“Remember to clean your room,” I told my son.
“I’ll try,” he said, and immediately forgot.
“Remember to lock the door,” I said to the wall. (It may as well have been the wall.)
My son said, “I’ll try,” and I returned home hours later to an unlocked house.
“Don’t forget, your essay on the second law of thermodynamics is due tomorrow.”
“I’ll try to remember.”
You get the picture. These scenarios frustrated me as a mom more than most things. But the memory is a funny thing: I could easily remember myself at that age, forgetting things the minute I said I’d try to remember. Perhaps that made me a little too empathetic.
I tried punishments and rewards to no avail. I quoted the Bible on procrastination, and famous people who had wise-sounding words, to inspire my sons to do a thing right away, before it could evaporate from their brains. Nothing seemed to help. Until a little yellowish-greenish fellow with large ears and stray whiskers came on the scene. I would never have believed that a puppet-like creature from a science fiction movie would help me in parenting. But Yoda did.
“There is no try. Only do.”
Six words. Yoda’s super six words made all the difference in my parenting technique—and in the results. It worked even when I used a Yoda-like voice.
The one thing I’m left wondering is, can I use it on myself?