Yelling Doesn’t Teach the Dog Mommy!

Do you ever have those moments when you just wonder if having a voice around your children is even worth it? You talk, they listen, no, pretend to listen, no, feign remote interest, honestly, they totally block you out! I do. I have such good intentions with my kids, and mostly, I think they do hear PARTS of what I say. However, I am never totally certain that they are getting my drift. We talk about kindness, we talk about being grateful, we talk about peacekeeping, leading, encouraging… we talk about how to be a family in the fullest sense of that word. And yet sometimes I wonder…

But then there are times when the lens of childlike innocence brings it all in to focus, and I can believe for just a moment that some nugget of truth might actually be forever ingrained in their pre-adolescent brains…

Like the other day…

Naptime for Sam and one of his kids.
Sam the wonder dog at nap time

We have a dog. His name is Sam. Sam the terrier wonder dog. Sam is a wonder dog for a lot of reasons, some of which I might highlight another day. But, for today, suffice it to say that Sam is our family mascot. We all love and adore him… except when Sam is naughty. You see sometimes, when Sam is feeling particularly left out of our family fun… which is really anytime he doesn’t come in the car with us, Sam leaves us a particularly stinky gift on the mat at the front door. It’s rude. I dislike cleaning it. It is unbecoming of an 11-year-old, well-trained, highly intelligent terrier to do such a disgraceful thing. That’s how I see it. That is not how Sam sees it. He sees it as our penance for daring to omit him from what is obviously his birthright – to be with his family at all times.

Soooo, it has happened a time or two that upon finding this disgraceful mess in my home, I may have lost my temper at our wonder dog. Loud words may have been said. A very angry mommy may have reared up her not-so-pretty face. It was one of those times the other week when I realized that my kids do, in fact, hear what I say.

“SAM! YOU ARE A BAD DOG. WHAT A MESS! OUTSIDE WITH YOU!!!” That’s what I said. Loudly. Then I shuttled him not-so-gently out the door. Then, I was schooled in appropriate language and voice by my 5-year old boy (Sam’s napping buddy in the photo above). Tears streaming from his eyes, voice quivering but loud and certain, my lovely little JJ said, “Mommy, yelling at the dog doesn’t teach the dog! Yelling just makes him feel bad and no one can do good when they feel bad!” Well said my little man, very well said.

It was quite a few years ago that I took a vow of yellibacy (thank you Dr. Laura Markham… google her if you are interested). It appears that my kids noticed. It also appears that it has not trickled down to every part of my life.

So, Sam… you’re in luck. Apparently, according to JJ, you too, are worthy of a yell-free mama… so you’ll just have to wait in your kennel when we go out, so that I don’t have anything to yell about when I get home!!!

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