Every day I am inspired by nuggets of wisdom from Vicki Hoefle, Creator of the Parenting On Track™ program.
Yesterday it was. “If you want your children to have faith in their abilities, first you, the parent, must believe in their abilities.” I have heard this 100s of times and yesterday I experienced its power.
Here is how it played out.
My husband was away on business and I offered to drive the older kids (13 & 15) to town before school, so they could meet some friends for breakfast. I would come back home and make another trip to drop off the younger ones (9 & 6) at the elementary school.
The morning was humming along – kids in the shower, getting ready…5 minutes before I am scheduled to leave, I announce to the two youngest, that I will be leaving with the two oldest and back in time to drive them to school.
The 9 year old – starts to pitch a fit – I mean pitch one. I had a moment where I thought “I have to tape this, because nobody will believe this is happening – I don’t believe this is happening.” She is screaming, “I can’t do it, I NEED your help.” Now mind you – I have been teaching this child the skills necessary to get out of the house on time, prepared for school in the morning since she was 2 and she has been practicing for the past 3 years, solo. I really have not “helped” this child for the past 3 years, in any aspect of her morning routine.
I personally have practiced the skills of disengagement, as she has on occasion attempted to draw me in with her “cheap” drama. She is an amazing dramatic actress. Now for those of you who don’t believe that these types of fits are cheap drama, and that this poor child needed her mother to tend to her…..read on.
I stick to my word, as we are a family that practices following through. And I tell my daughter that I have faith in her abilities and that I have no reason to believe she can not handle preparing herself for the morning. I attempt to kiss this child who really looks like she is in the middle of an exorcism – and am forced to retreat in order to avoid a kick to the belly. She is invested – full body invested.
I kiss my other child who is sitting on the big overstuffed chair by our woodstove, looking very cozy I might add and watching her older sister intently.
I lock the door behind me and head out.
As I am driving back into our driveway some 25 minutes later and about 45 seconds from the door, I call from my cell phone.
“Hey babe, it’s Mom.”
“Hi Mommy, we are having a snack of hot chocolate, grapes, cheese and pretzels.”
“Excellent, what else do you have to do to be ready for school?”
“Oh nothing, just clean up our snack, put on our boots and our coats.”
“Ok, do you think you can do that in 30 seconds?”
“Ok, I’ll meet you outside of the mudroom door.”
“Ok” she says. “Do you have the key?” she asks.
“Why yes, yes I do.”
“Ok good, because I will make sure the door is locked and don’t want you to be locked out when you get home.”
“Thanks, I’ll see you soon”
I am so grateful for these girls. I appreciate how resilient, clever, tenacious, and capable they are. As powerful as this moment was for us, it’s entirely possible that 4 days from now, when we come together for our regularly scheduled Family Meeting, I will have no memory of it and I will forget to appreciate these amazing daughters of mine. So, I will take the necessary steps to imprint this memory in my being and remember it for Saturday.
In May of this year, I will have access to an amazing iphone app developed by Anna Rosenblum Palmer of winwinapps inspired by Parenting On Track™. This app will be called Marble Jar and will have a Bright Spot feature that will enable me to record this moment on my phone and easily access it tomorrow or 4 days from now at our Family Meeting. Imagine being able to stop & record the remarkably wonderful things our children do, rather than always trying to figure out how to fix the mistakes they make? Priceless and soon to be available at your fingertips.
Yowza!! I have practiced for the past 10 years showing faith in my kids and trusting in their abilities along with taking the time to train and support them and it is paying off in spades. I am so grateful that I was able to let go of & look past the screaming, the kicking, and the near miss to my abdomen and walk away.
I was reminded AGAIN, of how capable my kids are at getting themselves ready in the am and of their attempts, to at times, convince me otherwise when they are feeling discouraged. I am also reminded that the best thing you can do for capable kids – is step aside (get out of the way) and watch them soar!