It’s Thursday morning, and everyone is running late, again. There’s not enough time before the bus comes for the kids to eat the hot breakfast you cooked for them. As a matter of fact, the bus is at the stop right before yours, and two of the three kids are still upstairs brushing their teeth. There’s no way they’ll be able to catch the it, which means you’re going to have to drive them to school and be late for work —again. You start yelling for everyone to hurry up. You’re mumbling under your breath about every single thing that has been going wrong and how you get absolutely no respect. You get angrier as you start pinpointing each child’s faults, and you find yourself slamming the dishes in the sink after you’ve had to throw out the wasted eggs you got up early to make. You’re on the verge of tears, and it’s only 7:45 in the morning. Something HAS to give.
Give. “Give what? What more can I possibly give? I give EVERYTHING to this family and to this job. I have nothing left to give —nothing.” As the tears finally start to fall you hear, “Give what you hope to get.”
“For real?” you cry. “You’ve got to be kidding me. What does that even mean? I’m too tired to even hope anymore. I just want peace and a little respect,” you whimper through the tears. Then it hits you. THAT is what you’re supposed to give: peace and respect.
As you sit locked in the breakroom at work and begin to wade through the process of how to give what you hope to get. Here are some things to consider.
1. Yelling produces yelling
. As you think back on the times when there has been peace in the house, realize it’s because you were being the example of peace yourself. When you appreciated all of the things the kids were doing rather than pointing out the things they were not, they felt acknowledged and loved. Everyone got along and even started doing their chores and homework without being asked. On the flip side, when things got ugly, it was generally because yelling was involved and the appreciation and love got tossed out with the uneaten breakfast. The cure? Take a breath, find one good thing each child is doing in whatever the situation is, and let them know you appreciate their efforts. Just because things aren’t going exactly the way you want them to, are they at least getting done?
2. Respect produces respect
“No one ever listens to me anyway. Why do I even bother wasting my breath?” has become your mantra. Then you realize that you haven’t taken the time to actually listen to what anyone else in your home or office has to say, either. Make an effort to actively listen and respect the people around you.
You realize that things have gotten so bad that no one in the family takes the time to even hug anymore. You’re so busy and tired that a smile is the best form of affection you can offer your kids. Touch is the first language any living organism ever learns. Without it, miscommunication, disconnect and depression (among many other things) take hold. If you’ve been hearing yourself say, “The kids don’t even hug me anymore,” start giving what you hope to get. Make a conscious effort to hug each person in your family at least eight times a day —whether they want you to or not — and see what happens.
4. Change takes practice
As the tears dry up and your new realizations have begun to restore hope, you’re now eager and ready to make some changes. Remember that peace produces peace. Traveling down any path requires taking only one step at a time. By continually practicing to give what you hope to get, you’ll be paving the way for those around you to do the same and the journey will become something everyone looks forward to doing — together.
Danica Trebel is a mom to two AMAZING teenage sons, a recovering perfectionist and a Life and Family Dynamics Coach. She specializes in helping families tune up their relationships through perspective, communication and faith www.danicatrebel.com