My spirit has fought tooth and nail against the concept that the mom sets the tone in the home. No. No. No, I say. I don't want that kind of power. I don't want to be the one to blame for the bad attitudes, the whining, the fighting, the chaos. I don't like thinking that my own flaws are reflected right back at me by my children.
Today was a rough morning with my oldest two. Of all my boys they are the ones that clash the most. Sometimes they are downright cruel to each other. And I wonder if they even like each other, much less love each other.
This morning as they were supposed to get dressed for school one of them was tossing something or swinging something too close to the other one's head. They were each yelling at the other to stop. I was in my room listening to the fight, determined not to jump in right away. Maybe they would work this out on their own.
But, as the yelling escalated and the younger of the two ended up in tears I made my move. No TV for both of them the entire week. I spoke calmly, yet firmly (I'm working on this one!) about how important it is to be kind to each other. But the consequence I doled out and my words seemed to have little effect. In each one's mind it was still the other's fault. There was no remorse, no apologies.
After the boys left on the bus, my mind went back to this idea that I set the tone. Frankly, a lot of the anger and yelling that I've been seeing in my boys does come back to me. I have often made bad choices about how I deal with my frustration and anger when my boys misbehave. Once again, the thought 'I don't want this kind of power' entered my head.
But, then a novel idea popped in. What if I use this power a mom has in a positive way? (How did this not occur to me before?) What if I purposefully set a new tone...not just in the generic 'I want to help make my home more peaceful' way. But, what if I outline specific things I will do during this next week?
Here's are the things I decided to try this week.
1. Each day I want to tell each of my boys 3 things they are doing well or that pleases me.
2. Each night before bed I will tell each of my boys another positive thing about them like, "I really like how helpful you were with your little brother today." or "I noticed that you did your chores today without having to be reminded and in a cheerful way."
3. Each night each boy will tell each of his brothers one thing he really likes about that brother or that was something good from the day like 'Thank you for sharing your toy with me today.' We tried this one a few nights ago and there was a lot of silence and 'um''s and 'I don't know''s. So this one may take some practice.
4. I will not talk negatively about my children in front of them this week. This is something I don't intend to do but I find myself doing it anyway. Oftentimes it comes in the form of me telling my husband about things that happened during the day, ways the boys were fighting, or disobeying, etc. Instead, I'm going to try really hard to build them up when talking with my husband instead of relaying all their faults.
5. I'm going to watch my tone. Another tough one for me. I'm going to work this week on keeping my tone firm yet loving. And, we're going to work on banishing yelling from our home....and that starts with me.
Please pray for me and my family as I try really hard to set a new tone in our home.