Last night at my book study we ended up talking a lot about parenting. Here's what I wrote in the margin of the book we were supposed to be discussing, a book that's not directly about parenting. Most of these thoughts have a bigger back-story to them, so ask if they don't make sense to you. It's good for me to have to remember. There are also scriptures we brought up to back up these ideas, but I didn't write them down. Seriously, Kelly Kennison should write a book so we'd have it all together.
If we live in the time after the cross, why do we put our kids through an Age of the Law?
Why are we so bent on "I will not make you happy. I will make you good"?
Let them be how old they are.
Instead of nipping it (the sin behavior), join her in the struggle of it. Die to self (my agenda, control issues, need for self-fulfillment in the moment), come alongside her, and struggle with her, acknowledging with her the my heart has the same struggles.
Shift from "No, don't _____" to "Let's ______." Role play a better way to say it.
Loving them as an overflow of the heart often looks like offering up to them play time vs. them having to extract it from me, just like their loving me as an overflow of the heart looks like joyful obedience vs. my having to extract it from them.
Do-overs are a grace-based tool to offer a willful child. Back up the boundary a little though. Do it with her, as in literally walk her through it.
It is sometimes worth it to tolerate a sin for a while to maintain relationship with the child. I can't come alongside her if we're not in right relationship. I'm cheering her on to obedience. Making her happy is not giving in to her. It changes me too, because it's all about heart issues, which don't vary that much anyway.
Grace-based parenting is HARD; a list of rules and lots of spankings would be much easier. It's also the philosophy of the school where I'll be working next year. I'm so thankful to have had last night to listen and glean and pick the brain of wise women who have done this well (and not so well) and are professionals at this (literally). And that I'll have a year or two to practice it with other kids and watch others practice it with my kids at school. I'll link the current Pelican Post where our headmaster, John Roberts, fleshes out how grace plays out in an elementary school as soon as I see it up on the website. It came in my snail mailbox yesterday. I need to chew on it some more.
I'm also thankful God is bigger than any messes I can make (of myself or my kids). Praise Him for his perfect faithfulness and goodness!