I should have walked right away. I could feel my heart thumping and my blood beginning to boil. I lost it folks. I wish I could have told you I was patient and calm and nicely asked for it to be cleaned up. Nope, nada...not this time. I yelled. I was not a happy Mom. I told them if I came back after the timer went off and you couldn't see the rug, I was putting the toys in the garbage. Yeah, not Mom of the Year moment for me. I marched myself into the kitchen, punched in the time on the microwave and waited.
I didn't want to throw anything out, I really did not. I wanted to walk back into the room and it be clean. Well, you can probably guess what happened next. The timer went off and the screaming began. This time it wasn't me. It was the girls. They were wailing and I didn't even get into the playroom yet. As I turned the corner, I could already see the mess only it evolved from a huge pile in the middle into little tiny messes in the corners of the room. Yes, you could see the rug plain and clean but not one toy had been put away. Oh, I wish I had taken my blood pressure. Actually, no I'm glad I didn't. I was stumped. They actually stopped me in my tracks and made me wonder, "Was I talking to the wall a few minutes ago?" Then it hit me. I started laughing and I couldn't stop. They were looking at me like I had ten heads. The poor things didn't know if I was going to bust or cry. Then my one daughter started laughing. The other two didn't move. They looked at me wide eyed and confused.
I felt terrible. I sat down and asked them to join me. I calmly explained to them that I was sorry for losing my temper. I explained that the playroom cannot look the way it did when I first came in. We talked about how we need to take care of our toys. Instead of yelling we had a conversation about cleaning up and listening to one another. It was a moment filled with God's grace. I have to be honest I was surprised myself. It felt so much better to calmly have their attention then to be yelling and raising my voice.
It made me realize how important it is to model Grace for my girls. I want our home to be a place where we say, "I'm sorry" and we graciously forgive each other and move on.
It's hard to look at our own behavior and have insight into our mistakes. BUT, we are human and we do make mistakes. Our children mimic us and watch us on a daily basis.
There is nothing more eye opening for me than to hear one of my girls have a sassy tone of voice and know they learned it from either me or my husband. It stops me and it doesn't feel good. It makes me wonder, "WOW, is this the tone of voice my daughters see or hear in me and my husband?" It is an instant wake up call.
It teaches me I need to be aware of how my children see me. If I model God's Grace they will pick it up. I need to teach them how to forgive and how to admit when we are wrong. This isn't to say I won't have days where I won't lose my temper or when I feel impatient. Those days are still going to happen, but now I can make them happen less. Won't you give it a try?
Grace isn't just a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal. It is a way to live. ~ Jacqueline Winspear