I tried to remain calm and not outwardly demonstrate my frustration, disgust or embarrassment. As we walked from the building to our vehicle my words to them were short and to the point. Without looking at any of them, I said: I am extremely upset with all of you at this moment and I do NOT want to hear one word from any of you until we get home.
Each of them knew they had taken things beyond what was considered acceptable behavior. The entire drive home was silent and I know the wheels in their brains were turning. I drove into our driveway and stopped the SUV before I spoke.
My words were chosen carefully as I told them how disappointed I was with their actions. Unacceptable, Disobedient, and Defiant were three words the boys heard and they knew each word was the correct definition of their behavior.
At that moment, I was not ready to discipline them. No, there was not a grounding, no privileges were revoked, no yelling . . . I did not impose a punishment. Instead, their hands were busy and their bodies active taking care of chores that needed tending. I needed time to process and think.
Saturday went a bit better, until after dinner when the disagreements began. We immediately put a stop to the arguing and separated them for a while.
Today, the boys were testing one another once again and it sounded a bit like this:
- Stop looking at me
- Stop smiling at me
- Why are you smiling? M-o-M he is smiling it me because I have to do the dishes.
- That is MINE . . . D-A-D, he took my Lego pieces. Those were mine and HE KNOWs it.
- He poked me ~ but he says it is an accident and I know it wasn't!
- He is feeding the dogs his supper! MOM . . .
- I am telling because you aren't taking your clothes to the laundry!
- WHY did you DO that?
- MOM, did you know that ????? isn't taking his vitamin?
- MOM, ?????? is downstairs in the basement and HE isn't supposed to be!
- MOM somebody pee'd on the toilet seat again!
- He pushed me and I didn't do nothin' to him.
- He broke my creation.
- Mom, Mom, Mom, MMMMM--OOOOO--MMMMM!
Yes, it had been a long week and weekend. However, tomorrow they begin LEARNING by SERVING.
Remember, they weren't punished from Friday's episode. The unkind words, arguments and hatefulness will be addressed this week. Tomorrow will be LEARNING by SERVING in Action.
During the course of this week, my four boys will be given the opportunity to stop thinking about themselves. Each day, the boys will find a way to help someone. Sure, they may begin the process by thinking it is fun or they may begin the process by being angry, or they may just find the point of "Learning by Serving" that
"Life isn't all about me."
They will also:
- Write about what they learn through serving.
- Apologize in person to our Chiropractor and Staff about their behavior on Friday.
- Secretly do something nice for each of their brothers each day. When the "task" has been done and no one knows about it, they will put a small Lego into the designated jar. Each of the boys will have their own color of Lego to use. The goal is to fill the jar with "secret kindness" without being reminded to do so.
Serving someone outside the home may be a bit harder for them. I am sure there are many ways to serve others outside of our home. I have a few suggestions to get them started:
- Collect fallen sticks from the yard of elderly friends.
- Clean up doggie poo from various yards.
- Sit and read to elderly people at a nursing or retirement home.
- Clean up goose poo from neighbor yards.
- Pull the neighbors' garbage cans up to their garage on garbage day
I really can't wait to hear what they come up with.