Welcome to Day 5, of 5 Days to Becoming Goddess of Your Home. This has been an incredible journey for me and I pray it has encouraged you as well.
You can still go back and read the previous 4 days here:
Day 1 Respecting and Honoring Your Deity
Day 2 Renewing Your Mind About You
Day 3 A Goddess Perspective of Your Home
Day 4 Reigning in Equality
Today I want to share with you about imparting wisdom to the heirs to your throne. Our wee ones watch everything we do so and say, even when we think they’ve missed something. In all our years in organized Christianity, we have seen countless parents utterly heartbroken as their children grew up to make wildly different choices than how they raised them. We had been following all the same parenting advice they had been following and we determined that we would continue to seek out advice from other sources. There are some wonderfully gracious authors and speakers that encourage grace filled parenting within Christianity, but in addition to that, my husband and I have read other books outside of the Christian faith. There are children who grow up to be lovely, hard working people, who were not raised the same way we had been taught. Something was obviously working for them. We had to decide that we would not be too proud to admit when the popular Christian parenting resources weren’t the “only way” to raise good kids.
We don’t believe that Christianity has the only answers to raising successful and compassionate children. We humbled ourselves before the Lord and sought out His Spirit in selecting other materials for parenting wisdom. We began sorting through books at Barnes and Noble, as well as many books within the counseling school we have been certified through. We took a step of faith that God knew what he was doing when he led us to books from various faiths. There was something there that he wanted us to learn. So we trusted his guidance and purposed within our hearts to keep our eyes and ears wide open for His Spirit to speak to us and to filter out anything that may not be good for our family.
Recently, I have been reading, ‘Buddhism for Mothers of Schoolchildren’. How does a Christian woman get to the place where she dines upon a book written by a Buddhist mother? I regularly go to Barnes and Noble to glance through books that catch my interest. After scanning the table of contents, I began reading this book and was refreshed in many ways. I appreciated how Sarah speaks about her mothering from a spiritual perspective and she abstains from using religious dogma and gets right to eh heart of the matter… a child’s heart. But her perspective in this book is not simply about her children, but how her own journey in life is shaped by what her children go through. Her words of wisdom captured my interest and the sale was made! I want to exercise my spiritual muscles to allow for more humility in my life. My journey to reaching new levels of understanding about humility involves gleaning wisdom from other mothers of various faiths. God forbid I become so arrogant as to assume that only my circle of Christian mothers have all the answers. I believe God speaks to mothers from all over the world and their cultures and lifestyles give them insight in areas that I feel American Christian women take for granted. The perspective Sarah shares in her book offers me something unique…how she grows as a parent as her children are growing. Because parenting our children isn’t all about what results we get out of them, but rather what we glean from being a parent.
There have been a great number of leaders throughout history that have spoken words of wisdom that we can glean from. As parents, we need to be wise and think for ourselves. Any amount of ‘parenting advice’ you seek through books, use your own best judgment. Just because a book author suggests or even insists their techniques work best, you know your own child.
Two Christian women who I have come to trust with grace filled words of wisdom for faith and parenting are Sally Clarkson and Ann Voskamp. These two women have an incredible way in which they use their words to inspire us to be gracious and loving.
The bits of advice I want to share with you today comes from 19 years as a parent of 4 children. No two children are identical people. They each have very unique personalities and are at different places in their paths of life. Therefore no method will work 100% for all my children. Every single day is a day to walk by faith, because these children learn and grow daily…therefore my discernment and wisdom needs to be flexible and custom to each child every day.
I can find one thing that works for one child, then 3 weeks later that same thing no longer works for that child.
So breathe deep and allow yourself and your children some grace. We all need some breathing room.
I’m not going to give you any sort of scientific formulas or promises of ‘how to discipline’ your children. Instead I’m going to share some tid bits that I learned from hard core experience. Please use your best judgment before following any type of parenting advice. (Sometimes I wonder if this would be a good disclaimer to make mandatory in all parenting books.)
1. Say yes as often as possible, because we have to say no so often. I don’t recall where the first place was that I heard this, but it’s true. I don’t think any of us enjoys being told no. As often as I have to say no, I try instead to give two other options that I can say yes to. For ex: If my son asks if he can have a cookie, I will smile and warmly let him know that he can certainly select from the fruit bowl on the table and offer him the opportunity to earn the cookie for dessert, after dinner.
2. Don’t expect them to be robots. I know there is a popular teaching of “obey the first time”, with swift consequences when they don’t jump the moment you tell them to. As much as I love having a compliant and helpful child, I want to be cautious of this kind of teaching. We often hear Christians leaders say that God doesn’t want us to be like robots, so why should we want our children to be? There are ways in which we can teach our children to be helpful members of our homes, establish house keeping routines, train them to do their own laundry and so much more. But it is in my opinion that we do a much better job as parents if we can win their hearts first. If we want to be treated with respect, then we should treat them with respect as well.
3. Nudge children to think and to feel. Not all children are natural born conversationalists so sometimes they need a bit of nudging. Avoid asking questions that would yield a yes or no answer. Ask them thought provoking questions that require some hearty feedback. For ex: Instead of asking, “How are your friends today?” try asking them, “What act of kindness have you been given today and who was it that blessed you?” Sometimes children, especially boys, have a more difficult time with responding with their emotions. When my son gets upset he is more likely to clam up and remain silent. So I let him know that I am going to give him some time to think about what’s on his mind and that I will return to his room in a few minutes to hear about what happened. This usually allows him plenty of time to think about what he wants to say.
4. Teach them how to sort through thoughts and feelings so they can learn which ones are damaging for their decisions and which ones are there to assist them in making wise choices. If life is to busy for us to take time to counsel our children then we may need to take some things off our plates. Our children are growing and wrestling with a lot of changes in their minds, hearts, and bodies. They need us to be patient with them so they can learn to think on their own.
5. Resist the urge to give them all the answers. We wouldn’t do their homework for them, so why would we spout off what we think is the best answer every time? We can teach them to use their brain and spirit by asking them what they think is the best decision and why? Guide them to some wise choices, ask them what they think the best outcome could be for those choices, then allow them to choose from the best answers they come up with. This many mean that sometimes you allow them to make a less intelligent choice as long as you can foresee that the consequences won’t be damaging. When consequences come, allow them to suffer those consequences, just don’t condemn them over it. If we want our children to grow in grace then we need to offer grace.
In Proverbs we find that God will give wisdom to anyone who asks for it and as much as they want. I pray that we can be just as giving to the heirs of our throne..those precious little citizens of our kingdoms. We can turn just about anything in life into a lesson of wisdom. We just need to take the time to do so.
I do hope you have enjoyed this series about becoming Goddess of your Home. Bless you in your journey at home, in marriage, and with your children.