"Yeah! Isn't she like that with you at home?"
"Sometimes, but not this week! She yells a lot, barks orders, gets impatient when I need her to wait. Even on the ride here there was a lot of fighting."
"Well, she's been great the whole time she's been with us."
Sounds familiar, right?? While the above conversation seems something familiar between parent and teacher, I actually picture it as a conversation between my son and his classmate and I am the subject in question. The conversation is merely a product of my imagination, but I know it is a true testimony, and it makes me sad.
I have been having behavioral issues with my son at home, and as I pondered why he acts differently for others it hit me: I am not the same either. I am not as "good" at home. I am not quick to listen, or as available, or hardly ever as smiley at home. Maybe his behavior is learned - act wild at home, act civil out.
It is difficult to look in the mirror and see our own flaws, but it is so painful to seem them mirrored by our own children. It is hard to admit I treat others, even perfect strangers, with more respect and dignity than the own souls I am here to shape at home.
Speaking of mirror, I discovered an effective way to end one ugly habit at home: the other day I was so over-the-top frustrated and I started speaking through my teeth. Then I made myself take a time out in the bathroom. "What do I look like when I talk like that and look at my children that way?" I wondered. So I repeated it right into the mirror. HOLY COW, I will NEVER look at my child that again!! It was scary. Like, R-rated-movie-that-you-can't-sleep-after scary! Definitely nothing a four year old child should see!
Folks, this has to change. I have to change. Will you help me? Do you have habits you want to change as well? What do you think? How can we break these ugly habits at home?