PRINCIPLES VS. RULES

PRINCIPLES VS. RULES

My definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over without any fruit. I am motivated by cause and effect. I like to know what I am sowing into it, actually creating or changing something. Is anyone else like me? Parenting is no different. If you want to spend the next 18 years on ‘repeat’ saying the same thing over and over and over and over again, then parent a child’s behavior. If you want lasting fruit that will carry on and spill over into other situations, then parent the principle behind their behavior. Ex. If a child hits their brother, do not just parent the incident, but parent the principles behind it, which could be a lack of self-control, kindness, or impatience. If a child fails to complete a task you have asked of them, the principle behind it could be a lack of self-control, irresponsibility, or disrespect to authority. Parenting based on principles will create a lifestyle vs. rule-based living.

GIFT OF LOVE

My goodness, there is a lot going on in the spiritual realm. Can anyone else feel it? Trust me, if you feel it, so do your children. Here are some practical ways to increase the joy & peace in your homes TODAY! First, fill those love tanks (you have to know their language before speaking it, so make sure they have taken the online quiz).

The Love Language™ Quiz (5lovelanguages.com)

WHINING

I have an above-average sensitivity to whining. It grates on me deeply. I taught my children from the toddler years that if they whine, they lose. I even typed it up and framed it on the wall in our kitchen on their level (along with other house rules). I first taught them in the time of peace what I did want from them, and we role-played what whiny and peaceful words looked like. Then the first time they whined to get their way, I got on their level and said, “When you are ready to use your big girl words, let me know,” and I would walk away. It took a matter of seconds before they came chasing me and changed their tone. Whining is a lack of self-control and orphan. I want my children to speak to me with confidence and self-control. I laid the foundation, and this was something that brought a lot of peace in our homes.

YOUR HELPER

How many of you would love to have someone there to encourage you, guide you, give you specific wisdom in your situation and help coach you through life? We all do, right? The WORD is your parent, mentor, and guide. We can proactively read the Word – read for the sake of spending time with Him without an agenda AND/OR We can read the Word based on what we are going through. Pinpoint the issue; conflict, anger, strife, fear, provision, etc., and then spend time researching what the Word has to say about it. I can’t tell you how powerful, validating, and encouraging this has been for me over the years. The counsel of man is fantastic in its rightful place, but some issues and situations are reserved for God’s opinion, counsel, and guidance. God has given us an outline of how to respond to a situation and conduct our lives SO THAT it goes well with us. Let Him lead and teach you through His Word.

EQUIPPING THEM WITH SKILLS

Parenting is a verb that unfolds over time. We do not sit our children down when they are two and tell them everything there is to know about life. We grow and roll with them as they develop and mature. The same is true for safety. Children under five are mainly going to be with mom and dad, so their world is different than the child who is at the age of going to school, sleepovers, playing with neighbors alone, etc. Giving them the language and tools to be safe will open wider and wider over the years, eventually having them walk out your door prepared with tools to be successful, healthy, functioning adults. When new situations arise (playing alone outside, going to school, sleepovers), you first have to ask yourself, “What have I, as the parent, done to teach them about this in the time of peace?” When a child is begging to go play with the neighbors, that is not the time to teach. Your YES should be dependent upon: #1. Have you equipped them with how to handle that situation in the time of peace? #2. Do they have the skills and responsibility to be successful? Sending them out the door, to the neighbors, or even at school without first preparing and arming them with tools gambles with their success. 

DO NOT PRAY AGAINST GOD

When my sweet Emma was little, she had the hardest time grasping the concept that she could not help herself to whatever she wanted in the stores. She would come home with her pockets filled with unpaid goodies. I kept trying to teach her, but it wasn’t sinking in. When I found a pair of dangling earrings, I knew I had to take things to the next level. I took her to the store and asked for the manager. I had Emma explain that she took the items and came to return them. To my utter surprise, the manager told me to relax and then looked at Emma and said, “That is okay, sweetie!” I was dumbfounded and asked the manager if she would be okay with that response if she were 15 or 55, still stealing from her store. I was sad the manager was working against what I was trying to set up and instill in my daughter. I share that story to say we must know the bigger picture of what is happening. I was a mom trying to teach my daughter the value of not stealing, but the manager spoke against it and encouraged Emma that it was no big deal. There is SO much going on in the world right now, and we must must must hear from God what He is doing and align our prayers, comments, and voice with His. We do not want to be like the manager and speak out against what He is doing. We want to partner with Him. 

May I encourage you to gather the children and spend some intentional time as a family asking: “Father, what are You doing right now?” “Holy Spirit, how do You want me to pray today?” “Jesus, will You show me what You see?” He is a good Father and knows what He is doing. Let’s partner WITH Him and align our voices with what He is doing. 

RECEIVING THE GOOD

Of all the things I have endured in life, the hardest part has been the healing process of receiving the good. More often than not, things like joy, play, silliness, trust, lavishing, loyalty, and laughter have been taught to me through my children. They are made in His image, not mine, and God knit them with gifts, talents, and personalities to redeem and restore what was lost in my childhood. God continues to parent us through our children. It’s like He first gives us one set of parents to raise and train us. Then He addresses the neglected or shut down areas by using our children to parent us (our kids don’t parent us, but He parents us through them). This is why family is so important to Him. He is building something in us, and the generations are interconnected.

BACKWARDS

I will be so bold to say that we have it a bit backward. We teach our children about the written Word first, yet when they are in scary situations, they aren’t flipping through their memory bank to find Scripture to apply to their situation. I believe that the focus for raising spiritually strong children needs to be on leading them into encounters with His presence and hearing God speaking to them. We, as parents, should test it against our knowledge of the Scriptures and lead accordingly. When kids experience God (His voice, His love, His peace), this focuses on the relationship first, not merely memorizing Scriptures or reciting the ‘rules.’ What would this generation look like if they were equipped with tools to stand firmly when the enemy comes? What if, at the age of six (and younger), they were TAUGHT and TRAINED by YOU to use tools needed to ward off the hurts that often become adult-sized wounds? You are investing in THE most priceless gift for your child. Do not be quick to give up or give in on your privilege to teach, equip and train your child in this area.

TRUTH STATEMENTS

When we neglect to call out who our children are, the world will step up and do it for us. However, the world’s truth is often different from ours. Calling out a child’s identity isn’t about what they do, such as, “You are the best soccer player,” or “You always get A’s,” but more so about who they are, “You are patient,” “You are kind,” “You are worthy,” “You are capable.’” Calling this forth sets them up for taking on the world and the challenges set before them. The first increases pride as it focuses on their performance. The latter increases their identity as it focuses on Christ in them. Don’t we want our children to walk out the door overflowing with the confidence of who God made them to be? It isn’t about systems or hard labor but about keeping His presence through peace. Running a household is hard work, yet many hands make the work light. The smallest of hands can feel good about themselves for successfully managing things.

HIS BRAIN WORKS JUST FINE!

Hudson was asked to empty the trash in the bathroom and left the trash can in the middle of the room. I went to him and said, “Hudson, you are a man of great honor. Could you please go back in the bathroom and see how you could be more honoring?” Instantly, he saw the trash can and completed his task. When a mom acts like a child’s mind, she goes crazy, and the child gets lazy! We can use nearly all corrective situations to empower them (and stay sane!). It is interesting how much of our natural parental correction focuses on what they didn’t do or makes them feel like a failure, but when we learn to flip it to empower them, everyone wins.

As I have learned to partner with the Holy Spirit in my parenting, I have become more solution-focused and less problem-focused. I have empowered my children to discover the answers for themselves rather than me thinking for them and telling them what to do and constantly feeling frustrated by their behavior.

LEAD THEM TO HIM

I have often been encouraged to write a book about all the ways one could release the Kingdom through children. While I love the idea, I believe that it has the potential to feed many people’s religious spirit. If they just go through a book and do 1, 2,3, they might bear some fruit but will miss the connection with God that our heart desires. I believe the greater calling is simply to help parents flip some of their old mindsets that may be super religious but are not of the Father’s heart. Once their mindsets are in alignment with heaven, the flow becomes endless of how we can play in the Kingdom based on our own specific calling, destiny, and unique family design. There is *never* going to be a perfect month for you to put your family first as there will always be busyness and distractions, but I strongly believe that NOW is the time to widen your journey with Him in your parenting.