How to Help Other People's Kids (They Deserve It)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A few months ago I wrote a post about a disturbing parenting scene I observed at a grocery store: "Give Them What They Deserve."   I wrote it because my heart hurt for the little boy who had been treated with such disrespect and disregard.  I wrote it because it felt like a way to help, to respond to the careless parenting that happens so often.

My post was viewed by thousands and I received a lot of feedback in emails and comments.  A lot of people had experienced something similar.  A lot of people were as saddened by the lack of respect for children as I was.  Most people thanked me for my efforts to make a positive change.

A few people were critical. And of course, those critical messages were the ones that stood out most to me.

"Why didn't you do something about it?"

"You should have said something to the mother and grandmother!"

"If it bothered you, why didn't you take action?"

These comments and others like them were in my thoughts for a long time.  After I got past my initial defensiveness, I realized that they were asking very valid questions.  Why didn't I say something or do something when I saw a child being treated so disrespectfully? 

A good question.  A more difficult answer.  But I've had some time to think about it, observe similar poor parenting displays, and try out some different responses and action steps.  It isn't always easy to know what to do when you find yourself in a situation like I did at the grocery store, but I've found some ways to make a bad situation better.

A Seasons Walk

Monday, September 26, 2011

In keeping with my "Year of Soulemama," we took a Seasons Walk to mark the first day of Autumn. 

The kids all noticed the bursts of red and yellow that have arrived to wish all the fading greens goodbye.  They watched the river, and the birds, and the breeze as it danced with the trees. They collected leaves and seed pods and handfuls of dirt

I noticed how big my babies suddenly seem. I watched how big sisters helped the smaller ones, how they bravely climbed to the tops of trees they used to get stuck on, how they played and talked and laughed with each other knowing I was nearby but content to be on their own.  I collected memories of them right now, with their mischevious smiles, skinned knees, and salt water sandals.

"In the busy days of family life, where so often the days can fly right on by, First Day walks are one easy, simple, and lovely way to slow things down just a little bit. The tradition becomes a simple and beautiful way to mark the changing seasons, the passage of time, and the growth of a family." 
~ Amanda Soule in The Rhythm of Family 

Yes, it was a lovely day.

Don't Forget!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Things that this Mom would like to remember:

1. Poop is just poop. And poop + a little soap and water is no big deal.

2. Kids clothes at Target are so darn cute, but hand-me-downs are free.

3. Threats don't ever work. Ever.

4. The hour before dinner isn't good for anything. Don't think you can run in the store real quick.

5. Everyone and everything will be the slowest they've ever been when you are in a hurry.

6. If I wasn't watching, they probably didn't brush their teeth.

7. A slice of hot homemade bread just out of the oven can solve most problems.

8. It is always a good idea to take a deep breath before you say anything.  Especially when the kids are fighting in the car.

9. Don't ever assume you know what the picture is of when a kid is drawing. Look at that dog! Oh sorry, I didn't realize it was a flower fairy with her acorn children getting ready to ride in a boat.

10. Love is always a good place to start and end.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Something I've noticed on my quest to be "Some the Wiser" is that clutter in my home (the garage, the file cabinet in my office, my bedroom closet-the catchall for misfit items, my unintentional junk drawer) is a pretty good representation of the clutter in my head.

I didn't really think that stack of unsorted and unfiled papers I shoved into the office filing cabinet was that big of a deal.  I also didn't think that the misplaced odds and ends in the garage were a top priority right now.

But I've been feeling stressed, a little scattered and a lot overwhelmed.

When I stopped to think about where I am lately and how I'm doing (some introspection every now and then is good when you're questing for wisdom you know) it struck me just how much all the corners of my home look like the corners of my mind right now.

That stack of papers I've been neglecting is the physical manifestation of the stack of things I haven't wanted to think about lately.  The garage clutter looks a lot like all the questions without answers I've been worrying over in recent weeks.

My outer world is a reflection of my inner world.

Nice to know.

And since I still don't have the answers to all those worrisome questions, and I'm not sure I want to face the mountain of monsters my mind has been conjuring up, I guess I have to clean the garage.

Say you're Sorry, and mean it too

Monday, September 19, 2011

Saying "Sorry" doesn't count if you don't mean it. Everyone knows that.

So why do we force our kids to say they are sorry?

You've done it. I've done it. We all know people who do it. Everybody means well, of course, but if we're being honest, we all know it doesn't count.

A few days ago I was at the park and as I watched from a not-so-comfy bench, a two year old boy pushed my kid off her purple plastic dinosaur. It was a short distance to the ground so she didn't cry and I didn't rush over. The mother of the pusher-and-shover, on the other hand, flew across the park. "Say you're sorry," she demanded. He kicked the bark a few times and then turned to climb the dinosaur. His mother pulled him back and with a quick speech about being nice, she gave him an ultimatum: "Say you're sorry, or we are going home."

Drum roll . . .

He said sorry. And he was so sorry that he did it again five minutes later and his mom dragged him off to the car kicking and screaming. Fun day at the park.

In my experience, there are two reasons for the "Say you're Sorry" syndrome so common on the playground. 

Cleaning up the Messes (+ a Giveaway!)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Last week was rough.  By Friday I felt like I had fallen off a cliff. 

I knew the week was going to be a particularly busy one, a week of new routines and fitting in appointments and photo shoots and out of town guests and a family wedding, but in addition to all that, life threw a few curve balls my way - a few hard life-smacks in the face, you know, nothing I won't eventually recover from.  But it was rough.

And the the thing about a crazy busy rough week is that all the mundane details that come with keeping a house and a family only loom larger. In addition to all the extra appointments and jobs, I still had meals to make, dishes to wash, unexpected spills to mop up, and those bathroom mirrors needed attention before our company arrived.  Luckily I had a bit of extra help this week.

Recently, Andrea (from Maia the Bee) sent me some Basic H2 Organic Super Cleaning Concentrate from Shaklee.  I normally make my own cleaners - vinegar is my best friend!  There aren't very many genuinely earth friendly + affordable cleaners that I have found that can rival my simple homemade concoctions.  But after using Basic H this week, I have nothing but good things to say about it (and not because anyone paid me either).

A (Messy) Friday Moment

Friday, September 2, 2011

Joining Soulemama today for a quiet moment from the week, a moment to remember. Happy Weekend friends!
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