Children are great teachers when we are listening with our hearts wide open.
My little Ally is a screamer. I’m not talking a little screaming…I mean I thought her colicky baby phase was tough! Whew…this is enough to make a grown man cry and it’s no exaggeration…ask her Daddy! She is passionate about EVERY emotion she feels, love, anger, compassion, generosity, pain, sadness…she swings for the fence.
She is 3.
There IS a certain amount of this that is expected for this age group. It is their appropriate level of maturity, just like the 2’s but with more gusto! However, she seems to excel in this as an art form and there are days as a preschool teacher, daycare provider, homeschool momma that it is
As an avid believer in Becky Bailey’s Conscious Discipline method (which, by the way, is all wrapped with L.O.V.E.) and one that has had excellent success utilizing this tool in real-life-no-time-for-do-overs application, I know it works. However…for my little Ally…it has not been working. So it seemed. So…I have been struggling with some pretty big mommy guilt that I am failing with the very reason for doing what I love to do, which is getting to spend so much time with my own children.
I have been praying, and praying, and praying for direction, answers, PATIENCE (yes…I know Grandma always said to never pray for this one!!), guidance, searching books, the Bible, my own attitudes for any clue that may give way to an answer. I have been praying my husband’s favorite prayer, “God, can you just give me the answer on a sticky note, preferably attached to my forehead, so I don’t miss it?”
I have been re-reading my Conscious Discipline books, deeply diving into my Bible, and brushing up on my skills. I keep getting the answer…love…love…love…love…love. L.O.V.E. This has applied
to SO many areas of my life lately. I have tried so many methods. I am well trained in appropriate
Early Childhood Education and practices…YES…this child is WELL loved, adored, cherished, and amazing…but, I am talking about responding in love with a child that is kicking, screaming, writhing around just waiting for her head to pop off kind of crazy for hours; and me, quietly, patiently, tenderly responding in love when I am hanging on to my last itty bitty bit of sanity myself.
How does Annie Lennox apply??
I woke up several mornings in a row with, “Feels like I’m Walking on Broken Glass,” by Annie Lennox playing in loop in my mind. WEIRD!! This is a song I am certain I haven’t heard since my high school days, but God plopped this one on my heart. I knew this was part of MY learning and I would get it if I listened with MY HEART WIDE OPEN!
When a child, or anyone else for that matter, is hurting, it doesn’t take much to rip open wounds and expose raw nerves…like walking on broken glass. It can happen when everything is going great and there is seemingly no reason for an outburst...”The sun’s still shining in the big blue sky, “
because to one who is hurting outside circumstances are irrelevant. All of their senses are immersed in pain.
This is where the love comes in… furthermore, it has to be weapons-of-mass-destruction-grade kind of love that BLOWS the hurt out of the water. It has to be extremely deliberate and premeditated, conscious acts of love. To heal hurt, recover relationships, and restore bonds, it MUST BE extraordinary acts of love.
In real life application of God’s most current lesson taught to me by not only the children I teach but, my very own little one, I have learned there is no substitute for quality time spent.
Caution...Work in Progress...
I think we should all be required to wear this as a necklace around our necks :)
So….you are wondering…what has changed? What are you REALLY doing to help her?? It looks like this:
*Putting her first in line, first at meals, first for potty
*Asking her…not just allowing her to help me ALL the time, even when it will take me 5 times too long to complete a
*Asking her…not just allowing her to sit in my lap first for
story times, coloring times, painting times.
*Asking her what she would like to do each day BEFORE the day begins.
*Having meaningful conversations with her to find out what she is
*Making time and taking time even when I don’t have the time to
just sit and hold her.
Do you see the theme here? It means putting DOWN my preconceived ideas about what I think she should want, or what one might consider fair, or asking her to wait for me to be available (which communicates she is only important when it’s convenient for me), laying aside my ideas, my
plans, my to-do list, my priorities, and REALLY TRULY seeing her needs…
This is what God does for us and asks of us as well…we may see others around us that seemingly receive more, better miracles, more answered prayers, more provisions… Look at it with the eyes of a loving parent of a hurting child crying out for attention. To consistently and persistently put others needs before my own. Love lays down self... (Matthew 22:33-40) for the love of others. I could choose to ignore the one (physically or figuratively) screaming, kicking, acting out their hurt and leave them feeling abandoned and alone to fix a problem they may not have the skill, or maturity, or tools to fix themselves, or I can choose the kind of self-abandoned love that pours out attention and affection, that heals wounds, fixes broken hearts, protects, endures, and soothes… after all...we are all just a "Work In Progress."
A popular Facebook post says, "Real circumstances reveal fake people." This is so sad and a revealing of pain and hurt. The truth? Real circumstances reveal areas of need...areas where we are a "work in progress" and "caution, handle with prayer."
This also means my laundry isn’t done, my house is a mess, my work isn’t complete…but the ones that matter to me most...that God has placed into my life for the PURPOSE of loving, KNOW they are loved and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I wish you well and I hope you get to play today.
Life is made of moments...
"There isn't anything more full of hope, joy and peace than a child's smile... It captures the mundane and makes it extraordinary." - LaDonna Woolsey
I am a Mother Goose Time Blogger. I decided to become one after trying their products because I they are comprehensive and serve my mixed age group well. I do receive products to review from Mother Goose Time and do so with my own honest and thorough opinions. For more information, please contact me at Ladonna@woolseyacademy.com