When I am working on a quilting project I have learned that it is very important to square things up regularly. I learned this the hard way!
You cut your pieces, you sew them together… and then you square them up with a ruler and rotary cutter. The first few quilts I sewed I didn’t see the point. It seemed a waste of time. Such little trims and corrections. So tedious to constantly check the work and square up. So I didn’t bother. How bad could it be?
It was bad! By the time I got to the final steps of the project my quilt was trapezoidal instead of square and had all kinds of interesting bubbles in the middle. I made it work. I called them crazy quilts. If you look with a knowing eye you can see some pretty interesting lines! My Mom and sisters still have them I think. Folded up on a quilt rack they look fine!
As the complexity of the projects I work on has gone up I have discovered that you have to square up! Every step of the way! The end result is worth it!
Parenting is much the same. I feel like we didn’t see the point of a dealing with a lot of stuff as we raised our bio kids. We had our rules and expected everything to fall within them or there were consequences. We would slowly get more and more frustrated as things got “out of square” with no idea that there were tools to help us “square up” our parenting.
Our journey into Foster Care has taught us so much about understanding children affected by trauma and how to parent them. One of the things we have heard over and over again is that behaviours are symptoms. We are learning to look beyond the behaviour and seek to figure out what is going on that is causing them to act the way they are.
When we “square up” every step of the way things rarely get too far out of wack!
I recently did a Social Media check on their phones. I thought I would have a quick look at who they were talking to and what the conversations looked like. What I saw dismayed me. Some of the language used and the types of conversations they were having made me sad.
They weren’t doing anything horrible. Some might even say that “kids will be kids”. We all used foul language when our parents weren’t in ear shot and we all talked less than kindly about other kids. But here is what I have been learning!
Kids have parents because where they don’t see the consequences… we do. We are the voice of wisdom they need and the guide that will get them safely to where they need to go. So there was a conversation about language. If you can’t say it out loud don’t text it. If you wouldn’t say it to a person’s face should you be texting it behind their back? Cyber bullying is real and it often starts with an “innocent” sarcastic comment about someone. Be the kind of person you would be proud to have as a friend.
We took the time to “square up” their perspective on social media and bring it back within the lines. If we hadn’t I guarantee there would have eventually been a catastrophe.
Kids need guidance as they find their way in the world. Foster Kids often need more because their lives have been marked by trauma and disruption. We have to be brave enough to have a good look at if it all lines up to have them be the people we hope they are becoming.
We need to model what it looks like to keep ourselves in line. I don’t know how you recognize it, but I can tell when my patience is low and my sarcasm is up that I need to take some time and get to the bottom of what is bothering me. I need to “square up” my attitude regularly.
What little things have you been ignoring… maybe today you need to “square up”.
In the midst of the mess