Most people think zodiac sign when asked this question. I'm talking about the sign we each are born with, right on our chests. It reads IALAC. No you won't find this sign in Greek or Roman mythology. It's an acronym, and it stands for "I AM LOVED AND CARED FOR." Right out of the womb, that's our sign. And we coo, we look wistfully at our parents. We embrace our new world.
And then life happens. Poopy diapers and distress, a small piece of the sign is ripped off. Pushed on the playground, fall down, skinned knee. Another piece is ripped off. Girlfriend broke your heart. Didn't get into the school you wanted. More ripped pieces. Soon enough, the sign is all ripped off and laying in pieces around you. But, the rule is that you always carry the IALAC sign around your neck. What changes is what it stands for. With disappointment, with harsh words, with embarrassment, shaming, bossing without explanation, the sign becomes "I AM LONELY AND CONFUSED."
As parents, we are the prime authors of our children's signs. With empathy, active listening, praise, helpful direction and guidance, we can transform our children's signs back to the original acronym, I AM LOVED AND CARED FOR. Teachable Moments: Building Blocks of Christian Parenting gives you the tools for making this critical transformation in your child's sign. What is your Child's sign?
Would you ever expect your child to pop out of bed, come to breakfast with a smile and good mood, when she is under the weather? If she has a fever of 100' or 101', can you expect her to do her homework well, do her chores without complaint?
Of course not! First you treat the fever. If aches and pains go along with the fever, uh oh, might be the flu. Time for chicken soup, cold compresses, bed rest. Lay low, sweetheart, and let's get you better.
What about when she has an emotional fever? What's that like? It usually comes in the form of upset over things not going right for her, being told "no" when she had her heart set on something, friends not being able to come over, school or friendship or relationship drama. Then you hear attitude, disrespect, and noncompliance.
First, take her temperature. If she has a physical fever, treat the symptoms first. If she does not, then treat the emotional fever. If you come at her with consequence and control because of her attitude and words, you've lost a teachable moment. Empathy for what you think she is feeling, also called Active Listening, is the cure for the emotional fever. As you understand the feelings behind her actions and words, her emotional fever comes down. Only then will she be receptive to changing her behavior.