Oh the joys of being a homeschool Mama!
Especially when one has a six-year-old baby boy who is all about Star Wars, creating fantastic adventures with his Playmobil people, and building all kinds of contraptions with his Legos. Reading? Don’t need it. Math? I can do it, but please don’t make me actually sit down and write my answers. His favorite number is 3 and his favorite letter is C. He tells me this quite often. I do not think it is coincidental that these are from the beginning of his learning career. After he got those two down, enthusiasm waned. But it is quite entertaining to see him get excited when the answer is one of his two favorites. He grabs that pencil, points his tongue out of one side of his mouth and diligently writes his answer with his very best effort. Anything else? Ahem. Yes, well. Moving on.
This morning Cooter was so exasperated with me, and the feeling was mutual. He just didn’t want to focus. He wanted to play with his sister, but she was actually focused on her own studies. He wanted to play by himself, but I kept calling him back to finish his phonics. I realized it was time to pull out the big guns. I told him if he didn’t get it done, he would lose his privileges.
Oh yeah, I went there.
My oldest Aub was one of those children for whom spankings meant nothing. Time outs did little to curb unseemly behavior. But one day I told her I was going to take away a privilege and I did. That was IT. From then on, if I told her she would lose a privilege, I saw a change. Almost immediately. When she was Cooter’s age and a little younger, we were over at our friend’s house quite a bit. Aub loved playing with her two best buddies, and it was like a second home to us. One day when we were leaving, she wasn’t cooperating. Frustrated I said, “If you don’t obey, you are going to lose a privilege!” My friend laughed; it did sound strange at the time. But it worked if I recall correctly. Later on, my friend’s oldest asked her what a privilege was. I’m not sure any of them really knew what it was, but somehow it seemed to work. My friend and I would say “Watch out, you might lose a privilege!” for years, and then we’d laugh at how well that seemed to work for girls who didn’t know the meaning of the word.
So yes, taking away privileges, that’s pulling out the heavy ammunition around here. This morning when I told him the repercussions for his actions, he threw his hands up and raised his voice and said, “YOU’RE THE MEANEST PERSON IN THE WHOLE WORLD!”
I was standing at the stove fixing his lunch. When I heard him say that, it made my heart glad. As strange as it sounds, I gave thanks for his words.
I am thankful that my child thinks I am the meanest person in the whole world. Because I know that I’m not, and I know that this world is full of mean, really mean people who are filled with anger and sickness and pain, and who seek to hurt others. And if my son thinks this about me, then he hasn’t come across the really mean ones. I am SO thankful for THAT.
He has walked through the shadows of darkness and come through unscathed. There are so few children who have not been touched by meanness, cruelty, neglect, and other darkness at the hands of friends, family, peers, strangers–just about anybody. He is among the lucky, and I know it. And I don’t take that lightly.
He believes that his Mama, who thinks the sun rises and sets with him, is the meanest person in the whole world.
Tonight I’m going to get on my knees and give thanks for that.