Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wait, I'm Still Learning

We had one of those days yesterday.

One of those crappy, crappy days where both parent and child fail to make the best choices.  One of those days where a teachable moment is squandered and instead becomes a lesson for the parent.  One where I whisper at bedtime that I am sorry I am still learning, sorry that they have to endure the days when my on-the-job training is not going very well.

But then those days turn into evenings spent googling parenting advice on how to properly handle our particular challenge.  And as happens when I do this post-parenting-fail-analysis, yesterday I discovered a wealth of wisdom that confirms I had made a list of mistakes while mishandling the situation.  But then - then! - I  found this nugget of brilliance from Anne Lamott called WAIT.

It stands for Why Am I Talking?

Anne's son is a young adult, and a father himself- and her point seemed to be about letting him live his life without imposing her opinions.  But I think it holds true even for the still-little ones.  Even though there is so much to teach, and so much to tell - what sometimes gets lost in our house is listening and understanding, and just as egregiously, leading by example.  As someone genetically-wired to bang on and on when making a point, I love this acronym.

So I am attempting less saying more showing, and less lecturing more listening.  And hopefully the next time adversity strikes, we'll come at it in a better way.

How do you regroup after a tough moment?  Do you apologize to your kids for mishandling a situation?

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