Sowing Seeds of Hope

Why is it that disobedient kids are so much cuter when they’re two?  My two-year-old gets away with way too much because she’s just so dang cute.  My older kids get away with too much simply because I’m lazy.  And because it’s miserable to administer discipline.

I’ve been seeing a pattern developing with my oldest that I’ve tried to address with lectures, heart-to-hearts, taking away privileges, and my personal favorite – ignorance (feigned ignorance, that is – meaning I’m basically too lazy to deal with it so I pretend not to notice.  Parenting at its finest!)

The other day when we were at a friend’s house, it happened again, and I knew something had to be done.  I prayed for wisdom and dreaded the confrontation.  When we got home, I dealt with it as I felt necessary.  We hugged and prayed and cried just a little.  It was hard, but I know I did the right thing.

I feel like we’re on the brink of… what, I’m not entirely sure.  But it’s a new world out there.  Time marches on, and as the kids get bigger, so do the problems.  I’m terrified of raising a child who chooses to rebel and turn against me, or worse, God. 

Right now I’m still able to connect, to get through to him when I need to.  But I’m afraid the time is coming when a wall will go up, and I won’t be able to penetrate it.  I’m probably borrowing trouble, but the teenage years are looming.  They are taunting me, and I am living in fear.

When I was pregnant with my first, my sister-in-law told me that having children is the most joyful and most painful experience in the world.  I think I’m getting just a taste of what she meant.

Since that afternoon, I have noticed a different attitude around the house.  (My son’s, not mine.)  I can see the seeds I’m sowing starting to grow and flourish.  I know that discipline pays off, and that ignoring disobedience and disrespect will only avoid pain in the short term.  The long-term pain it may produce would be much worse.  It’s encouraging to see that already, our confrontation is having positive results.

This morning I took some time to sit outside on my deck, cup of coffee in one hand and small pink leather-bound Bible in the other.  I read Psalm 92 and then just sat there, talking to God, soaking in His goodness as the warmth of the sun beat down on my skin.  I prayed for wisdom and discernment and grace and mercy in my interactions with my children.  It’s all right there, just for the asking.  How cool is that!?

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17 Responses

  1. I think is so true – ignoring disobedience has greater long term consequences.

    You remind me of a saying a friend of mine has; “little people, little problems, bigger people, bigger problems.”

    I’m worrying about the walls going up too.

  2. Several years ago my Sunday School class made up a word. The word is dysleptric (dis-lep-trick). The definition is to make a bad choice even when you know that it is a bad choice. Example. It was dysleptric of her to eat that cake since she is trying to loose 10 pounds. I use this word often when it comes to my children and their choices. Children will time and again do something they know is wrong simply hoping they won’t have to suffer the consiquences. At my house if you made a bad choice you get in trouble if you make a dysleptric choice you get in BIG trouble. Children are a blessing and a gift. I remind myself daily that this work is the hardest and the most rewarding I will ever have. You are doing a great job Jo-Lynne. Keep it up. I am sure that God is proud of you!

  3. The situation of which you speak has really been for me one of the unexpected blessings of having twins…if you “ignore” even once, the intensification of misbehavior increases 100-fold…as if they together have to re-establish the rules.

    Thank you for the reminder to rest (after seemingly marathon bouts of “correction”) and remember the seeds sown will flourish.

  4. I’m having those kind of growing pains with my 8 year old too. I’m proud as punch to see him maturing but I could completely miss the attitude part and be just fine!

  5. Parenting would so much easier if there was a manual, sort of like a cook book, with recipes: add a dash of this, wait this long, stir…
    I am thankful for scripture’s guidance but sometimes I just wish I had a few more specifics. Especially for boys since I’ve never been one!

  6. Thank you once again for a great post! And the Bible reference! We too are having day to day struggles . . . sometimes there are tears at the end of the day – mostly out of “what are we doing wrong? why won’t they obey?” We have some of the same struggles day in and day out! For those struggles I have began using the zero tolerance stand. There are no warnings . . . if the “disobedience occurs, a privilege is removed.” No questions, comments or arguements. So far, this seems to be working – the struggles are starting to minimize.

  7. One of the things I learned from my mom is the sooner you stand your ground and fight the battle the easier that battle will be on both you and your child. It is hard to be the parent sometimes but that is what we are called to be. Parent first, friend second.

  8. It’s a daily struggle! One we definitely need God’s help with 🙂 Fight being lazy and give the kids the boundaries they need. We’ve started doing better with Doodle and she seems to be much happier knowing what’s expected of her and that she’s going to be held responsible for it. It’s tough, don’t get me wrong. But fight through the laziness — that’s as much for me as it is you! Because I’m really tempted to be lazy again!

  9. It’s definitely a daliy battle with my 8 year old son. He thinks he knows everything. It’s hard to be the “parent” but in the long run, hopefully he will realize I do did because I love him.

  10. I am currently doing a bible study with some friends called “Guilt-free Motherhood.” It has really opened my eyes in many ways. It is amazing that it’s just right there for us to study and learn from!

  11. This was a wonderful post for me today. And you know what part was the most meaningful? When you actually acted on and dealt with your son’s behavior. SO MANY TIMES I let things go with my daughter, but I’m the one who has to answer to the Lord for not dealing with the behavior. It was very encouraging to me to read that you got with the Lord for wisdom and guidance. I totally notice a difference with my parenting when I’m not in the Word. Thanks for your openness today.

  12. So true. As a mother, we’re never without worrying — just the things that we worry about seem to change as the child gets older. I have those same worries too! You did the right thing though – and that says something!

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