It has definitely been longer than 14 days...but nonetheless, I am continuing to challenge myself in the area of parenting. If you missed the original post you can read it here. I challenged myself to "inspire obedience instead of rebellion" in my children...especially in the now young man dwelling in my home. Let me start by saying that my son is not rebellious by the world's standard. He's really not rebellious at all. There are moments, but that is WHY I took this challenge. It's a preemptive strike, so to say.
Over the past few months I have noticed that we, my son and I, have been jumping to a defensive stance over the silliest things. Misinterpreting the meaning behind the words we were saying. So when I read Principle 9: To Lead Like Jesus, Inspire Obedience—Not Rebellion, I was inspired to change the way I was handling the situation.
I reminded my son how much we enjoy one another's company and conversation and how silly it is that we are being defensive with each other. We reaffirmed our love for one another and decided to extend grace more often...after all, we know the intents of our heart is NOT to hurt the other or bring the other down with our words, so why are we reacting in defense?
So, over the past month, together we have been working on our body language and the filter in which we perceive the other's words. It's been going well...but there needed to be something more.
THEN...about 3 weeks ago, I really felt compelled to put in writing my daily expectations of my children (aka, chores, or as we refer to them in our home, their responsibilities) AND their privileges. The privilege part is really what I was getting at.
You see, scripture tells us over and over how we are created to work and not be slothful. My children, because school for the year is over, have had too much time on their hands. Scripture tells us that idle hands and slothfulness actually bring destruction. Now...don't get the wrong picture here. My kids help around the house all the time, they just have to be asked, reminded...even nagged at times...and of course, they'd rather indulge in an activity of their choosing. ME, TOO! LOL!
So what I did was type a simple chart with a calendar-listing outside activities and appointments we have going on during the week, daily responsibilities and weekly responsibilities I want them to accomplish AND the parameters of their privileges. In other words ..this is what we have going on this week; this is what I expect to get accomplished; and this is how you may spend your free time! I presented it to the kids, first discussing how beneficial it will be to have all our appointments and outside activities posted in one place and then discussing the responsibilities- including why it is important that we work and be good stewards of what the Lord has given us. I ended with the privileges.
TOTAL PEACE IN MY HOUSE!!!! No kidding!
You see, because God designed family AND He created us to work...it makes perfect sense to me that working as a family brings peace. Now...we don't always want to work, but knowing the expectations gives us a tangible goal and a rewarding sense of accomplishment when we can check them off as complete. The privileges... like Wii time, computer, movies (basically electronics time around here) become icing on the cake instead of being a "right" my children feel they have, or should have.
I love to say "YES" to my children. Don't you?! Being clear with my expectations has allowed me to say "YES" more and not feel like a nag. I simply say "YES...if you have finished what needs to be finished today." I'm not the bad guy. They know what I expect...IN WRITING. And we are all getting to do more of what we want, but in the right order. And I'll add...the house is so straight that I have been able to work on bigger cleaning projects around the house as the "little" stuff is taken care of.
To wrap up my 14, well 30 Day Lead Your Family Like Jesus Challenge ...I feel it was a success. Now, I still have to practice giving grace to my son, the young man, and he is still working to extend grace to me as well, but we have made great strides and there is peace between us again. As for the weekly calendar and responsibilities... my son and daughter are so glad to know what I expect every day and weekly. They feel a sense of responsibility as they decide what to do and when as they evaluate the weeks' activities. They are learning time management and how to put first things first.
God is GOOD! He hears us when we cry out to Him and He answers us. We just have to listen! If you had told me that simply re-establishing my relationship with my son verbally and sticking a silly chart on the fridge would impact my family so greatly...I probably would have fluffed you off. But when I sought the Lord, and let Him intervene, I found that His burden is light and His yolk is easy...just like He promised in His Word (Matthew 11:30)
I challenge you to ask for guidance as a parent...He is faithful...every time!