Smarts

This past Friday was parent/teacher conference day for us, and Lil Man is excelling in everything except knowing when to keep his mouth closed and listen. (Our social little guy often distracts his classmates!) His teacher will be giving him more challenging work to do, and she praised his ability to think outside of the box. While we need to help him focus on doing his best work as opposed to hurrying through everything, he comprehends the work needed and the results are correct…albeit sloppy.

But how does one teach focus when it comes to mundane tasks or distant goals? We’ve talked about it many times, about schoolwork and soccer and numerous daily tasks. He has the mental idea of “focus”, but struggles to put it into practice as he flits from one activity to the other.

“The world,” he says, “is just too interesting!”

The battle has been to show him that focusing on one task right now will help him learn and grow, so that he can reach any goal in the future and explore all the world over! It’s a foreign concept for him to think about – that if he learns focus with this little step, he will have focus on the ultimate goal even when distractions come.

But, I think it’s starting to make sense to him.

This last soccer game didn’t go too well. The boys worked hard in the first half, and then almost gave up in the second. The opposing team played tough! But we lost our will to keep fighting, and you could see it in their poor, tired faces. After some discussion, I asked Lil Man, “How could you become a better teammate?”

He thought for a minute before answering, “By trusting my team, and having more focus on the ball.”

And there it was! One of the moments today that made my heart swell with pride for my six-almost-seven-year-old boy, who wants so badly to be the best at everything, all on his own! In that small sentence, he acknowledged the need to rely on others, and showed me that he figured out how to put into practice those lessons about focus.

Now, I need to work on my own trust and focus issues so that I can be a good example for him to follow…

 

“Trust in The Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

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Butt-Pains

I knew from the beginning that Lil Man would be an awesome big brother, but I wasn’t totally prepared for how my heart would swell with love and pride as I watched him interact with his Bubby.

He’s been amazingly patient with Bubby, rarely mentioning the crying and enduring the sudden drop in attention gracefully. Lil Man always wants to read to his baby brother, hunts down pacifiers and comforts him, tells his friends to hush up so they don’t wake him. He asks if Bubby could please sleep in his bed…just in case there are monsters under the crib. (He likes to throw out logical reasons as to why we should agree to whatever it is he’s wanting. Its one of his things.)

Recently, however, Lil Man hesitantly told me, “Mommy, baby brothers are kind of a pain in the butt. And sometimes in the head…when he cries so much.” I laughed, and then told him, “You can be kind of a pain in the butt, too, and so can I!” (Maybe not the best thing to say, but it became a teachable moment!)

This prompted a discussion about how we can ALL be “butt-pains” at times, especially on our bad days. And while he was almost certain he’d never been one of those, he agreed that being hungry..or tired..or grumpy-without-reason..or hurt…can make you feel badly and it shows when you act out. Lil Man’s eyes lit up as he realized his frustration was understood and totally normal. He felt the acceptance he needed in that moment, and was able to take the lesson to heart.

We talked about how people, especially babies, don’t usually mean to be butt-pains. Sometimes it just happens in life as we react to the situations we are in or as a result of our needs going unmet. Sometimes, people act like butt-pains because they never learned a different way to handle what they’re going through. I explained that we can’t really change the person who is being a butt-pain, we can only change the way we respond to them in those moments.

This conversation was a good reminder for me to allow God’s grace to guide my response to others instead of acting out of my own hurt and pride. I realize that some butt-pains won’t ever be resolved as the unhealthy behaviors in others continue and escalate into forms of abuse and/or manipulation. But, while I don’t need to allow these things to keep repeating in my life, I can let go of the anger and allow healing to take place so that I can become a healthier version of myself and reflect God’s mercy and love instead of my own bitterness.

My sweet boys are teaching me that there is usually more to learn in every butt-pain moment than there is in the perfectly happy times, and that we should be grateful for both as we walk through our days. Lil Man really loves his Bubby.

Standing

So Much Love