Yesterday evening was one of those days. I was just irritated with all of my children for their behavior. Their lack of respect for me. The fact that they took over an hour and a half to clean the living room, which isn’t that big to begin with. The fact that they whined about everything they were told to do.
They were able to play all day & do what they wanted. At 5pm yesterday is when I told them it was time to clean up the living room & kitchen area. All messes they made. I don’t know why they choose not to listen & clean up after themselves. I don’t know why I have to repeat myself several times a day, everyday. Aren’t they tired of hearing me yell!? Aren’t they tired of spending their free time cleaning up!? Aren’t they going to learn that if they pick up as they go then they won’t have to spend their free time cleaning!? Don’t they get it!?
Wait! Don’t I get it?! Don’t I get that my approach hasn’t been working?! Don’t I get that by me yelling isn’t accomplishing anything productive!? Don’t I get that maybe I should try something different with them?! Don’t I get that my way of doing things isn’t their way of doing things!? They are 4 (Kiddo #5 isn’t really old enough right now, though I am trying with her) different people who think, act, process, and do things 4 different ways.
This isn’t some ‘ah ha’ moment that I had for the first time yesterday. It’s something that I have known for awhile but haven’t learned to change my behavior in these moments. I can think clearly afterwards but I cannot go back and change the damage that I have already caused. I need to learn how to fix my approach and attitude before I can even begin to think that my children will change theirs. It starts with me. I am the example for these 5 children. If I react with rage, anger, hurtful words, & chaos…why in the world would I think that they would react any differently than me!?
If I want them to act differently towards me than I need to be the one to show them how to treat me. This concept isn’t new and is clearly stated in the Bible: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets”, Matthew 7:12 NIV.
So if it spells it out clearly how I should treat others, why do I think that my way would work better than the Bible!? I am crazy to even think that would work! I need to get my head on straight and start living what I believe.
I haven’t stopped thinking about this since I kept replaying the evening in my head. It had been bothering me. It has been sitting heavy on my heart. Usually when this happens, I think about it, say I am going to change, and then fall back into the same trap. This time feels differently within me. I am ready to change my ways in order to show my children how to treat people. Just because I (or any of them) get upset with someone, doesn’t mean that my actions/words are justified. I need to remain calm & think before I speak and act. Mmmmm, sounds like something that I tell my children. Maybe I should start practicing what I am preaching!?
Today is a new day.
Today I start over.
Today I have already messed up.
I can still start over and not have to wait for a new day.
I can start over in a new hour, 1/2 hour, & minute.
I need to take things slowly.
I need to think before I speak. If that means that I listen to what my children have to tell me and then tell them that I need to think about it before I deal with the situation, then that’s what I need to do. I need to be more aware of what I am projecting. I need to be intentional about my actions and words. I am the example. If I want our family to live & be different than the world, then it starts with me. I cannot expect my wants for my family to happen if I cannot show, not just tell, them how to act & speak.
It starts with me.
It starts today.