Book Recommendations, Lies I Believed, Parenting

Lies I Believed: Parents Can Fix Their Children

Pray then like this: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.

Matthew 6:9

One son held a grudge against a teacher. “Had I prayed with my son?” asked another teacher.

“Yes.”

“Had I prayed for him?”

“Yes.”

“Why wasn’t his attitude ‘fixed?'” she wondered. Maybe I hadn’t prayed enough.

“Had I encouraged another son who was shy?” asked a friend.

“Yes.”

“Perhaps he needs an incentive.”

“One morning, I offered a dime for every time he said ‘Hello.’ He declined.”

My friend wondered if there was another way to “fix” him.

I learned quickly I could not “fix” my sons. However, I felt guilty when I couldn’t, which probably meant deep down I thought I should.

It was decades later that I read The Lord’s Prayer by Thomas Watson. He begins by examining what it means for God to be our father.

God is the best Father in terms of Wisdom. He knows the fittest means to bring about his own design. … God is the best Father because he can Reform his children. God knows how to make his elect children better—he can change their hearts.

Thomas Watson, The Lord’s Prayer

Have you been expected to fix someone?

Parenting

A Kid Needs A Break

One thing I know for sure about raising children is that every single day a kid needs discipline…. But also every single day a kid needs a break.

Anne Lamott, Bird By Bird

I agree with Lamott, but I’ve seen the unfortunate consequences of parents regularly giving their children breaks. Who should?

My favorite answer is grandparents, but what if they aren’t available? Or best suited for the situation?

One night, my teen-aged nephew was speeding and was pulled by a police officer—who gave him a break.

I can give you a ticket, or you can call a parent to come here so we can talk.

A compassionate police officer

My nephew called my brother, who confiscated his keys and grounded him.

Years later, my nephew pulled a speeder. The driver was shaking and about to cry. My nephew said, “I’m going to do for you what someone did for me. I can give you a ticket, or you can call a parent to come here so we can talk.” She made the call.

I didn’t think to pray for people to give my sons breaks, but they received some crucial ones.

Do know children who need a break?

Homeschooling, Parenting

Learning New Standards

Along the way, I learned that I was more outdated than I thought.

When I reviewed homeschool portfolios for my county school system, some parents showed me work that demonstrated their children were below grade level. It was usually accompanied with “My kids know much more than I did at their age.” Unfortunately, that didn’t mean they were excelling. 

I knew my childhood and education were not a gauge for current expectations. When my oldest was starting high school. I attended conferences and listened to cassette tapes about college admissions—no podcasts back then. We were on track with an accelerated education. However, by the time my sons applied to college, I learned we had been hanging on. Standards had risen exponentially in four years.

A wonderful education was received at this college.

What if I had known? Would I have pressured myself and my sons? Would we have lowered our college expectations? I don’t know. Either would have been detrimental and unnecessary because my sons were admitted to their first-choice colleges and received scholarships.

What I do know is that keeping up is hard. Discerning when it doesn’t matter is even harder.

Friendship, Homeschooling, Parenting

I’m Glad I Didn’t Know

There are many things I wish I had known and learned along the way. However, there are many things I learned along the way that I’m glad I didn’t know.

I’m glad I didn’t know:

People’s hidden agendas, or I might not have had the courage to enter those relationships.

How hard homeschooling is, or I might not have had the courage to start—and finish.

How quickly my health could decline, or I might have wasted time worrying.

How many incompetent doctors there are, or I might not have had the courage to seek medical care.

How much my heart would be broken for my children, or I might not have had the courage to have children.

And more.

I believe our memories are one of God’s best gifts. I believe not having complete information can be another good gift.

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. Corrie Ten Boom

God's Faithfulness, Parenting

New Information, Please

You never know the kernels of wisdom you will learn when you attend a Bible study, I don’t remember the official topic, but I do remember the parenting advice I wish I had received years earlier.

Only bring new information in your pleas. Don’t tell me the same old stuff.

Children want parental decisions reversed, and wearing down the court is a familiar tactic. Karen gave the child a chance—with parameters for the battle. The child could only come back if he had information Karen didn’t know when she made her decision.

Even better, Karen made a spiritual application. “Doesn’t God think the same. Don’t keep confessing the same old sins. He has dealt with them. Bring him new information about your sins.”

God buries our sins in the depths of the sea and then puts up a sign that reads, “No fishing.”

Corrie Ten Boom

Thank you, Karen.