The last few days I’ve been working on helping my girls keep their rooms clean. Since their room is upstairs, I don’t always see the room before it turns into a disaster. The process of destruction takes less than ten minutes, so it’s easily missed. I spent some time sorting through their clothes, putting away winter things and clothes that they never wear. Then we started to work on the clutter.
Here’s how it happened.
I announced that we were going to clean their room. We all went upstairs.
- “Why are there scissors in your bed?”
- “What is all this paper on the floor? Here! and Here!”
- There’s paper everywhere!
- Where did all of this yarn come from?
- There are books everywhere!
- What happens when you leave books on the floor? They get ruined.
- Look at this book. Mommy spent a long time FIXING this book and it’s broken again.
After a few minutes of my running commentary (complete with biblical references and principles) on every paper and scrap, I realized that I wasn’t doing right. I needlessly discouraged them. My comments weren’t discipling them. I had already corrected them about the state of their room, and I didn’t need to keep commenting.
So I stopped ranting. Told them that I was there to help them, and that we would all work together. (I’ve done this before, but it needed saying again.) And again, gave the girls specific tasks. I took the scissors downstairs. 🙂 Someone started singing, “”Encourage one another and build each other up.” Is it possible that they recognize the difference between rants and biblical edification?
I’ve been discussing my mom’s book Parenting with Wisdom with some friends. Here is a paragraph from chapter three that we talked about this week:
Parents would do well to consider how merciful and patient God is with them. Before pointing out a child’s failure, it would be wise to remember the way we would like to be treated when we fail. We tend to accept correction from those who temper it with love and mercy, who do not correct out of anger or disgust, but deal with us gently for our benefit. Children are no different. They are little people with emotions as tender as our own, and have a spirit that can be easily wounded by harshness. They cannot withstand an onslaught of demands and corrections. They become easily agitated and discouraged when parents do not use wisdom in choosing what really needs to be dealt with and what needs to be overlooked. (Parenting with Wisdom, page 54)
Do not withhold Your tender mercies from me, O LORD;
Let Your lovingkindness and Your truth continually preserve me.
12 For innumerable evils have surrounded me;
My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to look up;
They are more than the hairs of my head;
Therefore my heart fails me. Psalm 40:11-12
If I pray this for myself, recognizing the need for God’s tender mercies when my sin overtakes me, discouraging me to the point where I am ashamed to look up into God’s loving eyes, can I not ask God to teach me how to properly respond to my dear children when they are at the same place?