Saturday, February 11, 2012
Changing Hearts Series #3 and #4
I'm combining videos 3 and 4 today as I don't have a lot to say on video #3. Video 3 is titled, "Knowing When to Let Go". As the title suggests, it's to know when you need to let the child go, to suffer the full consequences of their sin. This is more for the family with an older child who is set on moving out. Although it does apply to letting a child bear the full brunt of their consequences from wrong or sinful decisions/actions. It was made clear that the letting go was only AFTER EVERYTHING was done to turn the child's heart. For that reason alone there isn't a lot I took away, only because we are no where near needing to think of letting go. My energies and focus need to be on what we need to do to help change our childrens' hearts.
Video 4, " Parenting with a Diligent Hand", proved to be much more applicable than the previous video. It had four points to it:
1. Start Early
2. Diligently work to teach a child good habits
3. Determine the path FOR the child
4. Do NOT let the child get off the right path for any reason
I want to focus on point three, determining the path for the child. I think, for us, this is one area that we had really messed up in. Our weakest area over all is our anger, then I would say our lack of diligence, but this point number 3 comes pretty close to third spot for our going wayward. We had already figured out, long ago, that we needed to determine the path for our children. By path, he is talking about their spiritual path foremost. But along with that are the other areas of life like music, friends, etc. that have a huge influence on your child's life. He summed up where we went wrong when he shared: It is not a matter of restraining the child, but *actively* putting them on the right path. We were pretty much pros at restraining our children (at least when we were not violating weak point number two, lack of diligence). But I can assure you that stopping at restraining your child will only cause bitterness and resentment in their hearts. I had come up with this imagery when I meditated on this idea of 'restraining' verses 'actively putting'...
Imagine a path cut through the woods. On either side of the path are thick woods, very hard to navigate and filled with dangers (wild animals, snakes, poison ivy, etc,). Determined to be a good parent you go along putting up barricades along the path. You work so hard on the barricades that you have no energy to enjoy your children, and often become angry when your work is questioned. You become even more upset when, due to their nature, you find your child trying to scale the barricades to see what's on the other side! How dare they! So you resolve to make the barricades higher and thicker as you go along. Meanwhile, your children only see these tall, thick, concrete barricades. You have neglected to tend to the path itself, which is now over grown with weeds, or maybe in the sunny areas it has turned all dusty and dry. Regardless, there isn't much *on* the path, and so your children make bolder attempts to scale the barricades. This is where Jeremiah and I found ourselves. A sad state for all involved. And if you have read the Michael Pearl article, Jumping Ship, you can see it has the same concept. Eventually they will jump the barricades, or the ship. I think he did a better job at an analogy, but this happened to be the imagery that came to me as I meditated on this concept.
If you look back in my Big Changes posts you will see that to remedy this situation we had to stop trying to build the barricades. We decided first of all, that the path was so over grown, that we were not even sure where we were going. After making up our goals, we went to work on clearing the path of any unusable material (my decluttering post). And then we focused on putting wonderful things on our path. Cultivating what was there that was good, the flowers and beauty of the woodland actually on our path. We are also making sure that our pathway crosses over other people's pathways. In doing so we evaluate how long we should stay, or if we will return. This pulls our children's attention to our path, and off of the deep dark woods. They can see that we are working towards their future, which includes mingling with other path-goers. Our children are now enjoying themselves, and so are we!
Dr. Davis' last point ties in here, make sure they do not go off the path for any reason. Diligence is a must. But a heavy hand will not keep your children on the path. The 'carrot' of the world is all too enticing for the alternative to be your stern voice, heavy hand, and lack of joy.
Just the other day, while we were doing our daily devotional during school time the older girls started to ask questions and just wanted to talk about some spiritual and family value issues! Not to mention that they both asked for forgiveness on things I said nothing about!! This has never happened before! Ever. Like, not even once. I can assure you this isn't because we are amazing parents, Oh, NO, not even close, BUT this is the evidence that God's ways do work. We continue to praise Him for the work he is doing, and pray for it to continue. We still have our bad days, mostly brought on by all the sickness. We are all realizing that we need to continue to work hard on cultivating the good things, they don't seem to grow on their own accord very well.