Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Family! Home! Evening!?@$^#!

For weeks, months (years?), Mr. LeFevre and i have been trying to teach our children (mostly unsuccessfully, it seems) what we consider important skills that they will need to succeed and be happy in this life:
getting along with others.
being kind.
helping those around us.
building them up.

Just recently, we have had multiple individual interviews with each of our children, telling them how proud we are of their accomplishments, how much we love them (a lot), pleading with them to nurture the most important relationships in their lives. We have created a family Mission Statement. We have tried to be positive in our interactions with them. We have had family dinners together, engaged them in working together, held regular family councils and family home evenings. We take them to church. We tell them the stories of Jesus. We look for and use teaching moments on almost a daily basis.

We are far from perfect as parents, but i ask you: how? How are we supposed to remain positive in the face of constant heartbreak? It breaks my heart when one of my children is reaching out for approval ~ of an idea or a feeling...
or a piece of artwork~ and one of his siblings (the one from whom that approval is most needed) knocks him to the ground with "you're stupid!" or "you're an idiot!" or "I hate you!"? I feel dirty even typing these words. They have become to me some of my least favorite and most painful words.

Last night, it was my turn for the Family Home Evening lesson and after dinner, i said quietly to my husband, "how can i really teach another 'Love One Another' lesson? I want to just say, 'You win. I give up. I'm done(and finished)!' " So we decided that we would have a family council and ask our children what we could do to be a happy family.

Well, Megan(8) came up with the idea of making a chart with everyone's bedtimes on it and taking off five minutes for every hurtful comment, or mean action (meaning they have to go to bed earlier). It is a great idea, but part of me thinks it will just become another chart to add to the side of the fridge that is just part of the landscape: unnoticed. unheeded.

Except then my husband shared something that M. Russell Ballard taught recently, and I am paraphrasing: When a [family] council discusses an issue and comes to a conclusion and says, "This is what we will do..." there is a power in that synergy that [nothing] can stop.

And this morning, I read something my friend, Elisa, included in her blog about getting our kids to ask questions. I loved this: “The Savior said, "ask and ye shall receive... knock and it shall be opened unto you." He didn't say, "Be quiet and let me tell you what you need to know." When our kids ask questions, they are prepared to hear the answers. Listen for those questions and set up opportunities for them to ask questions.

A little nudge here, a bright idea there. That's how to do it. One day at a time. Being just a little bit better. Together. We can do this.


Mormon Mommy Blogs said...

Our family is having the same "love one another" problem and it's exhausting!

But, setting up opportunities for them to ASK questions and then LISTEN means they are ready to feel the change necessary.

Great post, Lorinda!

Tawnie said...

wow. That's awesome Lorinda. You are doing great. You don't fail until you give up. You've inspired me. I am going to share this with John and see what we can do to help the spirit around here as well.
You're the best! I miss being neighbors.

Cindy at LottieBird said...

Wow. You do so much for your family. I can't help but think that even if they act like they don't get it, it is seeping in...

One thing that really helped Olivia stop saying "I hate you" (or Eddie more likely) was that we made her write 25 sentences stating "I love Eddie" every time we heard her say it. She learned withing a few days to not say it. Though one time, in the midst of a really bad mood day, she ended up needing to write me 225 sentences. She was not able to complete this until the next day when her mood changed.;-)

Becca said...

You are so inspiring!