Written by contributor Jena of Yarns of the Heart
I‘ve been reading through my journals lately. A little over fourteen years ago, here’s what my four-year-old Missa (the one in the red shirt) said to me over dinner:
“You should say you’re sorry for yelling at me about the ice cream.”
I kissed her and said I was sorry.
“If you want to make me cry, just yell at me.”
A little later she said, thoughtfully, “Just because you yell at me doesn’t mean you don’t love me, right? You’re teaching me things I need to learn, right?”
A few minutes later she said, “I take back all the I-hate-you’s I wrote today. But I don’t take back the I-love-you’s.”
I smiled and said, “And I know you still love me even when you say you hate me. You are just mad.”
“Yeah,” she said. “I’m just angry and frustrated.”
She was a very verbal little four-year-old!
This story made me laugh and cry at the same time. I called Melissa right away (who is now 18 and in college) and read it to her. She thought it was cute and that yes, she loves me, no matter what.
My kids helped me learn how to see the world through their eyes. They are constantly looking for love and security, reassurance that they are accepted in the little group that lives in their house.
My reaction to the ice cream incident (whatever that was) made her mad and made her doubt that I loved her. But the rest of our relationship made her question that conclusion. I’m glad she felt comfortable enough to confront me about it. And I’m glad that I was humble enough to apologize and affirm her.
Over the years, I worked on how I responded to my kids, and being with them all day, every day gave me lots of practice! Not only did I have to teach them how to treat each other, I had to model right behavior.
One of my favorite sayings in the Book of Proverbs is “A gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger.” We all memorized it and tried to live it.
Today my kids would probably tell you that I never yelled at them, and that’s the beauty of love and time. Listen to your kids and be honest with yourself.
Homeschooling has something to teach moms too.
What have you learned from your kids lately?