I really wish I had a nickel for every time I yelled (yes, I yell sometimes) the above sentence out to my children; I would be a wealthy woman by now. In all fairness to myself, it is truly a question that I ask with some incredulity, mixed with a good amount of annoyance. I really do wonder, "what in-the-name-of-all-that-is-holy-and-pure is going on with you goofballs?!?".
It is a question that is usually asked after I have been subjected to a long period of listening to them scream (usually not in anger or pain). Generally, other unidentifiable sounds are paired with these hoots and hollers; BANG, SLAM, BUMP! And, most of the time, at least one child leaves the fracas in a hurry, while giggling maniacally.
Am I surrounded by a bunch of raving lunatics? Quite possibly. (And, as we all know, nothing can make you crazier than an insane person.) But, more likely is the possibility that my children have too much imagination and not enough outlets for that kind of "energy".
So, should I sign them up for drama class? Should I start calling various agencies who represent child actors? Do I need to sign them up for art classes? Good Lord, I hope not!
I have finally figured out the answer to my problem: it is me! I am the one who needs to allow them to get a little loud and messy while they play with one another. I need to stop stepping in because I am annoyed by the noise level or amount of mess. I should only step in when it's getting so out of control that people are going to get hurt or property is being destroyed. And, to be perfectly frank, those two things happen very infrequently.
Did Michelangelo's mother stop him from painting because he splashed a little paint on the floor? Maybe, but I doubt it. Certainly, Edison's mother respected his need to putter around and learn at his own pace, and look where that got him (and us!)?
Now, I am not saying that I have little Michelangelos and Edisons running around my house (certainly not if they inherited too many of my genes!). What I am saying is that I can hardly expect healthy, happy children to sit quietly with a book 100% of the time, just so I can preserve my sense of peace. I know I have to look inward (and Heaven-ward!) to find that sense of peace, and let it work alongside my sense of humor.
I realize that it is quite easy to fall into the trap of worrying about keeping the house neat as a pin, or thinking that children should behave as if they are mini-adults. I am probably stuck in that trap 4 or 5 days out of every week! It takes a much gentler and more appreciative soul to look at their occasional rambunctiousness and rowdiness from a joyful perspective. Right now, I am striving to be that gentle and appreciative soul and love my kids in all their noise and activity levels!
And, that is what is going on!