Wednesday, June 8, 2011

another beautiful mess.

Yesterday the boys entertained a couple of young, female guests. It's amazing how trouble multiplies when they're aiming to impress.

The five, young monkeys threw everything from the upstairs rooms (including all their clothes, my clothes, blankets, pillows, their books, my books, toys, my project supplies, hangers, and diapering stuff that they could get their hands on) down the stairwell.

I didn't take a picture. I was too grumpy.

I'm pretty sure their girlfriends are scared of me now. I was nice though, to them, and I politely told them that I knew they didn't understand the rules of respect we kept at our house, so they weren't responsible for the consequence. They watched a movie.

Meanwhile I marched those rotten boys up and down the stairs for hours, all the time lecturing. Mostly about the golden rule. And I asked them A LOT if they were having fun (no), so did they ever plan on doing this again (no).

Their excuse was that they were "making a trap." So I talked about the difference between a "well conceived trap" and a "pile of crap." I called them lazy trap makers which, to them, was the most offensive moment of the whole experience.

You see, it's not about the messes. I like messes, and I make them all the time myself. It's the respect issue. I'm set on raising children who think about how their actions effect (or affect? I don't get that rule) other people. They can use my things. If they ask. And if I say yes. And I offer them the same courtesy. Plus, I need them to take responsibility for the choices they make, even if those choices only involve themselves or their things. They need self-respect.

Oh yeah, we also had the chance to talk about the consequences of caving to peer pressure, toddler style. So that was interesting.

And then, as they worked very hard to clean it all, we had a wonderful conversation about mistakes, and being sorry, and unconditional love. We talked about making things right the best we can and trying to change our behaviors in the future. Sparky asked me if I wished I didn't have any kids, which I thought was an incredibly astute question. I patted his cheek and told him I would never want to be without him. It's worth every moment of tedious slave-driving.

I'm actually very thankful for the opportunity we had to talk about such important concepts when the problem was, in the grand scheme of things, quite trivial. Maybe when the stakes are higher they'll access the wisdom gained here. Perhaps when their personal safety is on the line, or another citizen's property comes into play.

I'm sure we'll have all sorts of adventures in poor choices through the years, especially when it comes to impressing girls, but it will be alright thanks to that unconditional love thing, and continued faith in and effort toward one another.

PS. Thank you Crystal for inspiring me to pull out the paints! Creation can be even more fun than demolition!


Holly Bierly Young said...

I think this is one of my favorite posts. I giggled just a little. You are a good mom. :) I'm glad they cleaned up their "trap." I recently discovered the beauty of using water colors with my second graders. Such fun!

robin said...

affect: A = action, when affect is a verb
effect: it's a noun

and you are an inspiration! i need to be more like you. i sing your praise!

joolee said...

ah yes, paints are a staple in our house. we go through them like crazy!

and even though you said you were grumpy, i bet i would have been SUPER, EXTRA grumpy had that happened in my house. you handle things so well with your boys! i so admire you. having an emotional girl (and then a boy that acts like his big sister because that's what he's seen) throws me for a loop...i grew up around brothers with two sisters that came much later, so i feel like i should be raising a herd of boys! but i guess my Father up there knows what will teach me patience and love. :) girls.

Bridget said...

What a blessing you are to your boys!

Crystal said...

Creation is definitely more fun! Paint is a mess worth cleaning up : ) I take inspiration from your parenting. I usually just stay grumpy : ( Here's to fun messes!