Monday, April 21, 2014

three sources of instruction for parents

There are times in every mom's life when she realizes what she is truly teaching her kids.

For example, when then-one-year-old Brody found the Hershey's syrup bottle and walked around the house with it to his mouth, I wondered: Why on earth would he automatically choose syrup over other food items?

Mystery solved: He probably saw me hanging out with a Hershey's bottle more often than he saw me hanging out with a carrot. To him, it was normal to spend daily time with Hershey's.

Or when Brecken began rifling through everyone's Easter baskets yesterday, looking for candy. Well, not just any candy; specifically, chocolate candy. I often wonder why he goes straight for the good stuff (the chocolate stuff) that I want to eat when he goes to bed.

Then my husband kindly points out the fact that much of my pregnancy diet consisted of bedtime ice cream snacks and Milky Way minis. Drat. But that's why he is so sweet, right?

Sidenote: Actually, if Brody were to describe him, he would call him "spicy," as he calls all remotely sour foods. Yes, Brecken is remotely sour...ah-em..."spicy." But he is also super sweet. Case in point: This pic was taken in a sweet moment right after a very spicy 10 minutes in his be last night.


We are trying to teach and train our kids well. We are trying to teach them about biblical truths, how to treat others, whom to trust, and how to eat nutritious foods (and I am trying to be a better example in all of the above).

However, I have found that much of our parental instruction comes from the following three sources (or a combo of all three at one time, if necessary):

1 - What my parents did. My parents raised some pretty good kids who became great adults. (No, I am not referring to myself. I was the last child by a long eight years, and I'd say by the time I rolled out they said, "we get what we get" and then proceeded to still be awesome parents.)

2 - What the Bible says. We get help in this area by learning from people who are more wise than ourselves: Teachers, church leaders, friends whose kids are kind and caring, and authors who have written the following mind-altering books:



I truly believe I need a hat with a clip on the front to hold Plowman's book open in front of me as I go about my day. It helps me learn to teach the boys in biblical language (Example: "lies" vs. "fibs" or "stories")

I have tried to memorize all of the kind, sweet, gentle statements in it, but to no avail. I still yell in frustration or simply take deep breaths when one child has turned the bath water on while the other throws my makeup in it to make colors or when one child has a panic attack because the other child touched his leg with his toe.

And I still huff and puff in agitation when one child jams bubble gum inside the container of soapy bubbles and then wails when I won't fix it. Oh, the tragedies.

But the easiest words of instruction come from our last source...

3 - What Daniel Tiger sings.


I come to him when I need certain gems of practical wisdom. Things like:

"When you're frustrated, take a step back...and ask for help." (Did Daniel provide this advice for children or moms? Seriously.)

"Grownups come back." (For when Mommy and Daddy leave for work or simply go downstairs for laundry.)

"You can take a turn, and then I'll get it back." (But only if Mom is watching...if not, I'll fight or bite you for it.)

"Find a way to play together. And find a way to care for each other." (For when one child bites the other child...see above.)

[Need to hear the songs mentioned above? Here are some snippets.]

Brad was gone last night because he and his manly-man buds are hunting, and Brody got sad he wasn't there to tuck him in bed. Then, out of nowhere--like a chorus of toddler angels from heaven--he started singing, "Grownups come back." Kids are SPONGES, I tell you. He *nailed the pitch. (*Parental opinions are not accurate.)

On that note, a quick pause for a shout-out/moment of silence/e-hug to single parents out there corralling multiple munchkins. Good gravy. Not sure how you do it all day, e'ery day...and then all night.

Lastly, the other day when Brody got mad because he couldn't get water to spray out of the hose, Brad called him over to talk to him.

"What happened over there?"

Without missing a beat, Brody sang, "When you're frustrated, take a step back..."

Brad came over to me a minute later saying, "That's not how I envisioned that conversation going, but I'll take it."

(On that note, a quick pause for a quick shout-out/moment of silence/e-hug to single parents out there. Good gravy. Not sure how you do it all day, e'ery day.)

Clearly, I'm still learning how to be a parent. Now, if I could just get my kids to stop telling on me to my own parents. This morning, when my parents came to get the boys before school, the first thing out of Brody's mouth was this: "I put gum in my bubbles and Mommy threw the bubbles in the trash."

Yes, yes I did. "When you're frustrated, take a step back and ask for help."

Daniel Tiger, I need you.