Beth and I stood in Kohl’s this past Saturday.
Completely and utterly speechless.
A mom was berating her son in the middle of the lingerie section.
My heart ached for the little boy.
He looked to be a few years older than Nick. He said nothing as his Mom shrieked at him.
His grandmother stood by and said nothing.
Perhaps that’s the way she raised her daughter. I don’t think it is, but I don’t know.
As the family walked to the cash register to pay, the mom’s loudly raised voice continued to echo throughout the whole store.
We made our way to the back of the store, intent on checking out white servingware.
We could still hear her.
Beth shook her head. “Anyone can be a parent.”
Isn’t that the truth?
I am all for disciplining children. Being strict. Taking the lead and reminding children who is in charge.
But I also feel like there is a way to do it.
Intention is a word I always come back to when it comes to parenting and my kids. I want to lead with intention. In everything I do. We have an end goal to get to … to raise happy, healthy, well-adjusted children who are positive, contributing members of society. It’s how we get there that makes all the difference.
Words and tone can be so incredibly hurtful. They sting. And leave a lasting impression on hearts and minds. They don’t go away with apologies.
Sometimes I lose my cool. No doubt. I yell. We all do. When I do, it’s more for volume so my voice carries over the din of the household craziness. Never to berate. Or to belittle. But I try to reel back, take deep breaths and attack the situation from another angle. Different words. Different approaches. A softer tone. Leading with intention, and the intention is clear: you are loved.
This mom in Kohl’s? Her words, tone and volume stung me. I can’t imagine how her son felt. And it was all over something petty. “Don’t ask me to buy anything again. Ever. Don’t touch me. Don’t stand near me. Get away from me. Didn’t you hear me? Don’t even talk to me.” It’s a store. She’s there with her kid. Kids ask for things in stores. It’s kind of a given. She could have handled it in a million different ways.
I am not judging. I’m not perfect. And certainly not an expert. Maybe she was at her wit’s end. Or was having a hard day. Who knows? For me, it was just an instant reminder to continue to lead with intention.
To make sure that with our summer activity list, my kids remember love.
That they know with each correction they receive, they are loved.
That whether it’s a drive-thru dinner when time is short or a Sunday Gravy supper that took me three hours to make this past weekend, that it is with love.
That the chore lists and bedtime rituals are with love.
The kiss on Nick’s forehead at the end of the night even as he gets older, is with love.
That the summer reading I’m making him slog through, is with love.
That through every calamity our little monkey gets into, we laugh and love.
That when I have to tug on Madeline’s hair in the morning to get out yet another knot, that it is with love.
That when we disagree, on a nightly basis, on her need to eat dinner, that it is with love.
Their history, their little hearts, their childhood is completely in my hands, and that of whom I surround them with.
That they always know love.
August 18, 2011 – Bonus Photos
My parents’ dog spent the night with the kids again last night. This was his last check before bed, just to make sure his parents weren’t coming back to get him. Considering he parked himself in the middle of my bed, right smack dab underneath the ceiling fan, trust me, he didn’t miss them much at all.
My first paying job outside of babysitting was working for a stationery store, and that’s when I first discovered Mr. Sketch markers. It is so hard for me to resist a set when it’s time for back-to-school shopping.
And so I didn’t. Then I quickly put it out of reach from the littles. Right next to my jar of Mom’s Markers, crowned with a birthday bracelet Nick made for me two years ago, and the Chinese money tree.
Madeline put a bunch of her stuffed animals on the floor and took a flying leap into them. After I took a picture she told me not to show anyone. “Not friends, not family, not anyone, ok?” Ok, so I shouldn’t put it online then? “No, not either that.” You guys won’t tell, right?
Just under three weeks to go before school starts, and we are making our way through our Summer Bucket List. This weekend, we’re crossing off Surprise #1 (of 2). Nick guessed what it was yesterday (one vague clue to a kid with a steel-trap memory did it, darn it), but you’ll have to wait for Sunday night for details. We’re getting out of town. State. Four states. And we can’t wait to hit the road. If you don’t hear from me again, you’ll know I didn’t survive a five hour road trip in the car with the kids by myself. Don’t feel bad. It will mean I went out with a bang.