When Zach and Josh were little, they went to a home daycare, with a wonderful caregiver, Ti-Tia. She was more of a Grandmother to them, and she loved all the kids she took care of, and treated all of us crazy stressed Moms with such love.
Being a family type of daycare, the Moms all got to know each other.
I remember one particular day dropping the boys off at the same time as another Mom dropped her daughter off. We said our good byes to our kids, with lots of hugs and kisses and left.
As we left, the Mom turned to me, with tears in her eyes, and said she had had a really bad mother morning.
Feeling her pain, having had many bad mother mornings myself, I asked, “What happened” ?
She replied, “I yelled at my daughter for the first time”.
“The first time today“? (Really, that’s the only thing she could mean in my mind….)
Nope, she meant for the first time ever.
Her daughter was 3 years old.
Ordinarily I would say this woman was a big fat liar. But, knowing the little I knew about her and her sweet disposition, I was pretty sure she was telling the truth.
I have thought of this story so very often.
You see, I felt so guilty. I had yelled at my boys. Often. Probably too often.
I’m not sure if I’m a “Yeller Mom” or not. I mean, I do sometimes get angry, talk sternly, be sarcastic, and occasionally yell. But not as bad as some Moms I hear. I think??
But, regardless of whether I’d be classified as a “Yeller Mom”, I’d prefer to have my kids think back fondly and say, “My Mom/Smom” was such a patient, kind, soft spoken person. It was more like listening to an angel speak”.
Ok. Truthfully, it’s way too late for that.
But I would like them to not have tons of memories of me nagging, or raising my voice. I would prefer those times to be the exceptions.
In my readings of sorts lately, I have come across a few nuggets that really have caused me to pause.
In our faith, we believe that our spirits existed before here on earth, and will continue after we leave this earth. We are all tied together as one big family, having a loving Heavenly Father who sent us here on earth to experience joy and live in families. But, He is the ultimate Creator. We are all His children and He loves each of us individually.
The children we have here on earth are blessings and gifts to us, like I talked about here. Our children are not our possessions. We have no ownership per se over them. They are equals to us. Yes, we may have more experience, and we may be their coaches as I talked about here, but they are our equals. We need to remember who they are.
As such, they deserve the same amount of respect as we give to other adults. (Hopefully we do give that respect to other adults – if not, then we need to also remember who THEY are).
In one of my readings (by Jeffrey R Holland), he talks about how we speak to a child:
” We must be so careful in speaking to a child. What we say or don’t say, how we say it and when is so very, very important in shaping a child’s view of himself or herself. But it is even more important in shaping that child’s faith in us and their faith in God”.
He goes on to talk about negative speaking, and how it flows from negative thinking, which before long makes everyone feel miserable.
Maya Angelou asked the question : “How do you react when your child enters the room? Do your eyes light up”?
Children need to feel loved. They need to feel special. We can tell them they are special, or tell them we love them, but if our eyes are not lighting up, or the words coming out of our mouths are harsh, or the tone is demeaning, how will they feel this love?
On my bucket list was to “Speak with the tongue of angels (remember who they are)”. While it is not really something that I want to do just this year, it is something that I want to start being much more conscious about.
I need to watch my eyes, my tone, and my words. I want my children to feel they are loved every minute of every day. And then more. Even when I discipline (which I think is part of showing love), I need to be mindful of doing it with respect and dignity.
Tall order for myself. I think I’ll have to enlist the help of angels.