Our motto around here is - "Obey all the way, right away, with a happy heart." To me and Josh, if our kids are "obeying" while huffing and puffing or while slamming the door behind them or while dragging their feet in procrastination, then it isn't considered complete obedience, even if the act is (eventually) done. We wholeheartedly believe in this and are sticking with it!
My brother and sister-in-law use a very similar motto with their kids that I really like as well. It is "Listen and obey." It's the same concept, only worded differently.
When I watch other people's children I try to implement their parenting techniques in order to keep some consistency. So, while I was watching those six little pairs of feet, last week, I found myself repeating these words over and over throughout the day. Not only to the kids I was watching, but to my own kids as well.
A few days later I caught myself spouting off this little motto to Areyna after I had already asked her to pick her clothes up off the floor...twice, and to Zeke after repeatedly asking him to put his jammies on, or put his treasure chest away, or to only write on paper, or to only put stickers on paper...(am I the only parent who continually has to remind my kids that the wall may not be their masterpiece?!)
Then I had a realization.
Now, before I tell you my realization I want to preface it (why do I always feel the need to preface anyway...) by stating that I DO NOT believe that parent's should be at their children's beckon call and do everything they want whenever their kid's demand it.
I did realize that when I listen to my kids I don't always respect them enough to remember what they have asked or told me. I get so caught up in my own things, whether it's legitimately important or not, while repeating (over and over), "just a minute, buddy" or "in a few minutes", and then completely forgetting what they had just asked me to do.
Again, don't get me wrong. I simply CANNOT stop what I am doing at the drop of a hat all the time just to get Zeke's Legos down off the shelf in the closet, but I certainly can remember that he has asked me to get them down, tell him that I will do it as soon as I get to a stopping place in my work, and thank him for being so patient while he waits for me to "remember" that I said I would.
I don't ever want my kids to grow up thinking that I don't love and respect them enough to take what they say to heart and remember it. I want them to know that if mommy says she is going to do something then they only have to ask once because she will remember to do it, even if it takes some time.
I feel that if I can get this down, then it will only be a matter of time before my kids follow down the same path. Respect must be mutual, even in relation to children.
So, I have made a new motto for myself as a parent: "Listen, respond and follow through."