I was thinking the other day about my relationship with my kids. I was forced to review the way I parent, after being less than patient, and threatening to spank one of them for something that wasn't direct disobedience. (And a huge smack from the Holy Spirit that I was being unreasonable, which almost always gets my attention.)
I thought about what the Bible says:
Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
And what I was doing, which wasn't training. I was being unrealistic in my demands, and expecting a certain child to display behavior that they had not been trained to display.
So I began to think of how I could avoid this behavior in myself (necessary!) and in my child (for her benefit!).
The Lord gave me the thought that I have two parenting styles. Sometimes I am like a movie director. Wikipedia defines this person as: "A film director is one who visualizes the script, controlling a film's artistic and dramatic aspects, while guiding the technical crew and actors in the fulfillment of his or her vision."
My other style is like an executive producer which, defined by Wikipedia, is: "A person who is not involved in any technical aspects of the filmmaking or music process, but who is still responsible for the overall production. Typically an executive producer handles business and legal issues."
There's a major difference there, wouldn't you say?
The days when I am a director, I am in a good mood. I have been in God's Word, and have more patience than is my usual fleshly norm. I teach my children what I expect from them according to God's Word, and guide them toward the vision I have established for their behavior and lives. There are things I want to teach them, things I feel are essential to their well-being, character traits I want them to retain, and these are my responsibilities as their mom.
The days when I'm an executive producer I am grumpy, low on patience, and tend to parent from my chair. I am busy working on something, (whether it's essential or not is beside the point) and every interruption bothers me. I am not directly involved in shaping my children's behavior, but rather make demands on them (because I am their mother and will be blamed for their bad behavior) that may not be realistic. Everyone is miserable on those days, and I wonder what the kids' problem is.
Well, their problem is they have a mother who is not perfect, and forgets she has more of a responsibility than just imparting discipline.
Training my children starts by example. Like a director, I need to show them what I expect. A director knows each actor intimately, what motivation they need to give the best performance, and praises them for doing well. I need to do more of that. How can I get my children to give their best?
Like the director, I am also responsible for the level of drama in our home. My response to others affects everyone. I need to get down on my children's level and train them. Even if it means putting aside my "To Do List" for the day and showing them how to properly fold their laundry. Or taking an hour and watching them clean their room, stepping in when necessary to train them how they need to do it.
It's not enough to be the "executive producer". Detached, uninvolved, yet ultimately responsible for the final product. (Which includes the mood of our home, how our children speak to one another, and how they deal with others, etc.) I cannot sit in a chair working on the computer (or be in the kitchen baking, or painting, or any other thing you love to do on your own) and step in with comments once in a while and spankings every other once in a while, and expect the final product to be satisfactory.
Proverbs 29:15 "The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame."
I, as the mother, am responsible for my children's behavior. (Whether that's fair or not, it's how life is. Admit it.) How many times have you seen a spoiled, bratty kid beating up on someone else, or sticking his fingers in all the food, or throwing an absolute fit, and think: Where is that child's mother?!?
When I parent from my chair, or am only involved in the legal (basic, necessary) care of my children, they will bring me to shame because they have not been trained! They do that which is right in their own eyes. And their eyes are selfish, self-serving, and naughty! They will respond to others as they see me respond to them: impatient, having no compassion, quick to judge....the list goes on.
I don't want that!
I am making the commitment to be an active trainer (director) of my children. To be conscious of how I am responding to them, making sure that I am not only disciplining them, but making sure they know the expectations I have of them. It is unfair to all of us when I shirk my duties, and expect them to know things they haven't been taught. I want our home to glorify the Lord in all areas, and I need to step it up in this one.
So who's with me?