Tag Archive | Christian parenting

Tethered

imagesCAVDIIJHRomans 12:1 I beseech ye therefore brethren by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice…

My six year old son sat on my bed, his shirt pulled up staring at his belly button, deep in thought.

“Mommy, why do I have a belly button?”

“It’s where you and I were hooked up to each other when you were in my belly,” I explain.

“Why were we hooked up?”

“It’s where you got your blood and your oxygen from me. It’s how I fed you.”

He smiled, “Now you feed me in the kitchen.”

The cord may have been cut between me and my boy six years ago, but like he pointed out, not much has changed. I’m still the one feeding him, washing him, holding him, talking to him, helping him, healing him (even if it’s just a kiss on a hurt.) I am still irrevocably tethered to this comical, blonde haired boy. The same is true for my other two sons, and my little daughter.

Invisible cords of connection stretch out from me to them nourishing them, feeling them, probing them to detect problems. I thought when I was pregnant that I would be so relieved to have them out here in the world free of the threat of miscarriage or of harming them somehow with what I was eating or what I was doing. I was terrified of falling and somehow harming the little child inside of me. Once they were born, though, the weight of responsibility intensified. Because now, not only are these children at the mercy of my possible clumsiness, they are at the mercy of every word I speak to them, every choice I make for them. Their spiritual survival now depends on these invisible cords tethering them to me as they watch my life, listen to my words and (help me God) follow my footsteps.

“Present your bodies a living sacrifice.” We mothers are a living, breathing source of energy that our children are feeding off of every day. Yes we cook for them, and wash them, and care for them when they are sick, and do everything in our power to keep them safe and alive. But remember today that our words, our compassion and our empathy is what will keep them alive emotionally and spiritually. You will forever be tethered to each of your children. Nourish them well.

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When Mom Gets Homeschooled

When Mom Gets Homeschooled

In my last article I looked at our cycles of self-doubt that will often hinder us. I wrote that article over two months ago, and God saw fit to make sure I had learned the lesson well. As He has often done in the last nine years (since I’ve become a parent) he used my children to teach me.

Through certain events, and sermons, and admonitions from concerned individuals (my husband), it was becoming increasingly obvious that there were some serious gaps in my parenting style and disciplinary practices with my kids. Some very bad habits were taking root in the hearts of my children and it was a direct result of my disciplinary style. My disciplinary style was based on emotion. If I was angry I might discipline you, but if I was in a really good mood you can get away with murder. As a result of it being based on emotion it was very inconsistent, because as we all know our emotions are very inconsistent.

The reason I had never set consistent rules with consistent consequences for my kids was ENTIRELY because of self-doubt. (If you have not read the article on self-doubt please do.) I doubted my ability to make the right choices for my kids, to set the right rules, to point them in the right path. That self-doubt led to a complete sense of apathy and helplessness resulting often in no discipline or threats.

There are a lot of details involved in parenting and those details confuse and scare me, because I am often convinced that one wrong move will turn them into Charles Manson. So as a result of that fear I would do nothing. However, through the encouraging words of good friends, I finally got a hold of a truth and that is this: Even if I cannot figure EVERYTHING out today I must pinpoint a few standards that I can confidently cling to. I was trying to look at the entire parenting experience as one giant mountain that I must conquer. That is not how parenting works. It is one moment at a time, one child at a time, one experience at a time, but there must be some underlying standards that never change and hopefully can be used to help direct the detailed decisions of the moment.

I know this may all seem very elementary to any of the “super moms” out there, who always stick your carefully outlined rules and schedules and who don’t have to make multiple ER visits in one week ;o) But I realized a long time ago, that I am not a super mom. I’m a very confused, nervous mom who wants to do this thing right so badly that sometimes the weight of that responsibility knocks me right on my butt, and I lock myself in the bathroom and cry for an hour. You see my kids are not accessories to me. My kids are not playthings. My kids are not consequences of a “no birth control policy.” My kids are not obstacles that stand in the way of what I am REALLY wanting to do. My kids are really, literally, completely my life and career. And I really, literally and completely feel responsible for what kind of people they turn out to be. And that is a huge frightening job if you are really taking it seriously.

So, after a very educational conversation the other night with several folks I love and admire and who know how to balance criticism with sincere edification, the Lord helped me outline four very simple little standards that I have begun using to guide my disciplinary action. Consistency being the key. The other morning my children woke up and each of them found a copy of this pinned beside their bed:

  1. I will respect my mother
  2. I will always obey quickly
  3. I will be kind and loving to everyone in my family
  4. I will not jump on the furniture

 

Now that fourth one may seem odd, but if you know my kids you understand that this is a HUGE issue for us, so don’t judge.

 

The consistency of consequences is showing an effect as well. I was very encouraged yesterday when my three year old began to stick her tongue out at me and then quickly covered her mouth with her own hand left the room! My husband pointed out to me yesterday as well that all the kids were answering me with “yes ma’am” when I gave an instruction, rather than a high pitched, whiny “WHY?” which had been the default response to everything I say to them.

 

So I am feeling really encouraged and confident this morning and desire your sincere prayers that I will simply be consistent and fight my own evil laziness (this article was supposed to be about laziness, hopefully next time.)