Monday, October 08, 2012

Leading Gently

No, we actually don't do our schoolwork on slates.  
Rowan was practicing her times tables at the one-room schoolhouse at Deanna Rose.  

Last week I asked one of my older kids to take over leading a portion of our memory work practice while I was unavailable for about 30 minutes.  After I came upstairs later, I was met by several children with animated accounts of who wasn't cooperating, who had a bad attitude, and who was irritating assorted people and in what ways.  This didn't really surprise me, as I know it's hard to submit to authority, period.  But especially when that authority is your not-that-much-older brother or sister.

I did my best to sort out what happened and talked to the offenders about their behavior, and then I pulled the child that was the designated leader of the memory work aside.  "You need to make it easy for them to follow you.  Don't lord it over them and be too bossy.  Be gentle, and kind, and they'll respond to you so much better. You might still have some problems, but you're automatically making them not want to obey you by your attitude."  A few minutes after giving this little talk, it suddenly occurred to me that I need to be reminded of that message, too.  (I'm a little slow sometimes!)  Do my children want to please me with their obedience?  Do I make it pleasant and easy?  Do they feel a sense of sadness when they disobey, or is my anger stirring up their own?

    Gracious words are like a honeycomb,
        sweetness to the soul and health to the body.
Proverbs 16:24 ESV

I'm always struck by stories (usually written in the 19th century) that portray children feeling deep sadness when they've disappointed their parents.  Now, I know these are fictional accounts, but I think there's a truth there: when you love and respect someone deeply, it hurts you when you hurt them. Ultimately as Christian parents, we are pointing our children to Christ.  We want our children to cling to Christ, to know that they are loved and accepted by God if they are truly saved.  We want them to want to obey the Lord, and to feel godly sorrow when they fail, leading them to repentance.  As a Mom, my job is to model these concepts, this love to my children.  I am to be a loving leader, a gentle guide.  This is my prayer, and has been for so many years: to be a gentle Mother, pointing my kids to the Lord.  Certainly my kids see the reality of a sinner saved by grace daily!  And I rest in that.  But I also want to grow in this way.

Lord, help us to lead our children gently, lovingly.  Help us to not be so busy or hurried that we lose sight of the most important job we have:  Loving you and loving others, starting with the little people right in our own homes.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Candice, I needed to hear that. It amazes me how often I learn from the situations with my kids. I do believe that God uses parenthood as a major refining process for parents in their own Christian walk. Thank you for your encouragement and edification. Love ya, Summer

Anne said...

Candice, I can't tell you how many times I've told Matt, "I wish this stage was over." Sadly, I'm afraid it's pretty often. And not only am I rushing phases/stages, I'm also quite often a frazzled, rushed mommy who shows no compassion or patience. How are my children going to see Christ through me if I'm not acting anything like him? Thank you for your words and the reminder of what our job is. :)