What was my son's major concern? That now, I seem to have this weird ability to cause him to want to do what I ask him to do. WOW! So, he asks, is this some kind of positive, loving manipulation? (He knows what he's talking about. I have really given him a few courses in Mom's Manipulation 101, complete with the "Don't make me come down there" syllabus.) OK, after I laughed silently to myself, I asked him if there was any other word he could think of to describe that type of relationship. He thought for a minute and then gave me that stare, which means, could you just tell me what word you are thinking of? Before I could tell him, he jokingly said, well whatever it is, I have to warn all of my friends before their moms start having this weird, positive power over them. I couldn't help it, I laughed...actually I giggled. And then I realized the word to describe positive, loving, calm parental power is influence.
I shared my realization with my son and he had his own light bulb moment. Eyes wide he replied- Oh, I see. Influence. Then he hit me with his own realization. He said, We should call it Influensa because it's going to spread like a disease, but a positive one. I couldn't hold the giggles in and we had a nice laugh together.
But, in all seriousness. I know that my son is right. If, as parents, we can learn to remain calm and express love to our children even in the midst of frustration and family life, we will have accomplished something miraculous. We will teach our children how to be the master of their own emotions and decisions. We will help them choose to act wisely, even in the face of confusion and chaos.
That sounds like a tall order, but I have seen the incredible impact it can have on a family and a community. I, for one, know it is worth the effort. For one day, just give it a try. Choose calm, even if storms are raging. If you feel the desire to see a miracle in action...try it. If enough of us do it, maybe we can cause a worldwide pandemic of calm...what would that be like? What if, as parents, we did as a great man I read about once said, teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves? Or what if we went a step further, and lived correct principles and showed them how to govern themselves? Hmmm...it's worth thinking about.
For further information, I highly recommend The Power of Calmness by William George Jordan and the above referenced book and blog by Nicholeen Peck.