Wednesday, April 13, 2011

kind words

I love hearing kind words being spoken by my children.

Yesterday in the midst of the morning rush I sent Claire upstairs to start the tub for Lucy.

On my way up to join them I finished packing four lunches and helped Grace figure out some notes in some trouble-spots she was plunking out on the piano.

By the time I got upstairs Claire had Lu in the tub and the very sweetest conversation ensued:

Claire: "Now Lucy, which days do we have our school?" [Claire has taken it upon herself to be Lucy's "home schooling" teacher and has even somehow managed to bring home papers and extra assignments from her real school to assign to Lucy, her feisty little pupil at home.]

Lucy: "Monday and Fffffffffffursday"

Claire: "Yep, Monday and THursday. Which other day?"

[Lucy says nothing, looks at her sister puzzled]

Claire: [with all the enthusiasm she can muster up and her eyes opened really wide] "Sun..."

Lucy: "Sun"

Claire: "day."

Lucy: "day."

Claire: "Yep, Sunday, Okaaaaaay? Now look up for a minute, I'm going to dump water on your head."

[Lucy dutifully obliges]

Claire: "Ok, now let's put your crazy shampoo in OK?

Oh man, I can't really capture the sound of their voices...the caring, big-sisterly intonation in Claire's, the secure, happiness in Lucy's. I'm just so grateful that this girl has SO many helpers who adore her so darn much that all the shenanigans she throws into our family are fully absorbed.
Now, don't go thinking that just because there's extra-heart-melting-sweetness going on that it's all rainbows and butterflies around here.

In fact, our family goal this week is to "speak nicely to each other." We've had some issues we're trying to nip right now before they get worse. We have a "no tolerance" policy for not talking nice and people are breaking it right and left.

Especially these two:I know, I know, that picture has you duped, right? These two are either best friends or worst enemies.

My latest tactic is that each time their voices get a little sassy I start singing "If the Savior Stood Beside You..." (a song from primary at church). As soon as they hear me singing in my very un-skilled, cheesy voice they stop mid-sentence as sheepish grins spread across their faces.

I like being a mom.


  1. this post really helped me, shawni! i had major trouble with faith this week over attitude and not listening, speaking in a not so kind voice to her baby brother! i'm going to show her this post tomorrow and tell her all about your family that is trying to speak kindly this week. love your blog as usual. i too love being a mom!

  2. Looks like Claire will be a great teacher one day!

    I agree, the most rewarding "mom moments" are when we catch those sweet little unprompted conversations.

  3. love the no tolerance policy -- need to know your consequence...I'm searching right now!

  4. so I'd like to know if it is 'no telerance", do they stop when you start singing or is there some sort of punishment?
    Man, it's hard to know what to do. We are working on an overhaul with everything we do at home. We need lots more love and compassion and hard work around here.

  5. So darn sweet my heart is melting.
    When my sisters and I used to argue and fight with eachother, we would get sent to the couch where we would be forced into holding hands for 15 minutes without talking. The clock would start over everytime we said a word or made ugly faces at eachother. It was effective.

  6. I like being a mom too.

    And I like how you changed the word "me" in that Primary song to "you". :)

  7. My girls are the same way. They either LOVE each other or HATE each other! I might have to try the no tolerance policy too!

  8. They are so sweet! Wonderful post. It is hard to capture their sweet voices in a post - but it's not hard to imagine, esp. when you have a little ones of your own. :)

  9. My parents used to sing "Love At Home" whenever we were in a fighting spirit. Funny that we usually heard it while kneeling for family prayer.

  10. Will you expand on your no-tolerance policy and how that works? My son totally struggles {he's 3} with saying "you're mean," "I don't like you," and just tone of voice. We've tried a variety of things and the majority of the time he is a little sweetie, but it's frustrating not knowing what the best way to handle it is. I know consistency is a huge part, so we try to do that. And, I love that primary song & will start incorporating that too! (:

  11. This was a great post. I have two that have a total love/hate relationship. After they have been unkind to each other, I amke them give hugs and then high fives while saying "brothers are pals forever!" (I actually make all 3 of my boys do this whenever there is fighting). It is a bit corny, and my 10 year old is really starting to roll his eyes at it, but I want then to remember that the WILL be each others best friends, forever!
    I guess I will have to change the wording a bit when my daughter gets old enough to fight, though. :)

  12. I have been struggling with the tones lately as well, I so dislike how my older one will start in and then my 2 year old imitates. Remaining calm is key. I like the goal you set for your family, might have to start using a goal for the week around here.

  13. My girls (ages 4 and 5) have just started the whole best friends/worst enemies thing, and it is DRIVING ME NUTS. It breaks my heart to see them fighting and then makes me SO happy to see them being best friends and caring for each other - I feel like I'm on a roller coaster! And I want to get OFF! But from what I hear from other moms of girls close in age... I'm not getting off that roller coaster anytime soon!

  14. Love at home was the song sung around here :). Such a sweet conversation from your girls!

  15. I don't know you, but I wish I did. You're adorable. Your family is adorable. Thanks for spreading that around a bit! We could all use more "adorable" in our lives. I know I can't get enough! Thanks, Shawni.

  16. I LOVE when my kids are kind to each makes up for all the arguments...almost.

  17. Well, the "no tolerance" policy isn't anything extraordinary and is kind of a case-by-case thing. If it's really naughty, we may make them sit on the stairs together until they can tell each other what THEY (themselves) did wrong (NOT the other contributor). Then they give each other a hug. (This is like the "repenting bench" idea from my parents that I love.) In other circumstances we say that the conversation needs to be "started over" using kind words so they can practice being nice. Other times the song does the trick to snap them out of their sassy talk.

    Dave and I are working on it too. If we talk to them in an irritated tone of voice when we're frustrated, of course that's what they'll use when they're bugged with each other too. It's scary how much they learn from us. I just think it's so important to speak respectfully and full of love to children but man alive, it's easy to get a little sassy myself when I'm being ignored or when the jobs don't get done. But it's important enough to practice and make a priority because kind words make a home full to the brim with love.


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