Have you ever been around one of those kids that is so whiny the thought of being in the same STATE with them makes you cringe? What about the kids who throw themselves on the ground (or stomp around) and scream when they don't get their way? How about the older kids or even teenagers who use tears (not sincerely crying over a hurt - there is nothing wrong with that for a girl or guy - John 11:35 - even Jesus wept!) to manipulate situations and circumstances to get their own way? Then there's the one who slams doors and throws things and yells. And we can't forget the ones who sit off by themselves pouting and silently plotting and planning or the ones who pick fights with everyone just to be able to vent some pent up anger!
I don't think there's a sane person in this world that would describe any of these as emotionally stable! And the scary part is that each one of these individuals will grow up to be adults and unless we do something now to train them, they will continue with these habits into adulthood. Would any of us want to be married to someone like this? No, no, no! A million times no! So why would anyone else?
The Bible has a lot to say about nagging and complaining wives. See Proverbs 19:13, Proverbs 21:9 & 19, Proverbs 25:24, Proverbs 27:15. These are in addition to all the examples of wives in the Bible.
As these verses show, if they are emotionally unstable, they'll bring harm and not good to their husbands. But once they are wives it'll be too late to train them to be emotionally stable. It's got to begin NOW!!
This is all good to know, but how do we put it into practice? I know there are people who will disagree with me, but I believe in spanking for a bad attitude and not just defiant actions. However, I also believe that spanking for bad attitude without teaching them the right attitude is not healthy. I believe both need to happen.
Recently, Elizabeth has been telling me that it's funny to be rude. Um . . . no! I don't quite think so! Each time she says this we talk about how being rude is bad and God doesn't like it and that she'll get a spanking.
But God showed me this wasn't enough. I need to teach her the Biblical way to act. If God doesn't like it when she is rude, how does He want her to act? Immediately, the Fruit of the Spirit came to mind. Galatians 5:22 tells what they are: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control.
It crossed my mind that she is kind of young for all that. God then kindly pointed out that if she can learn to count to 10 and can learn colors, shapes, animal sounds, and the 26 letters of the alphabet, she can learn these 9 words! Of course, He is right! So, we recite these several times a day. She loves it! When we finish she says, "more" (her version of "again"). The cool part is that Jennifer (and soon Samantha) is hearing these long before she can say them so that by the time she can say them, she'll already know them! She's learning now even though I can't see it! (I need to keep that in mind in all things!)
However, just learning the words is not enough. I've got to teach all of my girls what the words mean and how to apply them to life - even from birth. In order to do that though, I have to know that information myself.
LOVE - I didn't dig too deeply into love. 1 Corinthians 13 spells it out pretty well and, in doing so, also gives practical examples. I couldn't improve on it!!
JOY - Joy is not the same as happiness. The latter is based on circumstances. I don't know that it is possible to help them put this into practice right now. True joy, and PEACE as well, come once Christ is in control of a person's life.
PATIENCE - One of the ways we teach patience is by putting their food in front of them, but not letting them eat until everyone has been served and we have prayed. We will begin teaching this to Samantha the day we bring her home as well. There are different viewpoints on feeding the baby - on demand or on a set schedule. I feed on a 4 hour schedule and I stick to it rigidly except that I don't wake them to eat. (If they're tired enough to sleep through it, they must not be too hungry!) I'm not going to starve my children, but I do want them to learn to wait for things. (That said, I don't think badly of those who feed on demand. A mom's gotta do what works for her family!) There are many, many ways to teach patience to a child of any age!
KINDNESS - Kindness is taught by having them say "please/thank you", "yes/no ma'am/sir", but also in the way they say things. "Hey! Gimme that!" is not acceptable. Neither is screaming for it. When they need help, they have been taught to say "Momma/Daddy/etc, please help". Kindness is also taught by having them share with and help each other. Kindness is attitude and actions.
GOODNESS - This one is fairly simple for me to find direction for - haven't the last several (and the next few) blogs been about bringing good and not harm - and yet it is so complex at the same time - think about all God has revealed!!
FAITHFULNESS - There is a verse that comes to mind when I think of this word and it pretty much sums it all up. Psalm 15 talks about who is worthy of entering God's presence and worshiping in His sanctuary. In verse 4 it says, who "keep their promises even when it hurts".
GENTLENESS - This is much like kindness. In fact, www.dictionary.com has them listed as synonyms. Teaching it? Well, don't snatch things from someone else - ask kindly. Don't throw - hand it or place it softly. Don't scream - talk softly.
SELF-CONTROL - Self-control is a biggie. I think more people struggle with this than with any of the others except maybe patience. And those two seem to go hand-in-hand. "I want what I want (lack of self-control) when I want it (lack of patience)!" Self-control is the ability to say "no!" to self. I don't give my girls fruit snacks just because they see them in the pantry and want them. They have a pop-up playhouse that we get out occasionally, but I don't get it out just because they ask for it. I don't pick them up every time they cry. A big part of self-control is self-denial. Until they are old enough to reason and deny themselves on their own, it is my responsibility to do it for them.
I will always meet all of their needs to the best of my ability, but I will guide them to emotional stability by denying some of their wants much as it hurts me to do so. In this way, I am bringing good to my future sons-in-law so that one day my girls will be able to bring good to those chosen men also.
**Side note A: If anyone has any more clarity or practical life application on these areas, feel free to share here or as a comment on the Facebook link.
**Side note B: There is a book I highly recommend on the subject of raising children. It is by Michael and Debbie Pearl called "To Train Up A Child". There are parts that I don't agree with - as there will be with any author - but I do believe that they have heard from God!