Raising strong-willed children islike having an army of toddlers in your home. These iron-willed babes will testevery boundary and challenge any directive given. While I’ve been in thetrenches of motherhood as a stay at home mom for several years, my goal hasbeen to shape their behavior, lest they become criminals behind bars.
I’m hoping y’all can relate to the limit testing sessions my youngest has been devising as she is reachingthe terrible three’s (Two’s were a breeze mamas; it’s the three’s we need toprepare for!) She has decided that pottying everywhere other than the bathroomis way more fun, and no matter the direction I give her, she flat out refusesunless it’s her idea. The final straw was the stunt she pulled on Wednesdaynight for Rainbows class. She threw a fit because she didn’t want to sit at thetable and color. So I warned her, “Tori,if you continue throwing your fit, I will take you home right now and you cango to bed, this is your last chance.”
Tori replied withauthority, “YES, takeme home, I want to go to bed!” What parent can win when the childhas figured out the logic of the game? Frustrated, I left her there screaming,while other parents gave me the, ‘Oh-you’re-that-kind-of-parent’ look.
This past Sunday my pastoropened my eyes to what I had forgotten about parenting. Because these past fewmonths had been so trying, I had forgotten howto parent. I was focused on remedying the behavior, and not shapingtheir hearts. If I wanted my children to trust and obey me, I needed to bemolding their hearts like God was molding mine. God doesn’t focus on our behaviors;He focuses on molding our hearts.
In the midst of motherhood, appealing to ourchild’s hearts causes them to want to do the right thing and shapes theirhearts for the future. Just as God we place ourselves in God’s hands; He molds,grips, and shapes our hearts through every day trials. In the process, Heappeals to our love for Him, and we want to do the absolute best we can (pluswe aren’t big fans of learning a lesson over and over). If I want my childrento grow up with compassion for others and passion for our God, then I need tomother their hearts, not just the behavior!

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