I'm a teacher by genetic programming.
I think, analyze and teach.
I especially love to watch myself and others trying to teach a principle to see what we are ACTUALLY teaching.
My favorite teaching moment was watching a teacher of two year olds holding the plug of a tape deck up to her mouth as she explained, with her tongue out- "Do not put this cord in your mouth! No licking the cord! No touching the cord!" Yes- she taught them. Silly kids- they were all quite interested in the cord after that lesson?!!
I have said it before, but I absolutely think the most important thing we can teach our children is- to be kind and respectful. Every day we are teaching our children how to handle conflict in their lives by how we handle conflict in our lives.
In a day and age where people struggle with mental health issues, as much as we struggle with physical health issues, I am so aware of the mental health example I set for the little sponges in my home.
The feeling of my home is more important than the appearance of my home. Although, sometimes I find both aspects to be SO very correlated. When my home is in order, I am also at peace.
Ralph Waldo Emmerson said, "What you do speaks so loudly that I can't hear what you say."
This isn't something to beat ourselves up about. Most normal human mothers have all heard themselves yelling "Will you just TALK NICELY!!" Or we have felt the urge to bite or hit a child that is biting or hitting us. Acting like a 3 year old at times should only give us some empathy for them as they try to figure out their little bodies and big emotions.
Last night I was making dinner and I whipped up a double batch of oatmeal raisin cookies, I wanted to freeze half. (I leave out all the white sugar and add chia seeds.) I had to run to pick Jakob up from soccer and when I got home my big kids were in the bathroom eating the dough.
This was a great teaching opportunity.
I got SO upset that I'm certain I was teaching something- I'm just not certain I taught the lesson I felt they needed to learn.
I yelled. I cussed. (Something about the nerve they had to hide and eat my damn dough.) sigh. I was so mad and I didn't even want to chill out and make things right. I kind of sat there in my anger justifying my immature behavior.
Perhaps my children felt remorse.
They certainly didn't show remorse.
Perhaps they realized how wrong they were for sneaking cookies.
They already knew it was wrong-- that's why they hid.
Ultimately, I think they just learned that if someone does something you don't like, you are justified in throwing a temper tantrum. Nice.
I hope they learned from my example how NOT to teach.
When Todd comes home, we are usually all sitting at the table ready to start dinner. He will smile, kiss me, and say "Thank you honey, this look good. There is such a good feeling in the home."
Yesterday, we were waiting for him at the table. (He texts me as he leaves work and so I know I have 20 minutes to get dinner on the table-- we have to eat fast because we have activities later that the kids need to go to.). Everyone was quiet and I did not tell him anything that had happened moment before he arrived. I was waiting to see if he would say "There is such a good feeling here." So I could roll my eyes.
He did not. He sat down and asked with concern if I was OK. I said I was fine. (Smoke blowing out of my nostrils.) He kept saying "Tell me about your day. How are things going?" He felt the palpable difference in our home. It made me smile even in my contention.
We had stroganoff for dinner. I usually make my own sauce out of cream. I had a jar sauce that I used last night and I was waiting for the kids to complain so I could compliment myself on my usually good cooking skills. I laughed again, to myself, as every kid raved about dinner. They didn't even complain about the veggie and beans I snuck into the sauce. My favorite. Moment was-- "Yeah Mom, I thought this would be gross. But, it was surprisingly good."
Nice. I did NOT tell them I had used Alfredo sauce from a jar.
On the way to church last night Todd told one of our daughters "Someday you will have children and you will appreciate all your mother does for you."
She replied, "Yeah, and then I guess I will cuss at my kids like Mom cusses at us."
Yes- that's exactly what I thought she was learning.
Today I am resolved to do better.
I will apologize for my cookie tantrum and try again to teach my children two lessons--
1- Thou shalt not steal cookie dough
2- Thou shalt love in word and deed
If we can't teach with love and kindness we are still teaching- just not teaching the lesson we want to be teaching.
I have learned--
If I can't teach kindness AND responsibility, I pick kindness.
They can learn responsibility another day.
I have learned that in most instances.
But don't you DARE eat my cookie dough.
The best part of parenting is that there is always tomorrow to try again.
And, luckily I have a (small) plate full of cookies to drown my sorrows in.