Raising Conscientious Kids…
Good morning everybody! Hope you had a fabulous weekend. We are getting a ton of rain here in Tennessee, but our prayers are with those affected by the awful tornadoes in Arkansas.
As a mom you try to teach your kids to be conscientious (thank God for spell check, I never did learn how to spell that word!). You know, the pleases and thank-yous, sharing, saying sorry when you hurt someone with a put-down or a push ( and oh-so-many other examples), and just being aware of others in general.
This is a challenge for any parent, but for a parent of kiddos on the autism spectrum it can be especially challenging. Kids with ASD can’t always read body language or facial expressions to know when someone is hurt or sad. They may not understand the niceties of manners or political correctness. That doesn’t mean they can’t learn those things, it just means that where other kids may just pick things up through social awareness, ours may need some training and coaching.
I remember the first time my son said “God bless you,” to me when I sneezed. I was so proud! That’s a big one for me. I’ll say it to strangers in a store if they sneeze when I pass them 🙂 We all have our “things,” right? Pleases and thank-yous are also strong currency in my house. It is so much easier to help and serve others when there is gratitude.
So, all of that said, this is something my husband and I feel strongly about, and we’ve been working with our kiddos on this stuff for years. Which leads me to the breakthrough we had over the weekend…I don’t live in a fancy house full of expensive things. We are very blessed and have a beautiful home but it’s not like we have fine art and sculptures on display. The things in our home that are valuable to us are so because of the sentimental value rather than the price tag. That’s why when my kids break or mistreat things in our home it gets me two different ways. I’m not talking about kids just being kids, or toddlers falling down and taking down a table with them. It’s when my boys are just not paying attention or doing something they know they are not supposed to do (you can usually tell this by the guilty look on their face) that I have a hard time.
Case in point, here are the stairs leading down to our first floor where they boys spend a ton of time playing with their toys.
I have a ton of pictures hung up on either side of the stairwell. It does kind of seem like I’m booby-trapping my boys, I mean what kid can resist running his hand down the wall as he runs down the stairs even though there’s a perfectly good handrail on the other side? (not mine, I can tell you). Hey, we’re a military family and we live far from home. I like to have pictures up of family and friends to feel closer to them.
The picture on the bottom of the left side has had more than it’s fair share of drops, falls, and oopses. Running kids’ hands, balls, and flying dinosaurs have knocked that particular frame down the most. It’s a picture of my parents when they were dating in high school and it’s extra special to me. Which helps to explain the conniption fit I feel rising in my chest every time they knock it down. We have had many talks, I’ve had them help me hang it back up, practiced walking down the stairs properly, etc., etc. They are getting better.
Which brings me back to that break-through I was telling you about. I was working on the computer this past weekend, when my youngest came up to me and handed me this…
The aforementioned picture of my parents. To be honest, I felt irritated. I took the picture and put it aside, telling him, “I’ll hang it up in a few minutes.” That’s when I noticed him hovering next to my chair, with a look of unrest on his face. I realized he wanted me to fix it now. It was important to him! Hallelujah! He had knocked it down and instead of just leaving it on the floor he came all the way upstairs to hand it to me. And it mattered to him that it go back in its rightful place!!! I raced my happy little self to go hang it and gave him a hug and thanked him. After that he was already on to the next thing but I couldn’t help but just stand there and feel proud of him. All the teaching, advice, and training was getting in amidst all the flying dinos, balls, and running up and down the stairs.
Here the picture in its rightful place…
That’s hubby and me ten years ago when we were dating, my-inlaws right before they got married over 40 years ago, and my parents in high school in the fifties.
Now I have another reason to be happy when I look at this wall. Have a great week! 🙂