Happy New Year! A whole new year of blogging, I’m excited to see what it brings. I got some stats back from Word-Press on New Years and apparently I’ve had readers from around the globe, including Switzerland and Hong Kong, which kinda makes me wonder how these people ever stumbled onto my blog or if it was just some sort of honest mistake. Word Press also reminded me that I had only pumped out 90 posts in 2011… which spread over 365 days might be considered a little lame. I’ll try to do better this year. But that is NOT a resolution! I think that as I get older, I find it harder to resolve to do things because I know myself and how I don’t like to be bossed around – by me. I’m trying to get myself to do something right now for 21 days, I’m on day 2 and having a serious power struggle. So I guess I can’t even tell you about it in case I can’t follow through, but if I complete it, you’ll be the first to know.
However, I will accept challenges over resolutions. Challenges just sounds, well, I guess more challenging. Like, “Are you up for the challenge?” So… I am challenged to make some little changes to parenting… and here’s how it started.
Right before Christmas we got together with some neighbours and had us a wonderful time… Jason and I wondered why on earth we hadn’t thought ourselves of getting together before, it’s a shame. Anyway, while we were there, one of my neighbours mentioned that when her and her husband embarked on their parenting journey, the first thing they decided was that when they made a parenting decision, they weren’t going to back down, they were always going to follow through with decisions they made.
Wow, that really spoke to me because that is one area where I’m not so great. The kids ask me a question, I give an answer… they start to bug me and cajole and bug some more and what do I do? Well I start questioning myself, I start thinking, “Oh, am I really being fair?” Or worse, I start thinking, do I really want to follow up with what I just said, and then I cave… AHHHHHH!!!!! Not all the time, but there have been too many times. It’s not good, it’s not good! In fact, the experts will tend to tell you that in doing so you are actually TRAINING your child to NOT believe you! To never take you at your word. Scary.
OK – so I have challenged myself to always say what I mean and stick with it and be consistent when it comes to the kids. This way they will start to know that when I say yes, it’s yes and no means no and stop means STOP!!!! But there are obstacles in my way.
The first obstacle is that I often speak too soon… the kids ask me a question and I just blurt out an answer – the first thing that I think of. “No” is a good one when I’m busy, or perhaps a “don’t do that” when I’m distracted, both randomly given just to provide an answer and both not good enough if I’m intent on following through.
So, clearly I need to take a minute and think of an answer even if that means telling them to wait while I think about it or even call Dad to weigh his opinion. But then once I do speak… BAM!! My word is law! hahaha… don’t worry, I’m not a dictator here. But what I mean is, now that I’ve thought of something, now I have to follow-up on that. As in, “Sarah, if you lick that batter with your finger one more time you are not helping mommy put the cookies on the trays”… if I say it, I HAVE to follow through with it. If I don’t, then my words become meaningless and vacant and then why bother speaking at all? Idle threats do bug me, I always think, why bother? The kids and you know you don’t mean it, so you would be better off just ignoring their behaviour and saying nothing at all instead of having them think you aren’t trustworthy. And if I say “No TV right now” then I guess I mean no TV right now and if that means I need get out some paints or play-dough or play with them for a bit, that would probably be better anyway.
You see… I have a duty to my kids, not only to parent them wisely, but to train them to obey, not only because I say so, but because it’s what the Bible says. It says very clearly in Ephesians 6:1 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” It’s not my law, it’s God’s law. And when you think of it, it’s so incredibly important for so many reasons, no wonder God included it! First off, I want my kids to see me as trustworthy – to know that I am going to follow through with what I say. And then, just think – obedience could save my kids lives one day. That is huge for me, what if someday I see a danger they don’t, and I can yell at them to stop and they stop? I can’t imagine how I would feel if I if were in a situation where I needed my child to come back to me and they didn’t… it makes me shudder.
I forgot to tell my neighbour this that night before Christmas, but when I first saw her husband years ago at school, he had their son with him and he was about 5 at the time. For whatever reason this little guy starting to run away from his dad across the field to another group of kids, and his dad called out at him to stop and…. he stopped. He actually stopped and came back. I remember thinking at that exact point that this child I didn’t know could play with my kids. Why? Because I knew that he was a well-trained child. Cool eh? This is the proof! Following through has worked for them and it’s definitely why I’ve challenged myself to always means what I say and always follow through. I’ll keep you posted!