I'm still sick this morning, this cold just won't let go. Had a couple of good days and thought it was over, and then yesterday it zapped me again.:-(
I'll survive, but I'm ready for this to be over now..
My daughter has been "grounded" for the past few weeks as we were waiting for her room to be cleaned up. Along with the sloppy room was a sloppy and obstinate attitude that was pervading her waking moments. (she's 12, so that could be a lot of this.) Her attitude coupled with the messy room cost her TV, computer, and all outside activities until a change was made. Activities related to her homeschool I still let her attend however, even though a part of me wanted to stop that also... and why? because I have this desire to punish rather than discipline. It's that knee jerk reaction I have to stress or being dis-respected, you hurt me or threaten my station and I want to make you pay for it. I want to impose my will and force my way. That is very ingrained in me and it's a struggle to tell the difference sometimes about my motives when I have to "discipline" my child. I have learned to step back and really look at which of these facets of my personality are surfacing in any given situation, whether reason or emotion will prevail.
When I grounded her a few weeks ago, I said, "you're grounded for a month or until your room is clean and your attitude has shown some improvement." I guess she just heard the month part, cause during our conversations over the past weeks, when asked how her room was coming or when telling someone she couldn't come to something because she was grounded, she told me, and I'm paraphrasing here, that she was grounded for a month, so there was no reason to do anything yet. (a silent aarrgghh!!!!!!!) Well, I didn't yell, I didn't get mad, I actually felt sad for her, sad because I could so relate to feeling totally "out of control" of the situation. A parent's power is immense, and somewhere along the way she lost sight of the controls she does have. I try to tell her that her behavior is the catalyst and she has tremendous control if she'll just learn to use it.
What I see in her is my old attitudes, old like when I was a kid and being held under the thumb of my parents, and the reaction that the worst that can happen is inevitable and there's nothing I could do to change it. My mind just went there, just like hers is. I don't remember there being any alternatives offered when I was a kid, but that doesn't mean there wasn't, only means I didn't recognize them. Part of it I think was the fact that everyday I knew I was going to get a beating, didn't really matter what I did, I just knew that whatever I did "wrong" in my dad's eyes was going to warrant a beating. I'm thinking there must be something inherent in the way I think and that has somehow been passed on to my child, cause that's what I see in her eyes when I have to discipline her, or when I am setting up the expectations for her if she is to enjoy the freedoms she wants and that I want to let her have. I have never struck my child, and she knows I would never do so, and yet that look of hopeless resignation looks the same to me as I remember the feelings from my youth.
I think the light finally came on the other day for her, there was a "horse" activity that she wanted and had been asked to do, and when she asked I calmly looked at her and said, "your room clean yet?", and she asked that if she did that could she go even though her "month" is not over yet, and I said, the "month" was never the main criteria, it was only a period of evaluation for the changes in attitude. I had told her on several occasions, trying to get her to understand, that I was looking for some "effort to improve", period.
Well, she spent 2 solid days and well past her bedtimes getting her room in order, getting rid of things that she was willing to give away, organizing what was left, and though it wasn't picture perfect, it was fine when she finally had it ready for me to look at. And when I offered my praises she said eagerly, "so, can I go?" and I said "yes, but I want to have a little talk first, okay?" Her eyes rolled and she reluctantly said, "yeah, okay"
I said, you know this isn't a lecture honey, I just want you to understand where my thinking is here.. please try to keep an open mind huh?
I told her that the single monumental cleaning spree was NOT what I had been hoping for. While I was thrilled that she had finally done it, that I believe I saw the effort only because she was to have an immediate reward. What I had been hoping for was a "little, consistent effort" in preparation for opportunities that will come up. She smiled and it seemed to register what I was saying, I hope so.
I was reading about "luck" the other day, and it relates to this because someone described luck as "when preparation meets opportunity", and it's this attitude I am trying to get my daughter to see, to think beyond the immediate reward and to do the "chores of life" in preparation for the opportunities that will come along. Isn't that what we do in program? We prepare ourselves, we do the chores in anticipation of the rewards, yes, we just don't know when those rewards will come along. "Delayed gratification" is the key here I think, it is not the way I thought for many many years... I went on diets to lose weight, and if I didn't lose it fast enough, I quit, cause the reward was not immediate. I changed some of the things I did in relationships and when the reward was not immediate, I reverted back to old behaviors. It didn't seem worth the effort.
I have learned in this program to do the work, and leave the result to my HP. I know my weight will eventually get where it's suppose to be, I just don't worry about it anymore, I just do the work. I follow the food plan, I work the steps and I prepare myself for the opportunities that will come. I don't know what those will be, but as I improve myself, I recognize more and more of them as they come my way. I change my behaviors and I've learned that if I continue to do that, eventually a change of heart occurs, that spiritual change IN me that makes me different, better, than I was.
It is the power of transformation that this program shows me that keeps me coming back. I don't know when or what the rewards will be, but I know they "will be", it's the promise of this program. This program helped me to have a relationship with my Higher Power, gave me a better understanding of what spirituality is and for that I am truly grateful.
As always it seems, the words spew forth, the thoughts ramble a bit, trying to share the deeper meaning of the surface happenings, but if I have one point I wanted to make this morning, it's that - today I feel "lucky".
love and hugs,
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