I had a realization this morning. I think one reason I get so frustrated with the behavior of my sons and students is because I unconsciously try to take the sole responsibility for changing it. Realistically, no one person can own that change. It has to be a team effort. This is especially true for children with very challenging behaviors. Behavior is communication, and often a child is telling us, My behavior is too severe to be the responsibility of one adult.
This thought dawned on me this morning as I was desperately trying to get my second born child out of bed for church. My two oldest came in town for the weekend, so I had this grandiose vision of all four St. Romain young men attending the service together. Did I mention this was my plan, and that Micah wanted no part it? I even tried infusing guilt by reminding him his mother would be singing during communion. Nothing. Then, just as I relinquished control and gave up my quest, I received a text that brothers got him up, and they were all on their way to church.
Rather than focusing on our individual successes and failures with a child, I believe it is important to remember our interactions are adding to a larger group effort. I understand that with some children (my own, for example), my interactions contribute to a great degree. With others, however, my exchanges are simply part of a broader fabric of support the child will receive over a lifetime, so I need to cut myself some slack, and do the best I am able.
If it were up to my efforts, Micah would probably still be in bed, and wouldnt have made it to church; but luckily, brothers intervened, and the team pulled out a victory. As much as it might pain me, I best continue my homework on this subject this evening by watching the Super Bowl. I feel certain the group with the best team effort will be triumphant, thus validating my thoughts on this subject.