Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What I Learned...

...because she left me alone.

Isabella commented yesterday, "I'm sure your lessons went a little deeper..." Yes, Isabella, they did.

In fact, it amazes me how much this particular story seems to jump front-and-center from among my childhood memories. Here are a few lessons it has taught me. For you readers who are raising kids, perhaps this will help...

1. I learned that my mom said what she meant and meant what she said. I wish I could tell you that Cathy and I handled this one perfectly while our kids were growing up. Somehow I don't think we did. Our son told us just a few years after he went off to make his way in the world, "I grew up figuring it was your job to make the rules and mine to find the loopholes."

Take-away: if you expect your kids to respond the first time you tell them, don't keep repeating it. AND DON'T TEACH THEM THAT YOU'RE NOT SERIOUS UNTIL YOU YELL!!! Take action the first time and do so calmly.

2. I learned that my mom knew the best way to teach me. Making the bed by myself vs. having help? It was torture for me as a kid. I hated chores! I hated being left alone to do that one!

Take-away: every child is different. Learn the key to unlock your child's motivation.

3. I learned that my jovial mood doesn't necessarily lighten the load for those around me. In fact, it can work just the opposite! Mom was stressed that day. My playfulness probably stressed her even more.

Take-away: one of the best ways to help a hurting person is to meet emotion with emotion. The shortest verse of the Bible, John 11:35, simply says, "Jesus wept." When I was young, I had some profound theological reason for this. Now, here's what I believe... His friend Lazarus had died. Lazarus' family was devastated. They were some of His closest friends. He cried with them. In short, he met pain with heartfelt emotion and not frivolity.

It took me years to assimilate these basic lessons from that day in my bedroom. And I'm still learning.

So, tell me, what do you see?


Liz said...

I love wisdom from those who've been there. Your tenets are ones I work daily to follow already, Sam. And your words are such wise reminders.

Sam said...

Thanks, Liz. As always.