I came away from the homeschool convention that we attended last month feeling like a changed mama.
It wasn’t the curriculum I browsed, the educational theories, or the different homeschool methods I learned about that made this difference.
For me, the experience of letting the wisdom of parents who shared their failures, the grace of God through those failures, and their new found freedom in parenting that made the biggest impact in my life.
The statement that resonated with me throughout everything that I learned was, “The best discipline in life is self-discipline.”
This was in a workshop on calm parenting.
I have desired to be that kind of parent, one with a calm demeanor and a stress-free home that is filled with peace.
Sadly, that is not the kind of parent I have been.
Oh, I probably look like it on the outside and to the common observer to me and my children.
We can put on a good show.
But putting on a good show I not what I want for myself of my family.
I have struggled with anger, with stress, with anxiety, and impatience, especially when it comes to parenting one little boy who is a bit strong willed and difficult.
Guilt has consumed me.
The week before we attended the Great Homeschool Convention in SC, was one of the most stressful times I can remember in our home. There was fighting, yelling, and lots of tears.
I needed something to make a difference for me and for our family and it wasn’t going to be curriculum.
So, I determined to soak up every bit of parenting wisdom I could in the relatively few hours that I had during the weekend.
The three sessions that I got the most out of were, “10 Secrets to a Stress-Free Home”, “Discipline that Works when Consequences and Time Outs Don’t” (both led by Kirk Martin of Calm Christian Parenting) and “Raise them Up, Don’t Crush Them Down” led by Mark Hamby of Lamplighter Ministries.
Here are some bits of wisdom that I gleamed from these sessions…
It is impossible to control the behavior of another human being.
I cannot control the behavior of my children. They will make their own choices and there will be consequences to those choices. I can only control my own behavior and how I react to them.
Discipline is something you do for your kids not to your kids.
Discipline is not a bad thing, nor is is a dirty word. It isn’t done to punish or to get revenge for bad behavior. Discipline is something that we, as parents, do for our children, to shape them into responsible people.
Vision in the home
Dads who can control their own behavior and emotions, moms who are confident in their parenting, and kids in our homes who can control their own behavior and emotions.
You don’t get to determine my mood…I do.
We provoke our kids more than we think. We expect a 4 year old to calm down when they’re upset when we can’t.
Sometimes humility in a parent is the most powerful tool.
One of the best things I’ve ever done as a parent is to humbly go to my children and apologize when I have hurt them and have neglected to control my own behavior. This one act has done so much for building and repairing relationships with my children.
Kids want our intensity. And we tend to give it to them negatively. Praise your kids with intensity.
We’re really good at being intense with our discipline when we get frustrated, yell, and basically lose control. Sometimes we’re just giving our children what they want, but in a very negative way. Instead, learn to praise your children with the same and maybe even more intensity. Give them what their hearts desire in a positive way.
Instead of telling them what not to do, give them something to do.
When my little ones are getting into things or doing things that they should not be getting into and doing instead of constantly telling them, “stop!” and “no” or “don’t do that!”, I’ve changed my response to “here do this” or “do that instead”. This has made a difference in their response and has eliminated a lot of my frustrations.
Don’t strive for perfection in your children. Let them see you grasping for grace everyday.
This goes along with having humility as a parent. Let them see you fail and struggle. It is so important to live transparent lives, even before our children.
If you’re not reaching the heart, it’s all for naught.
My goal as a parent is not to create rule followers, but to develop my children’s heart. To reach their hearts not just for obedience to me, but to reach them for Christ.
Our children need to see our compassions that are new every morning towards them just like God’s towards us.
I fail every single day and rely on God’s grace and compassion towards me that is new every single morning. Shouldn’t our children receive the same from us? It may be the only way they will learn of God’s grace and compassion towards them.
I am going to end with a quote from Mark Hamby that really sums up what God was speaking to my heart,
“Our children need to see grace demonstrated in our lives on a daily basis. Realize that you have been given something free yourself. Parenting is about sacrifice, humility, brokenness. Just remember one thing…Jesus said, ‘I’ll be with you. I’ll be with you always.’ Our children need to hear this from us, with outstretched arms.”
When I signed up to attend my first homeschool conference I didn’t expect to walk away a better mom. I expected to browse curriculum and learn methods of teaching, but not parenting.
I am so thankful that God knew exactly what I needed and He provided so abundantly.
Life hasn’t been a piece of cake since we’ve come home a month ago, but I can see definite improvement.
Our home is much less stressful because I am constantly reminding myself that the best discipline in life, and thus, in our home is self-discipline…my own self-discipline.
I am developing a relationship with all of my children, but especially my little boy through showing him grace, compassion, love and being humble before him as I parent relying on God’s grace towards me.