Archive for June 2010

The testing of a family

I recently hurt my back. The kids and I were planting flowers when the shovel got the better of me. The result was about 2 weeks bed rest with a lot of slack being picked up by my family. As I lay recovering, many people pitched in to help my family. I truly am grateful for their help, but the thing that most impressed me was my children.

We often talk about ourselves as a team: The Eisel team. We have trained our kids to know they are responsible for their behavior and participation on our team. We have practiced good team behaviors including personal responsibility, kindness, selflessness and encouragement. We intentionally  take time to remind each other what we value about each other. We have family goals, a family verse and family rules to define our life together.

I saw this training pay off during those two weeks. My children served me with compassion. They prayed over my health. They rallied together to tackle chores and household job they had never performed before. All of it was done without selfish ambition or complaining on their part. They did not ask for reward for this team work and delighted in their accomplishments together. They bore the disruption of their routine, their desires and their needs with grace. They were even praised by several people for their polite and loving attitudes along the way.

Is this a regular occurrence in our house? Not really. We have our good and bad days as any other family. We certainly felt the prayers of others for our sanity and healing during that time. Our home received a special measure of grace from God to persevere during this small test. It proves that we can continue to grow together in order to meet bigger tests to come.

The bottom line is that we have trained for this. All our time devoted to family devotions, prayer, encouragement and family fun nights were drills for this small emergency. My kids put into practice what we have been studying and talking about as a family since they were little. They passed this test. They caught and lived what we have been trying to build into them. I was humbled by the goodness of God and blessed to share life with these three children. I know I won’t see our training working like this every week. There will be other family tests we do not pass so gracefully, but it was a true gift to see them rise to this occasion.

Parenting Tip: Have you ever talked as a family about your “team”. What is your goal as a family? What defines your team? What are your guidelines, rules and expectations? We cannot instruct or train our children without being intentional about our expectations and goals. We need to talk about them, study God’s word regarding them and pray through them. Children as young as 3 can begin to contribute and understand the team concept. Make a family team cheer, verse, banner and rule book together. Let everyone contribute. God gave you to one another for the purpose of building into each other.

Books we like: The Original 21 Rules of This House by Josh Harris

Website we like: www.accountablekids.com, www.christian-parent.com/writing-a-family-mission-statement

Public Parenting

When do you chose to correct your child’s behavior? This is an interesting question. We are often told a quick consistent response is the key to training children. I am in favor of the quick consistent response as long as you protect their privacy. It would be beneficial for parents to remember that having a QUIET, quick and consistent response can protect a child’s spirit. We need to focus on training disobedience or ignorance without belittling people.

Now that nice weather is upon us, public parenting is striking fear into many parents. I often question the motivation of parents when they share their fear of parenting in public with me. Are you concerned about your child’s behavior or how your family will look to people? Pride can be a huge deterrent to effective parenting. If I am worried about earning the “most together family” award at the local pool or park, my heart might need to change.

We can let pride pull us away from our first responsibility of parenting. Training children to become what God desires them to be is an everyday job. There will be good and bad days. I have seen many parents, including myself, resort to verbal abuse when their kids misbehave in public. This can take a few forms:

  • Attacking a child’s character instead of dealing with their behavior – “You’re a brat!  Why do you have to be a brat!”
  • Shaming your child publicly by yelling across the playground – “Stop being a bully or I’ll come over there!”
  • Disrespecting your child to draw attention away from yourself – “No wonder I’m crazy! Wouldn’t you be if you had him as a kid?”

We do not have to crush spirits in order to maintain obedience in our families. It is helpful to remove ourselves from the public eye to correct and comment on behavior. Think how embarrassing it is to be corrected in front of people. Do we give that same consideration to our children? A quiet kind word of instruction can bring about a quicker change than shining a spotlight on bad behavior. We need to protect our children and give them quiet, quick and consistent correction. It is important to prep them ahead of time to insure good behavior. Talking about expectations and consequences before hand can stop many bad behaviors. Quietly correcting behavior can assure our kids of dignity in an adverse situation. Our children will respect us more if we show them respect.

Books we like: Families Where Grace Is In Place by Jeff VanVonderen

Parenting Tip: Take your children aside and use a quiet voice to correct their behavior instead of yelling instructions across the park or pool. It shows them they are respected and acknowledged as people. This will encourage the same behavior from them. “Beck and Call” is for animals not people in my opinion.