Thursday, August 2, 2012

Everybody's Learning

When I was a child, I thought I would know everything when I grew up.

When I was a teenager, I thought my brilliance had arrived early.

When I hit my 20s, I realized I knew NOTHING and better learn quick.

When I was in my 30s, I began teaching others how to go potty, walk, and write their letters.

Now as I approach my 40s (key word - "approach"), I realize everyone is always learning.

This morning, the kids wanted to learn how to mow the lawn.  It is supposed to be 97 here today, and they did not have to twist my arm to teach them.  All three kids took turns mowing the perimeter, learning how to turn the mower, line up the wheels, and let the self propel feature do its job.  They did great, and they were all three thrilled to learn a new skill.

Later, Calvin (who is tired and still recovering from the trip) began to slip into a funk.  Everyone has bad days, but I have learned that once Cal starts down that pessimistic road, it is very difficult to get it turned around.  I admit - I don't always know how to help him.  After it amped up a degree he and I headed to his room to see what we could do to calm it down.  He confessed, frustrated, that he doesn't know how to stop growing in grumpy when he starts to feel like that.  I confessed that I didn't know for sure how to help him either.  Together we decided what didn't work in the past (raised voices, stomping, etc.) and threw out some ideas to try.  Here are our two new rules we are trying when we get frustrated:

Rule #1:  When angry or frustrated, do not say anything bad about yourself.
Rule #2:  When angry or frustrated, find a dog and pet him until you feel calm.

Sounds fairly simple, but it took us awhile to stumble across a good path forward.  (I nixed his suggestion I tape his mouth.  241-KIDS.)  He tried our two new rules, and today it worked.  Within about 10 minutes he was back to his cheery, content still unique, but a lot of fun self.

I don't know if this will work every time, but at least we have a plan.  We're learning.

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