Mike and I got in trouble at school today. Well, officially it was Mav who got in trouble at preschool, but his actions come down to what he learns from us, right?
This Sunday, Mike and I got in a heated argument when we were driving home from the zoo with the kids. We are both highly passionate people, especially when it comes to arguing, so our conversations can rise in intensity pretty quickly. We’ve spent a lot of time and money in therapy, however, learning how to fight more effectively and lovingly with each other.
Most importantly through the years we’ve learned how to be aware of how we are showing up in our arguments. Generally if one of us reverts to our childish, ego-driven ways while we are communicating, the other of us is present and sincere enough to guide us into a calmer place where we recognize we are on the same team working towards the same goal – even if we have different views on how to achieve that goal.
But this past Sunday, there was a perfect storm of circumstances that made it so that neither of our best selves showed up for that argument. You might say we were both on our worst behavior. And for a moment in the car, we even forgot the boys were in the back seat with us. That is, until Mav popped into the conversation, telling us we each needed to take a time out and to be nicer to each other. He was right, and was very eager to get us to calm down. I didn’t realize that experience would stick with him like it did.
Mav’s teacher told me that he was being very loud in school today. And when they asked him to quiet down he loudly explained why he thought what he was doing was ok, and continued arguing with his teachers. He wasn’t listening and was even loud with his classmates, not normal behavior for Mav. My eyes came close to tears, though I managed to hold it together, as his teacher’s words hit my heart and I remembered Mike’s and my fight on Sunday. Mav’s behavior had been a mirror of us.
What an eye opener. Our children pick up so much from us: how to treat our friends, how to be in relationship, how to disagree, how to care for others, whether or not to be glued to our smart phones at all times, and on and on. Mav says things like, “This is my beautiful life,” to my aunts and grandmother-in-law when he is having a magical moment with them. He also says things like, “I am tired of picking up my fort, Mom.” Pretty sure those words came from my mouth originally.
This experience has made me even more grateful for the gift of awareness, to realize how my actions are impacting my children, and how I can make better choices going forward. I am also grateful for the gift of beginning again. Just like when we get distracted while meditating or fall out of a balancing pose in yoga class, we can begin again and attempt to do better. And again. And again. And again. Nothing is ever “lost”, or too far beyond repair.
The beautiful thing is that our children are sponges to it all. They will learn how we learn from our errors. They will learn from us how to admit you made a mistake and do better next time; how to grow; and how to commit to being better human beings. We have a choice as to what we bring to our little sponges.
Now, your turn. Journal or contemplate on the following: