Still catching up on my postings, so here is Day 11: Love Cherishes. In this day's reading the Love Dare discusses the importance of understanding that when you treat your spouse in a negative way, you are also treating yourself in a negative way because husbands are instructed to love their wives as themselves (Ephesians 5:29-29). Since I am not doing this as a marriage, the husband scenario doesn't really fit...however, what does fit, is that our children are a part of us in more ways than one. Yes, literally our children are a part of us because they are made from and carried in our bodies. But have you ever noticed that a newborn baby will respond to the environment based on their mother's reaction? If the mother is tense or stressed the baby will be fussy and cry more, BUT, if she is relaxed and calm the baby is likely to also be calm. I think this is an interesting thing to just consider for a minute...to think about how much our children truly learn from us.
Think about all the times you stop to listen to your child playing "school" or "mommy" to her stuffed bear--have you ever heard them scold their stuffed toy in a way that reminds you of yourself? I have and it really opened my eyes to how Maddie may view me. I didn't have to sit her down and teach her how to "discipline" her stuffed toy...she learned it be watching me and how I interact with her. I think we can all use that reminder to treat others as an extension of ourselves--basically: FOLLOW THE GOLDEN RULE! But I think this especially applies to our children...I know I need the reminder to cherish every day I have with her, even those days in which she is more stubborn than I am and I feel frustrated. I need to remember that even when I am not "teaching" her, Maddie is learning things from me about who she is, how she should act, and how she should expect to be treated. So I better make our interactions the best that I can so that Maddie learns she is a person of great value to me, that she should also act kindly towards others, and that she should expect to be treated with kindness and respect. I think that little girls especially need to be taught that they are of great value and should expect to be treated with respect and kindness so that they feel more comfortable standing up to those who don't, even if its a boyfriend or significant other.
The Love Dare challenge is to choose a gesture that says "I cherish you" and to do it with a smile...they suggest common chores like doing the laundry or dishes. I think as a parent, the real challenge should not just be doing something that says "I cherish you" but to model behavior for our children through our daily words and actions that continue to say "I cherish you" for years to come. Maybe a place to start is watch for the time when your child imitates your behaviors with their doll or stuffed animal and evaluate how you can change that behavior into one that is more cherishing and kind (even when you have to discipline your child). This is my goal for myself...to start with one behavior and work to change it, then to move on to another behavior and change it, etc.
5 Things I Was Grateful for This Day:
1. The first ever Heritage Bonfire--great fun!
2. Another solo-walk to calm nerves about the selected candidate for the Kerrville VA position
3. being told that I was a "top candidate" for the VA position, even after what I thought was a bombed interview
4. God provided some calmness to me even with uncertainly and nerves
5. looking forward to and planning for some upcoming trips and visits from family members
Day 12: Love Lets the Other Win: I am starting to see a theme or pattern here...something to do with being willing and not stubborn, lol. In the beginning of the Love Dare it talks about patients and kindness being the 2 branches of love and that all of the other traits discussed are parts of those branches. Today's reading is not the first time willingness has been brought up-it was a part of Day 2: Love is Kind. Today's lesson really focused on the disagreements between 2 people and that sometimes love has to be willing to bend to the wishes of the other person. The book mentions that we usually give excuses for not bending such as looking foolish, losing the fight, or losing control...to which it responds "You've already looked foolish by being bullheaded and refusing to listen. You've already lost the fight by making this issue more important than your marriage and your spouse's sense of worth. You may have already love emotional control by saying things that go personal and hurt your mate". A humbling thought for sure...
And in terms of children I think it can sometimes be easy to get caught up in "what I say goes!" mentality. I know there are some days when I find myself completely refusing to budge on a subject that really isn't that big of a deal, but I get caught up flexing my "I'm the boss" muscle and forget that all I'm really being is a stubborn, controlling person. Thankfully there are times when I have caught myself acting this way and was able to change the behavior immediately...sadly there were other times I "stuck to my guns" and realized later that it didn't have to be so difficult and that I was the one making it difficult. I am grateful to have been told on many occasions that I am not the other mother who has gone through these times. Today's challenge is to willingly give into one request/issue the other person has made. I think this is doable as parents...within healthy boundaries that ensure the child's safety of course. I know there are plenty of small things that I can learn to give Maddie more control and say in that will ultimately help her to be willing to listen to me on the occasions that I do need to be "the boss". Love and Logic would compare this to bank account...you have to put in the money in order to get the money out. In other words...let the child make as many decisions that they can so long as the decisions wont negatively effect any one else. These decisions help to build up the bank account so that when the time comes that you simply cannot offer then the chance to choose you can "withdraw" from the bank without going into debt. So that will be my challenge moving forward...to build up my bank account but willingly letting Maddie win when I can so that when I need to be the decision maker she wont (hopefully) feel the need to fight about the decision I make.
5 Things I am Grateful for Today:
1. Heritage won their first ever homecoming...and it was against Town East--YAY!
2. Answered prayers
3. God's peace and calmness when things are still uncertain
5. Maddie...yes, shes family...but she makes me laugh daily and there is nothing better than seeing the world for the first time through your child's eyes as they try to make sense of everything that happens around them