It’s hard, if not impossible for a person to change his/her behavior until they change their mind. Yesterday I was talking to my husband about something that I was talking to my son about. I can’t quite remember verbatim, but it was something about him going to get himself something to eat and not picking up his sister something. It’s not like him to not take care of her because he is very responsible when it comes her, so I knew it had to be how he perceived it. We can go out of town and he takes care of her like a true responsible older brother. He would ask where she is if she wasn’t home and we were just sitting there like we weren’t concerned. We would have to say, “Son, she is staying for a project.” He would say, “Okay, but why didn’t someone tell me!” There have been times that he would go into this near panic moment if he thought she had been left somewhere. I could tell about so many more incidents that would back up what I was saying earlier, that I knew I had to tap into his mind of what he was thinking.
When I got home from work on the day that I referred to earlier, I started preparing to cook and got finished fairly quick because I thawed out my chicken breast, sautéed it and steamed my broccoli and whipped up some stuffing. When I finished cooking I went to my room and in my peripheral view I saw my daughter at the table eating. After she finished eating she came into the bedroom and I said, “You must have been hungry! You ate already?” Normally I would have to tell her to come down to eat because she would eat yogurt, fruit, cereal and anything else she could find that would curb her appetite. So, it was kind of surprising to see her eating already. She couldn’t wait to say, “I was starving! Gabe went to get him something to eat and didn’t get me anything.” Well you know that didn’t sit well with me because I believe if one eats, the other should eat if they are home alone. That’s just the way it is! Even if he didn’t have money (that wasn’t the case), I expected him to share what he had with her or at least wake his dad up and get money to pick her up something. She could have gotten money for that matter. Well, it was a teaching moment for me to tell him not to do that anymore and I didn’t plan on telling him that again. His response was, “I didn’t get her anything because I knew you were coming home to cook!” I said, “You didn’t want to wait on me to cook!” I had to think for a moment that sometimes we just want something different to eat, so it’s okay, he could get himself something different, but the fact remains that he didn’t do it right.
Something hit me like a ton of bricks…. (drum roll please) He didn’t get it! He did not understand why I was telling him that he should have gotten his sister something to eat. He didn’t get what the big deal was. It wasn’t as big of a deal as I might have made it seem, but I try to teach my kids the little things that could be big if not pointed out early. It could be something more serious than a fast food meal, but remember, he takes great care of her, so that’s why I had to think deeper than it being an act of selfishness. Scripture talks about us having to renew our minds in Romans 12. If you can’t see what you did wrong, it’s impossible to change the behavior that prompted the action! It’s that simple. He had an explanation and not one that he had conjured up to get out of getting lectured, but he really believed that he was hungry, he wanted something to eat right then and there and she could wait until I got home to cook because she wasn’t going to be hungry very long. He was right! I get that. He wasn’t wrong – depending upon from which view you’re looking. In her view, it wasn’t cool. LOL
So I continued to just tell him that he wasn’t wrong, but it could have been done better. If nothing else, he could have shared what he had, and they both could have been ‘tied’ over until I got home and cooked.
I finally told my husband this: I said, “You know Honey, this is a prime example of why people can’t change until they recognize there’s a need for change. If they can’t see that what they are doing is wrong, then they won’t see a reason to change. That’s common sense. After all, why change what’s working? That’s their philosophy. And that my dear, is why I lecture as you all would say. It’s not that I am always right, but if I am right, it is my place to teach them the right way.”
Funny thing is, he got. I don’t know if my son got it or not, but at least the seed was planted and next time he will think (I hope) before repeating that which caused us to have the conversation in the first place. J