If you are currently a mother with children of any age living at home you might find yourself in the same predicament I find myself in all-too-often. Saying 'no'. For no good reason, just because that's what I usually say when one of my many children ask me for something. It doesn't usually matter what they're asking for, my knee-jerk reaction is constantly 'no'.
"Can I have a Popsicle?" No.
"Can I watch a movie?" No.
"Can we go outside?" No.
"Can we go to the park?" No.
"Will you come look at this mommy?" No. Not right now... with tears beginning to form on Leeann's face I realize that she's wanting me to come look at something that she worked really hard on, or something really thoughtful that she did. Or worse yet, something she made just for me.
I spend so much of my days just trying to keep things in control that I'm beginning to realize that I control too much. Rob pointed this out in his sermon yesterday, that he spends so much time trying to teach our kids that the world doesn't revolve around them, but they usually end up teaching him that the world doesn't revolve around him. Funny thing, the world doesn't revolve around me either.
There's been a counselor coming to our house several times a week and she's working on me with doing short periods of child-centered play time. It's hard! I have to play with them without directing anything. I can't suggest anything, or even ask questions. I can only respond to them and what they're doing. I'm supposed to PRAISE appropriate behavior (That's terrific counting!), REFLECT appropriate talk (You are building a beautiful red tower!), IMITATE appropriate play (You look like you are having lots of fun, I want to build a beautiful red tower just like you) DESCRIBE appropriate behavior (You drew a very nice smiley face) and exhibit ENTHUSIASM (Wow! That's great!).
All the while I have to ignore inappropriate behavior unless it's dangerous or destructive, I have to avoid giving commands (direct or indirect), avoid asking questions and avoid criticizing. I have to avoid all uses of the words NO DON'T STOP QUIT and NOT.
This is intended to help me enhance my relationship with the kiddos and to help increase their self-esteem. You may think it's easy but grab your nearest child and give it a whirl! In my first session with Hope I found myself asking her questions constantly. It's so hard to just sit back and let any of my kids lead the conversation and the play time. I am officially one of the most self-centered people I know!