Today DH and I attended a new Sunday School at our church. It is called “Beyond Obedience” and based on a new chapter to Reb Bradley’s small book “Child Training Tips” and it expresses so well the parenting journey I’ve been on the last two years! Finally I can talk to others and share what the Lord has been showing me.
But let me back up a bit and explain a bit about where I’d previously been in regard to parenting. I think it is important to note that though my DH and I actively wanted and tried to have children early in our marriage, it was 9 years of marriage before God answered our prayers. Nine years of getting older. Nine years of becoming more selfish. Nine years of quiet. Nine years of cleaning and having it stay clean. Nine years of tears and prayers for a child. When J1 did join our family at 17 mos old….to say it was an adjustment is to be totally and completely understated. We are still adjusting. And, I supposed every new parent does have an adjustment period. But having a child join your family who already can walk and sort of talk and do somethings….well, that was an adjustment. We had unreasonable expectations of him and of parenthood.
We are readers. We read some good books. We read some bad books. Sadly as new parents we didn’t recognize the bad from the good. And, we didn’t trust ourselves. I now know that if I need to err on any side, I need to err on the side of love and grace. The books that told me that I needed to expect my child to come when I called….everytime….without a comment or complaint……well, those books brought out the worst in me. I became a dictator. And, I needed to first teach my children how to love me and others. Obedience would come with that love. Ok…I’m trying to be circumspect and not share the titles or authors names….because it really wasn’t about them. It was about me. I wanted obedience because that was easier….but I forgot that I was raising a little creation of God and God had made him a certain way (talkative for one thing LOL) and he needed his mommy to listen to him once in a while…not order him around.
So, I’ve been on a journey – and I’ve come to repent of my earlier ways. I wasn’t sure what I needed to do now – I didn’t want to raise little hellions. And I didn’t want to spoil them. I needed some balance. I’ve been looking for others who understand where I am and where I’m going.
Here was one part of what was shared in SS this morning that had my soul screaming “Yes!! Exactly!!” Praise the Lord!
Sadly, many parents do not value love as the highest virtue in their own personal lives, and therefore content themselves with simply raising their children to be obedient. They justify such an approach, insisting Christ taught that those who learn to obey are learning to love. Obedience certainly can be a trait of love, but to subdue our children’s wills and then neglect to teach them to love is like building the foundation for a house, and then stopping construction. The foundation is absolutely necessary, but the goal is the house. So too, obedience and respect which spring from a subdued self-will represent important elements of the foundation, but they are just that – foundational elements for the building of love.
This came from Reb Bradley’s Website…..I hope you will take few minutes to check it out! And, thanks for listening…I’m still not confident that I can express myself well….but I hope you can hear my heart!