So, today is the first day of Lent. If you’re Catholic, like me, that means you usually have to give something up for the 40 days leading up to Easter. When I was little and even as a younger adult, I would rack my brain trying to thing of the one thing I loved the most that would torture me to give up. In years past that meant chocolate (several times), cookies, sweets in general, and even gossiping…I know, the humanity! Other years I pretended Lent didn’t even exist, so I didn’t give up anything at all.
I can’t say I stayed on the wagon for all those endeavors. I snuck a Reese Peanut Butter Cup or two…or three. I snatched a few cookies here or there or everywhere. Of course, someone annoyed me enough that I had to start talking smack. Needless to say, I was anything but successful with the whole “give up something and stick to it” for Lent thing.
So, now I’m a mom and I’m supposed to know what I’m doing to set a good example. But, I once again had trouble trying to think what I could give up for Lent. My daughter came home from CCD last week and told me she learned all about Lent. It was interesting that she told me she was going to do something nice. She never once mentioned giving something up. Her “do something nice” was to be nice to her sister. Hopefully she’s more successful with her mission than I have been with mine.
That got me to thinking. What could I do for Lent that would be difficult for me and benefit others at the same time? As much as I didn’t want to admit it, I knew what it was already. I could yell less. I know I said this was part of my New Year’s resolution. Honestly, it hasn’t been working out so well. Time to hit the restart button and have a do-over.
Yelling less doesn’t mean my girls won’t get reprimanded if they do something wrong. It means I won’t feel as though I’m going to have an aneurysm when I do get mad at them. It means I won’t look like one of the characters from “Where the Wild Things Are” when I let them know they are doing something wrong. It means giving myself an interior “time-out” if you will. It’s probably a win-win all around.
As much as I may not want to admit it, yelling really doesn’t solve any problems. My kids may stop doing whatever annoying activity… for awhile. They may clean up a mess…only to mess up the same spot again five minutes later. They may decide to stop screaming like animals…for a few minutes.
In the end, I’m still annoyed.
So, let’s try this yelling less thing for 40 days. Can I do it? Hopefully! Can you?