The problem? Getting my kids to do what I say. The night prior had been a drag on me and them.
But I went anyway.
It was a good group. I admit it. Sometimes it takes me a while to warm up. Everyone was friendly, kind, even interesting. But my slightly sour mood wasn’t over and I was still vaguely stuck in that useless comparison game. She's better than me, I'm better them him, she's worse then him....who am I anyway? blah blah blah.
That's the predictable and boring part of the story.
The interesting part is this. After listening to these hopelessly upbeat people talk about freakin' resets, my frustration with never really getting it was mounting. I turned to a colleage (only slightly older but clearly wiser) and said something like – "YEAH, BUT" And then told her how I was doing resets at my house….And how great it was working actually. :/
What ensued was a gentle and loving “But, that’s not a reset, dear.”
Exhaling through gritted teeth, I knew she was right.
During our group sharing, I confessed my frustration and resetting ignorance for all to witness (that's typical me). They understood that what I was calling a reset was more a like re-threat.
Then suddenly, out of nowhere, I felt something pop and I knew I got it. I had never really gotten it in all this time, not in all my GRACIOUS, POWERFUL, PERSISTENT, DIGNIFIED, RELENTLESS and
VERY BRAVE efforts to do this approach. Not until right then.
(A few of these kind people laughed and clapped....)
After the long drive home, the first thing I did was take down the taped notice on the kitchen cupboard that said “New RULE: Sam does what Mom says. If the rule is broken the first time, Sam will lose $4 of allowance. If it’s broken again, Sam loses all allowance for the week. If it’s broken one more time, Sam loses all screen privileges for a day.” (Yeah, I know....I'm shaking my head too....on the bright side...this notice had helped my clarity!)
I took the notice to our back room where Sam had been xboxing many of the last several hours while I was at my barbeque and I told him I needed him to pause the system, which he did immediately. Perhaps he was actually bored, perhaps he was following that latest rule. (I thanked him.)
“You know that meeting I went to today?" I began. "Well I found out that that rule I posted, remember the one about you having to always listen and do as I say...???"
I waved the paper at him....
"I did it wrong.”
Then Sam replied,
“Yes. you. did.” Smirk.
“So, I’m sorry.” I said.
“Uh huh.” Greater smirking.
“But, I’m so happy, cause I learned what to do now. And the thing is, I'm sure I'll need some help on this. From now one when you break a rule, there’s only one thing I can do if I want to follow this approach. And I want to follow this approach, as you know. Do you know what that is?”
He raises one eyebrow. He thinks he knows. “Say stop?”
“Okay, yes I may say that…and I could also say….Re…Re…Re….?” (I know I'm annoying him.)
“That’s the nurtured heart thing? I thought you made that up. Shrug. “Ok. Cool.”
I could see the wheels turning in his head as I walked away before anything might go wrong.
Later that night, with my daughter also at the table, I announced part two of my new reset plan.
"I need to talk about allowance." Breathing in.
“From now on you have to earn it.” Breathing out.
Ugh….I can feel the phlegm forming in their throats.
Breathing in. “This week we’re going spend a few minutes each night reflecting on how we contributed in a positive way to our family life that day. You can say whatever you want, or you can just listen to whatever I say. If I forget to do it, you still get your allowance. But if I remember, then all you have to do is listen, and then you get your allowance. Got it?”
Some shrugs and eye rolls, but I don’t care.
And then I said I needed to practice with them a few minutes. So I fumbled through as many posiive recognitions as I could possibly think of for each of them and they listened carefully with their smirks...I kept going no matter how uncomfortable I was or how clunky it all felt.... and then said "...Thank you, you have earned your allowance, you may go…"
I don’t know what I will do the next time my "Reset" is ignored. (It's tricky, but I'm not going to spend time anticipating all the ways this might go wrong.) BUT for one week, I’m going to do the recognitions at night….Faithfully…(and other times as per my habit is always growing)....And remember to move into my heart first (like a fellow trainers told me to)….so that I really do mean what I say....All the rest I’m betting is going to fall in to place.