Monday, July 20, 2009

Motivate Me Monday! Parenting


When I was still a relatively new mom I struggled very hard to find what worked. I wanted to raise children who were good. Obedient, kind, polite, and who wanted to follow God. Parenting was obviously a skill and I feared it was a skill I didn't posess. So, I began seeking out the opinions of experts more experienced than I. That's how I found the Pearl's book To Train Up A Child.

I won't get into all the specifics of my story and what happened when I followed their methods, but if you want to read it, I've published it here. I'll say that ultimately the Pearl's methods were not good for my family. In fact, it's still something that I regret. I wish I had known that Reagan had Autism. I wish I'd known how quickly Piper would respond to more gentle discipline. But I didn't.

Ultimately, I posted a flat rejection of the Pearl's teachings, published here. Please don't misunderstand. I don't have any judgment of the Pearl's as people, nor do I judge their motives for writing their books. I believe that they truly want to help people. I also believe that they're truly wrong on important issues and points of theology. My ultimate rejection came after reading advice to victims of domestic violence and those who had discovered sexual abuse in their homes. I found the advice to be dangerous and misleading.

So, where's the motivation in this post? I'm getting there, I promise!

What if there's a better way? What if the real way to raise godly children is by parenting with the same grace and mercy that Our Father in heaven shows us? What if the goal isn't to break a child's will, but to bend it toward those things which will glorify God and give them joy?

I'm telling you, it can be done.

God doesn't punish us, but He does allow us to experience the consequences of our actions. And I try to do the same. I teach the things I want my children to do through games. Handing a toy back and forth with your toddler and saying "May I have it please?" and "Thank you!" or "You're welcome" when you give it to them, is a fun way to start teaching manners. Time outs or other natural consequences can teach children what the limits are in your home and that behavior, both good and bad, creates a result that can also be both good and bad.

I'll be honest. My children aren't perfect. But neither am I. I don't obey God always the first time. I'm still willful and difficult, even now. But my God stays with me. He never gives up on me. And He never stops covering me with his grace, mercy, and forgiveness. These are the things I want my children to understand.

This week I'm motivated to remember the basics of what I believe about parenting, and to show my children the love, and discipline they need, tempered with the grace, mercy, and patience that can only come from God.


  1. have you ever gone through "parenting is a ministry"? i loved how they gave practical advice for how to handle certain situations. i specifically like that they encourage a consequence that fits the "crime". like when our kids are fighting or say something hurtful to the other, they have to do something that helps the person they offended in some way (usually cleaning up their room or fixing their bed for them).

    thanks for your post!

  2. I agree with you. Consequences are very motivating for children...and it is very real. It is a lesson that grows into adulthood.


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