“I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me.”
― C. S. Lewis
― C. S. Lewis
I believe in the sun even when it's not shining. I believe in love even when I don't feel it. And I believe in God even when He is silent. (quote found on the wall of a concentration camp)
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Wednesday, October 31, 2012
The Art of Discipline Part 9: Pursuing Relationship
I was meeting with a dear friend today, talking about discipline and the many facets the very WORD imply.
As I have said many times over the years. To discipline our children, is to DISCIPLE our children; to come along side, to teach, to instruct....
As we were talking, I began "preaching to the choir". :)
It is NOT up to our Children to pursue a relationship with US, but it is up to US, to pursue a Relationship with THEM!
As we talked, it became very clear in my mind that GOD, PURSUED US! He pursued RELATIONSHIP WITH US! He wanted to reveal Himself to us and show us His BEAUTY that we might have an active, LIVE relationship with HIM. He has given us an example of Father, Son, Family, RELATIONSHIP, so we could understand that He LOVES us, and gave HIMSELF up for us, that we could be in right relationship WITH HIM.
As parents, we should NOT wait for our children to seek us out, but we should SEEK THEM out!
Our children come to us through birth, adoption, adoption disruption, blended marriage, and foster care.
It is our job, A VERY IMPORTANT JOB, to get to know and understand our children; study them; what makes them tick, what their likes and dislikes are, and to pursue them for relationship.
As each of our dear children came into our lives, both our boys and our girls, we studied them. We learned their personality. We learned what they liked and disliked. We learned what made them laugh and what made them cry.
We went into THEIR world and worked hard to experience life from THEIR point of view.
It always helps to see things from our children's viewpoint. We can certainly learn a LOT, when we look at life from the viewpoint of a child.
Looking at life from a child's perspective will give us much grace and mercy and patience as we parent our precious ones.
I remember when our boys were little, I tried hard to practice seeing their disappointments so I could comfort them. When our son's "key car" didn't work, it was devastating to him, at 3. It was very important to him for it to work; his entire world crashed when it didn't. He didn't need me to get frustrated with his tears or brush off his disappointment with disdain.
He needed me to comfort him and take his disappointment seriously. After all, I wanted people to take me seriously and understand MY disappointments. Why was his any different, just because he was 3?
With our girls, life has been even more challenging, as they have lived part of their lives away from us. Much of those experiences before becoming "Minichs" were traumatizing and horrendous.
It was VERY VERY important for us to PURSUE relationship with them, and get to know them.
I often CRINGE when I read advice from people who tell new adoptive parents to "be firm", "don't give an inch or they'll take a mile", "lay down the LAW".... etc. etc. (those are actual words I read when somebody asked advice about bringing home new little ones)
HOW CAN WE JUDGE A CHILD'S INTENT of HEART WHEN WE DON'T EVEN KNOW THE CHILD? It is VERY dangerous to assume! Many things were ASSUMED about our girls. And each of them were VERY, VERY hurt by those assumptions.
As parents we are to PURSUE RELATIONSHIP with our children and get to know them. They will most likely be way too afraid to seek relationship with us; especially our children who come to us through trauma.
Our example is God. He pursued us with open arms and great love.
Have we pursued our children with open arms and great love? Scripture says in Romans 5:7-8, "Even when we hated him, Christ died for us."
When our children react and act as though we are the enemy, do we open our arms with LOVE and pursue them?
As parents, we need to see the BIG PICTURE. Our children are children. They do NOT think like us. They are NOT adults; they do not THINK like adults!
Study your children, learning what they respond to best. There is a reason they do not come with instruction manuals. They are ALL individually different; wonderfully created by our Heavenly Father. Encourage them, seek them out for little talks and special times. Listen to them; you will LEARN A LOT! Court them, and earn their love, affection and devotion.
THEN.... when they feel valued and LOVED, you will have their respect and devotion.
And then, your teaching and discipling will have a GREAT effect on their lives.
PURSUE your CHILDREN with the OPEN ARMS OF LOVE....