Without getting too preachy or religious up in
here, I've been contemplating Lent. Specifically, seeing all of my
friends make lists of their things to give up for 40 days has
caused me to take a hard look at my own habits. I've found that,
even among my non-churchgoing pals, doing without something for
Lent has become kind of trendy. Left and right, folks are taking a
break from sugar, coffee, swearing and social media. (Ah, the old
"giving up Facebook" one. Straight outta Genesis.)
Regardless of what church doctrine may say, I've never
completely understood the need to cut out something as frivolous as
TV. And the whole "I'm giving up sugar" thing? That's just called a
diet. I feel like there are slightly bigger things in the world for
God to focus on than whether or not I've eaten an entire box of
Samoas. (Which I have.)
So, I've decided to take this Lenten season as an
opportunity to better myself. Namely, I'm going to stop yelling at
my children. (And as soon as I typed that out it made me feel like
a monster.) But it's more than just raising my voice. My goal is to
stop losing my temper over their tantrums, really focus on who the
cranky one is in each scenario and be more mindful of what we're
all trying to tell each other. Is this hunger speaking? Is Mama a
tad under-caffeinated and over-worked? Has someone peed themselves?
Basically, I'm planning to take a step back, take a huge breath and
actually listen to what we're all try to say- or yell- to each
I know I'm not alone in this one. I think we all want to
be better, nicer, calmer parents for our [generally] deserving
offspring. And as soon as I set this as a goal, I sought out and
stumbled upon communities such as the Orange Rhino Challenge
(being yell-free for a year? Let's start
smallish, shall we?) and became hyper-aware of friends' tweets
concerning how they've responded to their kids' less than stellar
And this was the season to aggravate both parties; if
there's something stronger than multiple close-the-schools cold
snaps to test the bonds of pleasant parent/child communication,
well then, I'm terrified to know what it is.
Hopefully my venture will be successful and will last way
longer than 40 days; I'm certainly not planning on popping out from
around the corner on Easter morning to scream at my kids about
chocolate bunnies. And Easter preparation aside, I think this will
be a good thing, and will pave the way for what I want for my kids
and family the rest of the year. But while I'm bettering myself, I
should also attempt to drink more water. I think we can all agree
that God likes people to be hydrated.
Hydration and calm voices . . . is it Easter
Keely Flynn is a Chicago playwright, freelance writer, and blogger living with three young children, an extraordinarily tolerant husband, and two cats who just try to make it through the day without being ridden like ponies. Check out her personal blog, lollygagblog.com.
See more of Keely's stories here.
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