The Little Things

Lately I noticed my youngest starting most of his requests with the words, “I want”.  I don’t think he was trying to be selfish or demanding, but I suddenly became aware of this phrase and decided I was going to try hard to keep it from becoming a habit.

Here’s the thing – I really feel like most of our impact as parents happens during the little, almost insignificant times during our day.  BIG moments come when a child steals, lies or cheats – and those are definitely times to step in and parent like a rock star.

But before those big things occur we have lots of opportunities to make the little moments count.  For me, some of those moments include (but definitely aren’t limited to):

*  Looking our children in the eye (not at our phone) when they are talking and truly listening to them

*  Sharing stories with our kids about how God helped us during our day

*  Whispering compliments in our kid’s ears when they least expect it

*  Playing games together that require conversation, creative thinking and teamwork – no technology

I know I didn’t cover everything, but by making sure we focus on the “little” things now, I feel we can connect and interact with our kids on a consistent basis and not just when they are in trouble or need our help.

My latest “little thing” is this idea of saying “I want” before requesting something. So here’s what I’m trying, and so far – it’s working…

James and I were home alone, the television was off and we were playing a game on the floor. I breached the subject lightly but I had a goal in mind: have HIM discover something different to say when making a request.

“Buddy, I love how you use your words when you need Mommy’s help. You are really good at that.”


“I’ve noticed when you ask for juice or a snack you say ‘I want’ and I know you would never want to sound selfish or demanding, but what do you think sounds better: ‘I want’ or ‘May I have’?”

He thought for a minute and said, “May I have?”

“I think you’re right – I think it sounds so much nicer to hear you say, ‘May I have’ instead of ‘I want’. So should we practice?”


We walked into the kitchen and I asked him to make up some things he might need or want to ask for during the day.

“First I want you to ask the old way. Ready? Try it.”

With a very sarcastic and bratty voice he mocked my request with, “I want a cookie!”

I laughed, “That was great! Now let’s try it our new way – the better way.”

“Mom, may I have a cookie please?”

We went on to practice with a few items and I challenged him to not tell Daddy about our discovery, but to just show him.  Sure enough, that night he asked my husband for a drink by saying, “Daddy, may I have some juice please?”

Of course, I had let my husband know about our discovery and new phrase before he arrived home. On cue he poured on the praise. My little guy saw in that moment that just by changing the words we use, we show people respect and we in turn are respected.

So it was a little moment, a little phrase – but to me it taught a BIG lesson.

What little things are you noticing or struggling with?  Perhaps you’ve figured out how to handle the little things that could have grown into a real problem. Would you share with us?  We want to learn from you!

You are wonderful!


3 Responses to “The Little Things”

  1. 1 Alicia November 23, 2011 at 9:37 PM

    Oh, I love your “Little thing.” I’m overwhelmed with the “I wants” at our house– primarily from my 2 and 4 year olds, but the 8, 11, and 13 year olds all kick in, too, at times. I like the way you “rehearsed” the new language. So simple. But I haven’t ever done that.. thanks for an “a-ha” moment today. Congrats on your first book, too. As a writer myself, I know what a HUGE accomplishment that is. I put your book on my Christmas list.. I guess I’ve got some “I wants”, too. Blessings to you and your family

    • 2 Kasey Johnson November 26, 2011 at 7:45 PM

      Alicia – thanks for the kind note and for taking time to share! You rock! I loved your ideas for setting the table at Thanksgiving – you’ve got some awesome ideas! I hope you enjoy the rehearsal time and in turn the application…I hope my book makes it into your stocking too!

  2. 3 Shanta' November 16, 2011 at 10:10 PM

    Thank you for this today! My son is almost 9 and instead of using words to ask his sister to stop , he will punch or kick at her. Sometimes but not always making contact. I have been taking away privledges but I’m going to think this through and decide on how I can use your sitation to hopefully help ours. I love God’s timing in the fact that what was on your heart is what my ears needed to hear. Thanks for your ministry to Moms!

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