It's been busy in my neck of the woods. We've had family in town, and my mother is coming today. Sorry for not getting a Messy Monday post up yesterday. Today's post is not strictly about housekeeping per se, but about homemaking in general. It all starts in the attitude department.
We are homeschooling our oldest son in kindergarten this year. One of the joys of homeschooling is extra time during the day--time that would otherwise be spent in public or private school--to build close family relationships. One of the disadvantages of homeschooling is extra time to work on family relationships. Kidding aside, we all have varying tolerance levels for certain behaviors and attitudes, and the tolerance levels can vary from day to day and minute to minute.
While we chose our husband, most of us did not choose our children. Each child comes with his or her own unique personality, strengths and weaknesses. It is our job as parents to train and mold those little people into healthy and helpful adults. We teach them how to capitalize on their strengths and use them for good, and how to govern their weaknesses (like short-tempers, demanding things in a rude tone of voice, talking disrespectfully, hitting siblings when angry.) so they don't grow into disgraceful people. Some days we as moms have more patience and tolerance for the training, and some days we just don't.
Last week, I was having one such low-tolerance day. My son was not having a great attitude toward his school work (which, admittedly, is quite easy at the kindergarten level). So, fully aware that threatening is not a good parenting technique but quite flustered, I said to him, "Do I need to send you to real school so you can get an attitude adjustment and realize how good you have it to get to stay at home and learn?"
His response cracked me up. We live right next to a high school, so we witness students littering and coming off campus to smoke. My son thinks behaviors are deplorable.
Armed with this knowledge, he said, "Well, if you send me to real school, I'll...(pause) litter. (Longer pause) And [said with emphasis] smoke. And I'll never stop."
Hilarious! A five year old smoking. Can you just see the humor in it? I could. :)
Since that bad day last week, I have been reflecting quite a bit on how I can more effectively cope with all the behaviors and attitudes that drive me over the edge. I wish I could always respond calmly with a spirit of patient instruction, but I don't. I'm a mom in need of mercy, not a perfect mom. I'm so thankful that God is faithful to supply the grace and help we need in our mothering journeys.
One specific tip that has helped me is this: if we can't learn how to govern our own behavior, how can we expect our children to learn to govern theirs? So my challenge to myself (and to you) is--let's work on more effectively governing our own attitudes and actions, and then we can more calmly pass that training on.
I'll be blogging about this more in the coming days.
In the meantime, I'd love to hear how you deal with bad interpersonal days. What tips have you found to keep a positive family atmosphere?