Tuesday, January 28, 2014

When the lights turn on...

Leah is sitting on the floor next to me, enjoying her blanket.

There are little ties that have captured her fancy.

She looks up at me, giggles, and raises her eyebrows, hopeful that I will give her a mouthful of Cheerios.

And I oblige.

Because I can do that.

I know what to do.

There is so much I don't know, though.

And it led me to a book called "If I Have to Tell You One More Time...The Revolutionary Program That Gets Your Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding, or Yelling," by Amy McCready.

I was sucked in once I read the entire title.

I've tried lots of books, lots of methods with my kids. I can tell you which ones don't work (and I bet you know them, too).

But I haven't found a book to tell me what to do and how to do it.

This book does that. And more.

The author suggests you read one chapter, implement it into your life, and then move onto the next chapter, building on what you have already learned.

I wasn't patient enough for that, however, and have read through 9 chapters.

First of all, between chapters one and seven there was an information overload, and I found myself trying to piece it altogether, trying to figure out how to juggle all of the new ideas. I was starting to feel overwhelmed (which is probably why the author said to take one chapter at a time...). A little voice in the back of my head told me to just go back to chapter one...just go back, and start there...but I plugged on, overwhelmed, but stubborn.

This was bad enough, but then came chapter 8.

Oh, chapter 8...

In this chapter, I found my son.

And it was as if I had been in a darkened room for months, and suddenly someone switched on the lights.

You know that searing pain? The anguish as the little tiny connectors that attach to your brain send pain signals to said brain and they scream in voiceless agony because you did such a thing?

That is what happened to my soul.

I had failed my son. I had beaten him down with my perfectionism, criticism, demands for superiority, and with my need to control every little thing.

And he is on the brink of giving up. Most of his phrases these days begin with, "I never will be able to..."

And he isn't referring to me not letting him play video games.

He is tearing his own abilities to do ANYTHING because he doesn't and cannot live up to my strict standards of obedience and performance.

I sat in the bathroom last night mortified and broken-hearted for my little boy, and that I didn't know any other way. And when it was all revealed, all the failings, all the wrong choices I had made, I was ignorant no more, and I was consumed with deepest regret.

I woke up this morning determined to do better, and to fix it. But I didn't know what to do...

All that I have done as a parent in the past hasn't been good enough, but I am too weak in my new-found knowledge that I just feel helpless, and stand there, staring at my children, unable to do anything that a mother should do.

The saddest part of all this is that for months I have been praying for guidance from Heavenly Father. And He has given it in abundance. I just didn't recognize it.

He said, "Spend one-on-one time with your kids. Speak kindly and softly. Give them responsibility. Teach them something new. Encourage them with acknowledgement when they do something good."

And I didn't listen. I wasn't confident in these ideas.

It was those things that Amy McCready bases her entire book on.

And God led me there because I couldn't be led any other way, and He gave me chapter 8.

Maybe this was His plan all along.

I think I'll go back to chapter one. I'll take my "line upon line," and trust God. 


Katscratchme said...

Yes, go back to chapter one! Follow those little promptings!
Then, when you're a perfect parent, can I borrow the book? :D

Anonymous said...

I dunno...I'm not sure I should inflict it on another human being!

Sarah Stufflebeam said...

Don't be hard on yourself :0) When the whole parent thing happens to me I should buy a copy.

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