Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Releasing Judgment--part 1

I think it's normal to be judgmental, at least to a certain point. We are raised with judgments nearly from the day we are born, starting with "you did a good job!" and then moving into "that shirt doesn't go with those pants" and finally into complex moral situations such as "thou shalt not steal."

Now I'm not for a moment arguing the validity of moral judgment. BUT, I do think we over-judge on all the little things. Scripture says that we will be judged by God in the way that we judge others. I don't know about you, but I think that if God is going to be as nitpicky and micromanaging as some mothers I've seen, then I'm not sure if that's a heaven I want to go to, you know? So, especially with my children, I make a point of not making judgments about things unless I need to.

When my preschooler brings me a page full of crayon scribbles and says "look what I made!" I say "yep, I see!" rather than making a judgment by saying that it is "pretty" or that he is "good." I share excitement without casting judgment.
When one of my kids picks an outfit that most of us would deem outlandish, I let it go. He is dressed, isn't he? Why does it matter if he 'matches'? If he doesn't care, then why should I? I mostly just stick with being glad that he's not streaking.
When my children learn to use the potty, I avoid the phrase "good job" (um, everybody pees, there's nothing terribly spectacular about it). Instead I just comment on the facts "you peed in the potty, thank you, it makes a mess if you pee somewhere else so I appreciate when you do it in the potty." And if they pee on the floor, it is the same "oh look, you made pee-pee on the floor, we'd better clean that up. Do you think you can do it in the potty next time? Then we could just flush it away!"
The kiddo wants plain peanut butter for breakfast? Fine by me, it's protein. Oatmeal for lunch? Why not? I like oatmeal. Who says you can only have oatmeal for breakfast?!

Actually, releasing judgment toward our kids is pretty easy. The hard part is releasing the judgments that others cast upon us, or that ones that we put on ourselves. More on that coming tomorrow and the next day!


mr.brighton said...

So as I read this it almost sounds like you're not excited about the kids doing things. All you reader people should know that she is. In fact I didn't even notice the change from judgement...

Brandi M said...

Interesting concept. Food for thought.

Mommy Bee said...

Yes, I do get excited (I did put exclamation points!), I just don't use judgement words.
"Yes, I see the picture!" and even "that looks very complicated" or "would you tell me about it?" but not so much with the "oh how pretty" or "you are so good at drawing"...after all, is any three year old actually 'good' at drawing? I mean, would you pay money to look at it in a museum?! ;)

nicole said...

Hmm, interesting. I think that makes sense. I probably praise my kids too much. I could do a better job of being less judgemental about things overall. I certainly don't want my kids to become dependent on other people's perceptions or opinions. However, I'd rather err on the side of praising too much than too little.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

wendy said...

I can see where you are going with this. I say things like, "I love it". Or even "wow". Or on the peeing thing I say, "Oh I am so happy when you pee in the potty." "Don't you feel so proud?" And on the flip side when they do something they shouldn't I say, "That was probably not the best choice." Instead of using words like bad. I want them to know I always love them even if I don't love their choices.

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