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i finished our advent calendar. yesterday on december 1. precisely 30 minutes before the first activity.
it’s cute. here’s a picture:
this weekend i can share the details of what’s in all of those envelopes.
in the meantime i am going to do a bit of whining. you don’t have to read this if you don’t want to.
i’ll write about it, and then i will be over it. okay?
i have strep throat.
no biggie – right? but this is strep throat after: five days of an intense stomach virus for shilah, five days of the flu for shilah, a ~5-day cold for each of the three of us, and a sinus infection and ear infection for shilah. also somewhere in there jon and i both got versions of the flu, it was near the beginning but i don’t remember much besides sweating out a fever in the middle of the night and that a new container of 50 ibproufen went empty in a matter of five days or so.
i am tired of either missing stuff or going places feeling like crap or holding a sick toddler.
that’s all for now. i feel silly writing this. we have medical care and medicine and our general health is fine.
at the beginning of the month we went to Colorado Springs with Jon’s family. We were there Thursday-Monday and we packed the weekend with tons of activities and time seeing all the places from Jon and his siblings’ childhoods. We went to places like palmer park, garden of the gods, the flying W ranch, the balloon races, the pantry, and fargo’s. All that and we even skipped things like going to pike’s peak and the air force academy in the name of naptime.
And, just so I can document this – Shilah did excellent on the plane. She played and played and slept only the last few minutes of the second flight on each leg of the trip!
Here’s the photo recap:
Part 3: Targeting the Heart
We must be aiming to impact the hearts of our children and not just change their behaviour.
We live out of our hearts:
“For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” –Luke 6: 43-45
God has already given us everything we need to guidance. He is in me, for me, and with me.
Each person’s heart is their causal core. According to the Bible, the heart can: repent, believe, see, pray, sing, discern, grieve, think, list, give, harden, fear, hate, love, pray, turn away, rejoice, know, remember. The things you do and say are an overflow of the heart. You can’t do or say something and then say that you “didn’t mean it.” You did mean it. Your heart was angry. You wanted to hurt someone.
We have to focus on the heart of our kids, and not their outward resulting actions. Lasting change travels through the pathway of the heart, so that the resulting behavior is good, genuinely good. In our frustration as parents, we use:
- threats (“you don’t want to know what will happen if you keep xxx”),
- manipulation (“if you are good, you can have xxx”)
- guilt (“you shouldn’t be driving your parents crazy like this”).
These things may change behaviour, but they don’t change heart motivations. When that child is faced with a decision on their own, without a nagging parent hanging above them threatening, manipulating, and guilting them, they’ll make the bad decision because there’s no overflow of good direction in their heart. Instead, we have to see that we have no ability to change our kids on our own. Our teaching helps protect them, but does not restore them. Only Jesus can help you teach them, and only Jesus can restore their hearts.
Being an Example:
Every time you talk to them about their behavior, tell them also how you struggle. Model an understanding of what’s beneath their disobedience.
What that looks like for us:
- Understanding that Shilah’s behaviour comes from her heart has to be coupled with knowing that when discipline is hard or days are just challenging, God is not so unkind or unwise that he will call you to a task and not enable you to do it.
- As a parent, we shouldn’t get angry. If I was truly concerned about the condition if my kids’ hearts, I wouldn’t be angry – I would be loving and compassionate and perseverant. In an instance that I am angry or upset or frustrated, I am angry not because she defied God, but because she defied me. She broke my law or intruded on my comfort. As parents, we have to get over ourselves. Confess to God that you are incapable of leading your kids with your own strength. God is calling you to value something greater than your laws and your comfort. This means a lot of prayer, for my own attitude and my own heart.
How it’s going:
- There’s not a lot of immediate satisfaction in parenting. Sometimes, there is, but some days you’re disciplining a lot and they’re tiring and so whiny and it would be easier to let them watch three hours of TV and get some work done, because accomplishment in work often reaps praise quickly. It’s easier to just correct their crappy behaviour so that they’re not making you look bad in public or leaving you with a headache at the end of the day. It’s hard to parent, but I am trusting that it’s worth it.
- We have to relate to them. I struggle everyday, so I can’t be surprised when she does too. In defiance, I turn off my alarm and go back to sleep in the morning. In defiance, Shilah turns and runs the other way when I ask her to come here please. Same thing. So, when I am disciplining, I try and talk to her a bit. “I know it’s hard to obey mama sometimes, and it’s more fun to play with your toys right now, but we need to clean up so that our friends feel welcome when they come over! Can you trust mama and obey?”
Next week, I will walk through practical questions to use in talking with your child. It’s my favorite part of everything we’ve learned!
shilah is spoiled with talent around her.
my aunt knit her this hat when she was a wee baby:
she has also knit a super sweet dress and bib, and now this sweater, presented with a matching dress and sandals. so cute!
if you are wondering, you can’t have this sweater. i mean, you could try begging aunt susan, but she is a creative bird and shouldn’t be caged. she doesn’t often make the same thing twice and that makes every piece so, so special!
i could tell you how fast one year goes and how so much changes and how much they grow.
i could tell you how weird it is when you think…no, it can’t have been a whole year. but then it has.
or i could just show you this:
sometimes i have those days.
sometimes you have those days.
i set my alarm for 6, to get up early and get a few things done before you wake.
but you wake up crying. it’s only 4:58 and you’re ready for the day. a but sleepy, a bit whiny, but ready nonetheless.
the whininess turns to defiance and you’re driving your parents to discussions about your discipline before the sun even rises.
we read books, we play outside, we water plants. we go for a jog and you fall asleep with your head to the side like only a child can do. a head and a body with no semblance of a functional neck.
we come inside. it is only 8am.
you’re frustrated. threatening to scream or want to cuddle at any minute. I don’t know which is coming and I don’t think you do either.
you bring me your bug costume and we put it on. It helps a little.
you play, alone. you don’t want help and you’ll let me know when you do.
your sweaty curls matted to your forehead. the blocks are on the floor and there’s a bit of regret in your tired eyes about dumping them all on the ground.
but like all hard days, yours and mine, there are bits of joy and sweetness and laughter that remind us of our Hope.
thank you for the bits of sweetness and joy.
A house that slept 30+ adults and fed them all in a giant kitchen. Rooms with their own bathrooms and closets that were fully equipped with lights and vents ad plenty large enough to fit a pack-and-play (or an inflatable mattress, for that matter) and everything that goes along with a child. Access to the lake and a dock and a big yard for the littles to play.
We all had a blast. Thanks, dad!
afternoons on the deck:
basking in never-ending attention:
shilah after eleven hours in the car:
dada and Shilah in the library room:
the b&w portraits:
and our oklahoma cousin:
happy fathers day to my husband.
who is a great dad. you let shilah know you love her and you teach her well. when you are gone during the day, she asks for you. when you come home, she lights up. i look forward to seeing you teach and train and love her for so many more years.
i love you!
happy father’s day to my dad.
who has been wonderful to me for twenty-six years.
who taught me how to swim and how to ride a bike and how to remove a splinter and tie a knot and troubleshoot a leaky toilet and understand that a car is not an investment. among other things
i love you, dad!
one of my favorite things lately is seeing bits of my early childhood by watching you with shilah: