Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Parenting on the Road

I would love to say that this is the norm in our car: two happy boys hanging out in the backseat, everyone getting along, perfectly timed bathroom breaks and no tension or bad attitudes. 

This is not the case. 

No one is perfect.  In fact, road-trips have this way of turning into a pressure cooker of family refining... everyone locked in the car... no place to escape... I must stay present and smooth out the rough places. 

C. has been having a rough weekend.  Nothing ever seems quite enough.  Always something missing,  then his life will be complete.  But that elusive something never satisfies.  Such a poignant picture for me.  "This is the worst day ever", even when we've spent two hours at Crazy Bounce, but come home and his one coloring page isn't perfect.  Glossing over all the good and fixating on the one imperfection.  And this gratitude-breathing mama cringes and reels.  How can I get him to see that his ingratitude is toxic... slowing killing his little soul?  How can I reach his heart, especially when I don't even want to be around him when he's like this?

Josh and I are reading Heartfelt Discipline by Clay Clarkson and while I'm quickly moving through to chapter eleven... I already feel the  need to go back to chapter five: Sympathy vs. Strictness.  In that chapter he talks about putting a face of sympathy on our discipline:
"When we put a face of sympathy on our directive discipline, it turns our children toward us and makes them want to follow our lead.  If all your children see is a stern face of demands and rules, or the frowning face of an adversarial parent, they will not be drawn to that face.  If that is the face you saw when you looked to God, would you want to follow?  A face of sympathy opens a child's heart and draws them to follow you." -Clay Clarkson, Heartfelt Discipline.
When I reach out to C. in sympathy, trying to understand what is going on in his heart, instead of just demanding a right attitude, I show him I care, and I gently lead him to see the better way.  I don't always do this perfectly.  He doesn't always welcome my advances.  But I believe as we continue to seek the Lord's wisdom, extend grace and sympathy, and hold out the standard of
God's ways of holy living we will get to the place God intends for us all!

More thoughts soon on Parenting on the Road!

1 comment:

  1. Literally just two minutes before I sat at my computer I was lamenting exactly the same behaviour from my six year old; his need to focus on how terrible it is that his life is only 99% of what he would like it to be! Thanks for your post, I'm just about to see if I can get a copy of that book.

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