my writings and thots

Positive vrs. Negative

“All the kids who do not come will not be getting any prizes!” Now, why was that sentence bothering me? I was at a birthday party and the MC was desperately trying to rally all the kids together for games. Most of the MCs I’ve heard to date use prizes and treats to get the kids involved, even I’ve used it from time to time, though more to bribe the kids into quietly waiting for their turn at the games, it works like a charm.
So, why was that phrase bothering me? It was the way it was said. If one wants to use something like prizes as incentive, one does better to use the positive approach (which most of us, use, by the way): “All the children who participate will be getting a prize!” It just sounds better that way, doesn’t it?
Thinking over my day and listening to the way I present things to my kids, or even others I work and live with, I hear a lot of negatively formed sentences. I’ve used the “yes, as soon as” approach on my kids since they were toddlers. “Yes, you may go out to play as soon as your toys are put away.” “Yes, you may help me with cooking pancakes as soon as you’re dressed.” You get the picture; and it works like a charm. The child no longer sees me as a threat, but on the same team.
But lately, I hear myself saying ‘no’ far too often. Or even just formulating the sentences in a negative way. “If you put your cup so close to the edge, you will spill it.” “Do you want to get behind in your school?” “That is NOT the right behaviour!” Ugh! Just typing them out is giving me a negative vibe. Why not use a positive approach: “If you put your cup further in the table, there’s less chance it will spill.” (plus you’re not daring the kid not to spill it by saying he will…they’ll test me on that one!) “Don’t you want to keep up with your school goals and make progress?” “The right way to behave right now is…”
Done from that angle, I find the kids have an easier time approaching training and even discipline in their lives. My kids know that in many negative situations, my favorite verse to quote to them is, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things.” (Phil. 4:8) And I take it a step further and tell them to not only meditate on those things, but speak them, too. I think they’ve stopped calling each other names just because they don’t want me quoting it again! But then, how much more so, should I, as a parent, present things from that angle?

my writings and thots

Convincing

Cherise came into the room with tears streaming down her face. “Is it true that I’m a stupid idiot?” As much as I hate to admit it, my kids call each other names from time to time, it’s something we’re working on, however, so far it’s always been taken as something the other child did in the wrong, not to be taken seriously.
Now it seemed as if, after hearing it a few times, Cherise had convinced herself that she really is stupid. After comforting her, I took both the girls for a good talking-to. How often do we stop to think about what happens when we repeatedly treat someone a certain way? With them, I focused a lot on the power of words, and how if they persistently say something to put the other down, eventually, it will be something they believe about themselves.
It got me thinking about how often we enforce something in another person’s life, not only by what we say, but by our actions, or even what we don’t say.
Charlotte was ‘behind’ in school for some time, due to mitigating circumstances. She was not a slow learner, the mistake was mine that she needed to catch up. However, after months of hard work, she did catch up and is now up to her grade level. However, whenever meeting her peers, she’d feel she was lacking. This was enforced in her mind to where she still doesn’t believe she’s caught up and it’s taken some time to get over the ‘behind’ label she hung on herself.
Of course, doing or saying something positive, often enough, can reverse the damage done by constant put downs or negativity. However, I’d venture to say, it takes a lot longer to get out of once a person has gotten it into their mind. For myself, I know I still hear that voice in my head putting myself down for things I know I made progress in, things I’ve changed. However, the label is still there and pops up easily, especially when I make a mistake.
I once read a quote that said something to the effect that if you want to be a positive person, you have to surround yourself with positive people. What kind of energy are we emitting? Is it positive or negative? Are we ensuring that those around us are receiving positive reinforcement or negative ones? Yes, we all need to hear and know about areas we can improve on, I’m not downplaying that. However, if our kids want to live positive, productive lives, if we all do, we’ll need to see how to be that positive force for good!

My favorite quotes, songs and stories, my writings and thots

Enjoy the Gift!

“Grab life by the horns”, “dance in the rain”, “enjoy life; it’s later than you think”. I’ve been hearing these and more most of my life. I have a selection that hang on my bathroom mirror, like this one: “If I had my life to live over, I would relax more. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers. I would pick more daisies, I would have more actual troubles and less imaginary ones.” Or, “Life is all abut the small moments you live daily. The more you enjoy life, the more life gives you reasons to live.”
Living life to the full is something I’ve been trying to get in the habit of more recently. Those who follow my FB can see the quotes I post on this subject pretty frequently. When it comes down to it, I have to ask myself if I’m actually living it, or just thinking about it. Am I living life to the full? Or is it just in my head?
God gave me a marvelous gift (He gave it to all of us, of course!), He gave me life. So much time is spent pondering the reason for life, why I’m here, what is my purpose, what am I here to do? Then I go a step further and ask, what do I want my children to do with their gift? What is their purpose, their plan? Those are good questions to ask and enact the answers as best I can.
However, I find I can get so wrapped up in the destination that I forget all about the journey. God gave me life, He gave me all of it, not just the tough questions or the difficulties. He also gave good food, kids and friends who make me smile, the rain I love to dance in, and so many little pleasures throughout the day that are meant to be enjoyed.
So I’m taking a step back; I’m not forgetting my purpose, the goal is there, the destination is clear. But I’m determined to enjoy the journey. It only takes a few minutes extra to look up at the sky and enjoy the shade of blue it is today. Giving one of the kids a hug is a minute well spent. Enjoying a treat from time to time a worthwhile investment. Spending time with good friends, talking or going out is all time well spent. So why not dance in the rain–for real? Or sing out loud? Why not enjoy the gift to the full?
I’ll end with another quote, one I’ve seen on a friend’s blog for years, but still love: “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And today? Today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.”

Enjoy a great scene from one of my favorite movies:

about the kids

Catty Moments

I now have two ‘tween’ girls. This is all pretty new to me. I have to remind myself daily that there was a time I was that age, I went through my own emotional highs and lows, had good days and bad days, (come to think of it, I still do!) and all that learning to control the raging hormones that have now started, especially with CC, who is now 12.
Then there are the times the girls are like cats, like nasty, fighting, catty cats. They’ll taunt and tease, ignore and insult, leading me to believe that maybe they’re not really sisters, but some awful enemies who have taken my lovely daughter’s places. Then, they go and surprise me.
The other day I was just waking up when Cherise stormed into the room and threw herself onto her bed. Her face red with anger, cheeks hot with tears and frustration. I opened one eye and asked what had gone wrong now, though even in my groggy state, I knew somehow her sister was involved.
“Charlotte called me names! She makes me so mad sometimes!”
Less than a second later, CC herself came into the room to survey the damage. I wasn’t even fully awake (where was the coffee when I needed it?), so barked at her to take a time out far far away in another part of the house until I could wake up and try to find peace again.
Not even 30 seconds had passed before CC came back into the room, very quietly, probably hoping I’d closed my eyes and dozed off again in that half-minute, and said in a whisper, “I’m so sorry, Cherise!”
Of course, my eye was still half-open so I saw Cherise jump up instantly and throw her arms around her sister who was standing next to the bed. I’m pretty sure CC wasn’t too sure she deserved this as she kept her arms down by her side. Cherise let go long enough to take CC’s arms and wrap them around herself, where they stayed, hugging closely for longer than the whole incident from start to finish.
I smiled to myself. This is gonna be a long trip, getting my daughters into womanhood, there will be lots of bumps along the way, plenty of flats, potholes, rain, and shine, but somehow, I get the feeling I’m still gonna enjoy this ride!