React or Respond: That was the test.....

......And we passed it. Parenting always brings with it adventure and so many opportunities to react or respond to our children, their choices, and their mistakes. I heard a message not long ago entitled "There are no poopless cows". Meaning cows make messes that need to be cleaned up and so will our children and so will others. We don't get mad at the cow and fly off the handle every time it makes a mess. So why do we do it with our kids or others we might lead. We don't walk around in fear that the cow might make a mess and so we do everything we can to keep that from happening. So why do we do it with our kids. We end up giving a lot of control to others because we're afraid of what might happen. So when our kids do something contrary to what they "know" or what they've been told, we fly off the handle, get upset, ground them forever, yell at them, make them feel terrible, etc... I'm not saying there aren't consequences for poor choices, or that our kids don't need to face responsibility. I am saying that I prefer not to "react" to things and instead "respond" and say "oh no! How's that working out for you?" "What are you going to do about it?" I haven't always been good at this...I'm still not always good at this. I mean, really, my girls have been told so many times the best way to respond to one another and yet they still "react"...that gets tiring, but I know eventually they'll get it. What does this have to do with the photos in this post? Does something look "wrong" with these pictures? We have been in our home just over a year. This cabinet was not designed to be "open". If it had been, you can be sure it wouldn't look like that underneath! Let me give you a bit of history. My cabinets are not meant for short people. They weren't intentionally built that way, but, well, they are. My MIL is only about 5'0 and my youngest daughter is only 4'5, which makes it difficult for them to ever get into my cupboards. Nan (my youngest) makes due by jumping up on the counters to get the things she needs. I haven't made too big a deal of this because I don't have a step stool and well, I just never did...she's been climbing on things since she was little because she's so small. Well yesterday that all ended. I had left to go pick up Kat from her housecleaning job and take her to the church to kick her soccer ball around. I left Nan at home since I'd only be gone for about 20 minutes. I got a phone call not long after and Nan was crying...hard! Apparently she had went to jump up on the counter and her pant leg caught on the door of the cabinet and it came off. I told her I was sure it was fine (the cabinet...I figured it had maybe just popped off the hinge) and I'd look when I got home. I told her to be careful and we'd talk about it when I got there. I didn't react! When I arrived home, I said "let's go assess the damage". was worse than I thought! The door was indeed off, but it wasn't easily fixed. It had split the wood on the frame and so could not be screwed back in. I didn't react! I told hubby....and he didn't react! He came home, checked it out and said "this is not going to be cheap". You see, the cabinet is all one piece so it's not like the guy could just take the one piece off. Later that afternoon hubby called our cabinet guy and was informed that there is no easy fix (other than replacing that entire cabinet). He did suggest we use a heavy duty wood glue and see if that helps. We talked to Nan about the importance of slowing down, being careful and what happens when things like this happen! What good would it do to get mad...she already felt awful and getting mad would not have fixed the cabinet. Were we bummed? Yes! Were we frustrated? Sure! Did we let her know that what happened wasn't cool? Yes! But we didn't react! We used it as an opportunity to teach her a valuable lesson. And informed her that there will be no more jumping on the counter. She came down awhile later and asked me how much it would cost to fix it. I said I wasn't sure. She then said "well, you could use my hundred dollars that I have in my account to go to fixing it". That is a big deal for her, because she doesn't get money often and so to offer her money was huge. Of course we're not going to take it, but we did appreciate her effort. She also profusely apologized. It all ended well...... With Joy UNquenchable,


  1. What a great lesson. I need to work on this more. I KNOW I react WAY more often than I'd like to admit. I'm working on it, but hadn't put a lot of actual thought into actually changing reacting to responding. I'm going to work even harder on it now!


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