Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Say You're Sorry, Mommy

Motherhood. Sometimes it includes the word, "Oops!" Especially if you accuse a child of doing something without first having all the facts...

I can still vividly remember when it was raining indoors. The water was coming down from upstairs into the basement through the ceiling, and I was not singing in rain, sister! One of our creative children wanted to see what would happen if he plugged up the overflow hole in the bathroom sink. So he pushed down the stopper, then plugged the hole with wadded up toilet paper and left the room.

"Austen Henderson Taylor," get down here right now!" I said with my "Here comes your funeral" voice. "What on EARTH were you thinking! Look at all this water! Now start helping me clean up. Hillary, Collin, Josh, you too! Would you just look at this mess? After we clean up, everybody is going to their room..."

This wasn't for a "time-out," but it was so that I could have a cooling-off period as I determined the appropriate discipline. As we were cleaning puddles and dodging raindrops, little cousin Josh, who happened to be spending the weekend with us, spoke these unforgettable words:

"Auntie Frauntie, Con do dat topper. Con do dat water, Con do dat. No Austen. Con do dat." And then he repeated himself like a little old man (or maybe so that he could be sure that I understood him).

Translation: "Auntie Francie, Collin did the stopper (in the sink). Collin did the water. Collin (did) do that. Not Austen. Collin did that."

I was frozen, and then I was smitten. I turned and looked at my three children, who were also frozen (two with relief; one with eyeballs popped out of his head in fear). I said the wonderful words that I recommend so often: "Austen, I was wrong. Will you forgive me?"

"Yes ma'am, Mommy," Austen said, relieved that his name had been cleared. Austen, Hillary and cousin Josh went back to cleaning up the water, while I left the room with THE CON to have an important business meeting. Josh didn't speak clearly as a toddler, but he spoke with power just the same.

Have you accused your children wrongfully? When you realize your "Oops," tell them you're sorry, and try not to do it again. To paraphrase an old saying, "The only exercise some parents get is jumping to conclusions and running down their children." Don't let that be true!

"He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him." (Prov. 18:13)

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