Peyton and Shey's elementary offers Tae-Kwon-Do classes once a week after school for an hour. The session runs 6-8 weeks and only costs $35, so I signed both boys up thinking it would be a nice break from their normal aftercare activities. Larry and I have often talked about signing them up for Karate or something similar throughout the years, but it just never seemed to work out. With us working full time and the boys playing sports, on top of homework and just life, there's just not enough time and I refuse to stretch us any thinner than we already are.
One of the reasons I always think about it is the great things I've heard that the kids learn, mainly a focus on respect for others and for self. I'll be honest here, our household is not the most respectful place in the world by a long shot. I'm not really sure where we missed that boat, but sometimes I feel like it has sailed so far away, we will never catch it. Intellectually, I know this is Larry and my responsibility and at 4 in the morning when I wake up and think about things like this, it's never hard to say, ok, we are going to change. We need to work on this. But then 5:30 in the evening rolls around and we've both put in a full day at the office and the boys have been at school, we are all worn out. Dinner is thrown together, homework is done, some relaxation time, then baths and bed. On many nights, it seems we are all in such a state of irritation that it's better we just separate. That way there's no bickering and yelling and pouting and whiiinnnniiinnnggggg. I know it's not ideal, but I justify it by saying we are just trying to make it through and it'll get better.
Tuesday, after Peyton's first practice at the school and an evening of arguing and generally acting like a baby, he pulls out this paper and asks me to sign it. I read it and I had to laugh. At him. I asked him if he had even read it. Did he know what he was asking me to sign? I wish I had brought it with me, so I could write exactly what it said, but the gist of it was based on respect. Peyton was to act respectful, write down his acts of respect and then have me sign it. Um, I don't think so.
So, we read it together and I am ashamed to say that Peyton almost acted clueless as to what he was supposed to do. He had already written on the back that he takes the dog out, which is one of his chores, but not really an act of respect. So, we tried to talk about it some, but by then he was so frustrated and beyond talking too, that we really didn't get anywhere. Every night since, he's asked me to sign and every night, we've discussed it a little more. Last night, he actually listened and seemed to comprehend this act of respect. Lord, give me strength. He was playing with a little science experiment kit he bought and afterwards, he cleaned it up himself. So, this morning, I told him to write that down. We agreed that we would continue to work on it this weekend and then I'd make a decision if I was going to sign his form or not.
I told Larry that it was going to take an incredible amount of patience and self control on our part, but I was done arguing with the boys. I am going to consciously make an effort to think about their questions and once I respond, that will be it. I told Peyton that once I made a decision, I wouldn't discuss it any more and if he continued to, I wouldn't respond and if he kept it up, he would be sent to his room. I just can't take it anymore. I don't know why I just acted like that would grow out of this on their own.
I know it will be hard, but I'm hoping that if we really stick to it, then things will get easier. Once they learn that an answer is THE answer, then hopefully the attitude and carrying on will lesson some. Like I said, Lord, give me strength.