Not So Empty Nest Days

Cherishing the days past while moving towards the days ahead, BHG

Child Academy Part II

on June 9, 2013

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4

When I started this two part blog, I quickly got choked by life and the trials of my kids. But now, as I sit in my room with peace and quiet, as two lay asleep an one at work, I can see the lessons I learned since the first part of Child Academy.

I have learned my part as the mother. I have learned that parenting is not merely about popping somebody on the back of the head in church when they act up or sending the “evil eye” look their way to get them to straighten up when you are not close or are in company. It’s not about their faults and how you deal with them. It’s not even 100% about training them, not all of it anyway. Yes, all of that may be included depending on your child’s personality (I have three) but LOVE should be the first part of that equation.

I quickly learned that discipline doesn’t, shouldn’t come from anger. It shouldn’t be the “silent treatment” as we may have been used to. That’s the best time to show love! Merely saying “I do this because I love you” does nothing for the sore butt or bruised ego or angry stares as you “ruin their lives,” yet again by canceling plans. I have personally had a struggle in that balance. Knowing how to be angry and yet show love. And, I might transparently add, I was having a hard time turning to God’s instructions to change it.

This verse, Ephesians 6:4, is one of the ricks God used to smack me gently upside MY head during this struggled season for me and my kids. I almost ignored it because it simply says “fathers,” moms were not included. But as a single mom, I took up both jobs much like a person with a two man job would do when one was missing for that day. Here’s where I go off trail on a mini tangent.

Single moms (and dads), do not waste your time talking about complaining about or trying to fix your “singleness” in parenting. I did that for many years, all three, and it was as said in Ecclesiastes “toil under the sun.” It’s useless, it’s vain (because your focus is on your needs) and it speaks loudly to your kids that they are the cause of your troubles. Yes, it’s harder. Yes, it’s more of a burden in you to have to do two jobs, but if God didn’t know you capable, you would not have gotten this important job as a parent.

Okay, tangent dispersed and back to the subject, bringing your child up in The Lord. Most parents, I would think, know the obvious things not to do to ignite anger in your child when it comes to this verse. But what about the hidden and unspoken things? Just this week, my heart was broken to even think one of my children could hate or be sick of me. That is NOT my intention at all! Now I do inderstand that taking a way a phone, tv and game system, freedom to go with friends or places, can all play apart in angering a child. And for disciplining reasons, I frankly don’t care about that anger. However, my goal is not to “chide” or “provoke” my child to be angry. I don’t walk around yelling or cussing at them or belittling their opinions by laughing at their anger. No! That’s obviously not the way! But what I was shown that I was doing was snide remarks, ignoring them, walking around angry and not speaking in love but dryly, even talking to friends or Facebook about their mishaps. These all qualify as provokers.

This is where that grace I was speaking about in the part I comes in. Grace in the moment is needed 96% of the time in my home and if God wasn’t so giving of His grace, I would almost think I was abusing the privilege. But grace is needed. It’s not to be held in the back pocket until after the verbal lashing or silence forcing your kids to tip toe around the house on egg shells or slamming doors and snapping in anger because they aren’t doing what you want! No! Grace should be your first stop before even dealing with the issue. Much like the sink should be your child’s first stop before going to your fridge or table, much like the first stop should be a bathroom before easing out on a long road trip. I am getting into the habit of praying, not always yet, before addressing any new or reoccurring issues because if I don’t pick up that grace God gives me, then all my kids get…. is me and I am NOTHING without Christ.

Next time you have an issue that makes you boil over with your kids, close your eyes, take a deep breath… and let it out, pray then address it. My kids know when my voice goes quiet, I am over the top. It’s time to give mama some space and when I reenter the scene surrounded by grace and mercy, then we can address it because of my robe of grace.

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