SOS: People Can Change
Tonight I was putting children to bed, asking them what the best part of their day was. I just started doing this about a month ago, and I absolutely love it. It has made bedtime something I like doing more than ever before.
My children’s answers surprised me at first, which I loved, since it helps me to catch a glimpse of who they are today, what they value, and what they are thinking about. What I noticed was how often their favorite part was being with me or my husband or with a sibling for something as simple as eating lunch together when that child stayed home from school sick.
Tonight my youngest said to me, “You’re the best mom ever.” Let me explain this a little. This is part of another bedtime routine that we didn’t always have. A number of years ago, I started saying to my children, as I was putting them to bed, “How did I get so lucky to be your mom?” or “Thank you for choosing to come to our family.” And they started saying back things like, “I’m so blessed to have you as my mom.” And let me tell you, I meant what I said, and I feel so loved every time they respond in kind.
What I recognized about tonight is that my feelings have changed about bedtimes. I didn’t always love bedtimes, mostly because I was so exhausted by that point in the day. (Some nights if I’m way too tired, I still am happy to let someone else do bedtime, like my husband, or an older child who is babysitting!) What changed has been trying to implement these good ideas that other mothers in my church suggested. These ideas caught my attention and were planted in my heart and mind. I heard of a mother who said that phrase to her children, and I thought, “Wow. Wouldn’t that feel wonderful to have your mom say that to you?” Now, my mother said so many wonderful things to me growing up, so it wasn’t like I didn’t have a great role model in this area! But I liked the idea of saying this at bedtime. And the other idea I heard about a month ago, of asking about the best part of their day–even the teenagers, has made bedtime that much more enjoyable for me. And it has helped me to get to bed myself, surprisingly. Which sometimes takes some doing! (Just ask my husband.)
So the part that was so great tonight was acknowledging the change that has taken place in our family because of others sharing their good ideas, and us trying to put them to work, one at a time.
People can change.* I have.
*My absolutely favorite movie with this line in it is a little movie called “On the Way Home.” There is a scene in which a father had told a homeless shelter director that he couldn’t help, but later has car trouble and has to use the homeless shelter phone to call for help. It is dinner time, and a little child offers him one of her carrots. The man uses the phone, then apologizes for not helping out earlier. The shelter director responds kindly, “That’s OK. People can change.” This movie is still in print! I just found it online; it’s available for only $4.50. Not bad. But you can probably find an LDS friend who has it and would lend it to you for free :).