The car. (NEED I SAY MORE?) The car poses all sorts of problems in my world. It's right up there with the cell phone. It's almost as though when I get in (or on) the children know I have no access to them. I'm bound by my seatbelt (and well driving) and/or the person's ability to hear my response to the kids/my need not to look like a crazy mother.
Today we are in the car and thinking I had figured out how to keep the car from being an avenue for punishment... I had my I-pod tuned to a new Beth Moore podcast. The kids were sitting in their carseats quietly. Within minutes I hear the sounds of the children raging in the back seats. I pause Beth and at a light, turn toward my loving children and politely, kindly, with all the Godliness of a saint say, "I'll need you boys to settle down. You're behaving like you are at a park not in a car." (Feel free to pat me on the back. That was handled WELL. Very atypical of me. )
It didn't take long for the boys to be slapping, yelling, screeching, and namecalling above the sounds of Beth Moore. Again, in the love of God, but with a more serious undertone, I called the children to account, "Boys, I've asked you once to settle down and behave as though you are in a car. It is unacceptable to hit one another, yell, and mostly name call. You need to practice both obedience and kindness. Do not make me address this with you again." (See- God is working in me. Actually THROUGH me... that was all Him.)
Well, minutes later- the peace had ended and the boys were back at it. And, sadly, I lost it.
"Why do I hear you? Why are you hitting? Didn't I just explain to you TWICE that this behavior was unacceptable? Why can't you boys be obedient? I will deal with you when we are out of this car. I warned you and now there will be no mercy."
And then it hit me... actually He hit me... Ok, nudged me- "What if I treated you the same way? What if I said to you , 'I warned you and now there will be no mercy?' Do I not afford you more opportunity to grow in your obedience to me before giving you the consequence, that which is deserved, for behavior not of me?"
Of course He is right. I'm not sure why I would expect so much out of my children. They are still just kids. I need to find a balance with them that allows them to be children and grow in their choices of behavior and speech. I need to discipline them in Love as the Father disciplines me- and know when to extend punishment or mercy. I want to instill in them a relationship with the Lord that brings about in them a desire to honor their father and mother... not beat them over the head with the legalities of right and wrong.
Feel free to pray for me. This doesn't come naturally. I have much more of a propensity toward the yelling and punishment side but I have a deep desire to grow in Him so I continue to submit myself to Him often. ESPECIALLY in the area of parenting.