Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Your Legacy Gig

Positive parenting. Buzz, buzz, right? Everyone's talking about it. And so it should be. We wouldn’t want to be negatively parenting. But the rules have evolved. Really evolved. Especially if you want to avoid future therapy bills. Parenting now is about being a role model. My childhood was old-school: "Children are to be seen and not heard", "Do as I say not as I do". Yes, being a role model is hugely more challenging. I'm constanting trying to resolve sibling situations with communication and lessons learned. Parenthood. It's a tough gig. But, it goes without saying, if it's your gig, it's your legacy gig. The role of a lifetime. So often I wonder (usually during those not-so-proud mommy moments), how will my kids remember their childhood? I don’t want my legacy to be a dictatorship…(for obvious reasons…Eygpt…Libya - clearly it's frowned upon). It was time to look at our family politics.

So we had our first family meeting. With K and I anxious to share the news, emphasizing the Golden Rule and Brotherly Love, we named our home the "Happy House".  A home focused on compassion, kindness and forgiveness. After explaining "part of the problem" and "part of the solution" scenarios, we provided two options they could choose from should they choose to not be "part of the solution".  Being kids, they chose both! (We couldn't believe our luck). We agreed upon a "pay-your-fine-and-let-it-roll-off-your-back" jar and a teamwork chart earning stickers and rewards. Yes, every effort to get away for cookie bribes.

With a new sense of empowerment, their excitement grew, and after two minutes into the meeting, and sensing their restlessness...not sure what gave it away...the spinning in a circle or the "oh! oh! oh!" (one arm raised school style - which was a curious plus), we opened up the floor for questions.

"Mommy, I have a question. Can we decorate our jars?"

Great question! Easy peasy. Consider it done!

But then we had to think quick on our feet. Pure guerilla style - so organic in nature - we just couldn't believe we didn't see it coming.

"Mommy, what happens to the toys in the fine jar".  Our eyes locked. Uh-oh! ..and then like I'd been sprinkled with pixie dust, and without skipping a beat, my mouth opened up, and said "Of course, you can earn your toys back through the teamwork chart" which was received with "hoorays!" and "woohoos!".

WHAT!? It wasn't exactly how I'd explained their options initially, but I could buy some time and sell it again, new and improved, right? Did I just manage to save myself from a major fall out? I knew what I had just dodged, I could have fueled the worse case of tantrums as they pleaded for their Leapsters back. Most importantly, it would have broken their hearts and ours...and for what? A lesson? Obviously fumbling without a clear gameplan, I hadn't thought this through. But because they offered insight into their priorities, they became part of a solution that worked for everyone.

 Ahhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!                   happy house.

At least today. And that works for me. 

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