My pastor's sermon was very thought-provoking and very timely for me yesterday. She was talking about the virus of violence in our world and how what we, right here in our very own lives, can do to help stop it. Her suggestion was to follow the three rules of the Methodist Church:
1. Do no harm -- While on the surface, this seems like it would be pretty easy, right? I mean, none of us go around hitting or otherwise physically harming others. But what about those words we use? They say "Sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me," but we all know that's the biggest lie there is. Words are sometimes more painful than actual physical hurts because the sting of words can last far longer any physical ailment. The pain of childbirth is but a distant memory, but I can still remember the emotional hurts of years ago.
2. Do good. This, too, at first seems easy. I think the majority of us go about our lives trying to be good people. There is a difference between being good and doing good. "Doing" implies activity, not passivity. It is not enough to BE good, we need to DO good.
And 3. Stay in Love with God. This one seems easy, too, especially when you've just left a particularly moving sermon or a great worship service. But when life gets really busy and we get stressed out, it is easy to feel one's self losing that close relationship with God, losing that connection. We start to feel as though God has left us, but it is generally we that have left God.
All of these messages struck home with me yesterday because my own home hasn't been feeling particularly peaceful as of late. I don't know whether it's the continued lack of any kind of schedule because of the Christmas holidays and then no school for a week because of the snow, but Punkin's behavior has deteriorated. It seems as though we had a great couple of months and had a lot of forward progress, but lately we're back into the daily tantrums and the yelling, oh the yelling -- it kills my soul.
Yesterday in the car on the way home from church, I made a vow to my kids: No more yelling. BUT, I also said, I needed them to do their part and do what they're told when they're told. Now for Bubba, this isn't really a problem. Bubba is a model child. If I'd ordered him from an order form, I don't think I could have done any better.
But remember that "mind of her own" of Punkin's? Well, that mind rarely, if ever, wants to do what it's told to do. It never puts on it's pajamas when asked. It never brushes it's teeth, instead piddles in the bathroom forever. It doesn't put on it's socks in the morning, pretending intead that it doesn't know how. It falls down (in the most melodramatic fashion possible) to keep from having to do something it was told to do.
And y'all? I don't know what to do. I've tried everything. Knowing that reward works better than punishment I made a chart, complete with little pictures of all daily activties. Punkin got a sticker if she completed her task when asked. Once the chart was filled, she would get a prize. Guess who got a prize? Bubba! Who also got a chart in order to head off the "why does she get a prize for doing something I do all the time" complaint.
I've threatened to send her to school in her pajamas/sockless/naked if she doesn't get dressed.
I've used a timer, which works, but which causes so much anxiety and tears in Punkin that it's really not worth it.
So, I turn to you. What's a non-yelling mom to do? Englighten me, O brilliant readers.
3 years ago