I am a mother, which means a great deal of my daily dialogue consists of statements, reprimands, and reminders that are nauseatingly familiar. I repeat myself a lot as I am guiding these little munchkins through life, and sometimes that can get discouraging.
Wash your hands, please.
Where do your socks go?
Make your bed before breakfast?
Pull up your pants?
Where does your plate go?
Put your toys away.
Don't fight with your sister.
Please brush your teeth.
On and on and on. I hate feeling like I am nagging them because that is no fun, and who really wants to be that mom. Not me.
I am though. I think all good moms are whether or not they want to be. Children have to learn things, and repetition coupled with patience seems to be the main keys in effective parenting.
The last few days, however, I have tried to back away from the constant repetetive statements and instead have asked the girls one simple question in those everyday situations that bring on the hated nagging. That question is 'What do you think I am going to say?'
For example when Emma asked if she could have breakfast, instead of instantly listing off all the things she needed to do first I asked her what she thought my response to that question would be. I wasn't sure how this experiment would work out, but to my delight she responded with the correct answer of changing into her clothes, putting her PJs away, and making her bed.
Sara: Can I play with my Barbies now?
Mom: What do you think I am going to say?'
Sara: You are going to say I have to clean up my learning cards and say please.
( That was a lovely response as I was only expecting the toy comment. I am glad they have picked up on the politeness as well. )
It worked for almost all of the similar situations that popped up. Of course, there were situations where my redundant instructions were still needed, but I felt so much less discouraged knowing that most of that redundancy has weaseled its way into their adorable little skulls.
* * * *
Yesterday I was having a rough day. I was frustrated with my progress in certain areas and was just all around tired and exasperated with myself, my life, my family, and myself.
While in the shower (don't judge- its my thinking spot) I had one of my regular chats with Heavenly Father, explained to him my feelings, and pled with him to know what it was I needed to do to reverse and replace some of these feelings.
Imagine my surprise and amusement when he related to me a question I had asked my girls at least 10 times that day already.
"Amanda, what do you think I am going to say?"
And I knew. I knew what he was going to say because He has been repeating these instructions to me my entire life through the means of Sunday school lessons, Scripture Study, hymns, spiritual whisperings, and many, many other sources.
I knew exactly what I needed to do, and I knew that I had known those things before I had even begun my prayer.
I also felt worlds better knowing that I, as a mother, had been inherently following the teaching example of my most trusted and All-Knowing mentor.
I am grateful for repetition, and that is not something I would have ever thought to say.