Still working on my chapter on knowledge.
In the meantime, consider this…
Still working on my chapter on knowledge.
In the meantime, consider this…
I’ve had this thought;
We finally decided to not shame children anymore by calling them bastards & illegitimate or their mothers “unwed”.
So why are we shaming children of gay parents by calling their parents illegitimate & unwed?
It isn’t the gay parents hurting their children, it’s society’s labels of their parents union that hurts.
“Wrong, immoral, sin, evil, perverted, twisted, ungodly, bestial, comparable to the worse that humans can do.”
Think any of the children want to hear their parents called that?
Words mean things. They hurt people.
Stop saying hurtful things and hurting people.
I’m working on my next chapter about knowledge, but it’s taking some thinking.
Came across this today and thought it was a beautiful example of brothers obviously raised in a loving kind home.
Be prepared for a soul cleanse. The happy tears will be flowing.
I started to write about knowledge being power but realized that before we could talk about it, we needed to talk about communication first. I have to remember I’m an old hat at this but together we are taking baby steps in learning to parent.
Let’s start with nonverbal communication. After all that’s how all of us began learning.
We start by feeling and sensing our way around things. Things and people made us feel happy, excited, bored, afraid, full, warm, and many other things. None of those feelings had a name. We just knew we were more or less comfortable. Our comfort zone as we now call it.
As you take care of your child you begin to start understanding what they are communicating to you. Trust me the more you pay attention to the subtle clues of what they need you to know, the less they will have to go to extraordinary means for you to “get it”.
If you were left helpless, alone in a foreign place you might start asking softly to strangers, “Excuse me, I’m lost” and shrug up your shoulders and try to look bewildered. If the strangers continued to bustle past you, you might wave your arms at someone and say “Help!” clasping your hands together with a pleading look. If they continued to leave you alone and it got dark, you might start screaming at the top of your lungs, “GET ME OUT OF HERE!” and start to cry hysterically.
Your children are helpless foreigners in your world.
Suppose you were lost at sea on a Tropical Island. You’d hope the natives would see your sunburned sandy body and offer you a bath. You’d wish they would assume you were hungry and offer you a banquet of food to try. You’d probably start with the food that appealed to you by sight or smell. You’d take a bite and immediately know whether it was something you wanted more of. You’d point to your bowl and smile. Maybe make a hand motion showing you wanted more in your bowl. On the contrary if you didn’t like it, it might be hard to even hide the look on your face from your hosts. It takes time and practice to hold something you don’t like in your mouth and smile.
You’d be patient with yourself as you learned the language. You would want them to say the words they were trying to teach you over and over again. Clearly and slowly. There would be days you’d be really frustrated that they didn’t understand what you wanted or that you couldn’t understand what they were telling you.
You would become frightened if they kept telling you something louder and louder as if that would help your understanding. You’d make mistakes.
Your baby will have those days. It’s your job to never give up trying to understand what they need you to know and teaching them how to communicate with the rest of us on the island.
I’m a natural talker. It wasn’t hard for me to narrate life. I’m still wording the experience as we go. The more you talk around your children and describe what you are doing, the sooner they will have words to use. And the sooner they have words to use, the easier communication can become.
But there is still a lot of communication happening before that.
Touch might be the first language. Kisses and hugs and caresses feel good. It’s hardwired in us. Being held by someone you love never loses its appeal. We feel safe and protected and not alone!
One of my prouder teen moments was when I was working in my dad’s pediatric office. A new mother came in and her baby was inconsolable in her arms. I took the baby from her and holding it like I had been taught, the baby calmed down. The baby could sense that I wasn’t afraid. I wasn’t trembling. I was holding it firmly and confidently. I rocked it in a soothing way that the baby might have been use to in the womb. I held it close. I didn’t have a worried look on my face. I was smiling and cooing.The new mother was amazed.
The more your baby feels safe, the more confident they become. The tone and words you use to describe new things and experiences can shape their view of them.
Be careful how you tease and laugh at your baby’s fits and starts at things. If you mock your child, they are going to shy away. Those words and tones you are using aren’t giving them much comfortable feedback. If you are smiling and praising even their smallest attempts they will try again! We are wired to enjoy praise.
Honey going further than vinegar is true of children too.
Your children are born little body language readers. They are reading every grimace, sideways glance, and sigh of dismay and disappointment you make. When you are obviously upset and you tell your child, “Nothing’s wrong” they get confused. They KNOW something is wrong. They will learn one of two things; that you are supposed to lie about your feelings or their gut feeling about the truth of things is wrong.
You don’t want that. We are trying to teach our children the truth of all things.
If you are upset, you tell them you are upset. Then you might say how much better you’d feel with a hug. They’ll hug you and you WILL feel better.
Let your children comfort you back when you need it. Sometimes we feel alone and we can tell them that. “I was feeling alone and discouraged. Thank you for that hug. Mommy feels stronger now.”
We are in this together. We want our children to be compassionate and comfort those they perceive are hurting. If you rebuff them and their ability to comfort you , you are robbing them of practice in comforting people. You teach them their natural instinct to comfort is awkward and wrong and that’s it’s shameful to need help and be vulnerable.
As they grow, their vocabulary grows. You’ll be able to ask them more and more to use their words. “I know you are upset, I see you crying. But can you help me understand why? Tell me with your words what’s wrong.”
You will also have been using the words please and thank you. Especially if you care what society and grandma will think of your children.
Although we may think please comes first, it doesn’t. Please is a request. We don’t have much we can actually request from them at this point. It’s about being grateful for what they do.
“Thank you for putting your toys away” “Thank you for being soft with the kitty” “Thank you for using your words to help mommy understand”
Please comes in a lot of tones and is harder to learn. Asking isn’t a privilege between us and our children. They may need to ask the shop owner politely, but they should just have to ask us. Holding anything they need above them saying, “Say please.” is wrong and degrading.
“Mommy I’m hungry, I need some food” isn’t a rude request. Eventually as they hear us say it, it will become second nature don’t worry, but I’m more concerned how WE say please.
“PLEASE stop that!” Can’t screech or yell please.
“Pul-eeze, are you kidding me?” Can’t be sarcastic.
“Please, please, pleeeeese!” It’s supposed to be a polite word, not a grating nag or whine. We aren’t teaching begging. In a perfect world no one would have to beg for their needs.
Please and thank you are some of our first words that represent ideas. You can’t point to a please and thank you. That’s why we use words and don’t just continue to grunt and gesticulate. Words have power to communicate invisible things and feelings.
They have creative power.
According to Judeo/Christian tradition the world was made by the WORD of God. He just said it and it was so. He said “Let there be light” and there was light.
He created with his words. He chose the right words. He was specific. He never said things he didn’t mean.
Mormon theology holds that we may someday in the afterlife be creators of worlds with our words too. Like the best things we learn in all religions, it doesn’t matter whether it happens in the afterlife or not. Truth works NOW. We already do create worlds with our words.
Maybe that IS what all this practice is for. Perhaps before we have the power to truly create our own worlds we need to get all our bad and impulsive writing out-of-the-way! There are many worlds I’ve entered in books and films that I am grateful stay there.
The Bible has much to say about choosing your words wisely and of their power.
Matt 12 :36 reads,
“But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment”
The softer revised version simple states, “Man will be judged for every careless word he utters.”
No wonder I’ve been nervous to start a blog! I took that to heart. I truly believe in what I’m saying and why I called this KT’s Kind Words. We CAN hurt people with what we say. Even if we don’t intend too. If we pass on words to others that we don’t know to be true we could harm someone.
Matt 5:11 says,
“Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”
Read that one over again. Not the pork, the wine, or the marijuana. It’s the words coming out of your mouth past your heart that make you dirty and not fit for a peaceable kingdom.
My children were taught early on that their words had power. I was teaching them with the assumption that they might be gods one day. If you are God and you say “Damn this hammer!” after you hit your thumb with it, there goes your hammer. Off to freeze in hell.
If they said “Damn you, mother” I’d be gone. Better watch who and what you are damning. And be careful who you ask your God to damn too!
There is a lot of contention in homes about the language our teenagers use. We don’t want them using profanity. But do we really know what profanity is?
characterized by irreverence or contempt for God or sacred principles or things; irreligious
We have to be careful when we call things profane that aren’t.
I was a mother that would correct even visiting children to say, “Oh, my gosh”. I’d explain to my children that we respected His name. And as for using it in vain I explained, just like the boy crying wolf, it was important to mean it when you called on the name of the Lord. Just like calling your mother’s name. You better really want something if you’d made her come running.
But those other words we call profane? The word s%*t and a#%hole I would explain are just ugly words. I don’t want to picture either of them. Please find a prettier word. But if they wanted to say it to themselves in their room? Go ahead. You are going to ask them to not do a lot of things. Words in their room alone is not a necessary battle.
I believe in teaching them those words none of us should use. Hateful words. I explained why they are hateful and why they hurt.
And of course there is the F word.
That word puts up a wall between so many people. I just never let it bother me. I may have enjoyed it on an occasion to be honest. When you hear someone say that word, they are expressing emotion. It’s almost a nonverbal word. It’s a grunt.
But I don’t find it profane. I don’t think people are disparaging God when they use it. They are more often expressing incredulity about the actions of their fellow-man.
Don’t let that word stop the communication between you and your children.
Have a talk about the words we use in mixed company and polite society. You may explain there are different languages people speak in different arenas. But the word isn’t evil and saying it doesn’t make you evil.
And you continue to teach them other words. The more words they know, the more clearly they can express themselves. The more they will understand what people are saying to them.
My oldest son and I love talking about words. Even in the midst of an argument.
“You just said something. I take that word to mean that. Is that what you meant?”
“No, I meant this”
“Well, that word doesn’t mean that, this word does.”
“Oh. Maybe we don’t disagree after all”
Then we high five to mutual understanding and clear communication.
The point of words.
Once they know the words we can teach them what we know.
That knowledge is creative power.
And that’s the next post!
Ps. I would kindly suggest if you like what you read and haven’t read the rest of my blog that you start with the post https://ktskindwords.com/2013/12/28/begin/. I’m writing a book backwards.
I think the only discipline worth having is self-discipline. Do any of us like being told what to do and when?
As I began to write this morning, it occurred to me that discipline must come from the Latin for disciple.
A disciple I thought is someone in training to become what their master is. Like Jesus and his disciples.
I looked it up.
Dictionary.com had this to say:
1. training to act in accordance with rules; drill: military discipline.
2. activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training: A daily stint at the typewriter is excellent discipline for a writer.
3. punishment inflicted by way of correction and training.
4. the rigor or training effect of experience, adversity, etc.: the harsh discipline of poverty.
5. behavior in accord with rules of conduct; behavior and order maintained by training and control: good discipline in an army.
Way down on the bottom it did say:
So I was right.
But I’m going to go with definition #2.
Activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training.
I’ll add that #1 is a close second!
Training to act in accordance with rules.
Children need to know the rules. I also tended to teach my children which rules they could break.
ALWAYS stop on red.
SOMETIMES it’s ok to not brush your teeth.
ALWAYS say please and thank you.
SOMETIMES it’s ok to have desert before dinner.
Remember, I’m talking about raising children here.
There is no NEED for military discipline.
We PRAY they are spared from the discipline of poverty,
and about the last definition ” punishment”,
see previous post.
Short answer, DON’T.
See previous post.
Short answer, it’s not our job.
We are here to HELP our children find the strength of character to become SELF-disciplined.
They need to get themselves up, get themselves dressed.
Attend to their own bodily functions.
And feed themselves.
Most of us in countries where obesity is epidemic, know that we do a LOT of emotional eating.
Our mothers, not knowing what to do with their anxiety, let alone their children’s, do what most of them know how to do, they COOK.
They are occupied and busy so their anxiety goes down.
But now they have made food that SOMEBODY has to eat!
Luckily, for my children I didn’t like to cook.
Matthew 4:4 says,
“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
Their father was the bread maker and short order cook and I was their huggable mother and Guru.
When they would come to me upset about anything, we’d talk about it.
Sometimes their problems were an easy fix.
They didn’t know the resources they had available to them. I’d do anything I could to help fix it or find someone who could.
Then there were the times there was no fix. It was just the pain of growing up in the world.
After letting them vent until the story had been repeated 2 or three times, I’d say,
“Take a hot bath, and go to bed. If you still feel this way in the morning, we’ll see what we can do.”
Off they’d go with their heart lighter because they had vented.
IMPORTANT part parents!
It might make you uncomfortable to hear your child is suffering but you have to let them tell you!
Telling them, “Oh, don’t be silly. You aren’t weird, fat, skinny, short, tall, slow, clumsy or any of the other 1000 ways our children hurt each other.” doesn’t help.
They’ve heard it. They have been called it.
Because the other children listen to their parents judge and condemn others and belittled themselves and their children. They repeat mean things that they hear.
Your child’s embarrassment, shame and hurt are REAL.
But ninety nine percent of the time they woke up like we ALL do. Feeling MUCH better and ready to take on the new day.
HINT: Don’t necessarily ask them in the morning if they are still obsessing over the thing they talked about last night! Good chance it’s forgotten!! And though they hate to hear it, a lot of it is hormones.
There was a morning my child was acting ill and I knew he wasn’t. I probed and probed and discovered he was scared and nervous because he had to play his String Bass in front of the class and wasn’t prepared.
Can anybody relate to THAT feeling?
Guess what I did. I said,
“You have permission to go to the nurse with your stomach ache at Orchestra period. There is no need to miss the whole day because of the fear of one class.”
When the nurse called, I let her know,
“I’ve let him go to you because he is afraid. No, I’m not picking him up, send him to class in an hour.”
Of course my son couldn’t believe I’d told her the truth. But that’s a future post.
We need to emotionally feed our children…
They want your arms and UNDERSTANDING not chips!
Now on the self-discipline building and practical side of not feeding your children in excess of their nutritional needs.
You may ask your kid to clean their room until the cows come home and they will willfully and happily sit on that pile of clothes texting their friends until you’re blue in the face.
Grandpa Dr. always said,
“Your child’s room should not be included on the tour you give your friends. It’s their room. Close the door”
BUT, don’t make lunch for them?
You’ll hear about it.
That’s when self-discipline comes in!
You let them make it themselves or at least ask for it.
My two-year old knew how to make peanut butter crackers.
I use to say he’d be the child that would be sitting on my undiscovered dead body with the crackers and peanut butter jar. And he’d be using a fork because that’s the best way to put peanut butter on a cracker.
I don’t put a lid on my peanut butter, at least not a tight one.
You have to have things available for your children to get to. Which is why you are still in charge of what they eat.
If you have carrots and celery sticks in the veggie drawer, that’s what they will eat when they get HUNGRY enough.
You can’t be afraid to let them get hungry! That’s KEY. They should only be eating because they ARE hungry!
Grandpa Dr. used to tell mothers all the time,
“Your kids will balance their nutrition on their own. Maybe they do only want to eat potatoes for a few days, it’s ok.”
You ever binge for a while on something?
Kids are not machines. They may not want to eat when you feel like feeding them.
If feeding becomes a cooperative act between the two of you, life is much easier and you get to be lazy.
I don’t make food my children won’t eat. I don’t like waste. But it’s me wasting it not them, if I’ve cooked something they have said “no thank you” to.
I know all the parents out there that had to eat what was on their plate and every last bit of it.
It’s the 21st century people! Is it really so hard to make dinner a little more accommodating?
If you are eating something that your child doesn’t like, is it really so hard to scramble an egg? Haven’t met a child yet who didn’t eat scrambled eggs.
Remember, we are here to show our children that we care about THEM. Their tastes, their needs, their dreams.
If you read,
then you know I was a VERY picky eater. I’m SO grateful my father just let me live on peanut butter and tuna sandwiches.
He didn’t yell at me or tell me I was ungrateful. He just let me eat a sandwich while everyone else was eating whatever they ate.
He didn’t shame me. He didn’t send me from the table. He didn’t make me eat something I didn’t like so I’d start some horrid cycle of eating and purging.
He didn’t make food a fight.
The other thing parents do.
EAT THIS OR ELSE!
Or else what? You’ll hurt me after I have thrown it all up?
Grandpa Dr. used to say,
“The only ways pre-verbal children can rebel are to clamp their mouth shut and squeeze their bottom!
They want control of what goes in and when it comes out.”
And you WANT them to have control!
We may have to force them to do what we want them to do, but the things they need to do, they are pretty excited about mastering.
Isn’t that what discipline was for? To help us become like our master?
Did you ever feel kinder after someone shamed you?
The other thing everyone tells parents is,
“They’ll do what they see you do.”
I didn’t make my earlier children do many communal chores. (The pendulum has swung back a little for the last one.)
They would help me, but they didn’t really have anything they were responsible for.
I figured if I just went around quietly picking up and rinsing off dishes etc. They’d SEE me doing it and would do it eventually.
Eventually, my 4.6 GPA , 16th in her high school class daughter was washing her clothes before going to BYU. She had used 3 times the soap required for her small load.
We all know what that does.
But not her.
Guess I really hadn’t taught her do the wash before she left.
But trust me she was working. You don’t get a 4.6 slacking off.
And she knew she was supposed to have clean clothes when she left. And since that load she has washed all her own clothes.
The last story I’ll tell is how I got my 13-year old boy to get up for school with little complaint or little help.
Started in Kindergarten.
It helped because he slept with me then (future post), but I would get up and get a bowl of cereal and bring it back to bed. I’d wake him up quietly and then remind him there was milk on his cereal and if he didn’t want it soggy he needed to wake up and eat it.
He’d roll over, sit up and take the bowl. I’d crawl back into bed. We’d watch EXACTLY 20 minutes of any TV show he wanted. After that he had to hop up and go potty. You know if you start eating something in the morning your bowels start working too. This is where you get to teach your own routine.
Some of my kids would regularly go after school. When I had 6 of us living in a house with one bathroom, we couldn’t all relax for 20 minutes in the morning.
But a couple can, and a couple in the afternoon and mom goes when she hears the bus door close.
It’s a family problem.
Maybe little Suzy gets first dibs because she hasn’t learned self-control. Seniority is NOT always the way to go. But oldest does get shot-gun seat.
Back to our disciplined morning.
He had 20 minutes to go potty. (Always have reading material there!)
As he became older he wanted to shower every morning.
That’s a good thing.
I always made my children bathe at night, so the sheets staid cleaner longer.
But they could have a quick wake up shower in the morning.
But he split up his potty time. He decided how long he stayed in the shower now or sit on the pot.
I’d be shouting the time as we’d go.
“Son, it’s 6:40am. Get out of the shower!”
Then he had 10 minutes to get dressed and 10 minutes to brush his teeth and grab his school work.
And he was out the door.
There were mornings he cried after we did all that and I would calmly drive him to school and answer all his excuses with,
“We’ll see after school. Bye honey.”
He would dry his eyes and get out. There was no way THIS lazy mom would EVER take a clean, fed, dressed child back home.
And now he is 13.
We watch Survivor together, 20 minutes at a time.
(DVR greatest invention EVER!! I NEVER watch commercials. ALL my watching is by CHOICE not chance.)
The other morning he showed up at my door when MY alarm went off.
All dressed and ready to walk to school.
Another alarm went off!
“NO Tanner, I’ll still take you. I don’t trust your self-discipline enough that you’ll get yourself there on time. But come sit on my bed and we can watch ALL of Survivor.”
I’ll stop. Not because I don’t have more to say, but because I’m trying to be disciplined in my writing. I’m trying to write a book one blog at a time. Starting with those things I think most important. Forgive all the self referencing links, but I’m trying not to get boring or repeat myself. It’s hard writing a book people are reading backwards.
Your children are YOUR disciples. Remember how kind, patient and forgiving He was to his.
But go you and learn what that means, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice…
He doesn’t want you to beat up your kids to do ANYTHING.
He doesn’t want you to beat yourself up. No flogging, no sackcloth.
I’ll talk about punishment in the next post.
Be me kind,
We all have expectations of our children.
Many people have children that they hope will help them farm or carry on a family business. Maybe be the first one to go to college or to follow in their footsteps to their Alma-mater. We hope they will give us grandchildren. Take care of us in old age.
I had MY kids because I was determined to grow a people that understood and loved me. The “I Hate Katie Club” from 3rd grade still chanted in the back of my head. My relationship with my mother and been very strained. I set out to prove if you treated children with love and respect they’d love you. A “We Love KT Club”.
I got the love I expected but I failed to account for the fact that if you do your job right, your children grow up and go away. The new “We Love KT Club” wasn’t going to be living with me forever.
I also realized that even though MY needs for love were met, I’d put five individuals on their own path to find love and fulfillment in a sometimes cold, scary world and they’d have to do it on their own.
My good friend in elementary school had a developmentally challenged sister. She was older than we were but still wore diapers. The effort her mother had to go through changing her made a real impression on me.
I began to think, if I had a special needs child I’d be SO grateful if they could wipe their bottom and feed themselves.Those two tiny things would make my work as a mother so much easier.
So, I began to have the attitude that my job really was to prepare my children to feed themselves and clean up after themselves. If they could do that EVERYTHING else was a bonus.
The metaphor worked because in the big picture all their growth was towards these goals. If they got an education or developed and extraordinary talent it meant they would be feeding themselves better and perhaps could pay others to clean up after them!
But those were the basic responsibilities we had as citizens. Feed yourself and don’t make a mess.
So, the next time you find yourself asking more and more from your children, reflect on what they have ALREADY accomplished.
Count your blessings if they walk, talk, smile. Don’t wait until your child has received the good grades before you love them for all they are NOW.
Appreciate your children the way a special needs mother does. Appreciate that you aren’t changing diapers. That they CAN carry their plates to the sink.
As my children grew, there have been times when I thought,”Whoa I’ve taken this too far and I haven’t expected enough.”
But It’s not their job to be here to please me. I forced them into this world, it’s MY job to give them every help and encouragement I can to find their way.
Do I still feel blessed to have my Mars Rovers out there reporting back to me what they have learned and observed? Yes, but that’s a bonus not a right.
My children are everything I could hope for and expect.
Loving, compassionate, curious souls that delight me everyday.
And they are clean and fed. 🙂
Proof that I’ve been thinking on these things for awhile, Circa: May 2007
Before that I was having children.