Transform Your Parenting from Cranky to Joyful
- Friday, June 09, 2006
When our oldest three closely-spaced children were younger, and I still felt like an inexperienced mother, I found there were times when I would be tired, or busy, or something and I just wouldn't enjoy the children so much. I loved them dearly, but my heart was heavy with seemingly too much to do – with so many little hands and no big hands to help me. This action, that attitude, another squabble – all slowly etched away at the surface, threatening to take me down.
Searching my mind for a solution to this heart-attitude of mine, prayerfully, I found verses that discuss words and what comes out of my mouth.
Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Prov 16:24
Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Prov 12:18
Pleasant words promote instruction. Prov 16:21
I replayed these verses in my mind, to change me, my choice of words, my attitudes.
Remembering that what I speak directly influences how I feel, I made up some silly little songs that spoke volumes to me and my children. They lightened the load, made my heart remember that these children were my blessings, and reminded me that, even during the times of rushed schedules and busy lives, I really did love them.
So, when washing their little hands before a meal, I would sing (to the tune of Do You Know the Muffin Man?), “These are the hands of the boy I love, the boy I love, the boy I love. These are the hands of the boy I love, and his name’s _________ _________.” When they were too young, I would sing it for them, teaching them how to fill in their first and last names at the end. This so reinforced those feelings of love I had for the children – those feelings that were sometimes buried under the load I carried. I was not only teaching them hygiene, I was investing in them, I was building up their self-concept, and I was reviving my heart – all in one simple song.
Changing diapers became a time of showing affection. Rather than grumbling that “all I do is change diapers, and won’t you just quit messing your diapers, so I won’t have to change them …" (and on it drolls). I chose instead to sing, “This is the bottom of the girl I love, the girl I love, the girl I love. This is the bottom of the girl I love, and her name’s _______ _______ .” From birth, I'm establishing that I love this child, I love taking care of them, doing the mundane – but making it fun.
God's word gave me an insight to His heart. He not only likes for us to be charitable to others, but he looks for our attitudes:
God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Cor 9:7 (emphasis, mine)
Could I possibly translate this to my parenting situation as, "God not only loves mothers, He loves cheerful mothers"?
Today, as the mother of eight children, I am grateful I chose to change my heart, my attitudes, and bring joy and fun to our daily lives. And we still sing this silly song with our little children. Every morning brushing their teeth, I sing to them. Their little foam-filled mouths turn up in a smile as they attempt singing their names around the toothpaste.
Situations which could be just ho-hum, or even negative with a hollered, “Get in here so I can brush your teeth!” have turned into a game, fun, a special time with mommy. “These are the teeth of the boy I love ….” I’ve even heard my never-sing husband leading each child in a verse, warming the heart, connecting the soul. It brings goodness to the relationship and to the whole day.
Just a few seconds of simple joy can change our attitudes, heal the hurts. It can take me from simply herding the children through the day, to touching each spirit – from merely checking off the list, to reaching, stirring their very core. Just a few simple words and tune.
It doesn’t take much skill, and little ones are so very forgiving of our inabilities, overlooking our singing voice. These words help me extend to them that same graciousness while we sing. And many times I've heard a young little voice echoing my heart … "These are the hands of the mom I love .."
Mark and Kym Wright live near Atlanta, Georgia, with their eight children. In her squeezed-in time off, she writes homeschool curriculum and is the editor of The Mother’s Heart magazine, a premium online publication for mothers with hearts in their homes. This article was first published in The Mother’s Heart magazine. You can visit www.The-Mothers-Heart.com for more information.
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