Parents First

I simply said no angry words. Rather, I gave her the privilege to choose where in the entire house she would like to use as her pretense school. She chose my room. I brought out some learning resources and gave her activities to engage her.

It was back to back. She didn’t really like it. She complained. As calmly as I could, I explained that was what would have happened if she were in the classroom. So the seemingly day off was learning away from school. That was the last time she ever missed pick up time.

Today, 9 years after that incident, my youngest daughter would not be going to school. She made a poor decision. She ran the hot water so much it paralyzed her from taking a bath. When I checked the time and all that was still needed to be done by her, I knew it s a day and opportunity for major life learning. Again in the past, I have had to just wash face and face my daily hustle because she had used up all the hot water and no time for me to run the heater. So for me, it was several lessons in one.

As soon as I heard the hooting of Mrs O- my dearest friend and neighbor who graciously drops and picks my daughter from school every single day, I simply told her we wouldn’t be making the journey with her this morning.
“Ok, your driver would drop her later?”
“No, I said, she will be taking some valuable life lessons today”.

A part of me feels so sad because I know my daughter loves school and she would be missing out. Again, as she was just voted the social and assembly prefect, it just made sense that she showed up every day. Yet, a part of me knows that going forward; her early morning routines will change with the event of this morning and I would also have hot water to use irrespective. She will now:

1) Be mindful of the water temperature as she runs the bath and hopefully, transfer that mindfulness into her daily activities
2) Be proactive to mix a small portion to start sponging on while the running water simultaneously balances out and in time to take a rinse. That’s been proactive
3) Know to respond to the dictate of the situation- so today, it may have been ok to just wash the essentials and have a quick rinse so to beat time- another great lesson in decision making
4) Own her early morning procedure- We each have a role and each should take responsibility for her share. Each of us is in charge of our outcomes. Critical thinking.
5) Model what it means to be totally in charge of my own emotions, my thoughts, my feelings and my actions and allow natural consequences to take over
6) See that even I have grown! I will not fret or throw angry words. Calmness and serenity are an essential part of who I choose to be. It’s really true that we are in charge of how we choose to feel- angry, stressed, sad, overwhelmed or cool, calm, joyful, pleased or simply indifferent. Whatever we choose, our brain helps our body to feel and do. Notice the world- choose.

So, it’s a lot of critical thinking, problem solving and lessons in proactiveness, time management, decision making etc- all valuable lessons she needs even in the common entrance hall and every other hall of life. Now who throws that to waste?! For this, I am grateful.
“What would you be doing after your breakfast?” I asked
“I will start practicing from my Ugo C.Ugo” was her response.
“Your head is there”, came my response and she smiled while going ahead to do the needful. This alone is prove that she took responsibility.

Sincerely, after I dispatched my neighbor, I came in to see that she was already set- well, 70% set. Another 3-5mins would have prevented her from ‘missing the bus’. Yet, we all know that in real life, even 3 secs can make all the difference! Even 1sec!

Dear parent, disciplining our children is simple and yet, not easy. The easy way is all those flogging, beating, slapping, hitting, insulting, cursing and all those humanly humiliating and degrading stuffs.

I could have lost my calm especially when I sighted her just squatted in the bath starring at the water to balance out as the bucket overflew and precious hot water was set to wastage. I could have pleaded with Mrs O to give us 3mins. And in those 3 mins, I would be stressed, shout, fret and literarily push her out of the door. However, I choose the path of lifelong learning. I choose the path of little discomfort today, for the opportunity to grow and learn firsthand.

How are you disciplining yours and teaching them life skills? More importantly, how are you managing situations that get you really mad and livid?

Yours-on-the journey,
Suruurah Ogunfemi
Parents First Academy

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