Thursday, March 11, 2010


Yo Yo My Mommy Friends!

Ahhhh, Wednesday (pretend at least, it’s yesterday!!). How brilliant is it that we're 1/2 done with the week? Brilliant! I KNOW!!

So, Monday I wrote my weekly to-do list, and realized the one thing I was missing on it was "pray for my hubby." I actually had "pray for my friends" on it...but not Cliff. And yesterday I was so convicted by that omission, that I had to spend a good hour just ponder all the reasons I don't take him to the Lord in prayer. For more reasons than I can count, I didn't. Most were selfish, hard-hearted excuses.

How many of us love our friends better than our hubbies? And I don't mean married love...but show love to our friends quicker than we show it to our hubbies, let alone our kids. In my Bible Study's small group class we had a people scavenger hunt and one of the things we had to find was "Who listens better to their girlfriends than their husbands." Let's just say I volunteered my name for that one to everyone in the class.

But that was just another step of the Lord opening my eyes to the fact this is an area of weakness for me. Someday I'll dive into this with you, I'm sure there is some Proverb that will match this scenario. Until that fateful day, today, pray for your hubby. Pray for his protection, his heart, his mind, his success, his walk with the Lord. For when you surrender him at the Lord's feet, then God can move mountains in His life as well.

Get out of God's way. You were not appointed by Him to be your hubby's intercessory. You are not his conscious (like Jiminy Cricket). Instead, you are to have a gentle, quiet spirit that doesn't overshadow and boss around her hubby, but is instead taking those words straight to the Lord in prayer. He'll change your hubby. I promise.

I see this more and more each time I actually do this, and then I have a "duh" moment (which I think is opposite than an "aha" moment)! A "duh" moment is "I knew this, but didn't trust I took things into my own hands, and then when that didn't work, I finally did what I knew in the first place, and that actually worked. DUH!" Trust me...I have a lot of "DUH" moments!! :) But that's part of growing! It's coming to grips that God knows better than I! Again, DUH!

Pray for your hubby. Right now. Take a deep breath and pray for HIM. Don't pray for you and him...just him!

Sidenote: When Cliff and I were first married, we used to go back and forth saying what we loved about each other (remember...newlyweds, haaa!). I would say, "I love the way you love me. The way you protect me. The way you make me laugh." He would look at me weird and say, "Okay, but what do you love about ME?" I was totally missing the mark, but didn't have the maturity to realize what the true mark was. "You're loving, you're strong, you're funny/witty." Those things are about him! So, when you take your hubby to pray don't say, "Help him to be nice to me." Pray: "God soften his heart as he relates to people today." Get out of your perspective, and pray for that heart of your hubby! He will be blessed!

Proverbs 10

17 People who accept discipline are on the pathway to life,
but those who ignore correction will go astray.

Yesterday at Bible study, we were finishing up the "7 Things Christian Moms are Called to Do for their Children Straight from the Word." I love this topic because we moms can get so clouded, confused, confounded, and crazy when it comes to our kids!

We do not have the same delusions when it comes to our hubbies; in fact, we swing to the opposite side of the spectrum and tend to be so critical about everything with our "loves of our lives." But when it comes to our babies, well, we would defend, save, go to battle even if it is wrong, for them. We are mama bears. And the enemies that threaten our cubs can even be our hubbies. Oh, we are funny! (And when I say "funny" I'm rolling my eyes and really want to say "lame, backwards, stunted.")

Our teacher dove head first into discipline and spent time comparing it to punishment, explaining the differences between the two. It was amazing! I loved every moment. I came home a much more balanced mother of two kids who I love dearly already...but then realized I am CALLED to do this for them.

Discipline leads "to the pathway of life." The root of discipline is "disciple." The definition our teacher gave yesterday was "the teaching fear of the Lord, drawing the line consistently, lovingly, firmly." For discipline is not punishment. Discipline is done with an end goal in mind, based on the principle, done without personal emotion (if you're breathing hard and rolling your eyes, walk away for whatever you do in this state will be punishment not discipline), and is always after the HEART of your child. You are looking at the ROOT OF THE BEHAVIOR and basing your discipline upon what the Lord calls you, as a mom, to instill in your child.

Punishment is "punitive, goal is to put down, comes from a place of unrighteous anger that mostly stems from a personal hurt/offense, that will destroy a child's spirit and ignore his heart." Punishment is "I'm angry and you're going to get it." Often when punishing, the punishment will not fit the crime but it will be over-the-top. It will be you yelling, screaming, and then finally giving in because your child has worn you down. And don't pretend they don't know how to get to you...don't underestimate how SMART your children are! They know exactly what your buttons are so they can get out of discipline.

Here's a quick synopsis of the points. (As a former teacher, I’ve added a little behind each):

1. Discipline shows respect for both you and your child. You will handle the situation with respect for your child (no name calling, no "pulling back the rope" on ALL the things they've ever done wrong, like you do with your hubby, no threatening, no crazy threats). Punishment will cause your child to lose respect for you...and you will lose respect for yourself.

2. Discipline always fits the behavior and is determined without emotion even before the event occurs. When teaching we used to call this being "black and white." It's a simple cause-effect, input-output. "You chose to do this, and now I have to enforce this." It's not about me as the parent being offended. You can say, "It makes me sad that you don't make the right choices," but do not take it as a personal slap in the face or a sign of parenting failure. When you do, you become emotionally involved and your discipline will turn into punishment.

Punishment is based on the emotion that the parent feels (anger, sadness, etc.). It's irrational, it's loud, it's harsh (probably too harsh for the crime), and you will never be able to enforce it (which then makes your words null and void. Make sure when you're parenting that your yes be yes and your no be no. If your children do not see you follow through, they will no longer take you seriously and you will lose their respect.)

I once had a parent ground her oldest child (6th grade) from all TV for 6 months. It was crazy! 6 months is impossible and is too long to be motivating for the child. She didn't care about TV by month 2 and didn't care what she wasn't watching, because now she was on the phone, computer, in her room with her door closed as the family watched TV. The punishment actually drover her further from the family isolated in her room (that happened to be downstairs right next to the family room where everyone was hanging out watching TV.) And rarely anything good comes from you kid being behind closed doors. The mom created a bigger problem than she had in the beginning.

3. Discipline focuses on the bad choices of the CHILD. Punishment focuses on the bad kid. Discipline sees the event as just that, an event. Punishment starts adding up all the bad events and punishing the child every time for ALL the bad behavior they’ve ever done.

Now, discipline does become more harsh or severe with each infraction within the day. For example, you child hit her sibling (speaking from experience). The first discipline measure is a time out, the second is a longer time out and loss of dessert (Makena LOVES dessert), the third is…and you set these steps in your head with your hubby BEFORE the action happens. I say before because when your child chooses their behavior, you are not emotionally responding to them. The consequence is simply black and white. This is discipline.

But it is important to start fresh in the morning. New mercies ladies! Love on them. Sometimes they act out because their not getting enough good attention from you and they just want general attention…and at that point they’ll even take bad attention. It’s sad, but true.

Let me interject super quick: I just did a seminar for children’s ministries directors on classroom management and so much of this was wrapped up in my hour with them. But when you discipline (time-out, etc.), you need to sum it up in the end with a little talk…and if you are desiring to restore their heart, then the talk will look a little something like this:

1.Reaffirm your love for them first thing. “Makena, Mommy loves you with all her heart.” You do this because you want her to see your genuine care and it keeps their heart OPEN to hear your correction.
2.Tell her what she SHOULDN”T do…”We do not hit Keegan.”
3.Why she shouldn’t do it…”It is not kind or respectful, and God calls us to love one another. Hitting does not show love.”
4.Then what she SHOULD do instead…”When you are frustrated with Keegan, you need to use your words. If he doesn’t respond you need to leave the room and go do something else.” You have to replace the bad programmed behavior with something they SHOULD choose instead.
5.Then you need to have her apologize to you as the parent, “Sorry Mommy for not obeying” (because you’ve told her a thousand times not to hit).
6.And she needs to ask for forgiveness!!! “Please forgive me.” Do not skip this step!!! In our society we do not teach our kids the act of asking for forgiveness, and to me that is detrimental. How are they going to understand the need of asking God’s forgiveness if they can’t ask it of their mommy/daddy/sibling??
7.End with a hug. (Then because she harmed Keegan, I would make her go and apologize to him and ask for his forgiveness as well, and hug him.) You need the affection to reinforce the “I LOVE YOU” at the beginning of the talk!
8.This IS KEY: Never again mention this event again, unless they repeat it that day and you have to ratchet up the discipline. When you forgive, it’s DONE. Don’t say, “Do you remember when…” “I can’t believe you did…” etc. God doesn’t do that with us, so don’t do it with your child. If I ever brought it up, it would be said during the talk about infraction #2 that says, “I’m disappointed that we’re having a hard time today keeping hands to ourselves. Because this is the second time, you’ll be in time out for 8 minutes instead of 4.” But don’t rehash the past. The younger they are, the more they won’t even remember that they did it an hour prior.

You may say, “But I only have a 15 month old.” And I would first ask, “Does your 15-month-old need discipline?” (And then I would be begging you inside my head to answer, “YES!!”) And if so through time-outs (or whatever), you can still do this process. I taught Makena to sign “I’m sorry” and then her hug at the end was “please forgive me.” This will set them up to understand HOW to restore a relationship that their actions have broken!!

4. Discipline is current. Punishment for today pulls back everything they’ve ever done (which means you haven’t forgiven them!!) As a mom you are called to give hope for the home! So give that hope in-between the discipline.

NOW, this does not mean we indulge, cater, keep our kids from hard work, because we want to give them hope. Nope. Our kids need to learn responsibility, hard work, what it means to work for something because that’s what they will need to be successful in life.

If you have a hard time determining what behaviors to discipline for, just put your child’s action into the context of an adult. Ex: My 25-year-old hit his coworker in the head = Assault/battery = Jail. Okay, discipline for that. My 25-year-old just told his boss to shove it for no reason = fired from his job = moving back in with mom and dad. My 25-year-old got so angry he threw his chair across the room = damage to the chair/room = reputation is now ruined. My 25-year-old purposely disobeyed his boss = disciplined at work (loss of hours, etc.), but throws a fit because the boss took away his “right” to work (which is a privilege not a right, but we’ve taught them through not disciplining that they have a RIGHT…this is known as entitlement. I’m entitled to “this” because I “am”, not because I deserve or earned it.) = fired.

If you find the 25-year-old behavior ridiculous, then start disciplining your 2-year-old. Set the standards. Raise the bar. Children are soooo smart and sooooo capable. We, as adults, do NOT give them enough credit. Makena knows at 4 when she has a bad attitude and gets a time-out for it. She knows what it means to soften her heart. Do not underestimate their ability to learn and understand the social contexts of discipline. The early you start, the easier it will be to mold them. If you do nothing for the first 3 years, and then want to pick up with discipline in their 4th year of life, you will fight a LOOOONG hard battle. (And if you don’t discipline in the elementary years, kiss the whole, “I’ll then discipline in junior and senior high.” Your kids will balk at you and rebel. Promise!!)

On a total sidenote…there is a whole other side of parenting that will help you keep your kids from needing a ton of discipline. But that’s a whole other email. It’s all about preventative parenting. Discipline is reactive. They’ve done something, now you react. Let me know if you want those tid-bits. Maybe we’ll meet at my house?? J

5. Discipline is about teaching responsibility through choices. We have to allow our children age appropriate choices. We are not going to show up at their college dorm and ask what they’re wearing the next day and why they’re room is decorated a certain way. It’s not happening. Your whole goal of raising up these children is to mold them into independent, healthy, grounded, Christ-following, adults who understand the difference between right and wrong and the consequences of their actions. Period. If you talk with your hubby, I’m not sure he’d be on board with “well, my kids are co-dependent and I’d like them to live with us for the rest of our lives.” Ummm, NOOOOO!!! Right??? (Please say “Right!”)

This is what God calls us to do as mommies. No matter how cute, cuddly, funny, charming…or mean, intimidating, loud, tantruming they can be…we are called to be level-headed, to call it as it is, and to hold them to the standards that God has set for us in His Word.

The secret to parenting is this: whatever you want from them, be consistent in reinforcing it. Consistency is the key to change!!!

And then Ladies, we need to adhere ourselves to God’s discipline as well. We need to look at what God requires of us and actually do it. If there is an area we’re fighting Him on, we need to stop, give-up our “right” that we’re fighting for, surrender our heart and mind to Him, and allow Him to direct us.

Listen, we suffer enough natural consequences here on earth from our actions that I’m sure God is quite pleased that we keep feeling His squeeze through the natural cause-effect He set up in the first place! Haa! (See, she slammed the cupboard and the can of soup fell out and hit her toe…yeah for gravity!!)

But how does God discipline? In the manners described above. He is forgiving; He holds us accountable; He disciplines FOR OUR GOOD; He is impartial; He is unyielding; He understands but does not save us from the consequences; He is always after our good and our hearts; He is encouraging-redeeming-loving; and He is our Father.

Some verses to dig into: Ephesians 6:4, Hebrews 12:5-11, Proverbs 13:24, Proverbs 19:18, Proverbs 22:15, Proverbs 23:12-14, Proverbs 29:15-17. (Thanks Kim!)

So, today, try something new with your kids. Try breathing deep. Try loving them a tad more. Try holding them accountable. Try holding yourself accountable. I’m telling you, it is SOOOO worth every moment invested in this process. PROMISE!!!

If you have any random parenting questions, I’d love to answer them from my past experiences with my own kids…and with the 300 students I taught and tutored! I’ve seen it all…which I’m so grateful for because it has molded me into a better parent! (Again, I’m not the expert!! Just a fellow-mommy who has figured some things out…most of the time!! Hee!!)

Proverbs 10:17 People who accept discipline are on the pathway to life,
but those who ignore correction will go astray.

Go and give your kids life.

Lots of love!!!!


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