As parents, we must find every opportunity to share life lessons with our kids. According to LifeSiteNews.com, “The number of children living in single-parent homes has nearly doubled since 1960, according to data from the 2010 Census.” Single parents are strapped for time. Because of this, our kids sometimes miss out on important life lessons.
One day when I was out back, I heard, “Buck you! “ After about the third outburst, I found myself thinking, “Thank goodness that’s not my kids!” The verbal outburst continued. Suddenly a new outburst came. “Help! Help!”
Clearly, the voice was that of a young child. After several repeats, I moved to the center of the yard to figure out where the voice was coming from. Not a soul was in sight. I stood for a moment pondering the stability of my sanity. Then it came again in a loud shrill. “Help! Help!” The pit of my stomach fluttered. I was really alarmed.
As I turned my head, something on the back fence caught my eye. A big blue bird! As I walked toward it, right before my eyes (and ears) it squealed, “Help! Help! Buck you!” I then spotted a cat on the other side of the fence standing below the bird. Before you ask, yes, this really happened! A big, beautiful blue McCaw was actually sitting on my back fence!
When the cat jumped at it, it spread its wings and flew away. That was the last I saw of the big blue, big mouthed bird. I was, however, still thinking, “Thank goodness that wasn’t my kids talking like that!”
OMGosh! It IS My Kids!
A few days later, I heard the famous, “Buck you,” coming from the backyard. Only this time, upon running out there…yes, you guessed it correctly…I found my 7 year old bouncing on the trampoline shouting her newly found phrase at the top of her lungs! My proud thoughts of “That’s not my kid,” were suddenly transformed into, “OMG! That IS my kid!” This is not just a single parent’s nightmare, it is every parent’s nightmare.
The point of this story is not that big blue birds are a bad influence, however in this case that could be debated. Rather the point is, that as parents, we tend be so consumed with everyday tasks that we dismiss the opportunity to share life lessons with our kids. Sharing is different than telling. As we ate that night, I talked AT my kids. I told them about the bird and what it said. We commented that it was probably somebody’s pet that had gotten loose. I then commanded my kids to help clean up and get into the bath. I never actually slowed down and explained that although the incident was humorous, saying ‘buck you’ is NOT okay.
A Better Approach
Life is too busy to waste time talking about a silly big mouthed bird. Or is it? Here is what I would do differently:
Positive Reinforcement/Praise – After telling the story, I would praise my kids for always behaving in a respectful and appropriate manner. Specifically, I would tell them how grateful I was that it was not either of them shouting, “Buck you!”
Reinforcement of Appropriate Behavior – I would take a minute to remind them that certain words and phrases, even if they are not cuss words, are still inappropriate.
When in Doubt, Leave it Out! This incident is the perfect example of showing kids that if they ever are unsure whether it is appropriate to do or say, just DON’T do or say it!
Prepare for real life scenario – Ask them how they would deal with the situation if it had been their friends shouting inappropriate things in their backyard, or somewhere else.
This is one more example of the need to continue to diversify and multiply from every single experience in life. No matter how busy we are building business, we have to balance it with kids and family; Even when we have a bad day. What experiences have you had that you never even realized would be excellent little life lessons to your kids? Kid stories are the best! Please share in the comments.
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