This blog is simply the telling of one helpmeet and mother's quest to fulfill her God-ordained destiny. It is written with the hopes that other young women will embrace their calling to be godly wives and mothers; that they will be encouraged to love their husband and children and will find contentment in being keepers at home.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Loving Your Porcupine

How do you love a "difficult" child?  We know that the older women are admonished to teach the younger women to love their children and when you are holding that newborn baby in your arms for the first time, it is amazing the love that floods a mom's heart.  But after days, weeks, and even months of waging war with your strong-willed toddler, you aren't sure you even like this child.  You want to love him and in your heart you do, but you certainly do not love his behavior and if you are not extremely careful, your thoughts and actions toward that child become overly critical and unloving.

The world is dying for love and we all know that love is the greatest force on earth.  So how do you love a porcupine?  First, you stop thinking of him as a porcupine!

When I was struggling with one of our strong-willed children (yes, we have more than one!), I was reading a novel about an Amish family and the mom said something that I really needed to hear at that point in my life.  She said, "Let each day be a treasure hunt.  There is something good and beautiful buried deep in the heart of each human being.  As a parent it is your job to uncover the treasures that are buried deep in your child's being, to draw them out, to encourage them.  Search for one good deed, one kind word spoken, one good quality he possesses and praise him for it."

I went on a treasure hunt.  I started looking for the good in my child instead of dwelling on the negative.  I began praising him for his efforts, for every good choice he made, for the little kindnesses shown and his sweet actions.  It was amazing how this changed my thinking toward my child. 

Philippians 4:8

 "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

I began to consciously make an effort not to think of his faults and failures, but to commit them to God in prayer, asking Him for wisdom in training him in the "way he should go".  I would not allow myself to complain to others about my child's behavior and I tried to use words that built him up instead of words that tore him down.

Every morning was spent in training, but I tried to focus on only one issue at a time.  For instance, when he was busy playing with his toys, if I would call his name, he would ignore me.  So I began to train him to come when called.  I would make eye contact and call his name.  He would drop his head and go on playing.  I explained to him that when I called his name, he was to look me in the eye and answer, "Yes Maam?"  I would then say, "Come".  He was to immediately stop what he was doing and come to me.  And we began practicing.  Every time he looked me in the eye and said, "Yes Maam?" and then came, he received  a chocolate chip.  After the first morning, when I was certain he knew what was expected of him, I explained that he had a choice.  "When I call your name and you choose to say "Yes Maam?" and come to me you will receive a chocolate chip, but if you choose to disobey by continuing to play and ignoring my summons, you will receive a swat."  We practiced, with him receiving a "blessing" and the "cursing" for a week or two or until he came immediately every time I called his name. 

I praised his efforts and told him how proud I was of his obedience and I told him how happy it made God each time he chose to obey.  He memorized the Bible verses on obedience and we read the Bible stories of Saul's disobedience as well as numerous stories of children obeying.

Ephesians 4: 29 - 32

29Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers
30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

I began speaking by faith,  "You are such a kind, obedient little boy."  "You are growing up to be an honest, hard-working man", and "I love how caring you are."  There were times that his actions did not match my confession, but by faith, I started speaking words that ministered grace to him and words that I believed God would bring to pass in his life.

For me, it was a matter of thinking good thoughts about him, realizing that negative behavior was an indicator of training that needed to take place, speaking words of faith and love over and to him, using my words to build him up and knowing that God had blessed me with a very special child that He was going to use in a very special way. 

Loving actions follow loving thoughts.  There were days when I didn't "feel" loving, but love is an action, not necessarily  a feeling.  Although, I firmly believe the "feelings" will follow closely on the heels of the action.  Think loving thoughts, show loving actions and the love for your children will come.  Ask God to love your children through you.

1 comment:

Elisabeth said...

Awesome post, Lily. Excellent help to me and just what I needed to read today.