Recently as summer has died down, and siblings reach the squabblemaximus levels of being together all day, I have been drilling this into my boys' little heads...
handle the situation with kindness
It is easier said than done, and after one very poor display of mommy behavior, I was forced to realize, I don't always practice what I preach. Apparently, there is some new math in our home, and I was not prepared for the quiz.
1 carefully packed suitcase
+ 1 excited nine year old boy
+ one week at sleep away camp
= returning home with less than half of the clothes you sent.
I mean, I figured we would lose some socks (four pairs was the final total) and maybe a t-shirt, but when I opened Lincoln's suitcase to see 4 pairs of shorts and 4 t-shirts, as well as underwear, socks, goggles, a towel, etc. gone... let's just say, it was not my brightest parenting moment.
I was mad, flustered, flabbergasted, annoyed, impatient, and just plain ticked off about the situation. I did not handle myself or my son with kindness. Not.At.All.
Do you know how I knew I'd messed it all up? He texted me. From his room. Apparently all my lecturing, which was more harsh than instructive, and my clearly annoyed state, made Lincoln understand... there was no way out. No apology would appease, no regret would salve. Have you ever seen that saying, "If mama ain't happy, ain't no one happy." I have always hated it, and here I had become the poster child for it. The text simply said, "Mom, I am really sorry about the clothes."
That's when it hit me. The are clothes, just CLOTHES. It is not the end of the world. Annoying, yes! Frustrating? You bet! Worth making my kid feel like crap about... um... no.
I didn't handle the situation with kindness.
Kindness would have talked to my son about responsibility, the practical cost of losing clothes, the need to take care of what we have. Kindness would have allowed for him to express remorse, and learn a lesson.
I am embarrassed that I failed so easily. What was left to do? Call him back down, and apologize. Tell him I was wrong, and ask forgiveness.
Want to know the kicker? After all that bru-ha-ha... the camp had 3 of the four outfits in the lost and found. The remaining missing one... A $1 shirt, and $1.50 pair of shorts from the thrift store. Yep.
Folks, don't chew your kid out over a $2.50 cent mistake. And above all... handle the situation with kindness!