Are you a perfectionist? Am I? I'm afraid to answer that question...probably because I wouldn't answer it perfectly. :) Do I expect my kids to be perfect? I think sometimes I do. Where did I ever get the notion that I would have kids who obeyed me perfectly? Where did I ever get the idea that I would be able to train them to obey immediately and perfectly? Do I really believe that? I think that sometimes I do. Why else do I get so frustrated and upset when they don't?
Now, obedience is important! I DO believe we need to train and teach our children. However, I know for myself, somewhere along the way, my mind, my heart, tends to lose focus of what the real goal is. Instead of training them and leading their hearts to see the Lord in everything, I slip and want them to be perfect...to make it easier for me. Instead of seeing their mistakes and sins as great teaching and learning opportunities, I sigh at the inconvenience it is going to cause me. I'm tempted to throw in some explanations and cover-ups, lest I really make myself sound THAT bad, but then I'm reminded. I am sinful. Sin is ugly.
There are a LOT of parenting books out there. I don't want to mention any of them because I know my focus is to focus too much on this book or that book and lose the bigger picture. However, I do want to give credit to the person where the idea for this helpful chart came from. While I never read his book, our Sunday School class went through a DVD series on the book, Shepherding a Child's Heart, by Tedd Trip. (And actually you can buy DVD's of the teaching on Amazon!) Anyway, as the title suggests, a lot of the focus here is on the child's heart. So many times we try to only deal with the behavior. Ted talks about how you can't just put good fruit on a bad tree and expect that to make a difference, inside, the tree is still bad.
So, I made this chart to hang up in our room...a nice private place where a lot of our discipline and training talks can happen without embarrassment. These are charts that Tedd used in the videos.
At first, I mostly used this chart with Lucy and Jude, but now, it is really hitting home with Mayme. Even, if I just remind her and ask her where her heart is, is it clean or is she sinning, a light goes on in her head (sometimes). Sometimes, she even runs to the piece of paper and tells me where she is on it.
This first part, explains that when we have sin in our heart, we will consequently behave badly. When our heart is clean, right with the Lord, free of sin, our behavior will reflect that as well. Now, notice that you can't immediately go from bad behavior to good behavior, or from good to bad. You have to go up through the heart, and even through the cross. You make a decision of what you will do with Christ.
The bottom of the chart explains Ephesians 6:1 and Deuteronomy 5:16. When, the child is in the circle of honoring and obeying, he is safe. When he chooses to disobey and step out of that circle, he is in danger.
Genesis 4:7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” And my role as a parent is to keep my child safe and bring them back into the circle.
If you want further explanations of how I use these charts, you can contact me. They are pretty self-explanatory, which is the point, even our 3 year old understands them. Sometimes she even tries to tell stories about them and change their meaning. :) haha This is one thing I don't want her to confuse though, so I straighten the story out and she finishes it correctly. And of course, it is a good reminder for me as well. Where is my heart? Where is your heart?
Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.Proverbs 23:19 Hear, my son, and be wise, and direct your heart in the way.
I didn't mean to upload this picture, it just was there. :) What a good reminder. Have fun and enjoy those kids! They are just kids. It is not my job to make them perfect people,
but to help shepherd their hearts and direct them to their Shepherd.
Oh yeah, one more thing...going back to the perfectionist thing. (How's that for a summary statement? :)
God, who we all agree is the ONLY perfect parent, has children who go astray and rebel against him.
Isaiah 1:2 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth;
for the LORD has spoken:
“Childrena have I reared and brought up,
but they have rebelled against me.