Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. --Dr. Seuss
Excellent advice from the man who wrote: Hop on Pop. Stop! You must not Hop on Pop. The man has a way with words.
Seriously though, it's great wisdom to teach children. And I try to model that idea in my own actions. I am very good at saying what I feel. And saying it. And saying it. And saying it. The problem is my children stopped listening half-way through the first time I was saying it.
I painfully recall a couple of summers ago when I was carting the kids to all of their activities I'd enrolled them in to ensure they would be well-rounded, educated, and not whining because they were bored to death only 2 days after school ended. I was telling them of all my wonderful plans for the summer to improve our organization, our attitudes, our minds, our bodies. As we drove and I talked...and talked...and talked, I suddenly realized that I was the only one listening to myself. I was really annoyed.
Just at the moment of realization, we drove by a sign advertising the new gorilla exhibit at the zoo. "Well, what do you think, Mr. Monkey? Maybe I'll just talk you since no one else seems to care what I have to say."
With all seriousness, the quiet yet calculating one offered, "Mom, you know he can't hear you. He's a billboard." And they all laughed hysterically.
It seems that the one thing I know I do for sure is that I offer my kids laughter on a daily basis. They find my nagging lectures particularly funny. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that I have a knack for lecturing the wrong kid or nagging about something I'm sure I told them to do but I'm also sure they didn't do and so I really need to say what I feel and explain how disrespectful and/or irresponsible it was for them not to do what I had clearly asked them to only to find out mid-lecture that they had, in fact, completed the task. Inevitably one of them will point out, "Wow, Mom, you just wasted that nag." Dang it! I truly hate a wasted nag. Especially a well-worded, perfectly punctuated one. But at least they are good for a laugh!
I'd like to say that I've learned my lesson and started saying more, but talking less. I'd like to say that. But since my children, still to this day, ask me if I'm talking to my monkey again, I don't think I can really say that at all. Still, Dr. Seuss's words of wisdom ring true. My wonderful children matter and they certainly don't seem to mind that I'm being who I am and saying what I feel.