Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Silly PT

You just never know what will come out of your child's mouth.  Ever.  Sometimes you can figure out why they said it though.

Payton was trying to get Tasha to come over to him and was trying to be authorative with her.  He wanted her over there, dang it, and he was going to get her there.  He even has a forceful voice that he uses- not mean or yelling or whiny, just forceful and demanding.  I wasn't sure what he said at first, but then as it registered I chuckled and told Bill.

PT furrowed his brow, pointed to the ground, and said, "Tasha Thomas, get over here right now."

"Tasha Thomas"?  Oh, silly boy.  I'm still chuckling at your antics.  Sweet Payton, sweet PT, we love you.  But alas, when we've asked nicely and you're not listening, how many times have you heard, "Payton Thomas, get over here right now"?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Shack: Limiting Yourself

Bill and I were discussing why I thought he was a good teacher in Primary.  Oh shut up, we do talk and yes, sometimes I compliment him!  It took me a while to get there, but the bottom line was that I thought of this idea from The Shack about "limiting yourself".  Here's the quote:

“Remember that choosing to stay on the ground is a choice to facilitate a relationship; to honor it.  Mackenzie, you do this yourself.  You don’t play a game or color a picture with a child to show your superiority.  Rather, you choose to limit yourself so as to facilitate and honor that relationship.  You will even lose a competition to accomplish love.  It is not about winning and losing, but about love and respect.”  (pg 106)
Bill is really good about talking to the kids at their level.  Not eye level, or "on the ground", but at the level of their understanding.  We talked about how sometimes Kyra and I will push that to the next level and how that is good, but we have to be careful not to do that too much with Tasha. 

Last week, the girls had a fight because Tasha tends to "forget the rules" of a game when she loses too many times.  I understand how frustrated she could get, and at the same time I could see where her sister doesn't just want to let her win every time, she wants to challenge herself.  With this quote in mind, the argument seems pretty lame.  That's because I want them to have a relationship based on respect, but I'm not them and they are still young.

I think to "limit yourself" is to stop thinking/looking/feeling things from your perspective, and to start doing it from another's.  Some might call it empathy, but it doesn't even really have to go that far.  Say that you don't want to give a homeless person $5 outside of a fast food restaurant because you know the money would go further and be spent better at a grocery store.  But that's your broad perspective of what a person with a home, fridge, shelf, car, etc. has to work with and plan for.  What if you limit yourself and think that you really don't have any idea where you will be headed after your next meal, when you might eat next, who will be with you, if you have a place to sleep, etc.?  You're hungry and this is where you are.  You want to fulfill a need, one that maybe you haven't fulfilled in a long time. And maybe you stopped thinking long term or next day when you lost hope in that idea for whatever reason.  With that $5, you can spend a while indoors with air conditioning as a paying customer, get a meal and an ice cold drink that you can refill an take with you.

I'm having a hard time limiting myself as to where to stop the flow of ideas on this subject.  I think the main idea I want to come away with, especially when it comes to helping and serving others, is this:  the solution to their problem lies within themselves and how they are capable of handling it.  It doesn't matter what I would do because I'm not them.  It's my choice to help or not to help, serve or not to serve. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Shack: Trust and Love

I've been discussing with different people on how I've been using this book to learn how to parent better.  We were created in the image of God, and sent to earth to live in families so we can learn to be like God, so it seems like we should try to parent as God parents us.  Of course, when I mentioned that to a friend they immediately hung their head in disparage and said something like, "oh no, I don't need THAT!"  I wasn't really able to clarify then, but maybe this post and quote will make it sound a little less impossible and a little more hopeful!

Like many people, the main character (Mack) has problems with God because He lets terrible things happen to people on earth.  He doesn't know how a loving father could let that happen.  There is a lot of discussion on pages 124-125 on why God is good, why there is pain in the world, and how He tries to use that pain and evil for good.  It's at this point that Mack kind of admits that he does not really trust God.  This is Papa's* response: (*"Papa" is the name that the author uses for God.  I'm going to use it from here on out because it helps me recognize that this is a conversation between the characters)

“You cannot produce trust just like you cannot ‘do’ humility.  It either is or is not.  Trust is the fruit of a relationship in which you know you are loved.  Because you do not know that I love you, you cannot trust me…For now I just want you to be with me and discover that our relationship is not about performance or you having to please me.  I’m not a bully, not some self-centered demanding little deity insisting on my own way.  I am good, and I desire only what is best for you.  You cannot find that through guilt or condemnation or coercion, only through a relationship of love.  And I do love you.”      (pg 126)
So there it is, in black and guilt or condemnation or coercion.  Now, none of us will admit that we do those things because in reality what we do isn't at all as bad as any of those words sound.  But aren't I trying to coerse my child into doing something if I say, "I'll get you ---, if you do --- for me"?  If I had a relationship of love with that child I could say, "Hey, you know what, I can't really go to the store for --- right now because I'm working on ---".  An older child might recognize that they could help in some way, but a younger child might need a little more prompting like, "would you like to help me?"  I'm having a hard time coming up with a condemnation scenario, but I think it can  also mimic the idea that your love is based on performance.  After I read this, I started to say things like, "I don't want you to feel bad about that or feel like you've done something wrong, I want to have a discussion about it so we can have a relationship.  I love you no matter what you do or don't do."  I can't believe how positively my kid responded to this statement!  As far as guilt goes, nobody needs that!  I've had to take back some things I've said to my kids, I do it with a genuine apology (not something followed by a "but you..."), and I still sometimes worry that the guilt is already out there.

"...and I desire only what is good for you", is another line that I especially liked.  Seriously, if I keep my eye on that and communicate that to my kids, what else is there? I know I was able get that idea across to my oldest on several occasions, but it has been more difficult with subsequent children. Not only are there more personalities to juggle, but what is best or good for one, might not be the same for the other and we have to make compromises.  That's hard for little kids to understand, and doesn't seem fair for older kids.  What am I talking about here?  The baby that misses their nap or has to sleep in the car because you need to take another child someplace. (not so good for the baby)  The oldest child that can't leave out their projects (be it school related, a puzzle, legos, etc.) because their little siblings will or already have gotten into it and ruined it.  The fact is, as their parent, you want what is good for them, but sometimes it's difficult to find the communitative good for all your kids, all at the same time.  I guess that's when it's important to have those strong relationships of love and trust already built. (Ugh!  Where was this book 13 years ago?) I've found that when I just pause an argument and say, "you know, I'm just trying to figure out what is good for you here," we make progress by listening to each other and figuring it out together.  I've surprised myself by swallowing my pride and seeing that sometimes I need to "cave" into my daughter's request.  (I'm joking with the word "cave" there, but how many times do we stand our ground because we can't give in to what our kids want?)
So there you have it, Parenting 101, from The Shack.  Of course, this could be Friendship 101, Leadership 101, Marriage 101, Teaching or Business Relationships 101...the list goes on.  It really is a good idea to create a relationship based on love with anyone that you want to trust, isn't it?  And don't we want to trust anyone that we want or need to be in contact with on a regular basis?

Sunday, July 1, 2012


"Doen even think abou it" (It's a warning, usually aimed at Tasha)
"Lissen to me-uh!" (You better listen!)
"whaz iz dis come from?" (Where did you get this?)
"Mom, hoel you me, peez." (He wants to be held)
"oh-grit" (yogurt- he and I are both partial to Greek Gods Honey flavor)
"!"  (He's counting down, and then you better do what he asked.  This is the only time he includes 3...typically he counts 1,2,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12)

Intermissions have been better

Pause the movie.

Bill goes to the kitchen.  I go to the bathroom.

I pick up a towel.  I screetch.

"Bill!  Get in here..."

"...and bring something!"

Bill enters with a shoe and asks, "where is it?"

Smack, smack, smack.  La kookaracha is dead and flushed.

Argh, I hate summer and those little boogies.