I thought there would be juicy details of my children’s latest tirades but I have none to offer today. It has been a nice week. Not to say they were angelic but their recovery from behavioral incidents has been all a mother could hope for.
For instance, last night my oldest became overwhelmed with packing. In a fit over a dirty shirt, she hollered, stomped toward her bed, and mid fall gave a dramatic performance of, “I am going to bed.” Now, I of course responded with complete self-control by stomping out and hollering “fine” because I am always a mature adult.
Now none of this has to do with shirts and packing but completely about the fact we are tired and I still have college papers to turn in that night leaving me a bit stressed. A question is, does my child know this? Does she understand why we are acting short fuzzed?
Of course not.
I go off to take a shower in an attempt to collect myself, relax, and get lost in the silence of life. As I open the door, I am startled.
There she stands.
My eldest is just standing there patiently waiting for me to finish my shower (how very Stephen King of her). After I recover from my heart attack, she begins to tell me why she is standing there. Getting straight to the point my daughter says, “I am getting older now and need to act like it. I cleaned up and did all you asked. I didn’t mean it; I am not going to bed now.” She knew how ridiculous her behavior had been.
Victory for Mom.
For months, a year maybe, we have been dealing with this new attitude of stomping, throwing, and declaring. For months I have had the same conversations with her, “You are growing up, you need to set a good example, God calls us to be slow to anger…” Her whole life, I have been setting the example and apologizing for my own missteps in character- see above behavior. We have been waiting for the puzzle pieces to snap together.
Recently, in the last weeks, the effort to thwart this behavior is paying off! She is now correcting the behavior and owning up to what she did. Anyone else have songs like “Hallelujah” or “Victory In Jesus” play in your head during these triumphant moments?
Parenting headaches become forgotten and a new vigor is established. Stay the course parents!
I wonder how God feels when we finally get something right? Maybe He sings “Hallelujah” and “Victory in Jesus” too?
Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. Whoever wrote that is a fool. Words hurt, scar, wound.
Who here is innocent when it comes to words? I know I am not. It is something I strive for and work to do well every day (and fail at times). It is something I work to instill in my children every day. I cannot agree more with this devotion, which in a nutshell says to protect those around us with kind word from wounding words. Become waterproof.
How do we waterproof the people in our circles with words? Here are my children’s responses: use kind words, tell your friends nice things, tell someone you like them, and tell someone why you like them.
Does it seem easy or basic to you all out there? I challenge you it isn’t. Here is an instance already, day one, how we need to model our children.
When is the last time you told a friend or a complete stranger something nice without prompting?
This is something very doable in real life. Do it in front of your children to show them too!
I love walking up to people and telling them how their shirt color compliments them, their smile is friendly, their laugh is infectious, or they are so sweet with their child. If it is your friend, tells them an attribute you love about them. If they are your friend you like something about them; do not take for granted they already know. Maybe they need a kind word to make them waterproof to all the yuck out there. Maybe that new neighbor or stressed out co-worker needs an emotional lift from a kind word. Hurting, vulnerable people are all around us- every day.
If an animal is wounded what does it do- the same as a human. You have heard of flight or fight, right? Dogs may bite at someone wanting to help them or cower in a corner not wanting to be touched. Humans may lash out with wounding words or isolate themselves from vulnerability. Same thing.
What both need is love. Yet we make emotional pleas for the animals and judge the humans.
None of this is hard but is amazingly fun and addictive. No one shares kind words anymore. One single action with kind words will brighten someone’s day and it will put a spring in your step for doing it.
My kids have seen me do things like this all their life. So it only made sense for them to respond the way they did to this devotion. More so, I know they live it out in their own life too.
My kids are social creatures and defenders of the heart. Their love of people is evident and their willingness to love stirs compassion. They are compassionate because they know what it is like when they hurt from wounding words.
How many of us have cuddled a child when we, or someone, have said something hurtful to their tender hearts? Kids get it.
I love to watch and learn from other parents. Here is a parenting trick I picked up from a past friend. It is this- we tackle the issue head on and problem-solve a wounding moment. Yeah, you thought I was going to share some genius moment, right? Nope, just plain ol’ common sense.
This idea plays out in their lives everyday. My children draw others to them because of their love for playing outdoors. With groups of children, comes drama. This does not worry me in the slightest though because my kids have proven worthy of the task to overcome the situation and fix it. Not to say there are no tears or outbursts. This is not “Pleasantville” and full of robotic children. However, they do talk it out. I watch and listen as they hear the complaints of those upset, tell them they understand why they are upset, and say kind words about all of those involved and tell everyone that being kind and getting along is important to the group. Wow. AND it works.
Now as an adult we think, NO WAY! Some of us “grown up” run and hide to lick wounds, some cry openly, some eat ice cream, some exercise, some lash out, some… well you get the picture. How much better could it be, would it be, if we just learned to use our voice and relay our feelings that those words hurt and work to restore and forgive one another?
What if we stopped wasting our time, our relationships, with a pity party, in anger, or lost in gossip?
What if we were more like kids…
Kids are resilient and perceptive, not the fragile, useless little people we tend to think they are sometimes. Kids get mad, say things, and then are friends again 5 minutes later. It isn’t until we “grow up” that we pout or lash out when our feelings get hurt.
Seems a little backwards, eh?
Just as much as it takes a leader in the kids group to stop the wounding words, we should take a page. Be the defender in your circle and create a waterproofing over your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Leaders encourage and pull others up with them, right?
I know there is always improvement in this area for me.
How are you using your words for good? What amazing ways are your children lifting up other around them with their kind words?
Life is up and down with business, calm, trials, and success. Life moves whether you are on board with it or not. This leaves routine challenges for our family. I don’t know the last time we had a stable, routine life (relatively speaking)… back in 2007? Yes, life has gone upside down and sideways since 2007. I have been mulling over what would keep me accountable doing devotions and applying the Bible daily with the children as we last talked about. If I am being honest, if there is a lot of planning involved, it is not going to happen.
Is there anyone else brave enough to admit this too?
Not only does it have to be doable for me but also for my daughters. Kids are kids no matter how well behaved they are. If I have to fight them to do it or they will be distracted easily or any number of other things kids do while having to sit still, devotions will not happen.
Oh sure I could pick some well-intentioned book and it may go on for a while but like most things in people lives, it would peter off with all the other, “I wish I would have kept up with …”
Can we just be real with that?
So, as I pondered wanting to be more consist with the kiddos while relating life back to God’s Word, I had to be real with expectations of both sides.
I went to a Christian store on a birthday mission a few days ago, my eldest will be 9 tomorrow! Going up and down the aisles I came across devotions and had that “oh, yeah, I should look at these” moment knowing I wanted to get this kid blog series rolling. There are many good ones out there but I have to be honest, I did not go traditional, I went with fun.
You know what, that is okay parents. Bible time does not need to be work, or serious, in fact I do not think it should be at all! So I chose fun, I chose Duck Commander. Yes, that is what I said. No need to read it again and we are all excited. (No, I am not being paid. I am a simple Mommy just honestly telling you what I purchased- not suggesting you all go out and buy it too… unless you want to.)
For those who want to ride along with me on this journey, this is what I am going to be blogging about- devotions, life application, and “things kids say.” You know kids always have something comical to add. My challenge will be recording it all in time before I forget to tell you.
Oh, come on, I know you have this problem too. Who has thought they should record “all the things kids say?” How is that going? Yeah, my journal on that is blank too. Maybe in doing this I can actually write one or two down!
This is not a ridged 356-day devotion book. You know the kind that if you miss one it instantly weighs you down with an amassing amount of guilt? The guilt that shouts, “It has only been 5 days and I already messed up!” I liked this guilt free aspect of this devotion book- a lot. Can we just all throw in an “Amen” there? There are about 103, so it is doable. This also means I will not have a daily blog on the kiddos; I will pop in 2-3 times a week. I will label them all “Little Ducklings (…)”and can be found under that tab on my website.
In addition, there are life application pieces I eluded to earlier. This allows the children and I to spend time on what God said and how it applies to life, and then apply it! Isn’t this where things go wrong, we read devotion, but after that second cup of coffee, it is over- forgotten? I love that this book allows us freedom to work with God’s word and over the course of 2-3 days really see it as a living word. This is what I cannot wait to see unfold and share with you.
Kids are so honest, and see things so clearly that we adults muddy. This is technically a task to cement God’s Word into their sweet hearts for a lifetime but I know that in this process I will be humbled many times over. In this process, I will grow along with my children.
There is no better way to spend time as a family than this- growing together in Christ? Letting our children see our failures, success, humility, and strength.
In a time where our family is undergoing a lot of change (a blog series coming), spending time on our hearts and minds will go a long way to getting us all through this year better.
Come along this ride with us, I hope this encourages you to start up your own consistent devotion time with your children. For some of you, coming along this journey is about reading what my little-bit says. I know, I am curious too.
So, I am not promoting this as the only way, nor am I saying we won’t get out of sync while traveling. We are human. I simply intend this to be a fun time with the Bruce girls- growing with God. If that sounds fun then we look forward to hearing from you too!
God is always working in all of us; the hard part is realizing it and making the changes. Next Up, “Little Ducklings- Words”…