What things did you grow up hearing day in and day out from your parents? Do you say the same things to your own children now?
Does it sound anything like: "You kids are always...(fighting, arguing, clumsy), You girls are so...(mean, selfish, lazy)?"
Criticism is such an easy habit to form. It is meant to control others. I hate it in myself, this tendency to criticize. What does it really accomplish anyway? It just puts me on top of whoever I am looking down upon - the children, my husband, the neighbors, whoever! A high and lofty throne of ugly pride.
But when it comes to parenting, my criticism may be right on. The children really ARE being selfish. Now what? How do I train them so that instead of cutting someone down I am building them up?
I thank my God, that He who began a good work in me is faithful to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Phil 1:6)
He doesn't give up on me. He doesn't give up on changing me to be more conformed to the image of His Son.
The strategy at the Times so far has been parents vs.children, or mommy vs. daughter, or daddy vs. son, or sisters vs. brothers .
CONFLICT. Contention. Fighting.
Do you know what the definition of Contention is?
1. The act or an instance of striving in controversy or debate.
2. A striving to win in competition; rivalry: The teams met in fierce contention for first place.
This is a perfect picture of my family. Not all the time. Just during the "your way or my way" times.
I have had to adopt new phrases to retrain myself, and in turn, train my children to submit to authority and to one another.
~oOo~One of my new phrases?
We are on the same team!
I love saying it. I love living it. I love learning all about it. What a breakthrough for me! Thank you, Lord.
We are on the same team! The Bible says that "If God is for you? Who can be against you?"
How do I apply it? The children begin fussing about their chores. I say, "We are on the same team!" We keep our house clean because we are thankful for what God has provided. We want our home to be a welcoming place. We want to glorify God in all that we do. That is the Santos way. Our way. Let's work together to accomplish our goal.
Another new parenting phrase?
You are in charge of your body. Your body is not in charge of you.
You decided to use your hands to throw rocks. Nobody forced you to stomp your feet. That is your face. If you want, you can make it smile or frown. Which do you choose?
This has been a great and handy phrase for those times when a child wants to blame another (even the mother) for all the angst and sin.
Perhaps this is all second nature to you. Not for me. I am learning every day how to be a mom and how to be a wife.
Little by little, precept upon precept, line upon line. (Isaiah 28:10)