Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Instruction Through Confession

I wanted to make a note of something really important that I have noticed in parenting lately. It sounds simple but I know first hand how difficult and humbling it is to actually live it out. What is "it"? It's the power of instruction through confession with my kids.

The Lord gave me another opportunity with Siah today to encourage him to overcome something that he struggles with by confessing to him my own sin. The conversation went something like this...

(Preface... Siah had just yelled at Reesie because she didn't do what he was asking of her. At this point he's crying and carrying on and I start to talk to him about it ... )

M..."Siah, You need to stop raising your voice at Reesie when she doesn't listen to you the first time you ask her. When you raise your voice does that make the situation and better? Does Mama speak that way to you?"

(Right after I say this to him a huge light bulb turns on in my head... YES!!! Mama does speak that way to him!!! Not always, but for sure sometimes, I model this exact behavior to my children. When they don't listen to me quick enough or fast enough I raise my voice in hopes that they'll hear me better and want to obey... But instead it iritates them and often times causes them to shut down.)

So I bent down and looked Siah right in his face and confessed,

M..."Siah, actually, sometimes Mama does raise her voice at you to try and get you to listen. And I'm sorry about that cuz that's not the right way to handle that situation. How does it make you feel when Mama speaks that way to you?"

(Immediately after I confessed that I struggle with the same thing, Siah's crying and carrying on ceased. He began to answer my questions in a regular, self-controled voice. And he actually looked at my face and gave me his full attention.)

S... "Sad."

M... "When I speak to you with a harsh, loud tone does that make you wanna listen to me?"

S... "No."

M... "So do you think that when you raise your voice at your sister that makes her want to listen you?

S... No.

M... "So what could we do instead of raising our voice?

S... "We can ask once. If they don't listen, we can ask Mama for help. "

M... "That is a much better way to handle that. Now let's go try again the right way."

Then he went to Reesie apologized, and then asked her again in a kind voice. She didn't listen, so he asked he me help. I helped him. Then we went on with our day.

It was so cool for me to see how quickly his demenor changed the moment that he heard me say that I struggled with the same thing.

Being appropriately honest about my struggles is something that I really appreciated about my own mother. I don't really remember how she was towards me when I was really small but as a teenager I can remeber countless converstions where she was honest and humble. She never gave me an excessive amount of information but when I was struggling with a partiular sin, she was really good about reminding through her own confessions that I was not alone in my sin. And she was commited to figuring out a better, healthier way to overcome that sin rather than just staying stuck in that sin. She was willing to walk with me and hold me accountable to improving that part of my life. I would like to give that same gift to my kids. But in order to do that I have to take the time and humble my heart enough to confess to my kids when I am in the wrong.

I know it's been quite some time since I've written much on our blog. But in the midst of the business that has filled our lives over the past four weeks I still find myself learning important lessons that I don't wanna forget... The power of confession with my kids being one of those things. :)


Tara and I will be loading up the kids in her car and heading out to CO in just 2 days. The boys will be joining us next wednesday when we move in to our new places. They're staying behind to wrap things up around here. But once we leave town I know that I'll have a bit more time to blog about all the emotions and details of this move, of this past year in the big house on the hill, of our family happenings, of our growing baby in my tummy.

I'm looking forward to catching up. :)