"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Monday, May 10, 2010

Lamb and the Lion

What is that about the lamb and the lion lying down together?

He's pretty tightly wound, knowing that as a hunter, just this once, dinner is tethered to the other end of a leash.

But ... as Annie and I worked with these two, it struck me as funny that the same tactics that work on animals, work on children as well.
  1. We had to get down and look the cat straight in the eye and forcefully tell him no.
  2. We scratched the rabbit behind the ears while scratching the cat, too.
  3. We praised him for his efforts with kind words.
I've struggled recently to know how to better help certain siblings with almost lethal differences of opinion learn to get along better. I guess this is a reminder to me of a lesson I need to reiterate with them at such trying times. It's not new, but in the busyness of life, sometimes I'm just looking for a means to an end rather than taking charge of some serious teaching moments.

So here are some things that are important to me that I hope, as a mother, to teach much better.
  1. Zero tolerance for fighting. It turns my world upside down. There are always going to be times when you feel that your shoulders are so tight the only cure would be to pounce and maul, but ... take a breath, calm it down, let it go. Newel always says it takes greater strength to love and if I can teach this, I will be genius.
  2. We are a family and respect is key. There's nothing more important than being each other's best friends, even when we're not. But each child is one of my children and nobody gets to disrespect that. Nobody.
  3. Accentuate the positive. Always look for the great stuff and acknowledge it with kindness. It begets more good -- and a desire to serve each other!
If it can work with two animals with instinctual differences, surely a pack of kids can learn it too.

Post Editorial Note: Since writing this, I've tried this tactic on the kids and am amazed at it's effect! First squabble coming my way, I stopped both offending parties and lay down my new law regarding fighting -- and nixed all follow up commentary. Validated each child's feelings and told each what I found fantastic about them and then praised their passed efforts at getting along. Expressed how great it makes me feel to see that behavior and wha-la ... they were off trying to impress me with their "get along nicely" skills. Thanks Mitt and Thumper, you're an awesome coupla guys!

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