whatever is true,
whatever is honorable,
whatever is right,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is of good repute,
if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise,
dwell on these things.
Abbey graduated last week and this verse was read at the Baccalaureate Mass in the beautiful cathedral downtown. It had been such a busy day for me-getting the kids settled for another evening where we would be gone a couple hours (the honors assembly was the night before), making sure they were all fed and assigning babysitters for Janey with instructions.
I love this verse. Maybe because it's a weakness of mine to tend to have moods where I dwell on the negative when I get overwhelmed with parenting and my responsibilities here at home. When I feel like I can't "catch up" or it's useless to try, or I'm being pulled in too many directions and everyone wants something from me. I see the toys left out, the chore undone, the once clean kitchen sink with a pile of plates hours later. And then I feel sorry for myself. I nag, I get frustrated, I dwell on all the things that don't happen, all the things the kids and my husband do wrong, all the mistakes they make. I don't see them playing nicely together, I just hear the argument with raised voices. I don't notice when they do what I ask, I just see the shoes where they aren't supposed to be, and the bed unmade, and the garage a mess of toys.
I am going to challenge myself these summer months to put this verse into action in my parenting every single day. That verse ends with:"The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." I love that the verse uses the word practice-to cultivate (which takes time, which allows for mistakes and redoes) in order to grow a habit or skill. I am going to see just what happens when I cultivate the discipline to stop negative words from my mouth and concentrate on mostly compliments, praise and affirmation. I know it will be difficult some days, I know I will fail miserably some (maybe every) day.
But gosh I know this by know this by now-I know that when good things are noticed and praised, I know that when I express my gratitude for a chore done right, for a helping hand, for good behavior it grows. No matter what the age, it grows!
When I say, "That helps me so much when you play with Janey for awhile" or "Thanks for putting away your laundry like I asked you too" or "I appreciate that you did what I asked right away this morning" those things happen more often. I am not only being polite and kind (the opposite of naggy and angry,which leads to guilt and heaviness on my part) I am building up, instead of breaking down.
I feel better about myself, the kids feel better about themselves, the attitude in our home is happier and lighter and much more peaceful and prophecy is fulfilled-meaning what I want to happen, happens.
whatever is worth of praise