Child-Training is a marathon, not a sprint. I am always amazed at the influence of a mom in her home. You cannot underestimate it. Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? Slow and steady wins the race. Faithful and firm. Of course, we all have our good days and our not-so-good days. In the day-to-day orchestra of family life and Homeschooling, it’s common for a parent to be directing one child and then another, while focusing on their individual issues and crises. Sickness, travel, work and family schedules make flexibility mandatory. We must, however, keep a balanced sound in the orchestra of life, and not let one or the other child begin playing whatever they want, “doing their own thing,” unchecked. That produces a chaotic, discordant noise, instead of beautiful harmonious music.
If that happens, we have to stop everything and start over, and get back in time and tune with one another. We have to correct the wrong notes, make sure everyone understands what they’re supposed to be doing, and then start again. And we have to keep our eyes on the Director, keeping the overall piece of music in mind, not just one instrument’s part.
Time To Get Back On Track
It’s easy to slack off, and all of a sudden see the signs that you haven’t been as consistent as you need to be in administering discipline at the first sign of disobedience or un-Christlike attitudes. Signs such as disobedient children, strife, anger, backtalk, resistance to authority, temper tantrums, selfishness, hitting, crying and…whining. You find yourself going nose-to-nose with a three-year-old. You find yourself “needing to get away.” Where peace reigned, sibling rivalry raises its ugly head. Where smiles and laughter were echoing through your home, now surliness, complaining and discontentment hang in the air, like a bad air freshener. What on earth is going on? What should you do?
Well, you all ask forgiveness, and start over. That’s what’s called, “Living the Christian life.” You pray together and read the Word, looking to God to show you those passages which talk about the sin and its consequences that you’re seeing! Consequences such as unhappiness, being out of fellowship with parents and brothers and sisters, and feeling a general lack of love in the home. You share and memorize applicable verses. You talk seriously, at the level of each child, about sin. And then you let them know the “rules” again. And the consequences for breaking them. (You know, you might want to write the rules and consequences down–so you know what you told them–and post it in a prominent place.)
Ideally, you will not let it go too long between “check-ups” where you evaluate how you’re doing as a parent, and examine hearts for bad attitudes and disobedience. Are you being consistent? Are you delivering discipline with love? Are you taking enough time to re-establish oneness with the child and have a time of restoration after spanking them? Have you shown them the heart attitude that was behind what they did and what God says about it?
It’s More Important Than Anything (Almost)
This all takes time. I know. I had to come to the place where I saw this as the most important thing I did all day. Character training was more important than getting school done. Character training was more important than getting the laundry done. Character training was more important than anything! It wasn’t going to matter if they could read well, write a great paragraph or knew their times tables backwards and forwards (and it sure wasn’t going to matter if we finished the book on time) if the character of that child was bad. If they didn’t love the Lord and want to obey His Word.
If I wasn’t raising my children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, (as best I could with God’s help) then I was not doing my job as a mom. Hard, oh yes. Seemingly impossible at times? Yep. Lots of confession on my part to God for the bad example I often saw I was being to my children. We went through some very long “training” days, lots of tears on both mom’s and child’s part. Crying out to God in prayer. Praying and searching the Bible. I remember those times. Not easy. But worth it.
A Child’s Tender Conscience
Your children want to feel loved and their consciences need cleansing. They need to be disciplined when they’ve done wrong. God has put a sense of justice in their hearts, and when they “get away with it,” it goes against that sense of justice. They feel out-of-sorts. They will often act up to get attention, and do unexplainably naughty things, and you’ll wonder, “What in the world? He knows better than that.” They can’t explain it, but they’re just not happy. They need a spanking.
Some mothers have told me of their child coming to them and begging for a spanking. (This never happened to me.) The child felt guilty for doing wrong, and even though the mother had no knowledge of the transgression, the child’s tender conscience couldn’t stand it, and they weren’t going to be happy again until they’d received the just reward they knew they deserved.
A Mom’s Example
Asking forgiveness of our children teaches much about forgiveness, and what we should do when we mess up. It creates an atmosphere of openness and communication between you and your children. They see you’re not perfect and that you, too, need to ask God and others for forgiveness. Your humility and their granting you forgiveness will soften their hearts, break down walls between you that have been built up, and be the example they need to see and follow.
You aren’t perfect, and neither are they. How grateful the process of child-training makes me for my Loving Heavenly Father and the abundant grace and mercy He showers on me.
*Disclaimer: I am just a mom. This is my story, but the Word of God must be your guide and give you answers–you and your husband are responsible to raise your children, with God’s help through His Word and prayer. If you need advice on specific situations not addressed in this series, I advise you to go to your spiritual authorities (your pastor or elders). If you are visiting for the first time, or for more on this subject, I recommend you read the other posts in this series. (Just click on the links.)
Training in 1st-time Obedience on Timely Tips on Tuesday
Spanking (Part 1): Child-Training Advice from An Older Woman
Spanking (Part 2): Child-Training Advice from An Older Woman
Spanking (Part 3): Child-Training Advice from An Older Woman
Spanking (Part 4): My Story
Spanking (Part 5): Do You Love or Hate Your Children?
Spanking (Part 6): Something Really Important I Neglected To Say!
Spanking (Part 7)