Do As I Say.
When you were little, do you remember those words coming out of your mama’s mouth. Tell me, did you obey because you wanted to or because you were in fear of your life? I mostly listened to my mama because I knew she could snuff me out in an instant. It wasn’t until I was in my early 20’s that I actually liked my mom. I don’t want to raise my kids that way. I don’t want to strong arm them into doing what I’ve asked.
In a past post about Shaping the Heart, my daughter’s antics revealed that my purpose is to shape her heart, not her actions. If I don’t begin shaping my children’s hearts, then what is going to stop them from making monumentally poor choices in their teen and early adult years. And believe me, I know about poor choices and having no respect for authority. Yikes!
While The Cat’s Away, The Mice Will Play.
Seriously, I had this dream about my children being mice and me being a cat recently…very strange. I dreamed that the mice obeyed every command and observed all the rules; until the cat (me) left the house. When the cat left, the mice broke every rule possible. After all, there wasn’t anyone there to stop them from misbehaving and why would they want to obey a tyrant anyway?
Hmm, and then I wonder why I have issues with authority, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree...
Because my children are growing up, I’m looking towards their futures and I’m worried that I am not preparing them to make good choices or have integrity and resolve to be a godly person. Instead, I’m afraid that all I’ve taught them to do up to this stage in life is obeying to keep mama happy. Seriously, how is that going to work out for them when they’re eighteen or twenty-four?
Love Them On Purpose.
So while on my mommy journey, I’ve hit a wall and have been asking for guidance to raise kids that not only obey but they do it because they want to. And even if they don’t want to, they choose to because I’ve asked them.
Loving Your Kids On Purpose by Danny Silk has completely pulled the rug out from under me. Its a fresh look at parenting through God’s eyes. Here on earth, we don’t have a dictator telling us what we can and can’t do every hour of the day; nor has anyone spanked my rear, or yelled at me, or counted to three because I wasn’t listening.
It has opened my eyes to giving my kids more freedom in their choices, to build a heart to heart connection and tools to guide the everyday parenting challenges.
For the last three weeks, mothering has been FUN, yes I said it, FUN, as in a day at the park and it includes the tantrums and melt downs. In these moments, I always felt like I needed to rescue the kids from the situation or feeling like I needed to strong arm my kid into obeying.
Case in point, the other night my son would not go to bed. Instead of threatening to close his door, take his toys or using encouraging good behaviors to earn Wii time the next morning, we gave threw him for a loop.
“You’re not tired?”
“Hmmm what are you going to do about it?”
“Okay but since you aren’t tired, you can either empty the dishwasher or mops the floors. When you’re tired you can go to bed,” we (my husband and I) replied as we turned out the lights in the rest of the house, led him to the kitchen and opened the dishwasher for him. Elijah stood there shocked, he was excited he didn’t have to be in bed, but wasn’t exactly thrilled with the choices. We went to our room and closed the door, anxiously listening for sounds to dishes clanking. We waited ten minutes before checking on the kiddo. The dishwasher was closed and the lights were off. Elijah was in his bed, quiet as a mouse and we haven’t had a bed time issue since.
There is a time and place for setting firm limits and asking them to obey when needed, in the meantime, my new journey is about presenting choices, giving options, putting the burden of a mistake back into their laps as a life lesson, and empowering them to make good choices. I’m excited to be a parent, to shape their hearts for the future instead of shaping their behavior for the moment.