Wednesday, April 7

Boys will be boys?

My thoughts and heart lately have been on my boys, a place of attention I believe God has led my heart. Andrew will be eight soon, Aiden is five, and Chase is almost two. These are our three sweet boys with adventurous hearts and vivid imaginations whom we can't imagine life without.

Through some recent behaviour, I've noticed things I've been lax on and letting slip that I need to make amends for. Nothing horrible, nothing drastic - just a general attitude that squabbling is alright and a general disrespect for each other.

I sat with one of our sons today and asked him what kind of man he wants to be when he is older. Sean's been reading the Ralph Moody books to the children - excellent books with fantastic character lessons. I want our sons to realize that the kind of boy they work at being now will be the kind of man they become. I am sure this is arguable to a point as I am not the same as I was when I was seven. I was shy and such a sad people pleaser and so much of that has changed - but very much of myself and of others whom I've known since childhood are the same. The same ones that were compassionate, helpful children make great friends and the ones that were bossy and rude are regrettably still the same. I was stubborn as a child and God still works on my stubbornness - ask Sean. :)

I spent some time praying for my boys as I hung the laundry out in the warmth on the line and I know God showed me some areas that I've been letting slip that are manifesting themselves in my sons. Now, these might not be the same for you or your children, but I'd like to share them in case they are helpful.

1.) I have failed by letting any squabbling carry on.

"Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the sons of God." -Matthew 5:9
My excuse has been that I'm busy or can't stop what I'm doing right this second but in truth I have to. I ought to be nipping it in the bud and not allowing it to go on at all.

2.) I've failed by letting whining carry on at all.
"Do not complain..." James 5:9
This holds true for two of our sons that have made whining into an art form. One of them is definitely too old for it and the other I've allowed to be trained into it by not putting an end to it immediately when it starts up.

3.) I've failed by giving the children too much independent time.
The Bible gives so many examples of God keeping his eye on us and watching our ways and this is the example I feel led to follow while our children are young.
Now that our home school year is winding down, we've been taking advantage of sunny days to spend them outdoors (we don't take snow days and begin our school year in August). Having my older boys have too much unstructured time hasn't been good for them.
These are the areas I feel God calling my attention to and that I will be working on in our family.

One of my sweet boys just came to me (they've been having a time of rest to cool their tempers and think about being kind) and asked if he could do the nice idea he had for his brother (whom he pushed down in the driveway). "What's that?" I asked. "Well," he said, "I really just want to give him a hug - is that okay?"
This is the sweet spirit in my son that I love to see. I know God has made my boys rough and rugged and strong and I love that too.

One thing I've learned over the years is there is no one-size fit for parenting. Every child is a unique creation. Unique. Unique. Unique. However, there are basic principles in the Bible that fit all and are wisdom for us as parents. I love parenting books that turn your head to the Bible instead of the wisdom of man.

Lord, help me to be a diligent mother and keep my eyes alert to all I need to see and my hands and heart busy with all I need to do.


This Journey of Mine said...

There is never a time that I don't read one of your posts and am not encouraged. I sooo appreciate how you share what God is doing in your life, with your family, and in your heart. I am encouraged, by God, through what you write!

Thanks so much!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Hannah,
I enjoy your outlook on things and have gleaned from you over the last few months of reading your blog. I was wondering if you could expound on how you will deal with number one and two on your list? What types of disipline you will engage in? If this is to personal, please, I don't mean to offend. I am NOT asking if you spank. I was thinking more on the lines of something I remembered reading here once about you using dessert as a "form" of disipline for one of yours that really liked sweets! :O) I thought that was good and have tried it with my child for an issue that didn't require spanking and yet very much needs to be addressed. It has been very helpful and not stressful to our family life. (ThanksºÜº) Anyway, that was the idea behind my question. If you feel at liberty to write more without being too personal for your taste I would be interested in hearing.

Thanks a bunch and have a great day!


Emily, wife of Jeremy said...

Not being a "believer" in "boys will boys" or "terrible twos or threes" or "phases" or "red headed tempers" etc, it's great to hear someone else who is following God's Word rather than accepting what's accepted by society and our culture.

It's so much work at times but it makes life so much more peaceful and gives children such an example of living like Christ and not following their own wills and emotions.

Kim Lisi said...

Beautiful reminder, Hannah. Thank you for sharing your heart. You inspire me.

Unknown said...

Thanks for this, Hannah. I've been struggling in some areas with my kids and God has used your post to show me some areas of mothering that I have let slip as they have grown a bit older. It's always an inspiration to read your blog.

Diane said...

I agree that we are not 100% who we were as children, but definitely the framework is still there. Goodreminder to stay diligent. :O)

Unknown said...

I appreciate your post so much. I have been thinking through the same things.

Can I ask your advice as an experienced mom? How do you plan to nip squabbles in the bud? Do you listen to each side and make a judgement? Do you simply separate them? Do you give them a little talk about treating their brother the way they would want to be treated? Some of all?

My two little boys are less than 2 years apart at just-turned-3 and just-turned-5. They are each others' best friends and worst nemeses, depending on the moment. I am trying to figure out a good, consistent way of handling things. I often see what I feel is an attitude that only thinks of "self"--partly their ages, but definitely a training opportunity. I would take book suggestions, too.

Thanks... I know you have nothing else to do as a mom of 5 and one on the way with foster children than to take on my questions, right? :)

Diane Shiffer said...

Good work mama♥

I know that parenting my son is one of the hardest things I have ever done... it's a difficult thing walking that tightrope between letting them be fully male, while still requiring diligence, obedience, respect..self-discipline...

I just prayed for you and your boys... and I wouldn't mind if you shot up a prayer for me and mine;)

Becky said...

Hannah, point #1 has been going on at our house lately, too, and God put the very same verse on my heart to teach/review with my children! It's hard to stay on top of things when we're so busy, and yet you're right - we have to! Your post encouraged me to be more diligent in these areas, too!

Me said...

I'm glad this was an encouragement to you, This Journey of Mine.
THanks for taking the time to leave a comment, which encourages me!

We do use spanking as one form of discipline and I'm pretty comfortable with letting folks know that. If child protective knows it and doesn't have an issue with it, sees how well adapted and unabused our children are...

For the squabbling, I've just made myself be aware of when it starts and piping up with a reminder that speaking to other people in that tone or way is not respectful or allowed in our family. So far, so good with just the reminder and encouragement to work things out without fighting. I think if one child persisted with the argumentative behaviour, I'd next move on to sitting them in time out for a bit to cool off and think things over.

As for whining, I've been giving a reminder to "use kind words" when speaking to mama and having the child repeat after me the kind way to say/ask what they are trying to get across. If it is because of tiredness and the child hasn't had a nap,I'm more lenient because that's my fault for letting them get over tired. Hope this helps!

Me said...

Emily the two's and three's are some of my favorite ages and so I don't buy into any of those sayings either!

Thanks, Kim, Sara, and Di.

Hi "The"!
I don't give any attention or get in the middle of squabbling because I think that encourages tattling. Our kids can only tattle if someone is being hurtful or putting themselves or someone else in danger. So we are trying to cut the squabbling off with a reminder to work things out ewith kinder words and respecting the other person's opinion. I'll work on putting together a list of my favorites regarding books!

Persuaded and Chinamama, I just sent prayers your way for strength and wisdom!