Once upon a time we had a nanny named Jenny. Jenny was our Mary Poppins: talented and capable in every way and beloved just equally by me and the children. She helped our family at a critical time when I sick and temporarily unable to…
Month: April 2014
One night this week we were very late getting home and getting dinner ready. Lane arrived a few minutes after I had started preparing ingredients for an omelet using the leftover Easter ham. He wasn’t super excited about the omelet idea. Peter walked in at this moment and asked what was for dinner. Lane replied, “Boiled chicken guts.”
I appreciate Lane’s humor so much in moments where otherwise we might be tempted to shoot off irritated responses. Perhaps you, like me, can be less than patient when it’s late and everyone is hungry and dinner isn’t made. I love it when he says something that helps keep even the smallest moments light-hearted.
Eliza and I were shopping for new ballet slippers for her yesterday. (I wish I had taken a photo of this with my phone so you could get the picture. I’ll do my best with a 1000 words instead. Sorry!) Eliza asked if there were any of those nylon peds that shoe stores have for trying on shoes without socks. The saleswoman indicated a can full of them, and we pulled out a couple. But we could not figure out how to get them on. They simply looked like a tiny rectangle of nylon. Eliza and I were both perplexed, stretching the nylon this way and that. Finally, I just stretched the piece over the front of her toes and stuck the slipper on her foot. The slipper was too small, so we took it off and the nylon fell off her toes. Just then the saleswoman came over, and we asked her what we were supposed to do with the nylon. She said, “You have to open it at the top…” and proceeded to show how it was, indeed, a stocking that opened to slip in your foot.
OK, seriously. It was like a grocery store bag moment when you can’t get a produce bag open. Know what I mean?
We both laughed so hard, mostly from embarrassment!
Boy, do they ever.
I wonder if nothing is as powerful as the words we think and speak.
Consider: God spake, and the world was.
As parents, we have such power to strengthen, inspire, and encourage our children, not only with the actual words we say, but also the tone and volume and manner in which we say the words we speak.
Sometimes we make mistakes as parents, and we don’t say the nicest things. I have noticed that as a child, it didn’t matter if my parent messed up as much as if they apologized for messing up. Children are smart. They, more often than not, feel when a person is being sincere, proud, kind, rude, polite, deceptive, and so forth. When we try to cover up our mistakes or refuse to acknowledge them, they respond in kind. When we apologize, they love us. They are so quick to forgive!
As an adult, I find that I still have very tender feelings. And I’m grateful to know that God wants us to have tender feelings (see Jacob 2:7). I was reminded, when we read this chapter in Jacob as a family this morning, how parents can lose the confidence and break the hearts of their children. We can “pierce…hearts with deep wounds” if we don’t watch what we say (and do).
I remember on occasion when my children have noticed that I was struggling to be patient, that they have prayed for me to be able to get more sleep or to feel better or to be nicer. I’ve needed those prayers. It can be hard to be nice sometimes! It’s humbling to be a parent!
I also remember a time when Peter was younger and I was speaking kindly to him. He said something to me like, “Mom, when you talk like that, you sound like an angel.”
Oh, did that not pierce my heart and make me want to always speak that way! They do notice, and they want us to speak kindly!
It’s a challenge. I’m grateful to have the chance, because of the Savior, both to repent AND to forgive, which helps me out whenever either I do something hurtful or someone does something hurtful to me. Thank goodness. I don’t know what I’d do otherwise!
And I’m grateful for “the pleasing word of God, yea, the word which healeth the wounded soul” which has helps me heal when someone speaks unkindly to me.
Happy Watching Our Words,
P.S. I still love it today when my mom or my sister or my husband calls me and says something nice to me over the phone, encouraging me or complimenting me. I still need it, even as an adult. I hope I can always speak kindly to others, especially my children, no matter how old we get!
P.S. Here’s one of my favorite talk about the nurturing and destructive power of words:
“We must be so careful in speaking to a child. What we say or don’t say, how we say it and when is so very, very important in shaping a child’s view of himself or herself. But it is even more important in shaping that child’s faith in us and their faith in God. Be constructive in your comments to a child—always. Never tell them, even in whimsy, that they are fat or dumb or lazy or homely. You would never do that maliciously, but they remember and may struggle for years trying to forget—and to forgive. And try not to compare your children, even if you think you are skillful at it. You may say most positively that “Susan is pretty and Sandra is bright,” but all Susan will remember is that she isn’t bright and Sandra that she isn’t pretty. Praise each child individually for what that child is, and help him or her escape our culture’s obsession with comparing, competing, and never feeling we are ‘enough.’” (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Tongue of Angels.”)
When looking for an image for this post, I came across a little piece of US history: a women’s baseball league. What fascinates me about this picture is that they are wearing those skirts! Seriously? Sliding into home base in a skirt?
Truth is stranger than fiction!
This end period of the school year (from March to June) feels like a very long and very packed stretch from third base to home for me. There are always so many things happening: spring sports, recitals, end-of-year homework projects and celebrations, wrapping up school volunteer responsibilities. And this year I’m also counting the days until it is all over!
One of my personal weaknesses is handling the stress of the various events and commitments that come along with my family. I’m better at it than I used to be, but some days are better than others. One of my coping methods is to write. Another is to put something less pressing away for a while–like writing–and come back to it when some of the deadlines and events have passed.
So that is what I’m doing today. I love to write so much that I think about it all the time. No joke. I’m compose posts in the night when I can’t sleep. It’s a passion for me, and I’m still learning to bridle it. I could write for hours and let all responsibilities go by the wayside! So I decided that if I’m going to help Julia find that elusive prom dress (that fits in our budget and modestly fits and looks like she hopes), get Rebecca to all of her choir performances, help Eliza get to track and dance, keep Peter and Anna practicing their instruments, wrap up the music program and my kindergarten teaching and keep teaching Primary, be present at the family wedding AND sleep at night, something’s gotta give.
And it can’t be my sanity.
So I’m going to have to do what I’ve done before: push pause.
I’ll have my little blogcation and then I’ll be back. It ain’t gonna be easy, trust me!
But then summer will be here. Ahhhhh.
Happy Sliding into Home Base,
P.S. I was just thinking right now: I’ll just write one more tiny post, which made me think of this hilarious cookie jar my mom bought once for my step-dad. He had diabetes AND a fondness for food. Especially sweet food. So they had a policeman cookie jar that when you lifted the cap said something like, “Step away from the cookie jar.” All of us had to lift the lid when we came over just to hear it say that. Makes me smile just remembering.
I’ll compromise: When I get back, I want to write about spring break, prom dress shopping, white dress bridal shower, Linnets and Valerians, Longing for Home, Richard Peck books, choir, open spaces in my home, planting from seed, and curry. OK. Now I can go. 🙂
(I know. My husband’s not holding his breath. I might just make it two weeks just to show him I can do it.)
P.S. One. Last. Thing. (I’m reminding myself of when I leave for any extended period of time and am giving 42 instructions to the children. Enough already!) Yesterday I listened to a very inspiring podcast about one amazing young woman, Natalie White, who is dealing with a major heart defect. I loved her perspective on true happiness: “True happiness is eating toast with my mom in the morning and getting to see my younger brother get baptized.” (The quote as I remember it.)