Wednesday, July 1, 2015

THE SEQUEL: Kids Argue and Parents' Ears Bleed

  About 5 years ago Diana Krall came to the Hanford Fox Theater.  I didn't care about the $50 for the ticket. I was going and I was going to love it.  I went.  I loved it.  I love jazz and I love love love jazz piano.  I just couldn't believe how good she was.  I wanted to be able to do that.  I already had a sultry  smooth high alto voice (gained from lack of sleep not cigarettes like other jazz singers) and all I needed to do was learn to make my fingers dance around on the piano.  I bought Alfred's Adult Piano course and sat down before my children's keyboard.  I placed my fingers on the C chord and let loose.

  I sucked.  I really sucked.  It sounded horrible.  It sounded horrible for not just one day but every day for days and days and days.  It was how Diana Krall must have sounded when she was 6 months old.


  I keep expecting my children to wake up one day and not argue.  I expect them to be able to Diana Krall their words into this beautiful jazz arrangement where the drums combine with the upright bass and the piano answers back in a perfect cascade of musical genius but most days they are just hitting each other over the head with their upright bass and drum set.  Most days the music they do make sounds like me trying to play "Jingle Bells" on our dusty old keyboard.  

  It has taken me close to ten years of parenting to figure out that it is going to take them their ENTIRE LIVES to figure out how to communicate in love with the people they live with every day.  You know how i figured it out?  I'm married to someone I need to communicate with every single day and it has taken us years and years to practice and perfect that and we still don't have it down perfectly.  And we're grown ups.  And then I had another epiphany right after the first epiphany...that's called a double epiphany.

  Teaching my children to communicate is exactly like pre-pre-marital counseling.  I mean exactly.  The communication counsel I give them is almost word-for-word what most communication chapters in marriage books say.  I am bold enough to declare right here and right now that if you are willing to put in the time to pre-pre-marital counsel them now, I dare say there are some future spouses out there that will give you many thanks.  

  I know I said all that and now you expect the formula but that's not how loving communication works.  It's not a science, it's a musical...I mean music.  One of the first pieces of advice that a music teacher gives to a student is listen to the greats.  Tune your ear to what great music sounds like.  Music will then be caught not just taught.  If you are a bad example of loving communication then that is what will be caught in your home.  Maybe the following checklist is something that you need to ask the Lord to change in your life.  I keep it in the front of my brain when I'm communicating with my husband.  The entire Bible is our manual on loving communication but if I had to narrow it down to the passages that I read out loud to my kids while they glare at each other after a fight it would be James 3, I Corinthians 13, and Philippians 2.  There's a deeper need for a specific type of communication with the people you live with every day.  Without it your home is not a peaceful home at all.  I keep it in the front of my brain when I'm communicating with my husband.  I'm going to keep this checklist super simple and to the point. I'm not smart enough to make it fancy anyway.

  •   Think the best of people's words.  If he says, "I don't want to play that right now," don't translate that in your mind to "I don't ever want to play your games because you're stupid and your ideas are stupid and I have better ideas and we're going to do my ideas every time because they're better."  That's called an Intentions Translator and no one should allow them in their brain.  Don't change the meaning of people's words.
  •   It is better to be kind than to be right.  I reiterate...IT IS BETTER TO BE KIND THAN TO BE RIGHT.
  •   Just because their opinion is different doesn't mean they are wrong or trying to be contrary.  They just have a different opinion.  
  • When someone is telling you about how you hurt their feelings or how something is annoying them, listen with no rebuttal-preparing going on in your brain.  It doesn't matter that the same thing doesn't hurt or annoy you.  It is better to be kind than to be right.
  • If the communication is not constructive then shut your face until it is.
  • NEVER speak in absolutes.  It's straight lying with your ugly mouth.
  • Not being easily offended shows maturity.  Letting stuff go quickly shows maturity.  You want to be babies forever?  Grow up and don't be so sensitive.  
  • Being kind is better than being right.
    Communication is never going away.  I tell my kids they will be doing two things every day of their life so they might as well learn to do them efficiently....chores and communicating.  I know.  I'm such a dream-killer.

  They've got to figure out how to live with people that drive them crazy.  I'm sure I'll blog about this again in a month because we'll never be done working on it.  Now you'll have to excuse me, I hear raised voices.