a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Monday, September 5, 2011

What We THINK We Say . . . . . What Our Kids Hear

I couldn't resist using the actual "heading" to my article in
Desert Saints Magazine in April 2003

It was really late. We had just returned from a great family activity. I don't remember what this particular outing was. I do remember that by the time any of these events were over, no matter how great they were, I was the one that was tired and ready to pack it in.

I am sure my driveway speech was pretty much rote, something to the effect of "party's over, hurry in the house and get ready for bed."

Parents really know how to put the cap on an evening, don't they?

A few minutes later I discovered JR, in his zip-up-the-front fuzzy blanket sleeper, happily running and skipping through the living room, and I reacted as probably (and unfortunately) most end-of-the-day mothers would do-------I yelled at him!

I phrased it as a question, but delivered it as a demand, "What do you think you're doing!"

Our obedient and gentle three-year-old, taken aback by my outburst, replied,

"You told us to run and jump in our pajamas."

Little children are so completely honest --- we must be very careful --- they take our words at face value.

The "pj" story doesn't end there. Over twenty years after the occurrence, I was telling the story to a friend of mine and she added a completely new dimension: imagine the confusion of a three-year-old child who did exactly what he was told to do-----and still got into trouble.

While I had thought of that evening over the years, and had even recounted the event often, I had never once given thought to JR's understanding of it. 

Further, I'm afraid I have said more than once, "I mean what I say."

JR still loves me. It is amazing how patient and forgiving our kids are.  He now has two children of his own and they seem to be just as long-suffering and kind as he was, even when they don't understand him. 

Thanks to DSM for their wonderful graphics.

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