It started off as a normal day. In fact, I got up earlier than normal, and felt refreshed! I started a load of laundry, we got a new/used washer yesterday so it was the first time in over a week I had done laundry at home, and enjoyed some time with the family.
School started, everything was going good. And then everything went downhill. Fast. I didn't even see it coming. There were words, tears, looks, sighs, more words, more tears. It went from good to worse quickly. I ended up in my room crying and wondering where I had failed. Then I remembered where, and then wondered why I had let it happen again.
"The sins of the fathers" quote came to me. But it was the sins of the siblings. You see, I have one child that can be unkind towards me. I've done all that I know to do. Punish, talk, ground, talk, punish, repeat. It appears I should have taught my other children about how to treat people kindly and with consideration, and compassion. Because today I saw a side of a child that I hadn't seen before. I had seen hints of it, but I really thought it was under control. And it made me sad. And mad. And guilty.
You see, if I had been more prepared in introducing a subject the anger level for this child wouldn't have risen. I was under the impression the last time I covered the material it "stuck", but it didn't and I didn't know it.
Sure, kids have their own personalities. Parents shouldn't get all the credit for the good children and all the blame for the bad ones. But I do think parents play a huge role in helping define character and how their children treat others. My children have good manners because we taught them and expect it of them. And my children have a tendency to yell and speak unkindly because I didn't come down hard enough on them the first times they did it. Unlearning behavior is difficult. Unlearning behavior that the child likes is more difficult.
I don't have the answers, I wish I did. All I know to do is bear down a little harder, don't lighten up just because I think the lesson has been learned. Stay the course. Fight for good character in my children, both in our home and outside of it. Show them love, grace, kindness, and compassion. Yet show them discipline, strength, and determination too.