Shepherd is THE most optimistic child I have ever met. And I've met a lot of children. These are very common statements I hear from him throughout the day.
*If he's doing school work and reads something well or spells a word correctly, we hear him say "Great job, Shepherd!".
*If he spells a word wrong, or struggles through a paragraph, we hear him say "That's ok Shepherd, you'll get it right next time!".
*He frequently says throughout the day "Momma', you're the BEST momma' in the whole wide world!". He says the same thing about his dadda', Rauly and LA.
*He's incredibly upbeat and rarely gets discouraged. When he does, I know it's time to take a break, b/c it takes a LOT to discourage him.
His optimism and drive to focus on the positive are traits that I so admire in him and appreciate! I recognize that many children struggle with negative attitudes and focusing on the things they CAN'T do from a very early age, so I'm thankful that he is geared this way. But what's extremely frustrating, is that the very traits I admire, are accompanied by an attitude of silliness and non-stop energy that is not just fast...it's LOUD. It's downright exhausting most days and can often be discouraging when it seems as if the instructions we give him go in one ear and out the other. It has been discouraging to Chad and I to feel like we are constantly...cooooonstantly having to correct behavior and "re-teach" him all. day. long. And let me tell ya', it can be challenging to correct the same behavior all day long in a way that doesn't break his spirit, cause him to LOSE his natural optimistic attitude and not deeply hurt his feelings.
Well, I'm happy to say we've had some MAJOR breakthroughs this week! As I've said earlier, Shep is my child who races through life at the speed of light! But, on Friday, a light bulb CLICKED and the boy started saying "Yes ma'am, no ma'am" as second nature. Omigooooosh...Chad and I have been working on this for a full year and when he said it the first time on Friday, I literally did a 180...I think I got whip lash from turning around so fast. I thought maybe it was just a fluke, but he's been saying IMMEDIATELY each time we speak to him ever since. HALLELULIA! To most of you, this might seem like a very small thing, but for Chad and I, this shows growth and maturity for our lil' guy!
On the same day, he also began speaking to God in a way that isn't silly. For those of you who don't know Shep, he is a verrrry silly little boy. He loves to laugh, and goof-off, and that has been filtering through his conversations with God ever since he started praying (around the age of two). Well, on Friday, he said a prayer that was insightful, thoughtful, SERIOUS! I just about fell out of my chair...and yes, I most definitly was doing an "inner happy dance!". All weekend we've been giving him opportunities to talk to God and each time he's done so with respect and reverence...I just can't tell you how rewarding it is as a parent to see those seeds you've planted begin to take root!!
I'm proud of him, and am very very encouraged by the progress we've seen over the weekend.