I’ve never loved Mondays until I started Monday Mentor Moms. I love soaking up the wisdom others offer here. Today’s mentor is a mom I only know through blogging (she blogs at Positively Alene). The lack of personal time together doesn’t lessen the wise words she shares today through a beautifully told story. Thank you so much Alene for sharing and if you, dear reader, have time, say thank you to Alene by leaving a comment or checking out her blog. Now get comfy, grab your favorite hot drink and soak.
|Alene’s kids, all grown up
It is such an honor to be here at Pruning Princesses
today. I take the invitation seriously when someone asks if I can mentor or share about what I’ve learned on my journey, especially when it comes to kids and their lives.
A little about me: I’ve been married for almost 30 years and 23 of those were in the military. We have since retired from the military and now live in Corpus Christi, Texas where I write, speak, teach and love to wear pink shoes. I have raised three beautiful children – two girls, the youngest (19) and the oldest (24), and a boy (22) sandwiched smack dab in the middle of them. And it is hard to believe, but my son will be married this May to a girl I already call my third daughter. You can read about their engagement HERE.
As my kids were growing up it was very important to me that family be number one. I didn’t want to just say that, I wanted the way the kids played and interacted with one another to reflect that we were a close family. Growing up in a family where my siblings and I fought like cats and dogs (not that mom approved) I wanted more for my children.
We were a tight family that enjoyed one another, which was a blessing! We had just made another military move about the time the kids ended up in elementary and it seemed that out of nowhere there was bickering between the kids. There were quarrels and name calling. I heard constantly, “Mom, she called me the S-word!” I was glad when I realized that word was stupid because my mind was thinking of worse.
Coming up with a solution, I sat the kids down and explained to them how negative words made others feel and that it took four positive words to make up for one negative word. I then began to layout our new rules for the home:
Any time I heard one of them say something negative to or about one of their siblings, they would both have to come together in front of me.
The one who had said the negative words would have to apologize.
They would then have to say two positive statements about their sibling to make up for the negative treatment.
They kids agreed to their new set of rules (like they had a choice) and we were off and running with peace permeating the home. I thought I was genius as for a few days there wasn’t any bickering or name-calling.
Then it happened–the squabble broke out which ended in name-calling. I called them in to me and reminded them of the situation we were in and what our new rules were.
The guilty one quickly apologized, while staring blankly at the ground I might add. Then I said, “Now, you need to tell your sister two positive and encouraging things to help her feel better.”
Oh. My. Goodness. You would have thought I was asking him to recite the whole 13thChapter out of 1stCorinthians about love. He balked. He squirmed. He swayed. He glared at the floor. Then finally he squeaked out,“I like your shoes.”Then he balked some more. He squirmed even more. And swayed as he whispered, “You’re good at gymnastics.”
As a mom baring witness to this moment of awkwardness, I wasn’t sure how to act. As I thanked him for the positive comments, I wanted to laugh out loud. I then reminded them both that this was the new rule in our house.
I’d love to tell you we never had another squabble break out, but we did.We followed through with the new rule and eventually the conflicts between the kids subsided. As they grew older they learned how to work through their differences and as I watch them today as young adults it is such a blessing to see how close they are. It was worth the trouble and discipline to train them on what was appropriate behavior and what was not.
Moms, you set the tone. When our children are flustered and yelling at each other, it is so easy for us to react if we don’t have a plan in place. If you find yourself in this season of life where your children are bickering, you take responsibility (no matter their ages) and set the tone for your home.
May we always be mindful of how our words are so influential in others lives, no matter what our age.When we can take the time to train our children to new habits of positive behavior it will benefit them and our families all their days ahead.
And by the way,“I like your shoes!”