Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Out Crazy the Crazy

It was a phrase I had heard Christine Moers use. You've got to out crazy the crazy. 

I received a clear explanation of how this could could work during our phone consult last week. 

For example, I described to her how our lovely Meadow would swipe the belongings of the other children and store them away up on her triple top bunk, where no one could see them. Then, once caught, the lying about how the items got there would be the natural progression. This type of thing would typically lead, in our house, to an hours long blown up battle over the importance of telling the truth and why stealing is wrong. There would be tears and denials and lecturing and maybe even shouting and on and on...etc...etc...etc. 

Once said and done the entire scenario would leave me drained, depleted, frustrated, and entirely ineffective as I was SURE we would face it again. Because we always do. We always face everything again. And again. And again. 

Christine suggested I talk at the things instead of at Meadow when a situation like this presents itself. For instance, "Humph! It looks like these treasures found their way up to your bed when they should have been in your siblings' rooms. They must just really want to be with you! Maybe they are looking for a treasure hunt game. I think they want us to go around the house and find where they belong and return them to their rightful owners. Let's go get started!" 

{Possible interjection by Meadow: "But I didn't steal them!"}

"Well, honey. I didn't say you did! I just think we ought to go ahead and put them back where they go."

And so on....

I found a chance to use this tip this morning, so I tried it out.

While grading Language Arts books for Tyden and Meadow (both 4th grade), Jayla discovered a page where Tyden missed several and Meadow got them all correct. (Uncharacteristic for her.) Jayla asked Meadow if she used the answer key for her work. Meadow emphatically insisted she most certainly did not! 

Due to cheating in the past we had already ripped the answer keys out of the back of the books and placed them in the cabinet to help remove temptation. It just so happens that Meadow got up very early this morning, and sat at the kitchen table, alone to begin her school work. When it was time to grab answer keys to grade work, what do you know? Fourth grade language arts was on top! Using my brain that is all rocket scientist-y and everything, I figured out what happened. She had used the answer key to do her work and earned herself a great, big A+. Score! 

Rather than addressing her directly as I would have done in the million and ten times past, I decided to use Christine's approach. It went down something like this:

Me: "Meadow, I know you wouldn't cheat because you understand how crucial it is for you to do your own work so you can gain a proper education and grow up smart and strong and able to do anything you want to do in this life. But those answer keys? They are naughty little buggars. When they see a child sitting alone struggling with their work, and they KNOW they won't get CAUGHT, they JUMP out of the cabinet and HELP that child by GIVING them the ANSWERS. They can't help themselves! It's their job! To provide answers! So, they saw you all by yourself at the table and they figured it was the least they could do to give you a hand. Now, because they have shown themselves untrustworthy, I'm going to have to move them to my room where they won't be tempted to do a child's work for them. They need to understand that you all have your own work to do because this is YOUR education at stake. And that education is ubber important. I don't blame you honey, I blame them. I'm just going to give you another worksheet on the same concept to make sure you are learning what you need to know in order to advance because 4th grade material matters a lot. Okey dokey artichokey?" 

There were tears, yes. Lots of them. Because she was embarrassed and she was caught.

What there wasn't was conflict between she and I. 

Nor did I have a gargantuan headache. Nor did it ruin the rest of the school day.

She was gulping and crying and I just hugged her and told her I understand.

Now, later I can go to her and we can talk it out, when she is ready to speak truthfully, which she will be. I know she will. She's come a long way and she wants to be an honest person. I really believe it. She just has trouble getting there sometimes. 

I can totally relate to her. Honesty is not my difficulty by I have a whole big gaggle of other challenges I face. I have a hard time getting to where I want to be too. Every day I have a hard time. Every single blasted day. It's plain crazy how difficult it is for me to be the person I want to be when there are so many opportunities for me to act like a total jack wagon. 

I need someone to out crazy my crazy.   

 A note written to me from Meadow in code for me to solve: My mom is amaze balls. 


Dawn said...

I love this idea!!!! A few of mine are chronic liars too, and this seems like it would work!! LOVE IT!!!

Lindy said...

Hey. I read your blog. :)

Blog Archive