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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Safety Consultant

We do everything in our power to make sure our kids are safe, don’t we?

Our infants don’t sleep on their tummies, we fit the babies in their car seats, and we make sure our houses are “baby proof.”

As our children grow older, we teach them how to cross the street, how to ride a bike (with a helmet – safety first!), and to be wary of strangers.

But sometimes we end up coddling instead of teaching. We end up being the master of the word “Don’t” instead of “Do!”

There’s no doubt when kids are little they need our assistance, but as they grow older, they need to learn boundaries and that there are consequences for their actions.

A friend of mine once gave me some priceless advice. She said, “I say yes as much as I can, so when I say no, they know I mean it.”

Though she was talking about play dates and cell phones and saying yes to friends, introspectively I began to apply this to other things as well. I tried to apply her wisdom to things that happened around the house.

Instead of “don’t touch that!” I’d try to say, “Is that a good choice?” or Love and Logic’s favorite, “uh oh.” Sometimes it was successful, sometimes it wasn’t.

(Hint: Screaming, “Don’t touch that!” when your little angel has your favorite crystal vase already in his greasy little hands is not a good idea. It ends up in a million pieces anyway. At least from experience it did.)

But I noticed a change in me too. I slowly became more patient and more positive. It worked for quite a while, but one day I noticed I was getting away from it. “Don’t” showed up more often in my vocabulary, and with it a negative change in my children’s behavior. They became more combative with me. They listened less and seemed to take great pleasure in doing the opposite of what I had just asked.

I recommitted myself to finding that positive energy again.

Recently, my husband shared some information he read in a golf book. He said that the human brain responds immediately to “don’t.” If you’re a golfer, you’ll understand this next example.

Teeing up, the golfer notices there is water on the right. He says, “Don’t put it in the water.” And where does that ball end up? Exactly. Plop! Right in the water. My husband explained that our brains focus on the negative. So in the golfer example, it’s best to tell yourself what you DO want to do, not what you don’t.

WOW! Where was that research when my kids were all little? It explains why when I said “Don’t,” they went and did exactly what I just asked them not to do.

So my friend’s advice still stands firm. Be positive as much as you can, so when you have to say no, it means something.

I believe it applies to the crystal vase just as much as it does to a heart. If it’s precious, be quiet, be resourceful, and be positive.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Medical Assistant

Translation: Boo-boo Healer

We ache for our children don’t we?

When they fall and skin their knee, what is a child’s first reaction? Look to mom. Find mom. She will make it better. And we try with all our might. It is the first teaching of unconditional love.

It is hugely important for our children to know unconditional love. Each child experiences Divine love through the conduit of their parents’ first love. In fact, that is how a child learns to love. The measure in which they learn love and learn to love will be the measure by which they will be able to love as adults.

So in some respects, the job of Medical Assistant is more than just affixing a band-aid to a skinned knee. It is the ability to translate an unfathomable and incomprehensible value. If a mother can help heal a physical hurt and love beyond measure, then perhaps it is possible that One greater, Jesus, can heal the unseen wounds in our heart.

In other words, we teach hope. We teach faith. We teach compassion. We teach forgiveness. Is anything else more important?

Our children will grow. They will fall, they will hurt. And every time they do, all, we want to sweep them up into our arms and whisk them away from the big bad world. In our hearts we know such an endeavor is an illusion, but we try anyway.

Consider the following this weekend. Read one of the gospels and focus on the Passion of Jesus. Think of his mother and his Father.

Imagine Mary’s pain as she sees her son suffer. She stood at the cross helpless to do anything. She was human. She could not console. No band-aids would heal the wounds. But she could provide her presence.

Imagine the Father’s pain. He sent his Son on this mission. How painful was it to hear the words, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” How difficult was it to not want to reach out and save His Son?

And yet, without that ultimate sacrifice of the Son of God, we would not know the joy of everlasting life.

Lead your child to that hope, that faith, that compassion. Bring the promise of love, even when it hurts. The benefits are eternal.