Monday, October 19, 2015

When I Talk About What I Taught My Kids

     I talk about my kids on this blog quite often. They're mainly what I write about. There are quite a few of them around here, filling up my time and space.

     One of the categories that I share the most about is discipline. Correction, really. It seems pretty natural that a parent would need to correct children, and often. It's a subject that comes up time and again. And again. And yet again.

     What I found when some of the Zooligans began to mature beyond the preschool years, is that the way the corrections played out began to change. There were discussions and explanations, and understandings, and mis-understandings.

     Sometimes, when correcting and guiding, words would come from my mouth. Words that didn't seem to be all mine. Even though my mouth spoke the words, I was hearing them as though they were being spoken to me. I was the one that needed, desperately, to hear those words. They were fluid ideas, wise thoughts, good advice. I'm pretty sure they weren't my words.

     I like to believe that I'm an intelligent person. I educate myself be reading and researching. I think that I can string ideas together into intelligble communication. I might even, on occassion, say something profound. I'm pretty proud of myself when I do this. I don't feel that it happens often enough.

     But, profundity isn't what I was feeling when those correct, right words were spilling from me to my children. I was feeling conviction. Whatever I was correcting my children for in that moment was something that I needed to correct in myself, too.

     God uses some great tools for teaching us, even the words that come out of our own mouths. I guess I don't don't need to hide behind my kids when I tell share about a great correction moment. I can just come out and say that I learned something great when the Holy Spirit spoke through me to my kids, and I needed to listen, too.

     May the prompting of the Holy Spirit be obvious and real for you, too.

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Friday, October 16, 2015

"But I want to!"

   "But I want to!"
One in a long list of phrases that my children use that makes me want to respond in a similarly immature manner. I would like to roll my eyes, or say something snarky about their response. I mean, I *know* you want to!  You just said so! And I gave you an answer complete with a reason. Just, Ugh!

Arguing, and complaining are on a no-no list. When the children are older, and they have learned something about the exchange of ideas, and the art of persuasion, they may appeal to me. When the "no" is rebutted with something less like whining, I am willing to listen.  For now, it's important to Mr.TheZoo and I that the children understand that complaining for the sake of complaining doesn't make anything better.

When the Israelites were delivered from Egypt, and were on their long trek through the desert, the complaints of discomfort began. 'At least we had watermelons in Egypt', 'At least we had a home to go to at the end of the day', 'At least we had a comfortable place to lie down in Egypt!'  There were slaves! They were beaten, overworked, generally mistreated, even killed while working for the Pharoah. They had no freedoms, their baby boys were murdered at the pleasure of the government! It seems that walking to their freedom was more difficult in their minds, then a life of slavery.  God's response? Poisonous snakes. Yikes! In the face of true adversity, the Israelites cried to again to God. He sent them relief. A way to heal. A physical beacon to look toward that would rid their bodies of the poison, and allow them to continue to walk on to freedom.

My children forget, or don't even know, what adversity is. To them, being told that they can not have a Popsicle for breakfast is adversity. My firm "No, but you may have..." isn't loving enough for them. "But I want one!" is the response.  I offered them something good. Something that would nourish and sustain them, Something that would give them long term health, and they turned it down, opting instead to whine and pursue their own selfish interest, no matter that it would bring them harm.

The Israelites did that, too. Many of them refused to look to sign that would heal them, and they died. Painfully. They refused to accept God's rescue from slavery as a better situation, and then when offered mercy from pain and death, they still clung to their own idea of comfort and happiness.

Please, little Zooligans, understand one day, that  I desire good things for you. Often that means that I need to say 'No', even though you try to convince me "But I want it!".

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