Tuesday, August 30, 2016

I tried - parenting {rules}

Discipline is Latin for 'to teach' or 'pupil.' For us to be semi-successful parents we must discipline.    

Parenting is not easy.  I tried.  I continue to try.  And even yesterday I felt like a huge failure in my efforts to parent.    But with every struggle comes learning opportunity; and my end result is that I want our boys to grow up to love and live like Jesus.  

I know and have seen several parents who refrain from discipline - because they only see it as punishment or "not loving"  - but in honesty, more harm can come from that mindset than setting rules. 

The following post is rooted in our religious beliefs.  I encourage you to continue to read.  You might not agree with my religion, but can find some common ground in  our expectations of our youth.  

We want our family to follow Jesus; that means being disciplined.   Discipline is to teach - and to teach  about Jesus we must also act like him.  We must be loving, for our actions, show our hearts.  An action has a reaction in everything we do.   As a teacher and parent  there are lines that can be crossed.  If it is emotionally, physically, spiritually or sexually abusive - THAT IS NOT DISCIPLINE OR OUT OF LOVE and not okay. 

Rules help provide structure that children crave.   They want stability, to know they are safe and loved. 


1)  Listen and obey the first time
2)  Be gentle with our words and actions
3)  Have a good and generous attitude; being okay with being told no.
We give people respect and honor and follow our rules because we LOVE PEOPLE.

1) Listen and Obey ** Titus 3:1, Ephesians 6: 1  [Children, obey your parents in the lord, for this is right]  - This is my favorite rule;  It can cover anything to keep your child safe and your sanity in tact.   Think of all the times that the bible talks about obeying.  God loved us, we should obey.   We love our children and we want them to obey.    I believe that the foundation of obeying is trust.   Ask
ing a child to listen and obey reminds them that we love and care about them and their actions.  One of our son's favorite bible stories is Jonah and the big fish - great example of obedience.  

2) Be Gentle ** James 1:19-20 and Galatians 5:25-26, Titus 3:2 [to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people] - The bible is so full of the word gentle or meek.   For boys, gentle might look differently.   The word gentle, non-violent, or passive does not mean we are defenseless and should be taken advantaged of.  Being gentle is showing others love and compassion, what God calls us to do.  The meek will inherit the earth.   

3) Have a good attitude ** Matthew 6:24, Luke 12:22 - 27, Hebrews 13:5 [Keep your life free from love of money, and to be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."] - we originally started this rule off with "be content".  But to a small child "content" is an abstract idea .  The word "attitude" is something that we can see. 
  As our oldest has grown and developed a bigger vocabulary we talk about attitude, contentment, and generosity all under the same umbrella. To be followers of Christ, we are asked to die to ourselves.   This rule goes a long way when it comes to birthday parties or simply sharing.  It is also written with rule number one, listen and obey in mind.  To be content means to be okay with being told no.

We have these rules because we love people - John 13:34-35 [A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.] 

***Note, there are lots of scripture to reinforce our beliefs, although not all are listed.   Being content, gentle, having a good attitude while we listen and obey is how we have asked our family to show people love.

So that's great, right?  Some rules, like you haven't read or heard of them before.  Some of you out there might even be thinking - what does she know....  I've seen her kids throw fits.  I've seen her kids.... x, y, z.     I'm not trying to claim our rules are fool proof.  I am not trying to claim perfection.  I tried parenting; and it's hard. Believe me, there are times that I ask our oldest to pray for my attitude because mommy is not having a good one.  

I am just sharing what our family has chosen to do.  We believe in the Bible, and that our rules come from that.  They are FAMILY rules; my husband and I follow them too.   

So what happens when the rule is broken?   

Rules were easy to develop and find in the bible, however the consequences take more time and adjustment.  Our rules have not really changed in four years we have had kids.  But our consequences have.  As we grow as parents and as we learn what effects our little ones.  

When you hear the word consequence do you typically think of punishment?  When you hear the word discipline do you think of the word punishment?   A  consequence can be positive and negative.    Every action has a reaction.  

I truly believe that every parent will have to determine what consequences works best for them and their child. 

My two thoughts when it comes to consequences:
1) was the choice in their control, did they break the rule?     Example: our oldest throwing a fit before bed, well it was our fault as parents for letting him stay up late.  The consequence of OUR choice is his attitude.    He can control it, but we did not help him.
2) can you find something to be positive about?  Make everything a learning opportunity and always try to find positive.  

I had an extensive list of what we have tried with our kiddos.  But it gets to be a long list.  If you have questions on what to do if..... or how to treat......  please leave a comment.  I would love to hear from you.

What are some rules you live by?

I tried parenting - it is hard.  I pray that one day my boys will be able to contribute to society and love people.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

I tried - inviting myself {uninvited book study}

This week.  Can I get a sigh.

A sigh, of relief that it's over.
A sigh, that a new one is going to begin.
A sigh, a moment of pause.
A sigh, that we aren't perfect.

It's been an odd week for me.

There are a lot of changes happening in our home, communities, schools, church, globally.   The tension is high.

Or maybe it's just "that season".... you know the season, you just kinda get in a rut.  Or groove.  And maybe you like "that season"... maybe you don't.    Don't get me wrong, I love fall.  I love back to school routines.  But, I also need time of rest... to process.  I want to process the summer.  I want to meditate on what's a head.  I want a break to just sit by the river and be at peace.    My season is one of conflict and contradictions.  And now, without a moment's hesitation, I am staring at the face of "that season."

The season came quickly.  It really did.  It started last Sunday.

Our church started up a huge campion or kick off to get more small groups or home groups up and running.   We have known for the past month or so that our current group would be splitting into some other groups; multiplying, making more disciples for the kingdom.  The change was slow and I was prepared for it.    What I was not prepared was for some heartache to follow.

By inviting new people into my home I had to 1) let go of some people I dearly enjoyed seeing weekly and 2) realize I couldn't have everyone in our group.

See, I have this problem.  It really is a problem, even though others don't see it like that.   It pains me to see people left out.  I guess I have always felt that way, but it wasn't until I was an adult that I could classify it.  In high school, I literally knew everyone - at least their name, I would sit at different lunch tables every day, I hung out with a variety of people, went to every stereotypical party you could think of.  The problem wasn't me being kind to people, the problem was the feeling I would get when I would feel left out.   I never wanted others to feel excluded; but the root of the problem wasn't inviting people, it was the fact that I am not very good at sharing.  Can I not just have a friend in my life, that is all mine?  Does that happen?  Is that even healthy or normal?

I'm like the friendship cupid <-----is that even a thing?  I'm really good at being the third, or fifth, or seventh wheel in friendships.   Getting the right people together is easy for me.
Being pushy + observant = new friends for others
I had a few close friends, but even within those close friendships I was still behind someone else who got the title "best friend"  -  I never had the other half to the BFF broken heart-shaped necklace.  I was the ultimate third wheel.    **side note: Sisseck, I question this statement - you and Crystal were close, but you were my high school best friend, I'd say and I think you might agree... so don't think "what about me!?" for I love you dearly**

I just kind of stumbled through life, doing my own thing, being friends to people and then once they were set up with better friends, moving on.  As I got older it became more obvious.   And sometimes the friendships blossomed because I had to move or leave for outside forces (moving states tends to hinder friendships).  There are times when friendships just don't align because of time - working mom = less time/crazy schedule.  

So....  last week, we have this small group kick off.  There were moments that were really hard for me.  It was like being picked last for dodge ball or something.   People would ask us questions and then would move to the next group and sign up.  Or I would watch as friends and people I knew socialized and grew into groups right in front of my eyes.  This glass wall was all around me.

Seriously, the silence was deafening in my head.

THEN, a few days later I got this e-mail.

Subject:  "Sign up for the "Uninvited" Online Bible Study"

God - you are too good to me.    The tag line was: Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely.

This had to be an e-mail only for me.  No one else feels like this.  Right?  It was a joke?  Facebook is covered in pictures of tight-knit neatly-woven friendships.    I am the only one who feels left out (like pretty regularly), right?

Perfect.  Timing.

As I looked into the book, I realized this was the perfect opportunity for me.   I texted Jeremiah a few questions and quickly signed up online for the bible study and ordered the book.

I am not a reader of books (articles are my go to, infographics are superb).   But it has taken a lot of strength for me to not open this book.   I am waiting for the perfect moment.   I want to soak up every word.  I want to breath out every relief.  I want to pause with every word that reminds me that I am loved.

The study starts September 6th.  If you are interested in joining me; let me know.  Sign up here.  Because of my "problem" - I really do invite all women (and maybe even men, I can't say or judge) to look into this.  My goal is to post thoughts fairly regularly here; so if you are hesitant or want a review, keep checking back.

There's a song by Matt Redman; "Never Once" - it popped into my head as I was writing this.     Give it a listen.  Or read the lyrics and let them resinate deep into your heart.

I am not alone.  You are not alone.

You are invited by Him.

** Also, our small group minister was able to give us names of families and individuals that I look forward to grow with in community.  This post was not about groups or them but about feeling left out.**
**I need to add that I did not right this post to hurt anyone.  If you felt like growing up or even now we were good friends, we probably were or are.   Don't hesitate to shoot me a message. **
**2017 now, looking back, God took us on an entirely different journey!**