Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Digging Holes, Planting Poles

Greetings friends and family,

Parenting is like working for the phone company.  Some days you dig holes, some you plant poles, some you string wire, but then you make connection and it's all worthwhile.    These are the days when all the previous work shines through.  

Four year olds have much more entertainment value than the younger years.  Not only are they capable of putting on a show, they are also willing and excited to do so.  We've entered the age of imagination, acting, and performing... finally.  Having guests in our house presents an opportunity for the twins to wear costumes and receive accolades from the audience.  Layla danced her heart out while pretending to be princess Ariel. 

I've been saving Easton's dinosaur costume for just such a special occasion.  His eyes lit up when he pulled it from the bag.  He did a few laps around the room and clarified he is a T-Rex...  not to be confused with some other dinosaur.

The big tail on the back is what really makes the costume extra awesome.  Too bad I lost the dino head -shaped helmet to complete the outfit.

Layla found one of my stocking caps and requested to wear it so she would match Morgan's style.  When it comes to earrings, nose rings, and makeup I won't bend, but hats are great!  She interacts with the older girls very well.  I'm happy to see she has maturity to go along with her energized personality.

I wish kids came with on and off switches.  Specifically, I would toggle the following switches:

Shame:  OFF
Guilt:  OFF
Forgiveness:  ON
Grace:  ON

Doesn't seem like to much to ask though, does it?  One of the many virtues of the Webb household is forgiveness.  Saying, "I'm sorry" is not acceptable.  Anyone can say, "I'm sorry".  it doesn't mean anything to the person saying it or the person receiving it.  "Please forgive me for ___ ".  Now, that has value.

Daily there are situations where Easton and Layla (and Kendra and I) do things where forgiveness is required and freely given.  intention means nothing!  If Layla trips and shoves Easton into a chair then her intentions are not what's important.  Yes, accidents happen, but the bump on Easton's forehead hurts regardless of her intentions.  This is how we do it word-for-word:

I stand them face to face and place my hands on them (gently) as they repeat after me:

Layla:  Please forgive me for pushing you into the chair
Easton:  I forgive you
Layla:  I will not push you into the chair again.
Then they hug.

This is the model I actively enforce because it teaches them to consider the other person and to give/receive forgiveness.  Before any bad consequences are dispensed (time out, toy in the trash, removal of privilege, etc.) we do this exercise.  The consistency and repetitive nature of this process are starting to make an imprint.  I know this because when I corral them and start the sentence each one plays their part in the conversation without much interaction.  Now we're getting somewhere...  after years of leading by example and discussing forgiveness and walking through the steps it is finally starting to sink in.

See you soon!

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