I thought I’d share something with you that even some of my close friends don’t know about me. I’m an old movie junkie. I have some hobbies, just like everyone else. I sometimes sew, sometimes knit, and very often watch old movies. Notice I don’t say classics, I say old. I love ’em. It’s nerdy I know. My hobby started probably around the age of 14, and I’ve been totally hooked ever since.
Pretty much movies made between 1938 and 1964 are my favorites, but I occasionally go outside this limit. Don’t be disgusted, but I would say I probably watch around 40 old movies every year. It is a huge passion that I can’t exactly explain.
Today I have been thinking about one of my favorites. I’d say I’ve watched it maybe 6 or 7 times. It’s called “When a Man Answers,” and has the married duo of Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin. It’s a really fun movie. The part I thought I’d talk about in particular has to do with Sandra Dee having trouble with Bobby right after they’re married. It seems like she can never get him to do anything she wants or needs. She asks and begs and pleads, but he simply won’t do something if it’s not something he’s interested in. Sandra Dee goes to her mother and complains. Her mother pulls out the secret weapon that made Sandra Dee’s father do whatever her mother wished. It is a book on training dogs. Sandra Dee is horrified at first, but eventually begins using the book with great success! She is amazed at how much her husband has changed, and how “obedient” he has become. When Sandra Dee thanks her mother and tells her of the change, her mother corrects her. It was Sandra that changed in her responses to her husband, not her husband that changed.
This is a fun movie, and I totally didn’t spoil it with this description, so you really should see it (you can borrow my copy if you like). All this to say, however, that whether you’re “training” your dog, or your husband, or your children, don’t focus on what they’re doing incorrectly and how they must change. Nothing will ever get done that way. Focus instead on how you have been doing things, and choose a different way of doing it.
In the movie, rather that complain that her husband wasn’t doing what she wanted, she would praise him for doing anything she liked, and eventually he’d do what she wanted. She’d call him over just to give him a kiss and a hug, so he learned that pleasant things happened when he came after she called, so eventually he would come even to help her. If every time you ask your child to come to you, you make them do something, eventually, they will stop coming when you call. Try instead to call your child over to praise them or to give them a hug, and if you continue to do that, they will also come over when you need to get them dressed.
Let me know if you’ve actually seen the movie. It doesn’t count if I’ve made you watch it. Also, don’t tell your spouse that you’re learning to relate to him by using ways to train your dog (but it does work).
Have a great day!