“Don’t touch that.” “Stop.” “No touch.” Get away from that.” “Get down.” “Sit down.”
Some days I sound like a broken record. Let’s be honest, most days I sound like a broken record. I had just settled into the fact that this is what life was like for a mom of a 17 month old. Most days leave me feeling hopeless, as though I know I am not raising my child to obey the Lord, much less mom and dad. How am I, a sinner who desires to do the right thing but disobeys the Lord time and again, going to teach my child, a sinner as well, to obey the Lord? But, tonight, God tapped me on the shoulder and gave me one of those AH-HA moments.
We had an event with some ladies at our church entitled “Mothering with a Map.” It is a group that, beginning tonight, will meet once a month to give moms an opportunity to receive support, encouragement, and Biblical mentoring from some moms who have been there. It was absolutely wonderful. We got to hear of some great parenting resources, like those listed below, but we also got to hear about authority and training. We talked about authority and how we are all under authority, from God but also to real people here on Earth, and we have to teach our children to submit to our authority so they can submit to God and other authorities in their lives. While this was a good refresher, I have heard this before.
But then, we talked about training, and how we put expectations on our kids that we don’t define to them. For instance, we tell our kids to be good in the store, but never define what it looks like to be good and exactly what we do and do not want them to do in the store. We tell them to clean their room but we never tell them what exactly to do in the room so that we can define it as clean. We set our kids up to fail rather than setting them up for success. God never gives us a command that he doesn’t tell us how to fulfill.
We don’t train our kids at home in private but try to train them out in public in the heat of the moment, which never works. My church friend threw out suggestions, like having the child learn “Come to Me” by creating a scenario in your home where they will learn what it means when you say come to me. The whole idea is that she will to come to me when I tell her to so I am not running after her in the store but she will stop and come to me. Another idea is training them to play with their toys versus playing with mom and dad’s things. If they try to play with your things during this training time, you take them to their toys and tell them that those are theirs and to play with them. You keep repeating until they obey. This concept is completely foreign to me but makes so much sense when the Lord tells us not to “exasperate our children, instead bringing them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” I just needed some practical steps to go with God’s command.
My friend that was teaching us this has never had cabinet locks, baby gates, and keeps pretty decoration all over her house (including a glass chess set on her fireplace) and has a toddler!! Maybe there is hope that we can visit people and not have to worry about the house not being baby proofed and that I can have pictures on the end table again. Oh, the joys that await us!
So, can you guess what will be on my agenda next week? Training Kinsley not to stand up when she isn’t supposed to (like the bathtub, on the couch, in the shopping cart, on her rocker) and to sit down when I tell her to. Another is training her to play with her toys vs. playing with mom and dad’s things. I know this will take more than a week but Ed and I are excited to start! Our hope is by training Kinsley this way, she will learn to “obey all the way, right away, with a happy heart.”