Friday, August 15, 2014

Have A New Kid By Friday

     On a recent trip to the Christian book store, I came across a new book "Have A New Kid By Friday" by Dr. Kevin Leman.  No, I don't have terrible kids, but I am always on the lookout for new ideas or a better approach.  Almost a million copies of it had been sold, & it was only $5.  So I thought, why not?  I am very thankful that I did!  I'll summarize just a few things that the book covers, but you should definitely buy it & read it for yourself!!!  Each technique described is easy & practical.  It all makes perfect sense! 
  • QUIT repeating yourself.  Simply say what you mean only once in a calm voice, turn & walk away expecting your children to do as they are told. 
  • QUIT rewarding bad behavior!!!  Simply do not go to the next fun event or let them do what they want to do next when they didn't accomplish your previous request. 
  • QUIT explaining the situation out to your kiddos.  After all, they are kids.  They don't need long, drawn out adult explanations unless they come with questions and the right attitude to hear an answer.  Things are what they are.  Their choices = their consequences!
A few of the "funnier" suggestions in the book that we've tried by specific category~
  • The lazy child must pay another sibling to complete the task.  This worked well with our Marianna.  The 1st $1 she had to issue Kaley for hanging up her bath towel seemed to be no big deal to her.  Now, she is now out of a total of $6 & not liking that at all!  I don't even have to remind them after every bath to do this anymore nor do I issue the same exact tasks every morning of brush your teeth, make your bed, get dressed, etc.  I expect it, they are capable, & it gets done.  Easy as that!
  • The vehicle will STOP as soon as the chaos beings!!  It's distracting.  What's even worse is when you begin yelling back in attempt to stop the madness, creating even more chaos.  The vicious cycle continues as does the parental arm flailing.  It just can't be safe!  QUIT with the fussing & threats.  Just QUIT!  Stop driving.  Pull over in a safe spot.  Wait.  Soon they will get the idea.  Soon you will begin again.  If not, calmly exit the vehicle & breathe in the fresh air.  Wait a little longer.  Repeat as many times as necessary.  Their attempts at getting your attention as something convenient to do in the close quarters to pass the time just backfires.  If they are late for something they want to go to, even better!  When we tried this, both times you could hear a pin drop!  The 2nd time, they took the hint & quit.  It worked a pure miracle!
  • Children must bathe.  If not willfully, a parent will finish the task for you calmly with cold water.  The other night we had church which obviously rushes our time frame for baths & supper.  I made one announcement that we had church & I wanted everyone to get a bath & come to eat supper.  I didn't keep repeating myself.  I ignored Clay as he continued to play.  I just kept on cooking.  I even turned on some calming music since after a little while he laughed & said, "Mama, I'm not bathing."  I've never had him actually say that before, so it took a lot of self control for me to ignore.  Then, I guess thinking I had completely lost my mind by not telling him over again & that he was really going to get away with this, he got super rowdy running & playing.  The rest of the kids all bathed.  They even kept informing me of what Clay was doing.  I kept cooking & set the table, acting as if it didn't concern me.  At the announcement to come to supper, Nathan removed Clay from the table & proceeded to bathe him.  He was NOT happy about this at all!  His actions backfired on who?  Himself!  Once his cold bath was over, the rest of us were finished eating.  He looked very sad as he sat at the table by himself.  The next night, he was the 1st one in the tub & kept yelling, "I'm in the bathtub Mama!"
    If you like these principles, you'll LOVE the book!  Time & space won't allow me to expound on all of the topics & ideas covered.  Besides, I'm still learning!  Could you imagine your parents swallowing their pride enough to take you to church with your PJs or no shoes on???  I would imagine it would only take once for a very important lesson to be learned!!!
     I'm learning that parenting is more about how you parent than how your kids act.  In other words, the way you parent results in the way your household is run.  My new moto~ TALK LESS, DO MORE!  Actions are more powerful than words!  For example, kids understand not being allowed to eat ice cream because of their messy room that you previously asked them to clean up.  What I have witnessed in our experience of trying this out over the last few days is that this allows me to defuse & not punish them out of anger.  I can calm myself & breathe & not immediately enter battle over the fact that they chose not to obey.  In time, the punishment will come.  The child will be sorrowful, mind, & take your expectations more seriously next time.  This takes some major dedication to fulfill!
     By all means, if you want a chaotic household, repeat orders while getting progressively LOUDER over & over, get angry, & dish out punishments in the heat of the moment.  I choose not to do this.  I choose that what I say is important enough to be headed & obeyed the very first time.  I choose to be respected.  This creates the right kind of Attitude, Behavior, & Character in your kiddos!  My desire is to have a fun loving family that can enjoy each other!  I also desire to turn out adults into this world that can make a difference!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Content~To Be Or Not To Be?

"He who is not contented with what he has,
would not be contented
with what he would like to have." -Socrates
     I recently came across this quote in a book by my favorite author, Valorie Burton.  To say I have this all figured out would be a major understatement.  In fact, reading that quote & pondering what it means allowed me do a lot of reflecting & self inventory.  We probably are all very familiar with the scriptures in Philippians 4 "...for I have learned, that whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."  Yet I am anxiously awaiting, in our current state of limbo, for an answer & ask, "Where is your will for us Lord?"
     So how does Paul go from being a Pharisee which are known for being prosperous & ultra materialistic to being content with humble means or harsh circumstances in prison?  For in this same chapter he admonishes, " Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice."  He thinks enough of this statement to confirm it over again with repetition.  When I think of this topic of contentment & rejoicing, thanksgiving can't help but flow!  We are so blessed with abundance!  We have plenty of food & to spare, beautiful property, a thriving business, a fully decorated home, an abundance of clothing & shoes, etc.  How can I even think about wanting more, more, more except out of greed & selfishness?  Hoarding up material possessions can most certainly be the devil's distraction!
     The single change Paul's life points to is Christ.  Jesus made the difference in his life & his outlook.  Paul seemed to have lived the full spectrum of having a lot & having only a little.  His words in these scriptures proves that he had broken his attachment to things.  It indeed is more of an internal lesson that I need to learn. 
     Just last night, our family devotional covered the basis of Matthew 6:33 & the theme was "The most important things in life aren't things."  We discussed several scenarios & tried to explain priorities.  We each shared examples of things we wouldn't really even miss if we got rid of.  The kids soon caught on.  They started rationalizing that they would rather toss the rug that was merely for decoration than their beds & soft pillows.  We even discussed computers, telephones, alarm clocks, toys, air conditioning, our frequent trips to the local Dairy Queen for ice cream treats, & other such luxuries that we so often take for granted & give no thought to the fact that these are our WANTS & not needs.
     Following Paul's example, I too want to grasp that things are just things.  There are not even any fancy words for things...just merely your stuff, possessions, & belongings.  Oftentimes, things can be lost much faster & easier than you can ever gain them.  We know with assurance that these things don't determine our value or worth & that you most certainly can't take any of them with you when you die.  Paul had some of the most tremendous ups & downs.  Yet, it was never recorded where his more prosperous times were his pinnacle of achievement nor does the Bible refer to him as a failure or a quitter as he finds himself imprisoned.  His goal was simply to fulfill what God called him to do & all of those other things were just peripheral, coming & going with no real relevance.
     Do I believe that contentment means always willing to settle for mediocrity?  Nope!  Instead, I see it as being satisfied at whatever place in life God has us at, while trusting that He does have our best interest at heart.  We don't have to have everything!  We can exercise patience & self control.  Do I believe he wants us to not succeed or rather fail?  Nope!  He sees fit to bless us in His time & according to His will.  So as our family plunges ahead into uncharted waters, I am trying to learn these lessons that Paul did and be content in my present circumstances of not knowing what lies ahead, while trusting that God is all knowing & taking me from glory to glory!  After all, our life is not measured by our material possessions but rather the only thing that matters is how much of our hearts we allow Him to rein in & possess!
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God,
and his righteousness,
and all these things shall be added unto you."  Matthew 6:33
     I desire for my family to be of use to God & open to His will!  Pray for us as we seek His direction.  He knows what's best for us & continues to amaze with His perfect timing!