Thursday, July 22, 2010

Learning takes time!

I'm a slow learner. I get very accustomed to the way I do things. And even when it is no longer working, I want to continue with the familiar, the "comfortable" even when it gets uncomfortable. Just like a child, it seems I need to fall down numerous times before I figure out what to do differently.

For the last several years, I have been very slowly working on changing my old eating patterns. They definitely were no longer working for me, and instead worked against me. I had an old belief that certain foods provided "comfort" and the reality is that any comfort I got was very short lived and as soon as I finished, I wanted more. I could not sustain that good feeling. I am learning to eat differently, and it has been a very slow process for me. I now avoid certain foods that seem to trigger me to want more. I don't eat after dinner. I rarely get fast food. I don't drink sodas. I'm not trying to prescribe what any of you should eat, but these are the ways I have changed, and I am definitely a slow learner.

Children are too. And yet we often expect them to remember what we have told them many times in order to avoid the behaviors that get them in trouble with us. In the moment, they are responding in their familiar ways. They forget, even though we could ask, "What's the rule about ____?" and they could recite it. In the moment, they are focused on other things entirely.

We need to be patient with them AND patient with us. As I continue to learn to eat differently, I sometimes forget. Rather than give myself a hard time about it, I am thankful that I have a forgiving attitude. "Okay Glo, you just did that. Now, this very next moment, you get to start fresh." I love the 12-step phrase about "one day at a time."  Kids need the same kind of understanding from us. Learning takes lots of repetition. And most of the time, children need to learn for themselves, through their own consequences to fully get it. One of my adult sons when rafting last weekend. I suggested he cover his very fair skin with sunscreen and some kind of light pants. He did not, and he has a horrible burn. I bet he will do things differently next time. Learning takes time and trial and error. And then along the way, the A-ha moment when we finally get it!

For today, I choose patience, for myself and in my interactions with others.