Recently I was at Hobby Lobby with the kids. Chickie didn't want to leave. I was frustrated and used a tactic I've seen lots of parents use. You've probably witnessed it too.
"Okay," I told Chickie when I called her and she didn't come. "'Goodbye!"
Chickie immediately burst into frightened tears.
I had to assure her that I wouldn't leave her there. I was also in the awkward position of having to repeatedly answer her question, "Why did you say, 'Goodbye'?"
I realized right away what a silly thing I had done. If Chickie had known it was an idle threat, it wouldn't have gone very far to motivate her. When she thought it was a genuine threat, it scared her and made her feel insecure with one of the people in this world who should make her feel the most secure.
Sometimes falling flat on your figurative face can really open your eyes.