All month long at MOMentum we are participating in the Love Dare Challenge for Parents based on the book by Alex and Stephen Kendrick. Each week we are wrapping up the challenges with some real life experiences from some of our Daring Mamas who are participating in the challenge.
This week’s wrap up features Chelsea Daniels who attends MOMentum at Perrysburg PM.
Tell us a little bit about the child(ren) in your family…their ages, personality, etc.:
I have two daughters. My oldest daughter, Cosette, “Cozy”, just turned 6 last month. She has a naturally happy nature, is thoughtful, and surprisingly intuitive for her age. She loves playing with friends but doesn’t mind being alone, either. She is really good with smaller children and is very protective of her little sister. She has an impressive conscience, and while she sometime needs a refresher course for Christian character, she has been easy to teach and already has her own connection with God. My younger daughter, Dagny, will be 3 in another week, and she is my spitball of fire. She is a harder sell on obedience, but her spunky personality is filled with good intention. She wavers between wanting to do everything her big sister does and choosing her own route. She has a defiant streak about her, but is genuinely affectionate and snuggly. She prefers to play alone or with me, although the prospect of seeing friends is always exciting.
In your own words, summarize this week’s challenges.
The first challenge, to say “I love you” out loud, and not connected to behaviors, was an easy challenge for me. I say this all the time to them… they are so small and loveable, it is as easy as breathing to say! I had to repeat it several time during the day before I could even get a reaction from either of those stinkers!
The second dare, display patience, was trickier. I am someone who notices overused phrases, odd habits, etc. This week Cozy started beginning EVERY SINGLE SENTENCE with, “Hey Mama, guess what?” It was driving me crazy. I even finally asked her to try not to say that, and to just TELL ME what she wanted me to hear. So I think I failed that dare with her… With Dagny, I had an easier opportunity. She took a box of crackers out of the pantry without asking and began to dig into them. When I busted her, I asked her to return the crackers immediately, reminding her that crackers are not breakfast food. “No, Cheez-It’s are not healthy. Let’s eat some Fruit Loops instead.” (You know, typical parental common sense stuff.) She disobeyed, staring at the box of crackers and starting to reach her hand down into the box. Game on. Instead of raising my voice and threatening her with starvation and bodily harm, my usual course of action, I asked her obey Mommy and be my sweet girl. I kept eye contact, held my ground, and waited until she obeyed. It took her a minute to decide to obey, but she did! (I’m kidding about the starvation and bodily harm thing, of course.)
The third dare, display an act of kindness, was a bit of a flop for my family. I felt a little stumped as to how to display kindness to my children in a way that was different than my usual kindness of simply keeping them alive. (Hey, some days that is trickier than others.) I admit I skipped it altogether with my 3-year-old, and for Cozy I bought her a new swimsuit. (Side note: What is WITH little girl swimsuits?? Why are they all cut for bosoms? My 6-year-old neither has a bosom nor would I want it highlighted and outlined if she did!!) I figured she would be really excited about a new swimsuit because she needed one and I had told her weeks ago I would get her one. So I was a little disappointed that she just said, “Thanks, Mama!” and then didn’t even want to try it on. This morning at the Momentum Retreat though, I was talking with my friend Patty Whittington, and she had a much better story to share. She also provides her 5-year-old daughter, Olivia, with everything she needs, so she wisely figured that buying her a gift wouldn’t display kindness in quite the manner she was going for. Instead, she and Olivia purchased a bouquet of flowers and graced an elderly stranger with them. Patty said Olivia was hesitant to hand the lady the flowers, but beamed at the lady’s display of happiness. As they were leaving, Olivia asked if they could do special things for her Daddy and Nana, too! She totally got it! I love that story, and I am totally inspired to try that with my own daughter!
What was the reaction of your children from this week’s challenges?
After dozens of “I love you’s”, all met with nonchalance and continued play or just a smile, I finally got a return “I love you”. But it was bedtime, and that’s a habit. I don’t doubt the words had an impact, however, and I imagine they are just so used to hearing it that it wasn’t worth halting play over.
I didn’t see a reaction over losing my patience with “Guess what?” She was totally un-phased. The question seems to be a permanent member of our home now. Sigh. But maybe THAT is my reaction? If I had just let it go instead of even drawing attention to it, it’s more likely that she would have phased out of it on her own. My “reward” from not losing my patience over the Cheez-Its was a little more obvious. We both went on with our day, no disciplinary action needed, no more disobedience for the day.
My own experiment with kindness was unimpressive, but I am definitely excited to follow Patty’s example and try that one again this week. With young kids whose needs are simply provided, it’s harder to make the “kindness” obvious. I think giving my girls opportunities to BE kind themselves will be a much more effective experience.
What was your personal takeaway from this week’s challenges?
I like being intentional with trying to fill up their love tanks. I’m a stay-at-home mom, so I’m in a season of my life where all I really need to focus on is being a helpmeet to my husband and raising up my children to be godly, confident adults. I’m not minimizing those tasks by any stretch of the imagination… I feel called to do those things, and to do them the best that I can. So I love this dare, because it’s actively helping me to do my “job” well! And while some of the results I received this week left me wanting more, I feel sparked to try and try again until I get the reaction I’m looking for! I also have always had a fascination with all things psychology, so I like that aspect of watching their little personalities blossom under my words and actions. I’m looking forward to re-capping the entire dare!
Chelsea Daniels is a homeschooling mama to two girls, Cozy and Dagny, ages 6 and 3. Baby #3 is coming early in September! She, like the rest of Ohio, is really looking forward to Spring.
CedarCreek MOMentum exists to connect mothers in all seasons by encouraging and supporting them, while guiding their hearts toward Christ.
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