September 10, 2010

Character Training in Action - Lose a Letter

We’ve been talking about being respectful, attentive, and obedient, and Levi could verbally define, role play, and give his own examples of each one. However, when the heat was all went out the window! Let’s just say that Papito and I were both realizing the need for some more intense consequences in order to keep the peace.

Last Friday, I had an idea. I had a little talk with Levi explaining why we’re learning about these traits, and how important they are to learn when you are young vs. when you are older with BIGGER consequences. We talked about what being disrespectful to your parents, sister, and friends looked like, then we went to our favorite whiteboard (the fridge) and I drew a circle. I asked him what his favorite toy was. “My armor.” (Cardboard and duct tape brillance from the artistic on that soon) So, non-artistic Mamita drew her very best armor in the circle, then crossed it out. Next I wrote an equals sign and his name. Lesson being, no more armor if your lose all your letters.

I explained that he wasn’t going to get lots of chances or warnings, just the four letters on the fridge. I knew I could not make it a battleground... no yelling, no stomping to the fridge to erase, no threatening, no show, no emotion...just consequences for disobeying or disrespecting. I was surprised at how his standards were much higher than mine! “Mamita, before I stopped myself and had self-control I growled at Sissy, so you need to erase a letter.” He went the whole week, and finally, yesterday, the inevitable happened. All four letters gone by 4 p.m.

There was some drama in the bedroom about a toy and Sissy, and I said “Levi, come here please.” In the anger of the moment he yelled “No!” Big mistake. Huge! hehe So, I left the room without saying a word, erased the last letter, walked back in and said, “Let’s try that again. Levi, come here please.” He walked over, and we solved the drama. Then with no mama drama, no guilt trip, and no explanation needed, I walked over and picked up his armor bag and took it into the office. He didn’t ask questions at all, at the moment, and I knew he had no idea of the truth depth of his chosen consequences.

We spent the next couple of hours keeping busy in our preparations for company coming over. I knew that we was going to want to play with his armor when company arrived, as he and Tia had a great time with it the last time she was over. He was busy preparing a pretend fancy dinner for her though, and it wasn’t until about 9:30, way past bedtime when he came up to ask where his armor bag was. I reminded him he lost all his letters, and it was put away for the day. Wow, let the howls begin!! The tears were flying out horizontally, and after dropping to the floor in anguish a few times, he began to tell me how he really felt. “You are the BADDEST MAMITA ever in the whole world! I wish I didn’t have a mamita so there could be NO rules and NO consequences! I just want there to be NO MORE CONSEQUENCES. AAAHHHHH!!!!!” I told him I understood how angry and upset he was, but I would be a bad mamita if I didn’t have those consequences. Then he ran and laid down on his bed, and fell asleep.

He was still upset this morning, but calm enough for us to talk it over. I had rubbed in discussed the lesson enough and he was starting to get fired up again, so I told him to follow me as I ran to the kitchen. I took the cleaner and got all of yesterday’s green marker residue and smears off the fridge. I explained about how God’ mercies are new every morning, and when we ask for forgiveness he wipes everything clean and gives us a fresh start. I neatly redrew our equation, and on with the day we went. Guess what. Not one letter erased today! Woooohooooo!!!!

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