You learn so much from the people who you are drawn towards and how you draw towards you self through your attitudes and actions in life. I try to stay conscious of what I put out there, especially emotionally, because it comes right back to you. I see it most immediately through my kids who repeat my words and actions in ways that either give me a sense of joy and accomplishment and sometimes, disappointingly, a sense of failure.
This week my goal with my kids is not to yell. I don’t hit my kids unless they do something dangerous that would be life threatening like walk into a busy street. I was spanked often, as a child, and yelled at regularly by both teachers and parents as a means of control. I was a sassy kid, but not a troublemaker. Now that my kids are five and half and seven years old, the chickens have come home to roost, as it were, they are quick to scold and yell at each other as well as their peers. Their words come quick and they’re clever and cutting. It hurts to hear it because I know where it comes from – me. Momma teaches this every time I get frustrated and criticize them for being a little late getting ready for school. When they’re fussy at the end of a long school day and want to do something other than getting straight home to do homework and do their chores. I don’t want to build or enforce discipline in their character by “bullying” my kids with a seriously mean tone of voice while I bark out doomsday scenarios like “ What’s wrong with you guys? Who do you think you are? You never listen? Do you even care what I say to you? You’re not helping. You’re going to repeat kinder garden etc…” If you’re a mom you know what this escalates into… You download your frustration, anger and bad mood into the little hearts and minds you’re in charge of, which might quiet the down one of many the mini rebellions moms deal with moment to moment, but does yelling teach them how to deal with their relationships and their lives in a positive, peaceful and productive manner?
My concern is that they don’t. My fear is that when I yell, scold and criticize this how they’ll deal with their peers and ultimately with their mate and then their own children. It’s a big picture I know, but every moment with kids adds up to “the big picture”.
I made a resolution this week to not to try to yell at my kids. I told my girls about it during bath time, which is a part of our day in the house I try to hold scared for fun and relaxation. “Girls. Momma has something to tell you. I don’t like it when I yell at you to get you to do stuff, because I’m teaching you to yell to make yourself understood.” Leila, my oldest looked at me and said “Momma, did your mom yell?” “Never” I answered. That’s true believe it or not, my mother had a quiet power in her words and actions that I try to summon from my memories of her and implement in my daily life. “Then who taught you to yell Momma?” The girls were both looking at me now, their hair slick with conditioner and their eyes glistening with the desire to hear the story unfold of how our lives take shape. “My dad yelled.” I said. “Then I shouldn’t marry someone who yells at me. Right Momma?” I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry, when my seven year old cut to the chase in this short lesson on life navigation. “We don’t yell because you can hear me when I talk. Right Momma?” Molly said from her five year old lexicon of logic.
The real challenge is to catch myself as I get t