Can I just share with you that discipline is an enormous learning curve for me?
I question and doubt myself until I am in tears.
Did I speak too harshly? Not sternly enough? Did that behavior deserve a swat? Should I offer MORE grace, LESS grace? Did I remember to hug and reconcile afterwards? Was he just tired or overwhelmed or not paying attention? Did I misunderstand?
All the self-doubt can be brutal.
God has kindly placed people in my life to show me what surrendered motherhood looks like, and Oh! how I treasure those relationships.
Here are a few lessons I have learned in the last 5 years of parenting.
1. Its impossible to strive for what you’ve never considered…
What do you hope for your children? What do you want to teach them?
You will make about a hundred thousand mistakes in your parenting journey, you will sin against your children, you will treat your spouse poorly in front of them, you will fail your children. You will. This is life and this is REAL life. The question isn’t how do I be a perfect parent? Because there is no such thing. The question is how do I honor God through this journey of parenting?
2. Your actions absolutely speak louder than words…
Want your children to be polite? Kind? Thoughtful? To have great friends? To pursue a life they love? To be confident? To have self-discipline, generosity, integrity?
Well honey…then YOU need to be polite, thoughtful, confident, self-disciplined, generous.
Yep. It’s hard. Actually, it’s kind of impossible…but go and do it anyway. And pray A LOT along the way. A LOT!
3. You’re not raising children, you’re raising adults…
That precious babe in your arms will one day be someone’s best friend, they will walk through joy and tragedy with those they love, they will fall in love, and have babies of their own.
We are literally raising the next generation. It’s a sobering and honorable task.
4. The pain of a moment passes away easily when your heart remains humble…
We have had some pretty awful days with our kids. Like days where you are pretty sure they drank two Red Bull’s and someone forgot to tell you…days where you are pretty sure you actually just lost your mind. Days when locking them outside seems like a fantastic idea…true story.
The pain and discomfort of the rough days and the hard moments of discipline really do fade when you keep your heart open toward your child.
This means, treating your child with respect and utmost dignity. This means not keeping a record of their wrongs. This means apologizing and seeking immediate reconciliation when you have wronged them. This also means standing up for your own worth and fully expecting to be treated with respect and dignity as well…and then freely forgiving when your child apologizes.
Discipline doesn’t have to be scary or intimidating or unhealthy. It can and should be conducted with integrity and all the love.
5. It really does take a village…
Parenting is much easier when you live your life in community. Not only do YOU get practical help but you also LEARN from those around you…and so do your children.
I am thankful everyday for the people in our lives who love us with grace and truth and honesty. We are uplifted and encouraged and when necessary we are confronted lovingly.
This is so good and important!!
Dare to live vulnerably in community.
Dare to discipline intentionally.
And dare to actively love your children as God loves YOU!