Tell me: Is it a learned behavior or is it just innate and normal behavior for a boy, or a man, to yell at an object he is fixing?
As the daughter of a very talented carpenter and cabinet maker, my father yelled plenty of times, often very profane words for a young girl to hear, at the objects he was trying to fix or shape or install. I became accustomed to thinking this was what you do when something doesn’t work out right, you yell about it and you yell AT the thing that was causing your frustration. I married my husband, who has a talent for fixing anything with a motor or moving parts, for that matter, and he, at times, has yelled and swore at an inanimate object he was working to fix. As I sit here, I can hear my now 11 year-old son call his woodworking project a “stupid piece-a-crap.” I can only smile and shake my head. He’s a great kid but he has a hard time accepting responsibility. And he’s pretty dramatic and pretty negative at times. It’s hard to see that because he is so much like me. Like I was.
It takes a tremendous amount of strength to turn your negative way of thinking into a more positive one. It’s double the energy, constant evaluation of your thoughts, awareness, always awareness, and being present in each moment. I find that being grateful is a great way to begin the process of flipping my thinking from negative to positive. If I’m feeling overly agitated, I bring myself back to the present moment by being aware of my actions and reactions. Once I can center myself again, I can choose a different reaction or solution. I’m not always successful but the process of thinking is there and it’s getting easier to handle the difficult situations. Teaching this to an 11 year old is quite a different story. We’re still teaching gratitude and focusing on saying aloud what we want, intending it and then choosing our actions more carefully after that. It’s a work in process, obviously. My kids are very used to hearing mommy talk about this though and are becoming more receptive. That’s all I can hope for…progress.
We’re making progress in school too. By my accounts, we’re keeping up pretty well in some subjects and falling behind in others but it’s OK (I have to keep reminding myself this). We’re making good, solid progress and more importantly, the boys are learning things! Not only are they learning math and the basics, they’re learning how to grocery shop and get the most value for your dollar, learning the good types of foods in the grocery store vs the bad types that make your body feel sick. That’s REAL life lessons, that they’re learning now because they’re home with me and we do everything together, the three of us. Everything we do, we make the most of the opportunity to learn new lessons. This is honestly the best part of homeschooling so far for us.
The worst part is clearly getting the boys to stop playing with each other and focus on their work. My oldest needs help organizing, a lot of help. My youngest is still too busy exploring to actually want to sit down at a table and write his alphabet, for example. So I let them lead me some days. I still have an agenda of what I want them to learn but they’re also my teachers. They direct me into activities that make them happy and interested. My job is to find a way to teach a lesson in the process. And on the days that things aren’t flowing and I can feel mommy-Momster coming out, I have to step back and take inventory. Mostly, it’s me trying to force things against the normal current of life. Once I take focus and turn around, the current takes me streaming down the river. When I can let go of my expectations, things flow smoother. See? I told you these kids are my teachers. And I’m so very grateful for it, everyday.