Mornings . . .

Angry Talk (Comic Style)

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Mornings are always a little tricky around here.

Every morning before school, I wake everyone in time to do their morning ritual stuff and have a few minutes left over for leisure or laziness or TV or whatever.  I am mostly busy getting Chloe ready for school since she is dependent for each step in the morning.  Paul is mostly busy getting himself ready for work.  Elliot gets up and gets himself ready with no reminders or prompts from us.  (THANK YOU, GOD!!)  But both Paul and I sneak in now and then, reminding Zippy to stay on task and complete his morning jobs — clothes, medicine, socks and shoes.

A lot of mornings, someone gets mad or frustrated.  A lot of mornings all of us get mad and frustrated.  A lot of mornings, Zippy goes to school with his hair looking unkept.  A lot of mornings, Zippy is threatened that he will get left behind and will get a tardy at school.  A lot of mornings, I am grateful to close the door behind my 3 boys as my house sighs with relief at the peace and quiet.

Zippy has also been greatly struggling with disrespect and disobedience.  Neither comes naturally for us, does it?  But lately it has been a huge problem for Zachary.  I have pointed out to him over and over again that he is pretending to be his own boss and acting like Mom and Dad are not his bosses.  I have been trying to teach him that the attitude of a 10 year old being his own boss is sinful and it is very dangerous.  It has been really bad lately.  It really has.  It makes homelife not be very much fun for anyone.  There have been many privileges lost and many hours spent in his room.

After a week filled with horrible mornings last week, on Friday I woke Zippy up and informed him that he was on his own to get ready for school.  I set a timer for him so he would know when he had 10 minutes left.  I reminded him that no one would remind him of his jobs since he is well aware of what his jobs are.  And when it was time for Dad and Elliot to leave that they would leave with him if he was ready and without him if he wasn’t ready.

The clock was ticking, the minutes were progressing, and Zippy laid around doing none of his morning jobs.  The timer went off, indicating that the van would be leaving for school in 10 minutes.  Zachary still did none of his jobs.  I heard him say once, “I’ve done all of this stuff in FIVE minutes before. . . ”  The minutes continued to pass.  Zachary continued to do nothing.  After he asked Paul several times how many more minutes he had, I explained that he was not allowed to ask that question any more since he was his own boss this morning — he knows what time Dad leaves and can do the math on how many minutes are left.

About 2 minutes before time for Paul to leave for school, Zippy appeared in the hallway and prancing and bragging got my attention:  “Hi, Mom!  Look at me!”  I looked up to see him naked.  He was showing off that he wasn’t the least bit concerned.  He was his own boss, and he had this timer thing down pat.  He would wait til the last minute to begin his jobs because he COULD wait til the last minute to do his jobs.  I pointed out to him then that he was bragging to me that he was his own boss and that I had a feeling it was not going to turn out so well for him today.

It was about that time that Zachary started getting ready for school.  And while he got his clothes, he chanted, “I can do this.  I can do this.”  When Paul and Elliot said goodbye and headed out the door, Zachary was getting his socks on and chanting, “I can do this.  I can do this.”  He ran into the kitchen to take his medicines and was chanting a little faster, “I can do this.  I can do this.”  As he grabbed his backpack and ran out the door, he cheerfully called, “Bye, Mom!” and pulled the door shut behind him as he ran out the front door.

And then I heard the first scream — “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”  That first scream was followed by several more screams and wails from the front yard.  I knew that he had been left behind.  And he was somehow surprised by it.

He ran back inside throwing things, banging things, and screaming and yelling.  He flailed around in anger screaming, “I HATE MYSELF!!!  I HATE MYSELF!!” for about 20 minutes.  He made quite a mess in the process.  I just stayed quiet and prayed that he was learning a life lesson.

After a bit I did remind him of his little “Hi, Mom.  Look at me!” moment and asked how he thought that was all working for him now.  It just increased the vigor of his yelling, “I HATE MYSELF!!!”

I informed him that I could take him to school after I had my shower.  I took my time and showered while he continued to destroy the house in anger.  After my shower and after he had calmed down and was repentant, I took him to school.

That’s how mornings have been at our house lately.  I won’t even tell you about the morning that ended in Zachary running, angry and upset, out the front door in his underwear and laid on his belly under the van in the driveway for a while.  No, I won’t tell you about that one.

So this morning when I woke Zachary up, I reminded him of how terrible Friday was when he was his own boss.  Upon remembering that horrible memory, he jumped up and quickly got dressed.  A little later he got very angry at Paul for turning off the radio.  He barged into Chloe’s room and told me how angry he was at Daddy.  I talked him through the problem and helped him redirect so we wouldn’t completely lose yet another morning’s peace.

Later as I walked through the living room, Zachary grabbed me by the waist and said, “I love you, Mom, because you help me with my anger.  You help me when I’m really, really angry.”  And there it was — a rare, yet cherished moment of self-realization.  A time of personal growth.  A time of really getting it.  A rare ‘Aha!’ moment for Zachary.

Praying in desperation again and again and again:  Lord Jesus, please give us wisdom as we train our children.  Give us grace and patience and insight.  And protect Zachary’s heart, God.  Help us, Lord!  And help me guide him to more and more times of personal growth!


6 responses to this post.

  1. Your prayer has been mine as well! These mornings can be sooo hard. Next year will be harder when both my kids have to get ready earlier.
    Love the new van!!


  2. Posted by Angel on May 23, 2011 at 4:40 PM

    You’re honesty is amazing and refreshing. Praise God for you and Paul as you go through the same things over and over with patience and grace so that you get to enjoy that one beautiful moment with Zippy.


    • Yes, Angel! Thanks so much for your comment. If we keep persevering then we will see results . . . we’re bound to! Love you, friend!


  3. Posted by Joy Burrow on May 24, 2011 at 10:13 PM

    I am looking forward to summer mornings where there is NO schedule!! Kelly, you are such a great mom – thanks for sharing your wisdom! The Lord has taught me much through you!


    • Oh, me, too, Joy! Me, too! Only 3 more days for us! Thanks for your comment, too. It is so encouraging to hear feedback from friends! Bless you!


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