There is something about the language we use as mothers. I think it begins as a form of tradition. I’m talking about the “clean your room” phrase for one. Then there’s the one about not making silly faces or your face will stay that way. How about the one that says don’t do that or you’ll poke your eye out? When you get right down to it, things we say as parents are often re-runs of what our parents once said to us.
The thing about telling your kids to clean their room – along with all the other familiar phrases – is most often a waste of energy as well as the words we speak. Chances are, there will be a hundred distractions along the way. Such as the Barbie dolls with one limb missing and hair that has been permanently destroyed. There are the Lego blocks which beckon a child to build something in the midst of the rest of the mess. They might find a piece of clothing that hasn’t fit for three years and hope that it will. Or how about the half-consumed package of Oreo cookies? Maybe they’re still edible. Asking a child to clean his room is like inviting them to take a walk down memory lane.
As moms, we often say things that make no sense at all – especially to our children. When we hope to keep them from danger and say, “Don’t touch,” or “NO!” the words have no value unless the child learns through the actual experience. Actions do speak louder than words, but we as parents often feel we must set out warning signs along the way.
How often has a mother said, “Eat your vegetables. Children are starving all over the world.” I’ve never quite understood how eating all my vegetables is going to help someone who is starving in another part of the world. Here’s another one that comes from the Victorian Age if not the Stone Age. Children should be seen and not heard.” Kids are notorious for making noise and if they didn’t, we’d wonder if something was wrong with them. “Close the door. Were you born in a barn?” OK, the answer to that seems pretty obvious if you’re a cow or a horse, but I don’t know too many kids that were born in a barn, except for the Savior of the World.
There are so many instances in the life of a parent when we revert to what was said to us as children. It’s almost like carrying on a ritual from our past. Parenting isn’t easy. If it was, we’d see more children running around. However, it can be the most rewarding experience you will ever have. Thank God, there are still those out there that want that blessing bestowed on them.