When eleven words thwack you between the eyes

inner voiceWith the advent of chain emails and the Photoshop-fancy memes that wallpaper Facebook, I scarcely notice quotes anymore. Then I came across this:

“The way we talk to our children will become their inner voice.”

The words soaked through my skin and saw me, flaws and all. I sat down, stunned, and began to review the film of my children’s lives.

All of us parents like to think these eleven words don’t apply to us. It’s for the authoritarian parents, the anger-management candidates. Some parents should really take these words to heart, but me?  I’m doing well enough.

I thought of last Monday morning, when my son almost missed the bus.

“Come ON!” I hollered.

“I’m looking for my homework, mom!”

“Why isn’t it in your backpack where it belongs?! Hurry up! I can SEE THE BUS!”

Silence. Then, quietly, “I can’t find it, mom.”

I sprinted down the hall and crashed into his room. I overturned blankets and sifted through a hundred papers. I located the wayward worksheet and shoved it out. “Here. Hurry up.”

He slipped it in his backpack and dashed out the door, with me on his heels, “Go! Go! Go!”

He made the bus, and he seemed unfazed by my staccato outbursts.

“The way we talk to our children will become their inner voice.”

As I turned the moment over in my mind, I realized that none of my words had been necessary. Not one. If I’d have kept my nose out of it, what would have happened? He would have forgotten his homework and missed the bus, and I would have driven him. He would have had to get himself a tardy slip and hand it to his teacher. Would that have been the worst thing in the world? Nope. Would he have learned WAY more from that than from my ranting? Yep.

I’m a huge proponent of letting natural consequences do the teaching. Trouble is, in the moment I’m perfectly capable of forgetting I’m a huge proponent. When I forget this, I lecture (isn’t heard), I nag (doesn’t teach) and I tend to screw up my face (looks goofy).

“The way we talk to our children will become their inner voice.”

Peggy O’Mara penned these words. I don’t even know who she is, but I want to tape her words to my forehead. Because I want to remember. I want to be present in every moment and beat down the impatient tendencies that live in all of us. I look back at that morning and I know with utter certainty that I do not want those words – that tone – living on in the hearts of my children.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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15 thoughts on “When eleven words thwack you between the eyes

  1. Experienced Tutors February 19, 2013 at 2:27 pm Reply

    Nicely reasoned.

  2. Being June February 19, 2013 at 2:37 pm Reply

    Thank you.

  3. justme143 February 19, 2013 at 3:47 pm Reply

    Reblogged this on Here's the thing….. and commented:
    We all have been here…

    • Being June February 19, 2013 at 7:05 pm Reply

      Thank you 🙂 It’s not often I lose my head, but it’s nice to know I’m not alone.

  4. Mummygadgetgeek February 19, 2013 at 4:12 pm Reply

    What a great quote. I definitely have those moments when I say something, then hear myself and cringe. It must happen to all parents sometimes!

    • Being June February 19, 2013 at 7:07 pm Reply

      I absolutely love it. No parenting self-help book could ever succinctly convey the same message as these eleven words. Thank you for visiting!

    • Being June February 26, 2013 at 6:57 pm Reply

      Lol! I Googled the quote after I wrote the post and I was stunned at how many people had already addressed it. And here I thought I was being original. *sigh* Thanks for the follow!

      • fakingpictureperfect February 26, 2013 at 6:59 pm

        LOL. Well, I guess I wasn’t original either then. :/ I frequently find that the blogging world is all blogging about the same thing at the same time, but I think that is a GOOD thing. Different perspectives. Yours was much more positive than mine I dare say. 🙂

      • Being June February 26, 2013 at 7:10 pm

        You’re right. I mean, I suppose since there are twelve bazillion blogs it’s bound to happen!

  5. The Water Bearer February 28, 2013 at 1:55 am Reply

    What a convicting quote that I desperately want to remember too!! I struggle so much with this issue and it is comforting to know I am not alone. You may enjoy my recent post on this subject…
    http://innerangelsandenemies.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/beginning-to-undo-the-damage/

    Keep on sharing! Blessings to you!

    • Being June February 28, 2013 at 1:40 pm Reply

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post. You’re definitely not alone! Thanks for the link – I will check it out.

  6. perthians March 8, 2013 at 8:58 am Reply

    They do push our buttons though hahaha

    • Being June March 8, 2013 at 10:08 am Reply

      You’re. Not. Kidding. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Deborah the Closet Monster January 3, 2014 at 11:31 am Reply

    This is lovely, and a perspective I needed to see.

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