Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Do You Choose to Obey or Be in Trouble?

That is the question I have been asking my children CONSTANTLY! I like bringing this to their attention so they can see that the choice is theirs; to show them that I will discipline them when THEY choose to disobey. It was not Mommy or Daddy's choice but theirs alone. I think this is very important that they understand this concept.

It has been a couple really tough weeks. Mollie has reverted back to tantrums and they are bigger and badder (is that a word?) than ever before. For example, last week my sister was watching her and she was sent to her room for disobeying and told to sit on her bed. She told her Auntie "NO!" but did go to her room. Her Auntie told her to leave the door open and go sit on her bed (otherwise Mollie will just escape by trying to go to sleep.) Mollie tried to shut the door. Auntie repeated the command again to which Mollie slammed the door open, yes open and gave her Auntie a look like "So there!" Britt said she can't believe how much attitude comes out of such a little body. I agree and this has been a trying time. Neither Jones or Mollie seem to care to obey whatsoever. FRUSTRATING!

I find that when we go through a stage like this I tend to want to withdraw because I can feel overwhelmed, disrespected, unloved, etc. but I am finding more and more that I need to do the opposite. So today, my new plan of action has begun! Joey is out of town for three days and I am just going to take this time to pour into my kids. I do have a busy day tomorrow and the next day but all today and every second I am with them in the next couple days will be about showing them how much I love them and teaching them as calmly as I can to walk in the way of righteousness.

I am all about training the heart. So I do what I feel in my spirit is the right thing to do and I seek out books and information that go along with that idea. My Jones is a "Why Guy" and he just has to know why about anything. I normally do explain things to him but right now we are working on obeying first and talking later. I know this is hard for him if he feels he doesn't understand why he is told to do something. I tell him that he is welcome to ask me questions any time of the day but when it comes to a time when he is told or asked to do something, I need to see immediate action and the only words I want to hear if any are "Yes Mom." I have yet to hear & see it come naturally from him but we are working on it. We are working on Mollie too.

Last week I had a call from Jones teacher and that was pretty hard. He was just goofing around blowing on people, pulling hair, and not responding to his teachers warnings and instructions. She said Jones ended up being separated from the group for the entire day. This made me very sad but also very upset as Jones CHOSE to not obey his teacher and to not use self control. We had a LONG talk reminding him of lessons he has already learned about not giving in to temptation and using self control. We talked about his awesome qualities like how incredibly smart and friendly he is. We explained he can either be the boy that his teacher says "Oh, here comes trouble" or that she says "Oh, here comes my awesome student Jones!" We also discussed that his actions are a distraction to the other students and he does not want to be responsible for other people not learning! Overall I think it was very good that it all happened. It showed Jones that we have communication with his teacher and it is all tied together and also to remind him that we can not go with him everywhere and he will have to decide for himself what kind of person he wants to be and in turn what kinds of things will take place in his life, opportunity & blessing? Or trouble? He reminded himself that God is always with him. He is never alone which is a great thing especially when you are lonely or scared but also He is watching and our goal is to please him and not disappoint him even though His love does not change.

What is great is that when I seek advice from my Bible or Christian authors regarding parenting, I always become more clear on my relationship with God as well since I am the child in that circumstance. I read and then talked to Jones yesterday about God's rules and our rules. They aren't there to limit you and be mean, they are there as a protection and to help lead a life of more blessing vs. hardships. I asked him what would happen if I put my hand on the hot stove? Jones said "You would get burned." I explained that in the way he knows that consequence, that Daddy and I know the consequences to his disobedience especially if it continues into adulthood which is why we are trying to nip it in the bud. In turn I of course understand even more so God's rules and how they are there out of love and protection (which I knew but sometimes you just understand in an even deeper way you know?)

So that is a much longer story than I was planning to tell but I am hoping we are coming to a peak (as my friend Molly said yesterday) and hopefully it will get a little easier soon.


Willow said...

I love hearing your heart on this and know you aren't alone! This is an intense job! I want you to know that this weekend was EXHAUSTING with our littlest little girl :) She is a fireball and as sweet and full of joy as she can be, her heart often leads her into foolishness and sometimes it can be so disheartening for us as her parents when we see a behavior that we thought we were "over"!

So just wanted to share that with you - let you know that after a VERY exhausting and tedious three days with my sweet Halle yesterday was like a whole new girl emerged. A girl with a wise, self-controlled, teachable heart. Praise the Lord!

I have to remind myself that it is not US that makes the change...that our prayer and our discipline, our love and committment are tools that the Holy Spirit uses to transform our children's heart. And that it takes diligence not only from them but from us as well. I lost track of how many times I told Halle, "Honey, when you chose to do that who's way were you choosing? And when you choose your own way what happens (discipline) When you choose God's way what happens (blessings!) And which if more fun? Which fills your heart with joy? Which do you want to happen? " The answers to those questions are no brainers but I too, want my children to know that they aren't only be trained to be obedient robots but actually to understand the thought that goes behind making choices that glorify God. And obedience surely glorifies God!

Sorry this is one of my too long posts again but here are two verses that might be helpful..that have helped us.

Hebrews 13:17 "Obey your leaders because they keep watch over you." - good for those question asking kiddos so they can understand that God has given authority to parents, teachers, etc. for their protection...

Also, Matthew 5:16 "Let your light shine before men so they can see their good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven" - I continually stress to my kids that they have a key role in life and that is to "shine their lights" and show Christ's love. That that can't happen when they are acting foolishly.

Lastly...sorry for the length! But one thing I learned in a class a year ago and we are working on with Averi (our "why" little girl!) is that when they are given and instruction they MUST do it without arguing. They MAY, however, saying very politely, "Mommy, can I ask you a question?" and mommy has the right to say yes or no to that. If they get a yes they may ask their question, but if they are told no they must obey FIRST and ask a question later.

Anyways, girlie just wanted to let you know you aren't alone - that this is more than a stage too - it is a God given oppurtunity to train your children in righteousness and I am learning that I truly need to be thankful and humbled by these oppurtunities! That parents who's children don't give them any trouble are not to be looked on as blessed necessarily - but that the actual blessing might be dealing with the foolishness that is bound up in the hearts of ALL children while they are young and trainable and under our watchful eyes!

Wheeew....sorry for the book! A one word answer to your post would be "Amen!"

Erin said...

THank you Willow. Your long posts are just fine. Hey, it's a conversation in print. :)

Willow said...

Good point, and goodness knows I've never had a SHORT conversation! :)

Tami said...

I'm glad for your guys "conversation". Disobedience is something that we are constantly facing with Silas. I will definitely use these scriptures in helping him understand why obedience is so important. Thanks ladies for being so candid!