We sat on the bed discussing a matter of behavior that needed to stop. It had been increasing, slowly becoming more and more prevalent until not a day went by when we were not disturbed by it. Now, it was time to make a change, time for a revolution of sorts.
“Can you commit to doing this?” I asked.
“No. I won’t be able to do it,” my son replied.
We talked at length about why the change seemed so daunting, so unattainable.
“Do you want to do this?” I asked.
“Yes,” and then he started to cry. “I always wanted to do it.”
I hadn’t known. I truly had not known the state of his heart, but I was a step closer to understanding. He wanted to change, but he felt like it was too hard because too much happened that was out of his control.
“I can’t do it,” he said.
“You can do a lot of things.” I named several of his talents. “Dad and I can help you do a lot more things. In fact, it is our job to help and teach you. But who can help you do all things?”
“Heavenly Father and Jesus?”
“That’s right. Between you, me, Dad, Heavenly Father, and Jesus, you can do all things.”
We discussed what events typically initiated the unwanted behavior. We brainstormed what steps toward change might help him gain control in these difficult moments. At first, he could think of nothing. I suggested a few things, several were quite small or silly to show him that no idea was a bad idea. He started to share some of his own thoughts. It was easier for him to find suggestions for things I could change. However, eventually he came up with two very insightful causes for the behavior, two factors that had not crossed my mind.
My son felt that between us we could control those two factors which we determined to do. I made a personal commitment to him, a commitment to change me for his good.
“How about if you don’t commit to changing, but you commit to trying to change?” I asked.
He nodded. That he could do.
I did not tell him that trying to change is actually changing. Sincere effort really is all that ever really mattered.
The conversation ended sweetly. We both realized we were starving, and it was time to eat. We both felt heard and understood. We had changed our world. We had begun a revolution.
This year as you set about making your own resolutions, I hope you find something in this little story helpful. For there is great truth underlying these simple happenings. Part of the truth is underscored in a poem I can recite by heart because my mom had it hanging in our home when I was growing up.
The little things are most worthwhile,
A quite word, a look, a smile.
A listening ear that’s quick to share another’s thoughts, another’s cares.
Though sometimes they may seem quite small…
These little things mean most of all.
By Margaret Lindsay
During our conversation, it was the little things that changed the trajectory of my son’s behavior. It was the little smile from his baby sister as she sat on my lap that lightened the tension. It was the quiet voice and the commitment I made that told him I was not mad but that I was on his side. It was the little tear that told me what was in his heart.
In light of this blog, the poem has another meaning as well. The little things, those Littles, with loud voices, messy habits, and big hugs, those Littles with tantrums, smiles, and huge hearts, those Littles mean most of all.
As you set your intention for the upcoming year, where do your children, spouse, and other loved ones stand? What little things can you change to show more love and less frustration, more gratitude and less judgement? What little resolutions can you make that will cause revolutions for good in your life?
Wishing you all the best for a Happy New Year!
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