Posts Tagged ‘behavior’

Our Little Shadows

Monday, September 29th, 2014

Remember the childhood poem “I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me”? Grandpa has one of those. It just isn’t his own shadow. It is actually Nature Boy.

Nature Boy adores his Grandpa. He wants to see and do everything that Grandpa does. There are a couple of problems with this. One – he is only four years old. And two – he is developmentally delayed. So everything he does to imitate Grandpa or to ‘help’ him turns out to be not so helpful after all. Grandpa spends a lot of his time at the computer so Nature Boy often sits with him and stares at that computer as if he knows all about it. Every now and then – when Grandpa isn’t looking – he pushes all kinds of buttons which sometimes delete things Grandpa really doesn’t want deleted. He follows Grandpa into the garage and ‘helps’ him repair little rocking chairs or other toys that have been overused.

One of Nature Boy’s favorite things is a cord that he can flap up and down like bird wings. Grandpa has all kinds of tie-downs, power tools, and extention cords that suit him perfectly. He happily flaps them up and down and, sometimes sneaks them out of the garage and into other places in the house. Then we get to hear Grandpa complaining ‘All right, where did you put them this time?” But, Nature Boy, being developmentally delayed, doesn’t talk. He just stands there looking innocent.

Anyone with small children has variations of this scene in their homes as well. Little girls watch Mommy and try to cook, dress and put on make-up. (My make-up gets hidden whenever possible to keep Princess from ‘borrowing’ it). Little boys the world over try to fix cars, paint houses, or otherwise imitate Daddy.

It’s a joy to watch them try to be like us. We smile when our little girls rock their dolls to sleep and we hear them say ‘go night night, sweet baby’. We know they are learning to love and cherish their young.

We laugh to see our little boys sitting at the computer table moving the mouse and clicking away.  They can be so much fun sometimes.

Then there are the other times. Times when we see and hear things we aren’t so proud of.  That time when I hear our Princess use a tone of voice when talking to her friends that sounds so unkind but sounds a lot like me. Or the times when we hear those not-so-special words that shouldn’t be used around children but are coming out of our children’s mouths. The ones that sort of slip out on occasion.

We love our little ones with all our hearts. I’m sure you love yours as well. If we want them to be the truly great men and women of tomorrow, we need to show them how. It might be time to take stock of ourselves.  Do a little self-improvement.

August 8th Quote of the Day

Sunday, September 7th, 2014

All I ever really needed to know, I learned in kindergarten.
Robert Fulghum

The older I get the more I realize that I need a little refresher course in kindergarten. You’ve heard of those ‘crusty old men’.  You know, the ones who speak their mind without caring what other people think or how it may affect other people?  There have been occasions where I am a ‘crusty old woman’.  We make jokes and laugh about the people who become like this as they get older. We even envy them just a little their right to talk as they do. After all, they’re old,  so we give them leeway. My concern, as I reach that age and begin to behave in that manner, is that I’ve forgotten the kindergarten teachings.


The ones that say ‘be kind’. I’m not senile enough to have forgotten the ‘don’t hit’ class but I sometimes think I may be hitting with my words. As I walk through the mall or the grocery store, I hear a lot of other people who have forgotten those teachings, too.

I hear a lot of kids who don’t seem to have learned them in kindergarten. Maybe the kids learned them but haven’t had the teachings modeled for them at home. It’s possible they should give remedial kindergarten classes at our local community colleges.


If they did, it might be a good one for me to take.

You Have a Brain in Your Head

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

Our little Princess has been having some problems lately. They involve accepting responsibility for her actions.


It’s hard to do that even as adults but for her – the one who has always been perfect in the eyes of her Grandpa – it seems especially hard. She tries to explain that she had to do what she did. Her friend told her to. Of course, we know the ‘if your friends all jumped off a cliff’ saying and we go ahead and say it. She tries other arguments. The ones that go, I didn’t think you would care just this once and I can’t help myself. I just do it without thinking. And there is always ‘the devil made me do it’. Somehow we just aren’t buying any of them.

The other day, since consequences and the ‘jumping off a cliff’ talk wasn’t working, I decided to try a different quote.

This one from Dr.  Seuss. “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.  You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”  I know she understands this.  For her, the difficulty comes when her friends want her to do what she knows is wrong.  She gives in and then compounds the problem by refusing to accept her responsibility.

It’s not her fault. She had to do it.

Thinking about this – and being frustrated about my inability to get through to her – I searched for examples of adult behavior in these same circumstances. I was struck by how often we, who should be showing her how to stand up for what is right, have been modeling for her the behavior she uses. It’s not our fault we yelled obscenities at the driver in the car next to us.  He was driving like an idiot and, besides, I had a rough day at work. It’s not my fault.  I didn’t remember it was my turn to bring the snacks to the kids sports game. I was busy with things at work and forgot. It’s not my fault is our battle cry. When we hang out with the kind of people we tell them to avoid, when we shirk our responsibilities, when we break those little pesky speed limit laws, even in the littlest things, we can’t just say “I screwed up. I’m sorry.” When it comes to the big things —– well, let’s just not go there.

I’ve decided to focus a little more carefully on accepting responsibility myself. After all, even though she won’t admit it, she models herself after me and her mother and her grandfather. We are the ones responsible for showing her how a true adult acts just as you are responsible for showing your children how they should act.  Let’s all work a little harder at being the mature adult we hope they will someday become.

May 2 Quote of the Day

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.
Albert Ellis

It’s important to realize that to truly be able to call yourself an adult, you must accept responsibility for your problems. We tend to want to blame our failings on our upbringing or our environment but until we accept that we are adults and capable of making choices for ourselves, we can never truly grow as individuals. If we want to control our destiny, we have to first accept that we control our own choices.

April 16 Daily Verse

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

Titus 3:3

Those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works

Father, we know that a higher standard is expected of us. We call ourselves Christian, People expect us to act like Christ. When we don’t, we bring criticism to You, Teach us each day to do good. Remind us that, even in the little things, we represent You. Keep that in our thoughts. Guide us in our choices so that the works we do will glorify You.

April 10 Daily Verse

Monday, April 9th, 2012

1 Corinthians 15:23

Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”

Father, we work hard to be careful of the people we allow our children to play with but we sometimes forget that this principle applies to us as well. Help us find people who display your attitudes and obey your laws to call our very good friends.

The Devil Made Me Do It!

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

For just a moment, let’s look at this scenario. You are out to dinner with an acquaintance. Bored with the discussion, you have placed one elbow on the table and your chin in your hand as you listen to your dinner partner drone on and on. He notices this indiscretion of yours and reminds you that it isn’t polite to put your elbows on the table. You can’t believe he just said that! Who is he to tell you how to act? So you put your other elbow on the table and pronounce defiantly, ‘Really?!’ You have just broken a rule of etiquette. Whose fault is it?

Most of us are going to blame the dinner partner for ticking us off and causing us to react as we did. But, honestly, he didn’t reach across the table, grab your arm and force your elbow to the table. That elbow is still attached to your arm and you are still the one in control of what that arm does. You know the rules of etiquette and you are quite capable of living by them. In this case, you have chosen not to. You may be justified in your reasoning for breaking the rule but that doesn’t make it anyone’s fault but your own.

When we were children, we all tried these arguments. He hit me first! She took my toy so I scribbled on her paper. He called me a name so I pushed him down. It was always someone else’s fault and we felt we were justified in our reactions. We also felt totally victimized when we were punished for it anyway. We’re not children anymore. We’re adults. It’s time we recognize that we can not justify our behavior by blaming someone else. Everyone in the office takes home office supplies when they need them so why shouldn’t I? It doesn’t matter how many others are doing it. Theft is theft. If there were an earthquake in your area and buildings were damaged, would you go into a store and pick out whatever you wanted? Dozens of others will be doing just exactly that but looting is looting. You can’t justify it by pointing to others and their behavior.

Just as common is the tendency to blame our parents for the way we act now. If it’s a little thing, we say ‘it’s just the way I was brought up. I have a hard time breaking that habit.’ It’s all Mom and Dad’s fault. They didn’t bring me up right. We even try to blame Mom and Dad for the abuse and neglect of our children! We don’t want to look at the thousands of others out there who were abused and neglected as children and still managed to turn their lives around and give a better home for their families. We blame our parents because we drink too much or smoke too much or any other number of vices. If you take the time to look at it, 30 years ago no one knew smoking caused cancer and it took even longer for people to realize that secondhand smoke was dangerous. Even if we didn’t know that, your parents are not standing there handing you one-too-many alcoholic beverages and they aren’t standing there forcing that cigarette between your lips. You are in control of the movements you make.

Yes, others can influence our behavior but it’s our choice which path we walk down. Accept responsibility for what you do and who you are. Start today by choosing one thing that you’ve allowed to slide in your life because it’s easier to blame someone else than to break the habit. Make each day a source of improvement. Other people can influence you. Only you can decide how that influence will play out in your life.