Monday, January 12, 2009

14 Days of Christmas Break

(Note: exceptionally long post. just so ya know.)

I'll admit it: I like sending my kids to school. I like the quiet of the house and moments to myself. Will goes to school M-F and Nathan goes for 1/2 days on T and TH. Witt is always home with me, but it is so much quieter with only him.

I'll also admit that I cringed last summer knowing that I was going to have all three boys 24/7 for months.

I thought that was how it was going to be over Christmas break, too, but I had a plan.

An agenda.

A course of action.

Basically, I had an idea how to fill our days.

Your first thought might be that I had crafts to do or baked goods to make. You might also think I had play dates scheduled or planned to send them to their grandmother's for a few days. You might even have a fleeting thought that I was going to tape their mouths shut and lock them in the closets. (jk... just wanted to make sure you were still with me. haha!)

Nope. Nope. and Nope.

My plan was to be a parent. To train. To teach. To discipline consistently. To be at the top of my game for two weeks straight because we needed some attitude adjustments.

And we did it.

I am pleased...super pleased... with the results!

The first thing I did was made up a morning routine that we were going to follow every morning BEFORE we turned the tv on. I gave each item a picture and hung them on the wall as a reminder. I sat down with Will and explained each picture and what that we were going to work together.

These were the things we did each morning together (in any order):

1. Get dressed.

2. Find shoes. They didn't have to put them on, but they had to know where they were in case we needed to leave later in the day.

3. Make bed.

4. Pick up clothes on the floor, decide if they are dirty or clean and put away appropriately.

5. Put out outfit for the next day.

6. Eat breakfast at the table.

7. Brush teeth.

8. Dishes. They put away the plastics and I did the rest.

9. Daily chores.

  • Monday: Bring dirty clothes to laundry room.
  • Tuesday: Pick up the sunroom and vacuum.
  • Wednesday: Trash.
  • Thursday: Change bed sheets.
  • Friday: Living room floor - pick up toys so I could sweep & mop
10. Hug your mama! :) They loved this one and so did I!

I was amazed at how much fun we had working together. There was no time restraints on the day and I'd let the boys play in between chores. Sometimes it would be three hours before the tv was on and no one cared.

The boys thought nothing of doing chores and actually, I think they enjoyed it because we all did them together. They had my attention and I had theirs. I did little blogging during this time and I felt like a good mom for the first time in a long time.

As for the discipline and training, first of all, I stopped counting to 3. They were to start obeying the first time. I expected each of them to say "Yes, ma'am" (or something that resembled that) to every request I made of them. (This was initially just a response from them so that I knew they heard me, but in the end I really liked the respectfulness of it, too!)

Titus 3:1
Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good,

If they didn't obey within a reasonable time or if they outright disobeyed, there was an appropriate discipline... EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

Proverbs 13:24
He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.

Proverbs 3:12
because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.

We talked about how God wants us to be obedient so we can get to heaven.

Ephesians 6:4
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Colossians 3:20
Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

This was (at times) a very draining process, but so worth it. Once they realized the boundaries and that Jeff and I both were going to keep them, the tension in the air lightened and we all had fun!

After thinking about it, I realized that when I was out in the workforce, I liked knowing what my boss expected from me. I felt safe within the expressed boundaries. I knew what I was supposed to do, how to please, and how to do a good job. I also like knowing the expectations God has for me. It's good to have boundaries and rules and consequences. Why would children feel any different?

I'm here to say that they don't feel any different, at least mine don't. There has been a fantastic turn around in attitude and I'm loving it. :) I really think they are, too.
Proverbs 29:17
Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul.

But, now with school back in full swing, we're making a few adjustments because we don't have the leisurly time we had over winter break. We get done what we can in the morning before school. What doesn't get finished in the morning is completed immediately after school - before the tv. It's a little harder this way because our momentum is broken by the activities of the day, but I know that if we continue moving forward and if I can continue to keep my boundaries firm, we'll make progress. :)

It feels so good to be a PARENT. I'm not just a mom; I'm their leader during the day. I'm the one they look to for guidance during the day. I'm the one to hold the boundaries and give the expectations, support, love, and praise. (I say during the day because I'm the only one here with them at that time... of course Jeff and I work as a team in the evening and ultimately he's the head of the family... just wanted to make that clear {grin} )

I now see the difference between being a parent and being a mom. It's not an easy job. It's not always a fun job, but I want to teach my children how to respect authority, meet their goals, follow the law, and be obedient. My ultimate goal, of course, is for all of us to make it to heaven.

And that path to heaven? It's not wide.

Matthew 7:13-14
13"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

It is going to take external discipline to teach internal discipline. And it's going to take that internal discipline for each of us to stay on that narrow path.

Proverbs 5:23
He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly.

Proverbs 15:10
Stern discipline awaits him who leaves the path; he who hates correction will die.

Hebrews 12:11
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Peace. I like that.

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Meagan said...

That is simply amazing to me I myself have three boys and, that has been my problem...I have no control I do disicipline but with a 2, 4, and 6 year old I am taken over with emotions over not being able to have them all be pleasant together without sitting on Please pray I can follow in your lead and our heavenly fathers word.

My name is Dianna said...

Beautiful! Do you and Jeff give seminars?

Becky @ Boys Rule My Life said...

If you really liked the few things I said and want more, I highly HIGHLY recommend the book "Child Training Tips" by Reb Bradley. It is a fantastic book. There are some mixed reviews on the book because people take certain things out of context. (ie - one of the reviewers say that he says "whipping" a child under age one is appropriate discipline - not true, although he does say that a "swat" is appropriate. I tend to agree with that.) The book is not about beating your children into submission, but he does talk a good bit about not "sparing the rod". The book is biblically based and gave me the reason I needed to be a PARENT. God expects me to be a parent and to train my child - not just let the days pass by. Anyway... I recommend the book! :)

And Dianna - you are too funny! :)