Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Random Respect Challenge

We have had some really great moments since the big move. Our new home is much larger than the old one, so, while we have a few empty rooms, we have space to spread out. And I am not in a huge hurry to fill up all that empty space- the boys are having a great time playing their made up games, like "Bump the Bee", named by my oldest son. This game, like most of their games, involves running at each other at top speed while protecting their little bodies with huge sofa cushions. And no, I do not know why it is named "Bump the Bee". Don't ask. You know the drill- small boys with larger than life imaginations equals totally confused mama. It's the new math, get used to it.

So good days. First grade going well. Pre school going well. Making new friends slow but steady. (For the 7 year old, that is.) Seeing lots of relatives, have plenty of babysitters available... May need knee surgery, but even that will be OK. So many good days. But even with all the good, there has still been some not so good. The daily nagging to get the 7 year old to do his homework. Not so good. The constant attention to the little guy to attempt to stave off meltdowns. Not so good. The daily stuff that makes up life, but is so monotonous. The cleaning, the cooking, the puppy chewing her way through, well, everything. The toys everywhere. The dirty dishes. The normal is great, but it can kind of be a grind, right? And here is the thing. That normal, while it is amazing and awesome and exactly what we all asked for when we signed up for this mommy gig, it can also be exhausting and soul crunching. The lack of respect our children, and sometimes spouses, can so effortlessly display towards us can be astounding. And I know it is not one sided. Do I really do all I can to show respect and love to the boys in my life?

Which brings me to last night, when I couldn't sleep. The house was quiet, everyone was asleep. And I was replaying the most recent dust up between me and my youngest. Parenting the kid you have, not the kid you think you should have- it's tough stuff, isn't it? I bounced from respect to Lent, wondering if I should give something up this year. Would it be helpful to me? Would it help me to feel closer to God? Would it help me on my spiritual journey? Would it be good for my kids to see me do this? What would I give up? The sarcastic person who lives in my head spoke right up. "I know what I'd like to give up- the disrespect of my kids!" I love my sarcastic brain.....

My boys and I have done kindness projects in the past. We have made cookies for firemen. We have mailed notes to cousins. We have donated school supplies. But what about kindness towards each other? An idea was born.

This month, me and my boys will be celebrating Random Respect. The boys and I talked about this project this morning, as we sat around the table finishing up breakfast and putting on coats for the first walk to the bus stop. We brainstormed what we can do to show respect to each other. We discussed how showing respect doesn't always mean blindly following orders. We shared how we feel when others don't show us respect. And then we high fived. (Our kiddo version of a gentleman's handshake.)

Do I think this is going to change everything? No. Do I expect my boys to suddenly be all "yes ma'am" and "no thank you?" Certainly not. Do I think that my boys might benefit from seeing me go out of my way to show more respect to those I love? Yes. Do I think that I might benefit from being a calmer mom? Most definitely.

When my sons are older, what will they remember? What will they be remembered for? Will the straight A's be as important as a kind heart? Will he remember the satisfaction of a job well done or just the nagging it took to get him there? Creating the atmosphere to grow these boys from children to men. That's what really matters.

So let the Random Respect Challenge begin!

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