Continuing… I hope this is encouraging to someone!
Day 8. (Monday) Ok, so a new week begins. Are you ready? Read your lists. What stands out as a constant trend? Do you see that exhaustion causes you to wimp out of your parenting? Does it make you harsh? Usually, the areas we need to work on are connected to one “root.” Find your root! Once you’ve found that root, figure out what you need to do to keep it watered and fertilized. If exhaustion is the issue, how can you avoid it? If you are sleep deprived, how can you try to minimize that? If you don’t do well in clutter and your house is a mess, follow along with the clutter bugs and DECLUTTER so that you can function. Whatever it is that is messing with your ability to consistently handle the day to day rearing of your children in a pleasant and loving manner, find it so we can fix it!
Day 9. (Tuesday) Plan some spontaneity. You read that right. Plan for what you can do when you have the ability to be spontaneous. Spontaneous people do not just fly by the seat of their pants with absolutely no provision. If they are people who just get up and take trips… they have the clothes to do it, the funds to pay for it or at least the credit to use! (we won’t talk about the wisdom of that!) If you want to have fun spontaneous times with your kids, you have to plan for them. You have to have the “must dos” in line so that the “can dos” can happen. The ingredients for meals need to be available. The supplies for your ideas must be at hand or you must have the time to go do them.
For example, let’s say you want to take advantage of a nice late spring evening and have a picnic. You don’t know what day your husband will be home in time, how the weather will be, or what your schedule looks like, but if you don’t have anything in the cupboard to do a picnic, what’s the point of even trying? If you don’t know where the Frisbee is, the ice chest is filthy, or where you’d try to go, what’s the point of wanting to be spontaneous when you can? Whether it’s a tea party with your girls, making sling shots with your boys, or “chocolate breakfast” ala Jenna on a morning when you wake up with the energy to actually do it, you have to plan. Make a plan.
Day 10. (Wednesday) Listen to yourself. Are you critical? Do your children know exactly what you think of the decisions of everyone in your life? Do they mimic your condescending tone as they mention that Johnny down the street plays video games or that Aunt Sally has a baby and isn’t married? Do grieve over sin or do they turn their noses up at those who are not perfect? Do they think that they can’t do anything right? Do they wince when they hear their name?
Beverly Bradley talks about how one of her sons always had a bit of a raised vibrato on the end of his name. Do any of your or all of your children relate to that? “Johhnnnnyyyyy!” “Sallllyyyyyy!” FRANK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Keep listening. Write down what needs to change. If you find yourself saying things like, “That’s a good try but-“ and “I’ve shown you a thousand times!” write it down. It’s time to emulate that which you want them to do. How do you want your children to speak to your grandchildren? Do you want them to be direct? Syrupy? Harsh? Surely not. You don’t have to be fake- no one likes a phony person- but you can decide the parts of your persona that you don’t want to exist so that you can start eradicating it from your life.
Day 11. (Thursday) Stop for a moment. Take a deep breath. Is there a child most likely to be the next kid in trouble? Start watching. Your job? Catch him or her doing something right. Even if the right is choosing not to do wrong! Catch them. They need to know that you see the efforts they make. If it takes ALL DAY, find something they did right and make sure they know you saw it.
Day 12. (Friday)Teach respect. Respect isn’t something that “is” or “isn’t.” Respect is something that you choose to do. Sometimes it is easy, other times it isn’t. Sometimes respect is earned and others it is just given. Today, talk about people to whom we show respect even when they aren’t always “respect-ABLE.” Talk about how wives respect husbands, children respect parents, people respect police officers and show respect for the president because of his office. Talk about how people treat people to whom we should show respect. We keep our tone calm and deferential. We don’t argue, even when they’re wrong. Whatever respectful behavior you want your children to show, you need to – tell them, show them, and be very sure to model it. Today your job is to make respect the song of the day.
Day 13. (Saturday) Look at your lists. Are there things you’re avoiding? Why is that? Are you avoiding them because you know how much work it’ll be? Are they areas that unsettle the balance of your home? Sometimes the familiar is more comforting than the unfamiliar even when we don’t like the familiar. It’s time to pull out the big guns and plan a strategy for Monday. Pick one area that you need to work on. Just one. Make it something you can cross off that list. We’ll pick it up on Monday.
Day 14. (Sunday) It’s a day of rest. Do it. Rest. Just relax and enjoy your children. Do whatever you usually do on Sundays but don’t make it another day of constant correction and changes. You all need a break. However, there is one little bitty assignment. You know the mad dash before church? People are getting ready, Susie has soemthign in her hair and you’re going to be late and hubby is getting irritable and… Do SOMETHING. ANYTHING. But do something to help prevent it before it happens. Get the kid’s clothes out and ready, find a SPARE pair of shoes for that child who always loses his shoes, whatever it takes. Be ready for when that irritable temptation begins.