If I died tomorrow, (It would be tragicI wouldn’t get to meet my new baby or see Eli go to kindergarten or see Andi dance one more time…But I would be satisfied–  I’ve tried and enjoy Quinoa, kale, and Greek yogurt, I lived a life of following passions more than collecting cash and married my best friend, and I have most recently enjoyed yet another assignment at Castaway and the joy and excitement of the Olympics- a summer highlight!), what would people say about me? It’s hard to know and intimidating to think about, but I am sure of one thing. People would NOT say, “Lindsey Osborne, she sure was a woman of few words.” Nope, as you can tell in this laborious and long intro paragraph, I usually say MORE rather than LESS.

I’m an external processor which explains and justifies some of my copious verbal communications. I enjoy chatting and consider visiting and conversations a past-time of mine. In parenting however, I believe less is more. Fewer words, less explaining, and empathetic brevity are best in communicating with young children. (More words, more conversing, and deliberate discussions should be used in parenting older, adolescent type children.)  I agree with the research that says young children get lost in lectures; instead young kids need short, repeatable, consistent, consumable nuggets they can easily digest and live out.

I’ve found that having a collection of short, repeatable, memorized statements help me in times of discipline when I might so easily slip into an arduous and impassioned lecture to enact justice or explain the nuances of exactly why we don’t spit on our friends.

Thus, what follows is a list of some of the “isms” that freely flow in conversations around our house:

“You’re blessed, be a blessing”

Usage: What I often say when leaving the kids at school/church/a babysitter.

Origin: A sign-off with which my Grandma Sustad often ends letters.

“You are capable and curious, prized and precious. Sleep in peace, new mercies in the morning”

Usage:  The end of nightly blessings for each kid

Origin: I like alliteration and ending a blessing each night with affirmations of who they are and what God promises (Lamentations 3:22-23)

“May your mind be like the mind of Christ, your ears in tune with the whispers of the Holy Spirit, your mouth speak the truth in love, your heart be Jesus’ home, your back bear the burdens of others who need help, your arms reach out to touch the world with love, your tummy hunger for good things, your legs carry you on adventures in following your heart, and your feet run after Jesus every day of your life”

Usage: A common blessing at nighttime- touching the different body parts as I speak the words. It’s not usually the same exact words and I often add something about the day’s events or play: “May you DANCE freely in the freedom of Christ… May you BUILD your life on the foundation of God’s great love for you… Know that you are a real PRINCESS of the King and in our eyes… As you SLIP-n-SLIDE through your life, know that we are always here for you…etc…”

Origin: I liked making the blessing a tangible experience that involved their bodies and tender touching. Our church, Jacob’s Well, prays a body part prayer over newly baptized babies that is very similar.

“I hear you”

Usage: A response that ends begging. After we’ve answered a question and a child continues to ask, beg or bug, we simply say, “I hear you” and walk away- acknowledging that they are speaking but not entering back into the battle.

Origin: Desperate days when Eli was 3 and I needed to stop engaging incessant requests.

Touch with Love”

Usage: Reminding Andi that our hands and arms are not for hitting or being rough- we must touch with love- gentleness, kindness, and being soft.

Origin: Andi is a physical kid. Even as a 4 year old,  she expresses herself with her body before using words most of the time. As a 2 year old, she needed even more reminders that her body can be used to hurt people and instead, she needed to touch with love.

“What’s your plan?”… “Want some options? You can give 1- give up 2- try again 3- ask for help”

Usage: A response to a whiny, exasperated, moaning statement such as, “My tower fell down!”, “Andi took my books!”, “Eli has three marbles and I only have 1”, “I can’t find my shoes!”, “This keeps falling apart!”    The goal is to get the kids to think of solving the problem themselves and keep me from stepping in to fix it for them! They usually choose trying again or asking for help and it’s fun to affirm, “You did it! You tried and tried, didn’t give up, and got it to work!”

“What do we throw”- kids respond, “Balls and soft things”

Origin: Issues with dangerous objects being thrown about when Eli was a toddler- still helpful today on a weekly basis at least!

“When do we spit”- kids respond, “When we are brushing our teeth or are sick”

Origin: Issues with spitting on friends. Yuck!

“When do we scream”- kids respond, “When we are really hurt or on a roller coaster”

Origin: I cannot stand screaming noises inside. I want to be able to respond to real emergencies and know that a scream means there’s a problem. I fully affirm excitement screams during rides, roller coasters,the big swing at Castaway etc…

“You worry about being the brother/sister/friend, and I’ll worrying about being the mom”

Usage: A response to a kid who wants to boss their friends around or give input on a sibling’s punishment.

Origin: My friend Hilary who says this to her smart, highly motivated, and very grown up eldest daughter.

“You get what you get and don’t throw a fit”

Usage: Ending whiney complaints about insignificant details or sibling comparison battles.

Origin: Vitamins and cereal spoons. Despite every fruity vitamin tasting basically the same, E and A  fight over who gets orange or red every morning. They can also escalate quickly or dissolve into tears over which one gets whatever spoon at breakfast. This little rhyme helps us all settle down. They use it more with each other to solve their own problems than Drew or I do in leading them these days! Yay!

“My job as a mom is to make you strong, smart, safe, and spiritual”

Usage: Responding to “But why?” rebuttals.

Origin:  Trying to come up with a simple way to defend my motherly mandates. I do so love alliteration.

“Who owns it anyway?”…kids respond, “God, and it’s our job to take care of it and share it”

Usage: Solving possession battles

Origin: The Harrison family at Castaway in 2010

“Have you talked to your friend about that?”

Usage: Addressing tattling. Encouraging kids to solve problems amongst themselves.

Origin: My friend Kristin in her wise ways. She usually adds that mommies are happy to help if someone is hurt but otherwise kids should try work it out with their friends directly first.

“You control you”

Usage: When blaming another. Ex: “Eli made me mad so I kicked the tower over” or “Well Andi was running in the church so I ran too”

Origin: The counseling sessions Drew and I attended in the Spring of 2010. The counselor helped us realize we were only in control of our own actions and had to take responsibility of ourselves regardless of the people and circumstances around us. It’s a very healthy tip for people of all ages!

The kids have been patiently awaiting my completion of this post so that I can go watch their Olympic long jumping and gymnastics outside in the 102 heat. I better end here and let them remind me of the importance of presence!












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