Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Yelling or Watering?

Leon has designated himself as our volunteer landscaper this summer and he's doing a great job of keeping the lawn looking nice.  We were gifted a potted plant last week and somehow it got knocked over and the pot broke, so Leon decided to plant it in the yard outside.  We had a conversation that went something like this.

"Hey mom.... you know that plant?  Well I found it in the yard and it was dying and looked awful, so I yelled at it and it came back to life."

I responded, "Did you also water it?"

"Well, yeah."

"Do you think it might have been the watering that made it come back to life?"

After I said it it made me think of what a great analogy this is of our kids that are adopted from foster care and orphanages (and I generalize, because every situation is different, so no offense taken if this doesn't apply to your situation).  The pots that they were in were broken -- not the kids themselves.  And they were replanted into new pots (our families) hoping that their spirits would come back to life.

When I look back over the past several years of our lives raising tough kids I confess to doing my share of yelling.  My kids would tell you that I can be loud and go on forever when I am upset about something.   But I'm pretty sure the reason that they are functioning as well as they are has more to do with the times when I watered them.

The moments of praise and encouragement, of laughter and fun, of relationship building and hugs... those times when I watered them -- that's what has made them grow.

The fact that their Dad has a constant bucket of that stuff that he sprinkles from one kid to another on a daily basis has been a big bonus as well because sometimes he has to follow me around and water them after I'm done yelling.   I yell less and water more than I used to -- but he's been a consistent supply of water during all of our parenting years.

I have been inspired by my friends Deb and Kari because they are really good at watering.  I love to see the way they praise, encourage and compliment their children.  I know I need do a better job.

Because when it's all said and done, I'm hoping that my children will be adults who thrive like stable yet always growing plants.  And if they do, it will be the watering, not the yelling that made the difference.


GB's Mom said...


Other Mother said...

This is one of your best. Love the thought!

Intrinsic Joy Productions said...

So beautifully true!

-from a former foster youth