Monday, November 24, 2008


OBEDIENCE. I am a little confused so I thought I would work through it on this blog....this public blog.....this blog that is read by my family and friends. This may be a very bad idea but here I go.....

So, I would like to live in a harmonious home. I believe that to have harmony, there must be order. The way that our home is set up is that Matt and I work together to raise our children to be good, caring, kind people who love Jesus and love others. To do this, we must teach them, right? It does not come natural to think of others before yourself or to deny your own desires so that a greater purpose can be fulfilled.

I think that ultimately I would like my children to serve others in their communities and around the world. I would also like them to respect people with whom they disagree. I would like them to take time out of their busy schedule to notice and care for other people.....basically, to take their eyes off of themselves and focus on the world around them.

It is my hope that they are on a journey to this "destination." I think that if they are practicing caring, kindness, respectfulness and obedience right now -when they are young- they will be on the right path. How do they learn this stuff? This is where I am a little bit stuck.

I know that it is my and Matt's job to teach them. But how do we do that? We do not think it is ok for our kids to talk rudely - whether that be to us, to their siblings or to a stranger. When they do speak rudely, we think that the right thing to do is to discipline them. To correct them and teach them the right way....the right words. (There are times we completely "miss the boat" here and we don't do what we know is right.....basically, because we don't want to interrupt what we are doing----but this is not what we desire to do.)

Talking rudely is just an example. There are a lot of "naughty" behaviors going on around here. There is lying, disobeying and laziness to name a few. I know that Matt and I are not perfect. We don't claim to be. But is is our job to teach our children to do right.....right? When my child tells me that he took his medicine, but secretly washes it down the bathroom drain.....should I say, "That's ok because Mommy has lied before, too."??? Or should I discipline for that behavior? Do I chalk it up to "childish antics" or do I "nip it in the bud" and do my best to see that the behavior does not repeat itself?

When I call my children and they do not come or when my two year old repeatedly pulls away from me when I am holding his hand, is this behavior acceptable because "they are just kids"?

I really do not think it is ok. If I have told my children my expectations, I believe that their job is to do what they have been told.

I am NOT trying to offend anyone here. I really am struggling with these thoughts and I am trying to work through them. How do I teach my children? What do I require of them? What is "kids being kids" and what is "willful disobedience"?

When my children know what is right (speaking with kindness, obeying the first time, being considerate of people and things....I could go on...), and then choose to DO what is right - they will see what a fun and happy and harmonious home we live in. When my children know what is right, yet CHOOSE to do wrong - there will be consequences. Matt and I don't want to be mean to our children. We want to teach them to DO what they KNOW. We want them to feel wanted and loved NO MATTER WHAT THEY DO.....but we want them to see how much better life and home and family can be, when they CHOOSE RIGHT.

Am I on the right track here? Should life not be altered by their behavior. Should we just "let them be kids" and go on with our normal routines?

I get that Jesus accepts us as filthy ragamuffins. I get that He loves us no matter what. I understand that it is only by His grace that I will spend eternity with Him. I also know that He loves me so much that He desires me to do what I know is good and right. It is through His acceptance and love and grace AND His discipline that I am being changed and molded and shaped into the woman that He has created me to be. When I do what I know to be wrong (disobey), there are often consequences, right? If there were none, would I want to change? I don't know.

Are God's standards too high? Well, without Jesus, yes. In His mercy He threw out a lifeline to us.

Are my standards too high for my children? I don't believe they are. But, like I said, I am working through all of this. Am I ruining their childhood by expecting them to listen and obey the first time they are asked to do something? I believe in discipline. I believe in teaching. I believe in mercy. I believe in grace.

NOTE: To any of you who have seen and heard me parent my children, you know that I do not live up to my own expectations. Many times, I do not drop what I am doing to teach or correct or discipline my children. But is it wrong to think that I should? Don't get me wrong....I am not trying to beat myself or any other moms up over this..... Once again, I will repeat: I am just trying to work through all of this...... Thanks for listening!


nates5bs said...

I think you are on the right track for the expectations of your children and no you are not ruining them. You are preparing them for adulthood. However, your friends are also right. There is a balance here. You are not perfect and neither are they. Some people tout that you must be 100% consistent with your children to see results. Well if that is so, then I give up. Sometimes they will just be kids and sometimes you will just ignore what they are doing for whatever reason. That's where grace comes in. My point in the blog I wrote is not perfection. It's about practice, practice, practice and don't give up. You will eventually see the fruit. Yes, you will tire, but if you endure you will eventually see what you desire to see in your children. You are almost there, Heather, and you are doing a good job.

I hear too many Mommies that spend more time whining about their children instead of investing that energy in doing what needs to be done to teach their children. That was another point. Stop whining and take action. I am just as guilty as any mom. It was meant to be an encouragement to press on in your job as Mommy.

Cindy said...

You never cease to amaze me Little HM. You and Matt are awesome people and awesome parents. You are definitely on the right path.

Allison Vasquez said...

As a teacher, I know it can be frustrating when children (who are told a thousand times what to do or how to do it) disobey. Consistency is the only thing I've found that ever makes a difference. Do SOMETHING and stick with it. Kids like predictability. What I learned from teaching and from my short time parenting Mia is that everyone has a different style when it comes to discipline. Do what YOU think works and be consistent in that. Kids learn from repetition and they need lots of it. Just like us, really. Don't we (adults) always seem to make the same mistakes over and over?

Kristal said...

Heather, very well said! You have managed to write out what has been on my mind for a long time! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience, it always makes you feel better knowing your not alone in your parenting struggles.

Laura said...

I think it is important that children obey, I think as parents we just have to be prepared that some of time they are not going to do as they have been told, they will need to be redirected or disciplined. I don't think grace means you let anything fly, it just means you expect them to make mistakes.

Grandma C said...

Heather, I so much see the fruit of your and Matt's time and effort in raising Z, E, and L. Keep persevering, praying for wisdom, loving, and our Father will bless your efforts. They are getting there!

heather said...

Allison, I really appreciate the reminder to "be consistent." Sometimes I get so stuck on questioning and evaluating all the different parenting styles out there. You are right! I do know what works with my kids....I just need to be consistent and DO IT!