I’ll be the first to admit; I’m not a stellar homemaker.
But I should get an A for effort.
Perhaps if I spent as much time cleaning as I do inventing ways to clean (not to mention spreadsheets & systems for keeping track of cleaning), my home would be better off.
But alas, such is not the case.
Yet something struck me today: No-one really notices when the house is clean, but they sure do make a stink when the house is dirty!
Let’s face it, your expect the house to be clean. So when you see what you expect, nothing miraculous happens.
But as soon as that first spec of dust, that first stray hair or that corner pile of dirt emerges, all hell breaks loose.
Then it dawned on me: we parent in much of the same way.
We have certain expectations of our kids, and when they meet those expectations, no celebration ensues. But when our kids disappoint us, fall short of our expectations, or worse yet, deliberately disobey us, boy do we know how to hit them where it hurts.
Guilt. Shame. Disgust.
All those things we never like to admit we experience as parents, much less inflict upon our kids, yet it happens.
A mentor once told me she kept a picture of her kids as toddlers always displayed close by her phone. There’s something about our kids at that age that just brings a smile to our faces, regardless of what trouble they’d gotten into just minutes earlier. Looking at that picture before she answered her phone always put her in the right mood.
However, as our kids age, we fail to smile simply because the enter a room. In fact, more often than not, we find a reason to chastise them the minute they enter our presence. Following that logic, it should come as no surprise that so many teenagers stop wanting to hang around their parents. After all, who wants to spend time with people that overlook what we do well and choose to focus only on our faults?
Just like I need to spend more time appreciating the things I am doing well around our home rather than focusing on areas where I’m lacking, I need to apply equal effort to noticing where my kids are thriving rather than honing in on those areas where they might not be living up to my standards.
So what does all this mean?
Set standards & communicate values, but most importantly, show love. By training your eyes & ears to look for opportunities instead of disappointments, you just might be surprised at how your kids will in turn surprise you.