Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Replacing Accusations with Compliments

Yesterday, was not a great day. I awoke with a pile of unfinished, but due, business on my desk, 20+ technical/customer service emails in my work box, a Cad computer down at the plant, and a bee hive in desperate need of attention. I was swamped before I could take a breath. I began work and when my son got up he came in for his morning hugs and I brushed him away. I told him I had only two hours to finish the project and I didn't have time for our usual few minutes. He walked away. I felt guilty, but kept working. A little while later, he presented me with a cheese omelet and some orange juice. I, of course, said thanks, but continued working.

After I finished the major project and answered the e-mail, we left to go to the plant to work on the computer and take care of the EDI (electronic invoicing). Both children were extremely patient as they waited a couple of hours. By the time I was finishing there, the hardware store for which I do network maintenance found me and was having problems. The children, again, waited patiently while I restored files.

At home, I was able to locate some wired foundation (from my sixth grade teacher). My husband retrieved it on his way home from work and I was able to build 9 frames. I was so excited to get the frames done that I ran out to install them right at that minute even though it was threatening rain, it was almost 7 pm and getting a little dark, the bees were stressed because of heat and over crowding, and I was going solo (my husband took the children swimming). Obviously, this wasn't a pleasant morning of beekeeping and to make it worse two bees found a way into my bonnet. Since I didn't have help and the hive was vulnerable and fiesty, I had nothing to do but continue my work. I was stung once right under the eye. When the children and husband got home they were nuturing.

The same children who are helpful, patient, and nurturing also trash the bathroom, use 3 to 4 towels a day, make tremendous messes, and leave my tools out in the rain. The point is that I frequently say my son's name twenty times a day in that accusatory, don't move a muscle voice. Yet, I forget to say thank you twenty times a day for all the little niceties and patience. I take those things for granted because my children are well mannered, thoughtful, and helpful almost all the time.

While I was lying in bed trying to go to sleep, though there was no reason to close one of my eyes since it is swollen shut, I thought about this. I got out of bed, woke each of the children, and said, "I forgot to say thank-you for . . ." Ridiculous to wake them, but I wanted them to know I recognized that they are patient while I work, thoughtful, and helpful. I am going to make a point to make more compliments than accusations - though 4 towels a day will never be tolerated.


Hornblower said...

awwwww! So sweet!

I really think think that's one of the most important things kids learn when homeschooling - that adults have lives, responsibilities, & that the kids can help. It may be concrete help, or it may be the 'you can help best by staying out of my way for an hour' but I think it's superb training in real life.

[could they use the 4 towels if they did the laundry???(grin)]

Jen Robinson said...

Thanks for the reminder about telling people that you appreciate them!

And thanks for contributing to my "cool girls" list. India Opal should certainly be on there, and I'll get her added today.