The “Definition” of Parenting

What does being a parent really mean? Why is being a parent so hard?

We’ve heard it a million times. Our children are not born with an instruction manual. Only they are. The bible. If you don’t consider yourself a Christian, hang in here with me. I will mostly be referencing the dictionary believe it or not. Common definitions of words you use everyday.Ready, this is going to be a doozy (definition: something outstanding or unique of it’s kind).

Definitions to be included are:

  • Discipline
  • Disciple
  • Guide
  • Practice
  • Training
  • Punishment

I’ll start with discipline. Discipline is one of the many hats a parent wears daily. One of those things we don’t really know how to do, but we are constantly doing. There are Facebook arguments, news stories, articles and many coffee chats about how to discipline your child and how -so and so- isn’t doing it right. Right?

dis·ci·pline
noun
1.
the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience

So, how do we “train” or “correct” our kids? What “rules” do they need to follow? What is the correct form of “punishment?”

I can’t directly answer that for you. I can’t tell you if your child is allowed to have a Snickers bar for breakfast or if they are allowed to sit on the counter and eat in the living room. We get SO frustrated because we don’t know how to pick the “rules” that will mold a child into a responsible, productive member of society. Then when we finally feel good about our rules, we struggle with how to stay consistent with them! That’s way too much to put on a human who makes mistakes! Are you guys with me? *stress*

Let’s look at a word that is hidden, but not very well…..in the word DISCPILine. Yes I typed it funky like that on purpose. DISCIPLE is in the word DISCIPLINE! Wowza! The things we miss…..

dis·ci·ple
noun
a personal follower of Jesus during his life, especially one of the twelve Apostles.

a follower or student of a teacher, leader, or philosopher.

We all think of  Jesus’ 12 disciples.

What did they do?

They followed Jesus, they made mistakes, they lacked faith and they even denied Jesus. Sound a little bit like us? Sound a little bit like our children?

As parents we are to be disciples and we are to guide our mini disciples. We are constantly learning from Jesus through our mistakes and our children are constantly learning from us through their mistakes (and ours, unfortunately). But our ultimate goal everyday should be to follow Jesus first and apply his lessons to our parenting. We should be raising these children to have minds of their own, not to follow rules even if they don’t understand them. One day they may not have us as a physical guide but they will remember the lessons we taught them. If they only remember one lesson, I hope it is that God is our guide and he sent Jesus to not only forgive our sins but to guide us in our daily living. He physically walked this Earth and he was a daily representation of how we should act and react.

guide
noun
1.
a person who advises or shows the way to others.
“this lady is going to act as our guide for the rest of the tour”
synonyms: escort, attendant, tour guide, docent, cicerone;

Notice that a guide is someone who advises or shows the way (leaving the student open to CHOOSE), not forces the way. Just saying.

Side Note: If we ever question what the right thing is…..we can look in the Word and find our answer. Always.

If you have never opened the bible (or even if you have but got overwhelmed), I encourage you to start with the 10 commandments:

ten-commandments-kids-wall-quote-4

         http://www.enchantingquotes.com/tencoki1.html

Now- how should our kids be “punished” if they do not obey?

Punishment
1
: the act of punishing
2
a : suffering, pain, or loss that serves as retribution
b : a penalty inflicted on an offender through judicial procedure
3
: severe, rough, or disastrous treatment

THIS IS WHERE IT GETS STICKY. This is where moms stop becoming friends because they don’t agree on how to punish their children. This is where news stories start because a mom did or didn’t punish their children correctly. Oh boy.

Ok, this is just from personal opinion. Take it or leave it. But I find that this world can be punishment enough sometimes. (I am NOT saying never punish your children!!) We live in a harsh world and it has a way of reminding us of that often.

This is my take on it. I consider a home to be a safe landing. I believe it should be a place to come to when we are feeling emotion of any kind. If we are sad, we can come home. If we are happy, we can come home. If we are feeling lost, we can come home. If we want our home to truly be this place for our children, we need to serve as their GUIDE instead of the DICTATOR. The world will punish them enough. If they steal, they will be punished in one way or another. If they commit adultery, this world will find a way to punish them. Have we all not experienced trials? Have a lot of them been a result of our misguided actions? If not, were we hurt by someone who was misguided? Did that person’s parent try their best to guide them according to the bible and commandments?

prac·tice

1.
the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method as opposed to theories about such application or use.
“the principles and practice of teaching”
synonyms: application, exercise, use, operation, implementation, execution More
2.
repeated exercise in or performance of an activity or skill so as to acquire or maintain proficiency in it.
“it must have taken a lot of practice to become so fluent”
synonyms: training, rehearsal, repetition, preparation; More
verb
1.
perform (an activity) or exercise (a skill) repeatedly or regularly in order to improve or maintain one’s proficiency

No matter which definition you look at they all carry the same message: the repeated application of an idea with the goal of improving or maintaining our proficiency. Parenting takes practice. Heck, being a human takes practice. It will til our last day. We need to make peace with that and accept the fact that we are always practicing at life and at parenting.

train·ing

the action of teaching a person or animal a particular skill or type of behavior.

synonyms: instruction, teaching, coaching, tuition, tutoring, guidance, schooling, education, orientation

I love that synonyms like coaching, tutoring and guidance are listed! I can’t recall many times that a math tutor showed up and started barking orders at the student! Tutors usually sit next to the student and guide them in figuring out math problems. This is often done in a library – quietly. It is much more effective to whisper a lesson than to yell it over and over again. Ever notice how kids don’t want to pay attention to you until you are sitting down quietly, ready to relax?! It is hard to avoid stress when dealing with children on a daily basis…..be kind to yourself as well. Remember the previous definition was PRACTICE! This takes practice.

That being said, sometimes we do have to “guide” our children with a little more force than we would like to.

Correction and Protection (link here)

A shepherd carries a rod and a staff, which he uses in different ways for different reasons. The rod is just a big, long stick with a little knob or bud at the top of it. A staff has more of a hook at the end of it.
The shepherd will practice endlessly so that he’ll be able to accurately chuck that rod at a predator or even at an unruly sheep to keep it in line. Sometimes an animal will wander off too far from the others. The staff is used to hook a wayward sheep and lead it back into the fold. At other times, it’s used as an examining tool to check the animals for parasites or other ailments.

The Holy Spirit sometimes has to use a rod of correction on us, doesn’t He? And it’s good to know that whenever we lose our way, He will use His staff to lovingly and gently guide us back onto the right path. -Joyce Meyer

 

 

 

 

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Truth or Dare? How About Both.

Truth or Dare? How about both. I dare you to tell the truth.

For those of you (everyone, because I’ve never shared it online) who don’t know why this community of women and ministry aimed towards mothers is such a deep gutted passion of mine, you are about to find out.

You know that place of great sin, the place you filed in the very back of your memories so no one could find it including yourself? The place that we all pretend we have never been to and try daily to hide from our family and friends. The reason we dress really pretty and hold ourselves together in public. The reason we attend church weekly and join every bible study we can. The reason we do good deeds and await the approval of others. That place. That’s the place of great regret, shame and guilt from which this ministry is deep rooted.

I want to share with you how human I am. How imperfect and insecure I am. But I also want to share with you how much God doesn’t see us as those things. How he looks at us with the most loving eyes and gently moves the hair from our faces so that he can see us. The real us. And FORGIVE us! And GROW us. This particular part of my story focuses on my feelings towards motherhood and why it didn’t start out positive.

It begins when I was 17. But how could it start at 17? I am almost 28 and our oldest daughter is almost 7 so that means I had her when I was 21. The answer to that kills me. Our oldest daughter wasn’t my first pregnancy. I could tell you I had a miscarriage but that wouldn’t be true. It was my choice. The ultimate debate. Is it right or wrong to allow children at the age of 17 to decide if they will bring a child into the world or end it’s life before it begins? Right or wrong, I had an abortion. And that’s where this part of my story begins.

Did I feel regret? Did I go into a deep depression? No. I pretended like it didn’t happen. I went on with my senior year of high school just like any other girl my age. Attending school dances, joining the cross country team, going bowling with my friends and stressing because I thought term papers and boy troubles were just too much. You probably want to stop reading because you think I have no morals and something must be wrong with me to feel nothing after such a major event in my life. On the other hand, maybe you understand because you’ve gone through something traumatic enough that it made you numb to the entire world. If that’s you, thank you for understanding.

The next year I joined my boyfriend at college where he began to get violent with me and emotionally torment me. I was no longer able to make decisions for myself, drive to campus by myself, make phone calls on my cell phone by myself or even go to the bathroom by myself. I wasn’t allowed to. Somehow, though, God showed me the little bit of hope I had left and I gained strength enough to leave. So here I was, living on my own, 4 hours from my mom and 12 hours from my dad in an apartment with 3 other partying college girls and no idea how to make decisions for myself after having the right taken away for so long. Within the first week of moving in with these girls, one of them told me, “Oh girl, you haven’t partied right until you’ve peed the bed!” WHAT! This girl is crazy.

Problem is, I turned into her. Drinking myself into dangerous situations, passing out all over town, spending money like it grew on trees, not working, not going to class and eating everything in sight. Well you know where that got me? Broke, fat and sick. I had taken out a school loan large enough to cover all 4 years of school at this University and spent the entire thing in 8 months. I gained over 20 pounds and many more problems than that. I think it’s pretty obvious I did not stay at that school the next year. I moved closer to my mom and attended a small community college working towards my psychology degree. How fitting! Maybe I could get extra credit if they used me as an example in the mental health class.

I started dating someone new. I got pregnant within a few months of us dating…….by choice. Guys you thought the mess was over. It is only beginning. After announcing the pregnancy to his family, they were furious! They told me I was having an abortion. I refused. They told me I would put the baby up for adoption. I refused. After all else failed, they took our house, vehicle, horse…..everything away. I was working full time, sometimes overtime at Starbucks but began to get too dizzy to work. I was also attending classes when I could. He was hosting huge parties in our house while I studied, cheating on me, working about 16 hours a week at a gas station and using any little money we had to buy beer and chew.

We decided to give it one more chance after she was born and move away to go to a college where he could attend on a rodeo scholarship and start over. We were there not even two months when I had had enough. We were living in a trailer that shouldn’t have even been available to rent. Cupboards falling off the hinges, no air conditioning, and the list goes on.  I called my dad to come get our daughter and I and we made the very long trip to live in Colorado near my dad.

2 years later I started dating a new guy. This guy was different! He loved me, he loved my parents and he loved my daughter. He treated me so well I couldn’t help but doubt that it was real. I, again, got pregnant after only a few months of dating. We weren’t married. If God hadn’t given up on me with my first daughter, surely he had now. I knew I had let down my family and anyone else important to me. How much more screwed up could I get?? Well the story gets better after we had our daughter. We got married a year and a half later and FINALLY I did things right and we made the choice to have one more kid INSIDE marriage how God intended it.

Nothing ever goes that smoothly. I had a doctor who didn’t believe me when I told her something was wrong only to find out I had a hole in my uterus large enough to deliver our son out of. Followed by spinal headaches, blood patches and lots of pain and recovery. Followed by postpartum depression, my husband getting laid off, and a cross country move to North Carolina. Those who know me, know that that brings us to today! We are now living in North Carolina and God couldn’t have had a better plan! I feel more alive than I have in my entire life, my husband is reunited with his father and happily working for him in their family business and we are living the country life we have both dreamed of. God and I have talked everyday and had some major healing sessions. Ha. It would take many to bring me out of that mess!!

Ladies, I have never experienced something that feels SO RIGHT in my spirit. The ideas for this blog and all of the future plans that go along with it just came to me so effortlessly. God planted them into me after going through some major healing through forgiveness. To those who hurt me and to myself for hurting others. My past was not the result of a bunch of people hurting me, it was the result of my reacting out of my hurt and making bad decisions. And in their defense, they were only hurting me because they had hurts of their own. It is a viscous cycle. Hurt people hurt people.

You know what God says to that? I CHOOSE YOU. I HAVE A PLAN FOR YOU. I forgive you, now let’s use your MESS and turn it into a MESSAGE!!!!