Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Why I do what I do

Part of parenting for me, is to train up my child in the way she should go, so that when she is old, she will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).

Parenting also means for me to teach my girls how to keep the way of the Lord and do what is right and just (Genesis 18:19).

And not to be forgotten, to love one another (1 John 4:7).

And a super fun goal, is to show my girls how to worship the Lord with gladness, and to come before Him with joyful songs (Psalm 100:2) !

When my first born got past that cute infanty stage and entered the
stage, also known as pre-school age, I took training her up very seriously. Meaning, very purposefully (hi Tiff!).

I didn't allow for
walking away from me when I asked her to come to mama
hitting anyone or anything
whining when she wanted something or didn't get what she wanted
screaming or any other tantrum
or a defiant attitude towards her parents.

There were consequences almost every single time. I'm sure I was lazy or soft or unaware or undisciplined some of the time. But I really did (do) try to be on top of those naughty behaviours to correct them.

Those consequences were countered with love, and joy and happy happy happy all the rest of the time she was (is) living.

A large part of the reason why I keep my daughters home is because I want to help shape their character and mold their value system from a home that honors Christ. I feel this can best be done during the bulk of their waking hours (of course).

I don't believe in letting kids figure out how to handle conflict on their own. This is a brute test that inevitably leaves the bigger, stronger kid the victor.

Untaught kids learning from untaught kids how to justly resolve any kind of conflict or disagreement is just plain crazy. I want to teach my kids what to do in difficult situations so that when they find themselves harried with a problem, they will know what to do. Or at least have an inkling of the right thing to do.

I try to be around my kids most of their play time with each other and with friends so I can be astutely aware of their reactions, tones of voices, behaviors and general direction their little spirits are headed.

But how do I know when to let them practice what they've learned? When do I let them remember their teaching and instruction? After all, I don't plan on keeping them home forever! Who'd want THAT? No one.

I came across This Article when I read This Blog.

These 5 points help address some of the things I've been thinking about:

1. You, the parent, are responsible for teaching all social behavior the first time.

2. You then are responsible to coach the child on future occurrences of that kind of behavior as a way to prod his memory as to the original coaching idea.

3. As the child grows older and occurrences of this situation come up again, it is your job to wean yourself of helping/coaching so as to give more and more responsibility to the child for
(a)recognizing the problem;
(b)remembering that he once did have answers to it from the initial teaching and subsequent coaching;
(c)correctly applying what he learned in the past to the present situation.

4. A point comes when it is actually good for the child to experience the (painful) outcome of his choices because he has already been coached numerous times and sometimes he must experience life directly in order to learn.

5. It is always possible for you, the parent, to re-evaluate the rate at which you are either jumping in with the coaching too quickly or not quickly enough and change the level of help you are giving at any one time. As long as you re-evaluate this regularly, you are in a win-win situation. Even screwing up leads to a win, because the re-evaluation teaches you something and it allows your child to learn from the situation—and from your re-evaluation itself.

I like these 5 things and they confirm my conviction to be with my children during the time of their life that they are learning crucial life skills. They further confirm my belief that even as they grow into these pre-teen years, I will have much to learn in order to ensure I'm teaching my kids how to experience, handle and live life fully. I will rely heavily on Him. For each year is new territory for me!

Having adopted a 4 year old and a 6 year old, I will be challenged on how to guide, mold and nurture children who were brought up in an environment very different than what they would have experienced had they been born in my home.

This responsibility of raising children to love God, be productive citizens, have a moral compass that proves virtuous is exciting for me. It is my calling as a mother. I don't take it lightly. There are lives and souls at stake!

Of course, I will not make their choices for them, and they will in the long run follow the path their free will takes them.
I believe that with God's help and my husband's help, I can set them before the path that will lead straight in to God's arms. Will they take it?

Hopefully the love and purpose they are given in their childhood will cause them not to even want to deviate from righteousness or test the boundaries of destruction, but to stay strong in good character and virtuous living.

For I have not greater joy than to hear my children walk in Truth (3 John 1:4).


Amy Whalen said...

Awesome and inspiring post! I also got to go read the article..really good.

Anonymous said...

Very good post! Marissa (my oldest) has developmental issues related to prenatal exposure to alcohol. It has only been in the last couple of years that I have decided to quit stepping in... If she has shown she can handle a situation, even once, even in the most supportive of relationships, without coaching or prodding, I let her "fail" and experience the consequences. Truthfully, some of the time I wish I could still step in.

But, I have decide humans were created for dominion and while we all exercise our dominion imperfectly and fallen, no matter what the deficit, Marissa needs control over the area she is "normal."

Marissa will be legally considered an adult in 1 year and needs to be able to explore what that means. The way things are at home now, I cannot imagine her staying in our home as an adult will be a viable alternative. She has not really embraced our worldview. She says she is a Christian, mostly for "fire insurance." But, she does not allow God to be Lord of her life. Her morals blend with whatever group of people she is hanging out with at the time. As an adult she will want to live in a way that is unacceptable in our home and she will think she has the right to because, "No one tells an adult how to live."

And, frankly, this is the saddest and hardest thing I have ever done. It is hard to watch someone you cherish choose poorly and self destruct. But, my mom and dad did that for me. It was my time in rebellion that taught me the most and brought me to the feet of the cross.

Parenting is not for wimps!

Jenny said...

I think American mothers teeter between tow extremes. Either they do everything for their kids or nothing at all. Parents will na and nag about their kid standing on the couch and then catch them when they fall (thus resulting in the child not learning the lesson of obedience) or they shrug and say "he will learn on his own" with out any pre-instruction. Therefore teaching the child that thrie parents do care enough about them to teeach them or that they know more than their parent (which is never aposition a 6 year old should be in).

The Bible, as you have noted here, teaches everyone so many great lessons on how to train children. Even folks who don' believe in God can benefit in the wisdom there. If you want your child to become a positive member of soceity, take a look there. No need to spend money on countless other "parenting" books.

christa jean said...

I commend you for the clarity of this post! You articulate your thoughts, goals, and hopes so very well... isn't that what we always said we needed to do?! Write out the reasons why we do what we do so as to be prepared when questioned! Well done!

Me thinks I'll just skip the work it will take for me to do the same and just steal all your reasons.
Hahahaheeheeha, I'm really just kidding.;-D I'll go write my own.