disciple before you discipline

disciple before you discipline

When my first-born was a toddler, and his baby brother napped in a bassinet nearby, we would draw together, talk together, read together, be together. We memorized Scripture songs and prayed for our loved ones, filled sticker books, laid out the tracks for Thomas the Tank Engine, made cookies for neighbors, and often walked the mile to our local church. And everywhere we went, every time we sat down, each nap-time as we laid down and rose up again, I discipled my child.     “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9   There’s a holy order to growing up in Christ, and there’s an order to our children growing up, too. It’s not as elusive as it seems on most long parenting days. It’s actually quite simple. First we disciple them, then we layer in discipline, and finally we pull back our need to discipline as they grow in self-discipline. DISCIPLE DISCIPLINE SELF-DISCIPLINE Read more about each important...
Because we all end up bowed down, low to the ground, eventually

Because we all end up bowed down, low to the ground, eventually

My posture these days is running, standing, and going. My posture is muscular and active –  throwing people and priorities out of the way and out of my day because the school bell is set to ring. There’s very little slowing down and kneeling down and falling down prostrate on the floor in quiet surrender because… well… Life.     There is no time to fill up our souls with God’s beauty before the sun rises – before my sons rise – and so we rush into life lacking beauty. Beauty within and beauty flowing out into the lives of our little people. We throw make-up on our faces at stoplights, but we can’t cake it on thick enough that it eeks it’s way down through our pores and into our souls. True beauty doesn’t work that way. It’s got to start deep within, and work it’s way up and out. But we’re living lives that are much too busy for such things. Hurried, harried, and horrible: they go together. But hurried and holy rarely co-exist. Holy and hallowed and hushed, now those are true companions. They meet together in the morning hours before the sun steals past the beauty of dawn. We need to join them there. We need to fellowship with the Holy One – slowing down, sitting down, and coming down off our cram-packed agendas to seek Him on the floor. On the floor. Because that’s where every person is going to end up, eventually. Either on purpose, prostrating oneself in worship, intentionally in the morning hours; or at night in a tearful puddle; or, and this is a frightening thought,...
Over-Stimulated Children – Over-Stimulated Mom

Over-Stimulated Children – Over-Stimulated Mom

I walked into the sterile room with florescent lights, and draped an extra blanket over the top of my sleeping baby’s stroller. Only four weeks old, he slept most of every day (thoughtfully preserving his strength for our midnight bonding sessions). We waited so long for the pediatrician I eventually fell asleep in the exam room’s plastic blue chair, slumped over like a worn rag doll. When the doctor walked in I startled awake and smiled awkwardly. He nodded like I wasn’t the first new mom to doze off waiting on him.   Over the next ten minutes he asked me a litany of questions about how the baby was sleeping and feeding and pooping. He worked his way through a clip-board list of details and when he finished his questions (but before rousing my baby to count his fingers and toes) he asked me two surprising questions. First, he asked me if I’d yet had a date with my husband since the birth. I said no, of course, the child was only one month old after all. So he wrote me a prescription for a date night and placed it in my hand. “Take one of these a month, once a week is even better, but in the very least once a month. I’ll check in on you at your son’s three month check up. This is for your health. It’s just one of the thing that you and your husband need to do to have a healthy marriage… therefore it’s what your son needs too. And I’m his Doctor.”   Children need their parents to date. Click To Tweet   Then came the Doctor’s second question. “Did you hang a...
Noise and Boys and Noisy Boys… and boys who make noise

Noise and Boys and Noisy Boys… and boys who make noise

  Just the other day I snapped this picture of my eldest son in our family room, and remembered how I had planned to decorate that wall this summer. But the time got away somehow, and I’m still left with all that white space. When I pick up a home decorating magazine in the checkout line, or scroll through Instagram, I suddenly feel this overwhelming urge to frame pictures and buy mirrors, hanging them all together in some eclectic pattern that compliments our LOUD orange couch and ragamuffin boys. Only… all that white space feels calming in a home full of rough and tumble sons rolling pell-mell out of bed and straight into conflict and loud happy sounds each day. So much noise. Noise and boys and noisy boys assail my sensibilities from Son up til Son down. And smack dab in the middle of the cacophony I can’t bring myself to decorate those white walls – because I need space to breath. Do you know what all that empty space says about me? I need a lot of white space. A LOT of white space! Quiet lovely white spaces that feel like white noise… when there isn’t any of that. Walls without tons of color and countertops without tons of clutter. Which is why all the noise that comes with boys feels like stress on each and every nerve. Because I experience beauty and comfort in the empty spaces. Always have – I can see that looking back now. How I couldn’t have a roommate in college because I needed long stretches of quiet. But that’s not possible today, because these little roommates are my children! Though I...
Because sometimes that one child, with all their special needs, takes everything you have

Because sometimes that one child, with all their special needs, takes everything you have

Do you have a child with impulse control issues, ADHD, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Aspergers, Autism, Dyslexia, APD, Depression, Anxiety, or a unique concoction of those listed above? And is it hard? I bet it is. I know it is. Having a child (or children) with special needs, behavioral disorders and learning difficulties can be one of the most difficult weights to bear. And under the pressure, moms can explode and marriages implode and love erode. It’s all so very complicated.     One sweet mom recently asked for prayer concerning her anger, and was so insightful to recognize the connection between the constant energy her child with unique needs requires and her own twitchy trigger finger.  She confessed the way she tends to explode at the rest of the family when she is simply worn out by her one special child. Yes. I can relate. I remember going to the psychiatrist for the first time with my son with ADHD. After he was assessed and diagnosed I immediately started talking about all the other issues in our family and the possible disorders my other kids might have. The doctor smiled, nodded, and said, “It’s very possible nobody has any diagnosable issues. They have issues, but the sort of issues that come from proximity. Don’t worry. Let’s see if we can help this one kid first. Usually what happens is that once we help one child with impulse control and oppositional tendencies everyone else’s behavior in the home begins to change.   Kids with behavioral, developmental, or learning issues often cause the whole family to have issues as well. And to some extent I’ve seen...

when your children want to fight – ding ding ding – send them to their corners

Summer’s halfway through. June with it’s temperatures slowly rising and July with her fireworks, bare feet and drippy Popsicles.  Your boy has sweat beads forming on his upper lip, resting there all masculine on peach fuzz.  The bottoms of his feet are black from the pavement, and you holler, “wash those feet off before you get on the couch.” It’s all been good so far this summer, except for when it hasn’t been good. Because sometimes boys get themselves all bound up into a negative place where only punches and complaints can make sense of it. Except it never does. Arguing, competing, fighting for the biggest piece of cherry pie never settles anything except for a mother’s resolve to keep training those strong-willed boys.     Before I wake up I often hear words coming from their room, biting and unkind. I hear them jesting and jostling over the plastic tingling sound of a pile full of lego. What happened to their cheerful hearts and pleasant play? They’re all flexing muscles now to the point of feelings torn and bruised. It’s a competition – who can be the loudest or the rudest or say the meanest thing. Three brothers close in age, I get how it can happen in the sweetest families.  But what to do when they raise your roof? When their hollers make us want to holler back? I have a choice to make. Either jump into the ring and start swinging and yelling and fighting with the whole lot of them? “You be quiet! Enough! I’m not going to take that kind of attitude, young man! You...