Welcome, February! This is a big month for me. One of the habits I’ll be working on (#2) is one that I have wanted to make part of my life for years! I feel ready to try, and try again, to make this work!
It was very helpful for me last month to clarify what these goals look like in real life, so I’m going to use the “Old and New” format again.
OLD #1: Child talks to me about something while I’m on the internet, and I only listen to a few words and reply without thinking, “Oh, yeah?” or “Huh” or “Wow” (all said without too much genuine emotion at all.)
NEW #1: I look away from the computer, look into the child’s eyes, listen, and give an appropriate response. Isn’t this what I will want him to do (i.e. listen to me) when he is a teenager? Shouldn’t I show him now that I care about what’s on his mind, so that he will hopefully continue to share his thoughts with me as he gets older? Or, down the road, will he refrain from talking to me, because he thinks, “She doesn’t care what I think. She doesn’t even listen to what I try to tell her.”
OLD #2: Child either has a tantrum, or talks back, or says something mean to me, etc. I immediately mete out punishment.
NEW #2: The outburst happens. I breathe, maybe say a super quick prayer, and then listen to what the child is trying to tell me. Respond with gentleness, not wrath. Figure out what the real issue is, and address it. Give the child guidance regarding alternatives to outbursts in the future. Yes, this takes more time, more self-control, and more patience than it does to simply put a child in time out, but I believe this kind of guidance is more helpful to the child, and to the parent/child relationship in general.
2) Time Alone With God: Schedule daily time to read Scripture/ pray/ journal
OLD: Skipping morning prayers, and giving no time to formal prayer during the day except for school prayers, and prayers before and after meals.
NEW: Spending 15 minutes a day with God. It is unrealistic for me at this point to assign a set time each day, because that is what made me “fail” in the past at daily prayer. I’d schedule in “Prayer Time” at 6:30 am, or 10 am, and without fail, each day, something would happen and mess it up, and I felt like a failure. Instead, I will find 15 minutes hopefully before school starts (it starts at 9). No set time, but a deadline of sorts. If for some reason, I don’t get a morning prayer time, I should be able to find 15 minutes in the afternoon. I will be experimenting this month to see what works.
3) Breakfast devotions/ Family Morning Prayer
OLD: No family morning prayer. The oldest says his morning prayers on his own, but the others aren’t saying any morning prayers at all except for grace before breakfast.
NEW: I have morning prayers for children and a prayer for home and family (posted in 2010…I’ve been wanting to implement family morning prayer for a long time!) that I will say with all the boys at/after breakfast. Some experimenting again will be needed to ease this in smoothly. I might find different prayers to use, too. Nothing set in stone here; it’s just the beginning; the main idea is to PRAY as a family – every day!
I hope you are enjoying reading about my journey towards peaceful parenting, a happy home life, and in general, sainthood! 😉 I plan on posting a closer look at each month’s goals, every month in 2014. If you want, you can look ahead to see where this year-long journey will end by viewing my Goals for 2014. God bless you, and pray for me! Leave a comment, and I will say a prayer for you, too! 🙂