I was rejecting what she was proclaiming over my children, and back peddled a bit.
I know what you meant.
She explained that she just meant they offered attitude as they got older and stopped getting along. I told her I knew what she meant. I told her that our family doesn’t operate that way. As a member of our family, we honor each other.
EVERYTHING IS… awful?
When I was pregnant with my first baby, I was told how awful labor would be. Breastfeeding would be difficult. I’d get hemorrhoids. I’d have stretch marks. My teeth would decay.
When the kids were two, I’d hear about “the terrible two’s.” At three, the girls got sassy. Preteens are impossible. Sibling rivalry was inevitable. Blah, blah, blah.
Ya… I don’t think so.
I refused to allowed these ramblings to discourage me. However, I was disheartened that so many people thought the difficulties they spoke of had to be a normal part of their lives. (None of the bad stuff happened in any of my pregnancies by the way, although I take no credit for that, praise God for mercy and good genes!)
Kids need training, yes. Sin nature is real. That’s sort of obvious, right? Sass, selfishness, attitude, laziness, self-centeredness, they don’t HAVE to reside in your home! They don’t! You don’t have to accept these things as the way of life.
What’s it worth?
I don’t get manicures. I shop for myself maybe once a year. Color my own hair (whoops, I think I just broke a mommy code with that one.) Our cars are paid for and old. I’ve not seen every episode of Grey’s Anatomy or a single one of Bachelor. Gasp!
One Saturday morning, while working on our little farm, I had to stop what I was doing to get to a hair cut appointment. I was in a rotten mood the rest of the day.
I read parenting books. When-your-kid-does-this-you-should-do-this-to-get-this-result, kind of books. I sit my kids in a circle and role play the right way to resolve conflict. We meet once a week, every week to have a family meeting.😉 I don’t withhold correction (ya, you know what that means.) I show love for my husband in as many ways as I can think up (uh-oh, bet you know what that means too.)
In other words, I’m kinda serious about this whole mommy/wife/family thing. These are the choices we make to keep family our focus. Invest in family.
No two families are alike.
Some moms work. Husbands travel (like mine.) Homes are split. Some have 1 kid, some 8. No matter your lot in life, here are two universal truths:
If you focus on doing something well, you’re going to get a better result than if you don’t.
Being happy for other people is a good thing!
Train today, for results tomorrow… or the next day… or maybe next year?
Some people (children) are given a sweet-nature by God. Others need shaping. Still some, lots of shaping!
Small investments, big returns.
Don’t want to read a bunch of parenting books? I get it, they’re pretty slow. That’s what the weirdos like me, who get all geeked up about about training strategies and methods, are for. Find a source you trust, ask for tips, or a recommendation for a SINGLE book that will help you deal with a particular problem.
It’s not rocket science.
There is no luck in good behavior. It’s taught. It doesn’t happen over night.
I set out to intentionally train my kids great habits from the very beginning (well, maybe not the very beginning, those first few months were ROUGH😱,) and they still need training, every. single. day.
Sure enough, as soon as I write this, one of them is going to make me look like a total fraud; hide and watch. Even so, I won’t relent. Consistent good input = good output.
This is not just a Toby Mac song. It should be practiced.
When talking to an expectant mommy, tell her she looks beautiful. That you’ll pray for a smooth pregnancy. That babies are wonderful.
If you see an exasperated mommy out and about, find something kind to say about her or her child.
To the mom who is letting her kid scream bloody murder in the middle of JC Penney because he can’t have his way (yes that’s an example from my own life,) offer a “good job, keep on keepin’ on” smile and a wink… just be positive for goodness sake.
And by all means, when you see a family that has it together, give those parents a pat on the back.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build up one another…”