Thursday, August 21

Can I just clarify

......my kids aren't perfect. And I don't think I have it "all figured out"? My kids are well behaved, but they are also very human. Sarah punched Joel in the stomach yesterday because he wouldn't give her his money. Yes, my two year old is a bully. My boys are tempted to watch shows they should not on television. One has pride issues. One has temper issues. Honor is....how to describe Honor?....Honor is.....a princess. But while we're at it, I haven't exactly "arrived" myself. We work on it. I teach them to obey. This has required a LOT of prayer and a lot of work. It is exhausting to get up off the couch and step in when you really just want to ignore it and hope it goes away (trust me, I know, I've done it.) But it is worth it. Trust me. I see the fruit in my children. I've had some families sneer and say that I couldn't understand what they were complaining about because I had been blessed with easy children. Easy? Excuse me? I'm not telling which one, but I had one that I had seriously considered contacting an exorcist over. lol. Trust me, only one has been easy. And I'm afraid that might be because I've let my standards drop. She's the one that has punched her brother every day this week. Easy? Ah, no.

I was very blessed, in that, early on I was able to observe several families with well-behaved children. Jessica's lovely mom raised 3 kids by herself and did an incredible job. Not one conformed to the crowd. They led. They were freaks. Awesome freaks that I prayed my children would be JUST LIKE someday. Laura, a wife to a co-worker of mine, was an example that left me in awe before I even had kids. While we were visiting for dinner, I overheard her twelve year old son ask his seven year old sister if she had remembered to take her medicine. I had never imagined that siblings could actually care for each other! My pastor's wife at the time was also a great example of how to patiently and diligently teach children. I frequently recall her voice lowering rather than raising as she confronted issues with her preschooler in a manner that showed respect and firmness at the same time. My instinct goes quite the other way, and I am so thankful that I had such an incredible role model. Three incredible role models. Had I not met these women, I could easily have built a parenting philosophy based on the other moms I met. Or worse, on Parenting magazines.

If you think mom's with well behaved children are rare and living in a sheltered world, please consider for a moment that what you think is normal, doesn't have to be.

And trust me, I've screwed up (am screwing up) plenty. I have learned a lot about Grace through the years, but nearly soon enough for my boys. I was an overly firm parent when they were younger had much of their obedience came out of fear of punishment rather than a love of goodness. I want them to embrace God's commands out of a love of His word, not a fear of hell. I am re-tying a lot of heart strings with these boys. There are lessons all around us and not one will ever "arrive." But we can strive. If you don't like the way something is working. Change it. Read. Study. Pray. Change. We're the parents. If something is going to get better, it will have to be because we learn better. Things don't just change. Standards do though. It is easy for me to get worn down and just let my standards lower rather than learn how to make things work better. I'm lazy that way. And, in all honesty, I'm also prideful that way. After working so hard, it is sometimes easy to think I actually had something to do with the results. The truth is, God is the only One Who can change hearts.

Someone complimented me once, saying "You're boys always look SO HAPPY. I never see them NOT smiling."

I went home and cried. I knew that I had failed them a million times over. I knew that I had been harsh and difficult to please. I knew I was not responsible for those smiles. I knew that God had protected their little hearts and that God alone was responsible for my sons being the boys they are. Each day is a new day and a new opportunity to do it better. I'm constantly learning and constantly amazed.

5 comments:

Lawanda said...

And another AMEN! There are days when I wonder how these kids will ever grow up good with me as their example. But I realize they've got to do their own falling, just like I have. :)

The totally perfect person already came and died for us. But the whole purpose for us is to obey what he asked. Will we fail? Yes. And he knew it too. Did that stop him? No it did not. THAT is grace and mercy. ;)

I love these posts.

Jessica said...

eureka! there's something with the network at school that won't load all of your page; however, i was able to read everything by highlighting the text.

that said, i'm very honored that you mentioned my family in your post. we weren't perfect either but the prayers of my mother brought us up a few notches (at least in public! ha!)

i'm glad you posted this--i desperately want to be a good mother and practice the kind of discipline you wrote about. it's been on my mind more as luke gets older and more defiant. then i start thinking about 2 under 2 and i start to hyperventilate.

soooooo...if you don't mind i think i'll be taking some cues from you.

also, you must tell me whose kids wrecked your house. :)

Joanne said...

thank you! I was not and am not the perfect mom.But I tried/try. God helped me EVERY day. You are doing a wonderful job . I am glad my daughter has such a role model as you. keep up the good work!! Hang in there. You are blessed.

Nicole said...

This really spoke to me today. I can really relate to needing to retie some heart strings. I'd love to see how you're doing that. Thank you for such and honest, touching post.

Shanna said...

So true. We can never be perfect. I've often prayed that God will just erase "that last thing I just said to them" from the kids' memories.

Because we are a large family and the kids are so close in age, we draw a lot of attention in public. Out of necessity for safety, and because I know we are constantly being watched, we have worked hard on training them on how to behave in public. People constantly comment on how well-behaved they are. This is a blessing to us, but I know that they weren't born this way ( and aren't that way all the time)...it takes a lot of prayer and time to train children. It's so easy to just give up and give in. And too often I do. Praise God that He is so good and loves our children so much that he goes before us (and despite us)!

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