My son Peter's favorite phrase is "Jesus Teaches our hearts." He, at age 3, is a great little missionary. He will tell anyone he feels is spiritually minded, that Jesus teaches our hearts, and tell them about the temple, and that we go there to "feel the holy spirit," and "coming with my Father, and promise to obey." He also likes to say, "Jesus will Come Again." The last phrase was from our primary program, his little part. During the program, he got very upset because he wanted to get up and tell everyone Jesus will come again. The minute we got to church he wandered up to the pulpit at least twice, and became very distressed when I took him out. He shouted at me, "NO! They are not going to let me tell everybody, 'Jesus will come again!' I have to! I have to tell everybody!" As soon as I brought him back in, he got to say his part. Shew! He was so happy, but then he wanted to sing, and he didn't want to wait for everyone. He called out to me, "Mom! Sing with me! Now!" I smiled, but then he called out again. "Mom! Sing!!" "MOOOMMM!!!! Sing right NOW!!!" Oh the shades of red my face can turn! He then wanted tried to sing on his own, (monotone,and very loud.) Needless to say, there were many broad smiles in the congregation.
Kaylee was very grown up. She sang with the group, she did her very best to remember all her words, and spoke loudly into the mike for her speaking part. She was so proud of herself, and we all beamed. When she was Peter's age, she would cry if she even got on the stand, and would always cry and turn away when we tried to get her to speak into a mike. So there has been measurable improvement in her confidence.
Peter gets his name honestly. I named him after Peter in the Bible, and he definitely reminds me of him. Strong-willed, and spirited! We had a baptism in the Floyd branch recently, and we drove the lady being baptized to the church. It is a 45 minute drive, so we had some time to talk. Instead of us talking Peter ran the conversation. He asked about Jesus getting baptized, why he was baptized, and wanted to know if Kathy were going to be baptized like Jesus. He asked her about the temple, and if she'd ever been to the temple. He talked at length about going to the temple, feeling the holy spirit, touching the wall, etc. He told her she needed to go. "You Hath to go to the temple, Sister Huff! So you can feel the Holy Spirit!" She said she was excited to go some day. He told her that some day when he was big like daddy, he would go inside, and Daddy would help him. He told her about Jesus, and the ow-ies on his hands and feet, and that Jesus teaches our hearts. He told her about getting to touch the "Jesus Statune." He told how the Statune talked and teached his heart.
Then he asked me to tell the story "When Jesus teached me to walk on water." (Talk about liking the scriptures to yourself!) So I told him the story, with lots of his help from him, of how Jesus and Peter walked on water. I stopped trying to differentiate between the Bible Peter and him, because he doesn't get it. But I do want him to know what I'm trying to teach him, which is that with Jesus, he can do anything--even impossible things.
So during the week Peter tells me he's ready to grow up now, and I need to teach him how. He says that Jesus will help him, so let's go! Ah to be so believing and full of faith, and yet, he must learn patience as well.
On this past Sunday, Peter called out during church, "MOM! I want to go to primary now! So now, he's the darling of the branch, and Sister Kathy Huff commented that his heart is in the right place, and that's what's important. I am glad she and others can see that, and not think that he's just disrupting and annoying.
We had a dentist appointment yesterday. The kids were nervous, but when they saw me do it, and I was fine, were less afraid. Then when it was their turn, I was going to hold them on my lap, but the baby wanted to nurse. (Yes, the baby still nurses, hold the lectures.) Kaylee? She shook her head. Peter? He scowled. So we changed the subject. The Dental Hygienist, wonderful lady, BTW, was very patient, and talked about all the instruments, and described everything she was doing, and didn't look either of them in the eye, or push at all. I smiled, knowing that they'd get up the courage soon. We did eeny-meeny-miney-moe, and it landed on Peter. So we focused on building up Peter's confidence. In spite of his NO, and shaking his head, after a few minutes of the DHy and I describing how fun the chair was, and how he was such a big boy, etc, he hopped up on the chair! He then laid still, and didn't fuss the whole time. He was so proud of himself, and was praised and praised. So Kaylee couldn't wait to have her turn after that! She was halfway through when I realized that I wasn't praising her as I had Peter. So I immediately told her what a big girl she was, and I was so proud of her, etc. She beamed. She did get ticklish, but laughed, and the excellent Dental Hygienist laughed too, and they were buddies then, and KL let her scrape her teeth. I was so impressed, and glad I'd chosen them. KL had a small cavity, but they didn't fill it yet. They gave us a chance to fix it on our own, with extra focus on brushing, and a fluoride chewable tablet prescription. That won my affections. Big Time.
We got a book in the mail the other day that is priceless to me! It's a homeschool workbook for kindergarten. It is perfect! Just what I needed. I needed more direction, and this is it! Kaylee is so excited, she spent about 45 minutes last night looking at every one of the 200 pages! I I will order another one for Peter, because this is really what we need for the rest of the year! It's really a great start to learning, and way better direction than I was giving off the top of my head. I am so happy to have it! Thank you to my big sis Tami who recommended it to us.
Homeschoolers need support, not people telling them to give up if they can't get organized or motivate their kids, or be patient. As Diane Hopkins says, "When was is you were going to learn those things?" I'm challenging myself to learn those things while my kids are young. I want to become a better mom as the years roll by, not just survive and get by while running my kids to and fro and pulling my hair out and just coping until tomorrow when I'll have some peace and quiet. Not saying all moms who send their kids to public school do that, but I am saying that I would. I know my weaknesses. I know that sending my kids to school would be a cop-out for me. It would be giving up and giving control of their intellect and future to a system I don't agree with, and don't trust. It may happen eventually, but not before they are 8 years old. They will have a firm base of confidence and spirituality before I send them to the wolves.
So that's our family update. We continue to try to "keep our power," by staying calm under pressure, and addressing the root of issues rather than the outward behaviors. We do not always succeed. Sometimes I still do yell at my kids, I will admit. Change takes years, not months. But I do apologize when I yell, and I humble myself so that they can see I'm trying to change. We repair our relationship quickly, and don't let the anger or resentment fester. We still find our happy faces, and the kids call them up themselves, when they're trying to turn the corner from a bad mood.
I start each day with a prayer for patience and to have the Spirit guide me. I read scriptures daily, and that makes a world of difference. I never realized why that makes such a difference. It really changes who we are. It takes us out of the world, and places our mind into the spiritual realm.
Based on the changes in my children, their overall confidence, passion for life, and all things spiritual, I would say we're headed in the right direction. There are days, of course, when I think back to the early days, and fear that we may some day be back there. But I overcome that anxiety, and smile at those great kids of mine, and see the good in them. I then look in the mirror, and see the good in me. I know then, that we're all going to have a great life, and that looking back, we'll remember more good then bad, because it's the good that is winning at the end of the day.
Focusing on the positive really changes everything. While Kaylee was in the dentist chair, I was tempted to tell them, so that she would be scolded, that she hates to brush her teeth. But I didn't. I simply warned that she was ticklish in her mouth. Instead of embarrassing her, even when they mentioned that she must be the candy-eater, I praised her for sitting still. Afterward, I told her about the cavity, and we made a goal to be better about brushing her teeth. Neither they nor I talked at length about it. So when we got home, she was excited to brush her teeth with her new toothbrush. I still addressed the problem, but without embarrassing her, or focusing on the negative. She has gained a great deal of sincere confidence, and I am happy to know it's coming out in all areas of her life. Her Pre-K teacher said that she is becoming more of a leader, and invites other kids to play with her. She speaks out now, instead of simply staring and being shy. She follows less, and is more independant. She's making efforts to befriend others, instead of waiting to be befriended. She's finding her light. I don't even want to think about the sad little girl she once was.
Peter and Kaylee were once angry, sad kids with lots of hate brewing beneath the surface. All of that, or almost all of that, has now been replaced by love, faith, courage, self-love, and confidence. I'm so proud of them. I love them, and I love the changes our family has made.