A Few of My Favorite Things

  • God and all that goes with Him
  • Time Spent With Family
  • Bedtime Prayers
  • Family/Group Hugs
  • The Beach
  • Good Friends
  • Good Music
  • Laughter

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Time of Questions

It seems the older I get the more questions I have. It fits right in with something my sweetheart told our son this weekend. He said, “Son, the time will come when you think that Mama and I are absolute idiots and you'll question everything we do, but remember that I predicted it would happen. When you realize I was right, you're really going to hate having to admit that Dad really does know something; in fact, he just might be a genius. And you're going to hate it all the more.” Really and truly that's what the adolescent and the young adult years are all about..questions. Questions that race widely around in their head about everything from how's my hair look to is there really a God.

I guess where I'm trying to go with this is that we have to give our children the tools to answer all those questions for themselves. Have we helped to cultivate a spirit of confidence; so that they can walk around with confidence no matter the hair style. Have we helped them to cultivate a love for God's word and encouraged them to decide God is the Creator and author of salvation not because Mama and Daddy believe it, but because they can study and make that decision for themselves.
God gives us some parameters for raising children and here are a few:

Proverbs 22:​​6 Train up a child in the way he should go,
​And when he is old he will not depart from it.

Ephesians 6:4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

Colossians 3:21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

These verses remind us that we must train our children. They don't come into this world programmed to obey, speak politely and use their best manners. In fact, children will take a chance even when all the odds are stacked against them just to see if we're going to hold the line we said we would. If we aren't consistent then we won't get the results we want. It means that even when my head is screaming with the pain from the headache that I will still enforce our family rule: to do right. In doing this, I must be careful to mirror the same love God has for me as I discipline/train. It means that my son understands that I don't like the way he is behaving but I still love him. In the heat of the moment words that cannot be taken back can place scars on the heart of the child. There is an understanding that this is the behavior I expect from you and I'm sorry that you chose to make a bad decision. It is one of my big pet peeves to hear a child be told they are bad, stupid, etc. The child is not bad the decision was. God sent his one and only son to die for me while I was still a sinner. He hates the sin, but loves the person. It's one of those things I must work really hard at to remember.

It is important that the rules stay the same for the same situation. It meas I must train him to know the difference in how to act inside, outside at home, outside away from home, and how I expect him to sit and listen during worship. It is important that I don't change the rules mid- stream. In our house this is when the pouty face will appear and hands will clench. It's often done because his expectation for my reaction (based on past experiences) doesn't meet up with what happens. This definitely provokes anger. As a small child, he didn't know how to express that anger except in tears. Now, it means I'm dealing with a sullen non responsive tween. It's at these times that I'm learning just as much as he is. If I don't listen to his concerns then things can escalate to a level where I may be provoking him to anger/ make a bad choice.

It is my desire to encourage and train at the same time. If I like the behavior I'm seeing I tell him. By letting him know what I like to see, he gets a better picture of my expectations. We have done this since he began to crawl and climb. Our children long to please us, just as we should long to please God. If there are certain actions you don't want to see, prepare them to act the way you want when they are small. I enjoyed visiting the shut-ins and widows one night a week with a girl friend before our son's adoption. I wanted to be able to take him with me and not fuss at him the whole time about don't touch. So I put a bowl with flowers on our coffee table, he was not allowed to touch it at all because it was not his. In fact from the time he was able to talk to age five (aside from the word no) the words he and I both said where “If it not mine/yours then don't touch it. I tried to keep something of his on the table as well. He could play with what belonged to him, but if he went for my flowers a small pop on the hand was a reminder it wasn't his. It worked (most of the time) and I could take him with me. He would begin to crawl to a table with someone else's pretties and I would say “If it's not yours don't touch it.” If He kept moving then I would go pick him up and give him a toy that I would take with me. This was training him in a safe place to make the right choice. We are still trying to do that as we begin to give more freedom and more choices where the consequences are punishment in themselves.

OK, this is my last suggestion, but for me it's a big one. Allow your child to make choices as often as possible. From at bedtime, do you want water from the kitchen or water from the sink in the bathroom? Always provide two choices that you can live with..” Do you want to snuggle and watch a short cartoon or read a book before bed?” Being able to make even the smallest choices is empowering and allows for the child to trust their own judgment. As they get older the choices change from “Do you want to do an extra days school work today, or stop now?” By doing the extra day early they have a whole day to play or be away from the house, or possibly missing out on something that he wants to do the next day because he wanted to stop school the day before. As the consequences make a bigger impact on the outcome, the child learns more about himself and what works and what doesn't.

So, what did any of this have to do with my sweetheart and me being geniuses in the eyes of our son. It's about the answers to the questions or choices. It's allowing him to see that we've been there done that, and by the very nature of our being human he will repeat it. Maybe the questions that I find myself asking myself are much like the choices I'm giving my son. As I strive to make God's will my will, maybe He is allowing me to learn from the consequences as well. It means that I must spend more time in His word looking for the answers and more time interacting with others to put my solutions into practice. If I don't like the result then I've learned a valuable lesson. Know I need to study more and do things differently the next time.

Dear Father, please help me to make good choices both as a parent and as your child. Help me to honor you in all things, and help me to train this precious soul you've placed in my keeping and to encourage him to love you. Help me Father to allow Him room to chose you for himself and not because I chose you for him. Be with me Father and help me to be the Mama You want me to be, and to glorify You in all things. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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