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Stop and Listen

November 11, 2006

Sometimes we just have to stop and listen to what our kids say. If we do, we might learn something.

 

Lately I've been working too much and not spending enough time with my kids. Sound familiar? But there is something to the old adage about quality time versus quantity. So I'm trying to live it. Lately my three-year-old has been asking me to sit with her instead of running around in a frenzy cleaning up the house. I oblige. When I sit down with my three-year-old I ask her to tell me about her day, and she likewise asks me the same thing.

 

"How was your day Mommy?" she asks.

 

"Well, I went to a funeral, had a live-shot at noon and five, and I have another one at ten," I say knowing full well she has no idea what I'm talking about.

 

"Sounds like you were busy," she says with a big smile.

 

"How was your day?" I ask, honestly interested unlike when adults ask one another the same question.

 

"Great. You can't be rude to your friends," she says with a serious look on her face. "If you do, Miss Jan puts your name on the black list." I have no idea what the black list is, but it sounds pretty ominous.

 

Clearly, this is something her daycare teacher told her. There are certain daycare-isms that I learned from my first child. The teachers tell them something and they take it to heart. They repeat the phrase over and over like a mantra.

 

"Give me an example," I say.

 

"Well, let me tell you nice words first. Would you like to play with me?" She says extending her little hand to me on the couch as if I was one of her preschool friends. "Rude words are like this," she says pulling her hand away abruptly. "I don't want to play with you, you're not my friend," she says giving me a little shove with her palm. "We don't push or hit our friends," she says.

 

Once again I'm amazed at how much I can learn from the simple wisdom of a three-year-old. I think she's on her way to being a highly paid motivational speaker with me as her publicist. And I don't think she would mind if I employ her tactics. The next time someone gives me attitude I'm going to look the person directly in the eyes and say: You can't be rude to your friends. If they don't listen, they're going straight to the black list.

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