Saturday, February 26, 2011

14 Days of Love...Skipping What First Comes to Mind

I was reading Parking Lot Rules and 75 Other Ideas for Raising Amazing Children by Tom Sturges*. One of the ideas he gave in this practical yet profound book was to Skip the First Things. When your kids (or spouse) does something that seems silly, ignorant or ridiculous, the first things that come to mind might be, "That was dumb!" or "What were you thinking?" or "You shoulda thought that through for at least another 10 years!!"

Last week, I woke up the girls. At least I tried to wake them. About the third time, I was less than patient. I immediately started thinking, "I'm raising lazy children. They are going to get fired from their jobs someday because they oversleep!" (nothing like jumping to conclusions!) With all that emotion running through my mind, at breakfast I spoke in short, enunciated an angry drill sergeant. I was grumpy, therefore, they were grumpy. I was irritated, therefore, they were irritated. I dropped them off to school angry, therefore they started their day angry.

And I heard about it after school. They told me how mean I had been. Mostly they were right.

Rather than saying all those things that popped into my head and allowing one morning (after a late night!) to determine their future careers, I should have skipped the first things that came into my head.

Our influence goes much further when we stop trying to fix, correct, or change. Instead, listen. They will feel much more loved when we skip the first things so we can think before speaking - an area that needs plenty of practice in my life!

"The words of the reckless pierce like swords,but the tongue of the wise brings healing." Proverbs 12:18


*Pg. 15, Ballantine Books, 2008

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