My immediate reaction was to smile and think to myself, “How did she get to be so grown up and so smart in seven short years?” My second thought was this: How often did my kids wish I would have rephrased things so they were easier to understand or more pleasant to listen to?
Fast-forward a couple of weeks to a memory my daughter Emma and my daughter in-love, Becca were sharing. I’m not sure how the subject came up, but the memory was that of a seven year-old Emma getting in trouble for sneaking a change of clothes to school because she didn’t like the choices I’d given her.
I honestly don’t remember the incident, but they both did. It went something like this…I’d given Emma a choice between two sets of clothes to wear to school (something I often did until they were around eight or displayed the ability to choose appropriately for the weather, etc.).
Apparently Emma didn’t like the choices I’d given her so she sneaked a change of clothes into her book bag and changed when she got to school. Well it just so happened that I had to drop something off at the school that day and met Emma in the hallway. Emma and Becca both remember Emma getting in trouble for the incident. From Emma’s (then) seven year-old perspective, she was getting in trouble for wearing something I hadn’t okayed. But knowing my thought process, that wasn’t it. The reason she got in trouble was because of her dishonesty. Sneaking and lying never did and never will cut it with this Momma.
Emma’s bag lady routine happened nearly fourteen years ago and like I said, I don’t remember it. But I’ve thought about it quite often every day since she and Becca brought it to my attention a few days ago. Why? Because I didn’t rephrase my words and attitude so it would make more sense to my little girl. She missed the message entirely and I let it happen.
Don’t let it happen to you and your kids. Make sure they get the real meaning behind what you are saying. And if they don’t say, “Let me rephrase that so it makes more sense.”
Copyright 2016 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author