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Focusing on the Good
I tend to see the frustrating things in my kids… the things I think need changing… the things that I'm mad at myself for not being more consistent about.
The summer months resulted in a lot more together time for my son and daughter, and so their bickering upped itself quite a bit. They have this thing where they insult each other, sometimes for real, sometimes tongue-in-cheek, and it drives me crazy. So I've instituted that every time I hear them say something unkind, that person has to say something kind in its place.
It's been working… sort of. Jack isn't Sara's biggest fan. Asking him to compliment her is like asking him to wear a dress to basketball practice. This was his highest form of flattery to date that he could muster up for his big sister after he had just slammed her: "Your glasses seem to fit well."
It gets better. Not only does he struggle with complimenting her, he can't stand when she says something nice about or to him (kinda weird). The other day she said his shirt looked good on him and he replied, "Now you have to say something mean to balance it out."
But I digress ever so slightly. My point being, I focus on the negatives. But I was sharing a few stories about my kids with a new friend and she said, "How have you gotten your kids to turn out like that?"
The question surprised me. I don't think I have gotten them to turn out quite yet, for one thing. But for another thing, I forget the good. I don't see it, I don't acknowledge it. So here goes.
•Sara cleans her room - a deep, spring cleaning - once a week. Sara has offered her cleaning services to her brother.
•Sara loves serving on Sunday mornings with the little kids. So does Jack. In fact, they both gave up a week of their summer vacation to volunteer at our church's kids' day camp because they love kids so much.
•Sara asked me if she could help me pick up sticks in the yard the next time I do it.
Now onto Jack.
•He wants to go to a Christian school for several reasons but one of the main ones is, "They have a Bible class there!"
•He makes a point of opening the door for Sara and me in public, and he's begun opening both of our car doors as well.
•They have not complained about one chore, come to think of it, in the past week.
•They thank me when I get them McDonald's… when I pull into the drive-thru, not even waiting for me to hand it to them.
•They are hysterical, constantly giving me material for Twitter and Facebook but now are catching onto me and yelling the disclaimer, "Do not tweet that!"
•They miss me when I'm gone even for a few hours.
•They both initiate hugs and telling me they love me.
Okay, wow… I'm now overwhelmed. I have amazing children. I am so blessed. And I would wager that if you did the little exercise that I just did, you'd feel the same way about yours too.
(c) Elisabeth K. Corcoran, 2010
Elisabeth lives her with husband and children in Illinois. She is the author of He Is Just That Into You: Stories of a Faithful God who Pursues, Engages, and Has No Fear of Commitment (WinePress), In Search of Calm: Renewal for a Mother's Heart (Xulon), and Calm in My Chaos: Encouragement for a Mom's Weary Soul (Kregel). All of her books can be purchased on Amazon or through her website at www.elisabethcorcoran.com.
Check out her book trailer for He Is Just That Into You at http://www.vimeo.com/7093233.
Visit her blog at http://elisabethcorcoran.blogspot.com/.
You can follow her on Twitter at ekcorcoran or friend her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/people/Elisabeth-Klein-Corcoran/1301703500.
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