September 08, 2008

"I have today"

"I have today" is my friend Sara M.’s blog title! It has also been sort of my parenting mantra. I mean this in several ways:

First, “I Have Today” reminds me of a conversation my sister and I had about drawing up our wills and who would raise our children if we couldn’t do it, etc. We were both convinced there was no one else who would raise our children the way we wanted to do it, no one else who would love them the way we did. She was right, of course. She died the next day. I don’t say that to be morbid or sentimental; I say that to mean, “I have today. I may ONLY have today. So don’t waste it.”

Second, “I Have Today” doesn’t mean you have to do everything everyday, and it sure doesn’t mean you have to pack each day with fun-filled activity. What it means, at least for me, is that I make the most of every opportunity every day. Take advantage of every teachable moment. Like when your daughter says, “I’m not sleepy” and you understand this to mean, “Come lay down with me and talk about something important.” Or, and this coming from a tv-junkie, choosing to NEVER watch a 9 p.m. drama so you aren’t tempted by anything that would keep you from reading with your kids and tucking them into bed each and every night. Or when you are driving down the road after a major afternoon thunderstorm, the most amazing rainbow becomes visible, and you pull the car over to the side of the road to retell the story of Noah’s ark to your 4-year-old with the hope that one day he will understand the reality of God’s promises.

Third, “I have today” takes on special meaning for me when it comes to discipline. You can’t let discipline issues slide. Not once. Not ever. CONSISTENCY. If kids know there is a crack in your armor, they will keep poking until they draw blood. Metaphorically, of course. Well, and literally, if you have boys. And those of you who know me know I am NOT a tough cookie. But “I Have Today” means that when your kids don’t finish their chores properly on Monday, then on Tuesday you wake them up an hour early so they “have time” to do them right, since that MUST have been the problem the day before. (If you know how precious sleep is to my kiddos, you would appreciate the effectiveness of this approach.) It means that when you say “no”, it ALWAYS means “no” - there will not be whining or begging or temper tantrums. Ever. Whining, begging and temper tantrums lead to a whole ‘nuther level of consequenses, and you REALLY don't want to go there. There’s a whole book’s worth I could blog about here, but that’s all for now.

I have today, so I’d better get busy.

4 comments:

NinjaPrincess said...

Stephanie,
I love reading parenting advice from other Moms, especially ones whose kids are adults (or close to it).
Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

E.T.'s Mom said...

Why stop now? I love it! The world (or maybe just me) needs more of your wisdom! Keep it coming!

Sara said...

I'm with Sara...I love it when you post stuff like this. I'm sitting here thinking...."This stuff is preachable!"

Thanks for sharing your experience...it means the world to the rest of us!

NinjaPrincess said...

Hi, Stephanie!
I'll confess that when I saw your questions on my blog, I was tempted to say that we knew each other in real life. I considered telling you to approach the women you came into contact with this week with your best ninja pose. Only when greeted in ninja fashion would the ninja princess reveal herself. Ohhhhh, I was tempted.

But that would be lying, so I didn't. :) I found your blog by clicking through other people's blog rolls. Don't hate me because I'm boring.