Good morning friends. This is quite possibly my most serious blog post yet. I've been reading Instructing A Child's Heart by Tedd and Margy Tripp. Now that I've been staying home quite a bit more..........after my whirlwind ride at my most previous place of employment.....I have been trying to self-reflect as a parent and see where I can improve. Lemme (yes.....that is a word where I grew up) tell ya a few things about myself before I get to rambling about my parenting skillz. Or lack thereof.
1. I am a procrastinator. Working on this one. (haha......see what just happened here???)
2. I tend to get stuck in ruts. If this is you, it needs no explanation.
3. I can be very hard on myself at times........
4. I fall into bouts of mental laziness. Which in turn manifests itself as physical laziness.
5. I have a tendency to be an absolutist......I'll explain.
So how does all of this play into parenting, reading this book, my relationship with God and my day-to-day existence? Well.......sit back and have a looksee. I shall take you through it one painstaking step at a time.
This book. It talks about formative instruction in conjunction with corrective discipline. The first being an ongoing dialogue with your kids and using day to day instances to teach. The second being the times you do the this-is-going-to-hurt-me-more-than-it-hurts-you-thing or some variation thereof. I began to really think about these two concepts. I think about all the times I have sat down with my kids and really talked to them. Like REALLY TALKED. About life, God, Jesus, salvation, obedience, siblings, love, the golden rule, not jumping off bridges if your friends jump too, eating your vegetables, gravity, sharing, consequences, reflection, heaven and hell, kindness, sympathy, discernment, cleanliness, discipline, worldliness, and how the world perceives them. THEN.........I think of all the times I have spent the day just barking orders, yelling, cursing and creating general chaos in their lives. And it devastates me (see #'s 2 & 3). As someone who met and married my lifelong friend/partner by the time I was 19 (and this is not a bad thing folks........Kevin was divine timing in my life), I oftentimes doubt(ed) that I'm truly equipped as such a young and immature parent.
BUT THEN.............life-altering revelation for me here people..........I REALIZED.........
I, STEPHANIE SANDERS, REGARDLESS OF AGE, GENDER, SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS, RACE........AM NOT PERSONALLY EQUIPPED TO BE A GREAT, GOOD (OR EVEN MEDIOCRE) MOTHER.
It is only through God, and His Son Jesus Christ's shed blood, that I am able to do this. It's like being a really sick person. And you gotta go to the infusion clinic each day to get the life-blood that you desperately need to stay alive. You go......sit down in a (semi) quiet place.......and hook yourself up to that IV line (the Word) and begin the infusion. You are filled with Encouragement and Hope and Love and Forgiveness and Peace and He even throws in some Grace and Mercy and for good measure. The big step for me has been taking all of those heart nutrients and implementing them throughout the day. Some days, I kick ass and take names (i think). Other days.......well......see #'s 1 & 4. Then I snowball into #5 and convince myself that I'm the world's worst parent and I can't do ANYTHING right. And THEN, I have a pity party that I invite a few select people to (you know who you are). And you see where the night ends up.
Back to reality now. The Bible and this book, are together teaching me that corrective discipline in the absence of formative instruction does not bode well for my future as a parent. It's teaching me that the laundry and dishes and errands and all the blavin of daily life can wait just a few more minutes so I can have that conversation with my kids in order to help shape their hearts and minds. And it's only through His grace and mercy and daily reliance on Him that it is possible. MAN! I wish (where are you robin williams in a blue genie suit when i need you????) I had known these things 10 years ago. Why is it that you don't get "it" until you start getting older? Ugh. Thanks for that one God. Way to design it where we spend the first 30 some odd years of our lives as dummies who can't figure it out. (i can hear you all screaming at the monitor, "speak for yourself sanders!"). I've got A LONG way to go peeps. My goal here is to model Christ-like behavior for my children. I so often see them emulating me in the way I speak to others.......and them. Sometimes it makes me beam with pride. And other times, I cringe at the content of what they say and the tone of voice they use. It's me........in all my "glory". Being displayed through my offspring. Thanks again God (and this time, I really mean it) for using my children as a mirror. A mirror that hopefully causes me to stop and take a hard look at my reflection. You've got a lot of work to do Steph. So get off your arse and the computer and go hang out with your kids. Don't mind if I do..........