"Children are a blessing to be enjoyed"
When dealing with kids, sometimes you have to encourage yourself.
After threatening to "slap the black off you," "knock you into the middle of next week," or "slap the taste out of your mouth," my mom would simply pray out loud: "Jesus, keep me near the cross!"
My sister and brother and I would then know she was on edge, and we were usually smart enough to back off.
These days, my go-to line is more of an affirmation: "Children are a blessing to be enjoyed."
It's one of the many sayings I've learned from listening to Joel Osteen on satellite radio. Taken from Psalm 127:3, it reminds me that no matter how far my girls have gone, how much they are weighing on my last nerve, I need to be thankful for them. Saying it aloud helps me remember to not get worked up over little things.
Hearing it aloud alerts my children that they are "skating on thin ice." Hearing me chant it multiple times further drives the point home.
I found myself saying it at school a few times last year, usually with my eyes closed in a mock yoga pose. While the students chuckled, I seized the moment to remind myself that all children are blessings to be enjoyed -- even other people's kids.