Tuesday, May 26, 2009
The Most Powerful Word
A lot of words have power. Love, hate, friend, enemy. Marriage, parenthood, divorce, death. War, fight, peace, joy. I think different words hold power in different ways for different people. My power word is Choice. If you read yesterday's discipline post, you know already that choice plays a big part in that discipline strategy. Choice holds a lot of power in the way I discipline my kids. I believe in controlled choices- giving 2 options from which to choose, either choice being perfectly suitable. "Would you like to wear your pink shirt or your purple shirt?" vs "What shirt do you want to wear?" "Would you like your eggs scrambled or fried?" vs "What do you want for breakfast?" Of course, Teagan is finding ways around these controlled choices. And I have to admire her honesty and creativity. And she is willing to accept that there are only 2 options to choose from- but it never hurts to negotiate, right? At church on Sunday, I sang with the music team for the very first time. There were only 2 of us leading the congregation in early service and 3 of us for second service. So while I wasn't necessary- I was a nice addition to the very small numbers participating in music team on a holiday weekend. Teagan opted to stand with me at the opening of first service. Then she was off to Sunday School, I had to rehearse, and Jeff and Zach stayed in church. First service ends and Jeff is going to take the kids home while I stay and sing for second service. So Teagan has a choice. "Teagan, you can stay for second service with Mommy OR you can go home with Zach and Daddy." "Maybe... Zappy and Daddy can stay and I can stay and we can all be together?" *melt my heart* Unfortunately, Zach was on his last bit of awakeness and desperately needed to get home to bed. Teagan made her choice to go home (and watch a movie)... and cried on her way out. Tears of true sadness, not manipulation. She had made the choice she wanted out of her options but that didn't mean the outcome was what she wanted. But she managed. She dealt with it. And it was all fine in the long run. But choice holds a lot of power beyond parenting. I look at my everyday life and see so many places where I get to choose, decide and pick. I choose to get out of bed each day. I choose to go to work. I choose how I respond to my kids. I choose to love my husband in words and actions. I choose how I respond to people around me. I can decide to live my life focused on my past. Or I can choose to appreciate the blessings surrounding me right now. I can choose to work through difficult times with Jeff. Or I can decide to let things fester and rot until there is no recovery. Are there consequences to my choices? Of course. If I choose to not go to work... I will eventually get fired, I could face bad annual reviews, I could fall behind on my workload. If I choose loving actions towards my husband, I choose to do my part to strengthen our relationship, to honor and respect him and our family. If I decide that nagging at him is my best course of action, I have to be willing to accept the consequences of how that will impact him, our family, us. Focus on right now. Focus on today. All I have is this moment. All I can choose is what is right in front of me. What's done is done. What's past is past. I can't know what the future holds. So I choose to see the right now. Choice. My power word. My mantra. What's yours?