Piercing screams came from the playroom. Happy screams or hurting screams? My mom ears pricked up.
Those were not happy screams.
Abandoning my work I marched up the stairs. My daughters backed away from each other upon seeing me. I could see that neither of them was hurt, but they were still shooting daggers at each other with their eyes.
Dutifully, I launched into a lecture on the reasons why they should treat each other with respect.
There are many valid reasons, so this was not a short talk.
By the time I wrapped it up, I had bored myself to the point where I was tempted to roll my eyes and say blah, blah, blah.
My girls bolted as soon as they sensed they were allowed. I had a sense I’d missed the mark, but, oh well, at least they’d stopped fighting.
Later on, at dinner, one of my kids made a rude remark about another child. My husband and I reacted in sync, and proceeded to tag team a lecture on empathy and kindness.
While we made several excellent points, dinnertime turned into a sort of ultra lecture where the kids ate in bored silence, probably plotting their escapes from the table.
For parents like myself, ultra lectures are fun in the moment, but as with other over-indulgences, like eating a whole tub of Hagen Daz, I tend to feel worse about myself almost as soon as I finish.
I knew that in each of the scenarios above, my children had not gleaned the wisdom I had hoped to convey; those teaching opportunities had been wasted.
Instead of learning valuable life lessons, they felt like victims and learned to ignore my words.
I felt that I had hit the rock-bottom of lecturing.