I have been a mother for 16 years. That may not seem like long to some and to others it may seem like an eternity. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to say…
Don’t touch that.
Keep your hands to your self.
Say thank you.
and on and on.
Sixteen years later and four children I have learned that disciplining and discipleship are akin to cleaning house. Take the windows in my home for example. During the summer months my windows are dry and clean and only require a wiping maybe twice during the entire seasons.
On the other hand, during the colder months, if I were to go just one week without disinfecting the windowsills, I will open the shade to find black furry mold growing around the window panes.
A Time To Discipline
The same is true with raising children. You can go for months on end thinking that they have grasped a particular principle. You find that you have to correct them less and less about a particular behavior until you can’t remember the last time you had to correct them.
Just when you are ready to rejoice, because it appears that they’ve mastered a particular flaw – only to see that same destructive character trait rear it’s ugly head.
What I realized by observing the seasonal condensation and humidity cycle in my windowsill is that mold will always return under the right conditions and so will childish behavior.
With just a little moisture and a bit of food such as dust for the mold to feed on and the problem reappears. The same is the case with childish behavior. Tiny agitators such as foolish or selfish thoughts can begin to accumulate within our children’s minds hidden from our view. All can appear great and suddenly childish behavior is back on the scene.
It can range from haughty looks, to snarky responses.
It can be something as subtle as a child who slow to respond to the instruction of a parent…
Or as great as a child who slams doors when they angry.
Whatever the behavior how do we nip the problem in the bud once and for all?
I don’t pretend to have all of the answers but I will share with you what I believe that we are called to do as parents.
Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep (Proverbs 24:33).
The ants gather in the summer even when there is no sign of snow. They do it because even though they can not see the snow, they understand how the seasons work. I think that the same is true with raising children.
We must continue to guide our children in all areas, even those that they seem to have mastered. If we like a shepherd, consistently gently guide their behavior, then we can prevent the need for aggressive measures to herd them in when things have gotten out of hand.
A Time To Disciple
I normally sit back and enjoy the summers, giving myself a break from cleaning the windowsills every week. Since it’s gotten colder the windowsills have been surprising me with fuzzy mold every other week.
As a result I’ll clean the sills once a week from now on, even through the summer months. If nothing else this will help me build the discipline to attack the problem proactively rather than re-actively.
The same will be the case with child rearing. It will be consistent in disciplining and disciplining my children even when it appears that they are not struggling with childishness.