Thursday, February 25, 2010

Manners and Habits

We've had an unpleasant word surface at our house: Stupid.

I don't care for the word and I don't care for hearing my daughter say it. Out comes my mediated learning toolbox and we have a discussion something like this:

"I've been hearing use of a word lately that is rather rude. Any ideas what word that might be?"
"um...stupid?" Intentionality and Reciprocity
"Yes. Any idea what that means?"
"Not smart. Foolish. Idiot."
"Yes. How do you think it sounds when I say, 'Oh, that game is stupid.' "
"You sound mean."
"Yes, and a little insulting too, right?"
"Yeah, but I only say it every once in a while."
"Well, it's been showing up a lot lately. I want to talk a little about why using that word often can lead to trouble. You know the Olympians we've been watching on tv?" Bridging
"Yes. I love speed skating!"
"Me too. And speed skaters get good by practicing. You know, there's two ways to practice. One way is to take one day a week and work hard for ten hours, the other is to work hard for 4 hours every day. Which way do you think brings better results?"
"The one day a week. 10 hours is a long time."
We have a discussion on why working hard for 4 hours every day actually brings better results. And we talked about how daily work helps form habit.
"Going back to what we were talking about earlier regarding the word 'stupid'. What kind of habit do you think it forms if you daily use that word?" Meaning
"A rude one?"
"Yes. And if you are a person with a rude habit, what kind of person does that make you?"
"A rude one."
"Yep. Remember that scripture we've been learning. "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building up others according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." (Eph 4:29) Do you think you have a habit that we need to pray about?" Meaning
A quiet moment. "Yes."
We prayed and asked God to help us make new habits.
We also talked about consequences and optimistic alternatives. Some times using 'stupid' is an attitude issue. Sometimes it's a lack of vocabulary to express frustration over something. We talked about the difference and came up with another option. We found some words that she could say if she is feeling frustrated and wants to express that.
We still need to continue to work on sensitivity to others when expressing frustration so as not to hurt their feelings. This is an ongoing process but today we made some progress.

Criteria Focus: Optimistic Alternatives

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