Posts Categorized: Self-Control

If You Break It, You Buy It

When I was growing up, my parents, as most parents did, cautioned me and my sister against touching things in stores when we went shopping. I don’t really remember it, but it must have been so, because now I feel guilty whenever I touch anything in any store. Except, I guess, for the grocery store, which isn’t usually a “just browsing” sort of place.

I passed down that instruction to my own sons. Except by then, I had learned some positive guidance techniques for young children. Instead of telling kids what NOT to do, adults should tell them what TO do. For example, instead of saying, “Don’t run,” a better choice would be, “Please walk.” So, in stores, instead of saying “Don’t touch,” (or, “Don’t you DARE touch that”), I would try to remember to say, “Please look with only your eyes,” which quickly, for each boy, shortened to “Look with your eyes.” An even better thing (I know now), would have been to use the positive I-message, “I’m worried when you pick up things in the store. Something might get dropped and broken or damaged. So please look with only your eyes.” This gives a child (or anyone, really)  a logical reason to choose appropriate behavior, given in a gentler and more informative way. Okay, so much for the child guidance lesson.

Last week, I was doing some shopping to get ready for a week of activities for preschoolers at church.

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Phone Etiquette

My parents raised me to be nice. I was supposed to be polite to people, and I was. With regret, I admit that I am less so, the older I get. I blame the strangers who call me on the phone.

So many people, all unknown to me, feel free, empowered, and worthy, to call me whenever they want during the day and/or evening, to press me, question me, suggest to me, and threaten me with, well, whatever is on their mind. I’ve become a shrieking shrew to strangers on the phone. On rare occasions, someone I don’t know will phone me with a real question. I will have answered taut and tight-voiced and then must apologize for my discourtesy.

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