"I KNOW, but..."
This phrase is something that we are trying to eliminate from Jude's vocabulary. Those words were quickly beginning to weasel their way to the beginning of EVERY excuse he had when being told that his reaction to something (or disobedience to do something) was off.
Me:"Jude I asked you to put those dirty socks in the laundry."
Jude:"I KNOW, but I wanted to finish coloring my picture."
Me:"Jude, you can't yell at Zeke like that!"
Jude:"I KNOW, but he took my Lego Flash guy."
Me:"Jude, you need to buckle you seatbelt buddy. Remember, that should be the FIRST thing you do when you get settled in the car."
Jude:"I KNOW, but I don't LIKE to wear a seatbelt."
You get the idea.
The last 24 hours or so have been pretty frustrating for me as a mom. I feel like I have been a record stuck on repeat, saying the same phrases over and over...and over.
I want so desperately for my kids to be responsible children.
To learn to clean up after themselves
To speak respectfully to each other
To do what is asked of them without trying to negotiate
To take care of the things we have been given
All of these things are VERY good things to teach our children.
In fact, the lack of these things is becoming so commonplace among this generation that I am determined to fight the battle against things like this until my kids are out of my home.
At what cost, though?
It's all about the delivery and speaking to the heart, and I have failed this week.
Josh pulled me aside this morning and gracefully and lovingly told me that he felt like I was speaking too harshly with the kids.
(Girls, you need to find you a man who loves you enough to call you out in love. And then you need to learn to receive those words with a humble spirit...something I am working on. My tendency is to be offended and try to justify my behavior...but that gets me nowhere but stuck and feeling like everyone else needs to change but me. And we ALL know that we are ALL a work in progress. Stupid pride...)
And wouldn't you know, my very first reaction to Josh's words were:
"I KNOW, but..."
...Zeke totally just spilled orange juice ALL OVER THE TABLE and just left it."
...Alethia KNOWS how to make her bed by herself. I've seen her do it a million times."
...Jude will NOT stop whining."
...it's not THAT hard for Rainy to start that paragraph with a good topic sentence."
...Cai keeps getting in everybody's faces! Nobody likes that."
For some reason I have felt justified to respond differently than I teach because I have the "parent pass" that allows outbursts of frustration, apologies with excuses, and entitlement to be the one in control.
It's that "but" that gets me into trouble. It's that tiny little word that keeps me from seeing what I can do differently to change my heart in the situation.
It goes the same way with apologies.
Teaching our kids to apologize and forgive are part of our everyday repertoire as parents. But so often I find myself apologizing with an excuse at the end.
"I'm so sorry for yelling at you like that, but..."
That kind of apology isn't taking full responsibility for my actions though. It is merely going through the motions but passing part of the blame. Sure, they may have DESERVED it, but that doesn't make what I said or did right.
Living with a "but" at the end of every sentence isn't God's way.
It doesn't breathe life into my kids.
It does quite the opposite actually.
I want my kids to see how I loved them, even in the midst of their weaknesses.
I want my kids to see that I truly care more about their hearts than their clean rooms.
I want my kids to see a mom who can own up to her sin instead of trying to pass the blame.
I'm not writing this post this morning because I have a 5-step plan to get us parents out of this mentality. I'm right here WITH you!
But I SEE it.
I'm calling my sin out for what it is.
And I'm doing some business with God, the only one who can keep my tongue tamed and my heart soft with compassion, understanding, patience and love.
Praise God for His immediate forgiveness and the lack of the word "but" in His vocabulary.
"Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."