With two little kids in our house, a lot of parental conversations start with the words “Please stop” and end with something like “tackling your sibling” or “jumping from the couch to loveseat” or “turning the lights off while someone else is in the bathroom.” If it’s not that, we’re asking them to put their shoes on or finish their carrots or put their shoes on or get in bed. Or put their shoes on.
We say these phrases over and over because as parents we feel a responsibility to help our children learn proper etiquette — or just how to get out the door in less than half an hour. So yes, we offer carrots and sticks, with a general amount of dessert and TV time that can be increased or decreased or taken away entirely based on how well (or poorly) they behave.
But there are some things that, no matter how they act, they will always get from us — at least until they are old enough to tell us to stop. A hug, a kiss, a story before bedtime, encouragement when they stumble, comfort when they’re in distress. And a blessing on Friday night.