Recently I was preparing a wonderfully warm bubble bath for two of my three dirty boys when my eldest walked up with his matter-of-fact face and asserted, "mommy, I'm tired of you and daddy always saying things to me." Before I let out the laughter bubbling up in my belly, I calmly asked, "What sort of things?" Silas said, "I don't know, but you tell me a lot of things, and I just want to play and do what I want." Ohhhhhhhh..... I'm glad we got that straightened out! I proceeded to explain that his daddy and I were equally as tired of repeating ourselves and "talking" to him all the time, so if he would simply learn to obey our requests the first time they are stated, then he wouldn't have to hear us "say things" all the time.
After the laughter stopped ringing in my own ears, I realized that my son sounded a lot like my husband. Maybe it wasn't just the apple falling too close to the tree, and maybe I can't attribute the lack of listening to a stubborn gender gene. Maybe I really need to think about the broken record that I play through my constant love of words. When you are naturally extraverted and also love language, sometimes words pile on top of words until your audience stops listening and starts thinking about their next meal. As an English teacher though, I teach the importance of using words sparingly. I remember lessons in my classroom that I taught to prove "less is more." Too often students wanted to fill up pages with meaningless words in order to hit their required page length. Thus, editing was a constant process, not a one time skim. (Please don't judge this blog on those same standards. A full-time mommy loses her editing time and talent.)
I must begin to see the correlation between my high school teaching and my own life. (Don't we all see things more clearly in others than in ourselves?) If I want my son to practice self-control or speak in a quiet voice, I think modeling that behavior has a longer lasting impression than repeating the requests. Think about it: the things we saw our parents do tend to stay in our memory longer than the things they said. Unless of course the things they said and the things they did lined up with each other. Then there's an honest long-lasting lesson.
Regardless of whether you have children or not, we are all going to leave behind a legacy when we leave this world. Whether it's the people around your cubicle, the people on the golf green, or the people following your social feeds, everyone will be remembered in a certain light. Instead of wasting so much of my breath trying to impart "wisdom" on my children that I hope they remember when I'm gone, I really could live a much quieter life, being "slow to speak" (as I long to be), if I exemplified the behavior I want to see in my little pupils. I completely negate all my requests when I start barking them and then mumble to myself like a crazed maniac. Too much breath simply fogs up the message anyway. It's much clearer when there aren't words in the way, says the word-lover.
Here's to a quiet, yet loud-moving summer! Speaking of quiet- this big boy still doesn't say much, but his actions speak so much louder than words! Show me how big you are now Levi...
|Wow! That's pretty big bubba!|
|Oh man, I'll let the other kids know that Levi is back in town!|
|Boys club- holding the first fruits of our garden in case they get hungry.|
|When there's a swim meet at the pool and everyone's pumped to get wet, water balloons are the perfect fix.|