Me: “Ok Scout…go get some clothes to change in to after services so that you will not have to wear your Sunday clothes to the get together.”
a brief pause and then this…
Scout: “Are we coming home to change first mom?”
This is why I never wanted children. Dumb questions. I knew I had a challenge on my hands with this one so I calm down my SARCASTIC inner self, named “Queen” in college, and replied with the following:
“Scout, use your logic.” (yep. I’m THAT mom. he was 6.) to which he asks…”what’s that?!!”
And my desire to have adult minded children went into overdrive and so began my plan to train my children (6 and 7 mind you) to use their logic. I didn’t care that TJ said “baby, children normally do not start using logic until they are in their teens.” So!!! I thought. Gah, I needed a class in “how to comprehend children are NOT 35 year old grown mature logical rationale adults” really badly. Little did I know, with a little training, a lot of pushy mom syndrome, and consistent reminding…my little bitty people started their journey of being logical thinkers.
God help me.
“It’s going to be super cold this morning babies so ya might wanna wear layers of clothes today!”
my oldest -whom I was sure would take to this more quickly than the younger- walks out of her room with a short sleeve tee on BUT A TANK TOP UNDER it and asks “this good mom?”
the will power it takes me to not use all my sarcastic energy boiling inside of me…I should win some type of award for. Like “And the winner of controls sarcasm in raising children goes to———–Tressa Bragwell!” My acceptance speech would be killAH.
“What does logic tell you about your question Autumn? If it’s SUPER cold, which is colder than just cold, will JUST a tank top under JUST a short sleeve shirt keep your ALL of your arms warm? Remember…we are learning to THINK before we speak right?!”
“All you had to say is ‘no’!” Breathe Tressa. Just Breathe…like the Faith Hill song. Man she’s pretty. Oh, I have a small case of long drawn out thinking past what I originally was thinking. Apologies.
So HOW do you train a logical thinking in children? I had no idea. But, I figured THIS would be a great starting point. (no claims to know anyTHING perfectly btw.)
THIS being implementing a “quiet time” every morning. We began a “routine” of every morning before school we sit down for about 10-15 sometimes and just be quiet. The 3 of us. Mom, 7 year old daughter, and 6 year old son. I was required to be in my office by 7:00 so we would make it a point to be dressed, teeth brushed, lunches/snacks packed, backpacks ready, etc by 6:40-45 (we live 3 min from school) and then we would sit. No TV. No noise. Just us and the quiet. I told them we were doing this because our days are SO filled with noise, and sounds, and talking, and racket, and TV, and “stuff” that we never made time to just “be quiet.” We never gave our minds time to handle it all. We are accustomed to going…and going…here and there, this sport, this practice, this school event, this church function, this family day, this spend the night party, this this this this this…I’m mentally exhausted just TYPING it. I had realized we were training our children to be “goers” and not “thinkers.” I wanted to care less about being everywhere for everything than I did for how my children were learning to process “LIFE.” Busy is NOT how I want their minds to function. So, we sit. And think. And process. And most importantly…we pray.
THIS was easily implemented let me say because they were trained for 6-7 years to “do as you are told” by us. We did not have a LOT of defiant behavior at this point because we had pretty much beat that out of them already. Jesus spankings. Appropriately. Not all “beating the crap outta a kid” kind of thing. We enforced “the rod of correction” because we do not want to condemn our children’s soul to hell. We did not do the “one more time” approach much either. We pretty much, from early on, took the “if you do what I tell you NOT to do, you’re gonna get a whipping. period.” approach and I gotta admit…at 6-7 years old, it had worked. We were on the down swing of whipping a kid every 5 seconds type days. I was nicknamed “Warden” by my husband. So.be.it. Lol.
So when I say “kids, we are going to start being completely ready for school in the mornings by 6:40ish because we are going to have “quiet time” in the mornings because at no point during our day is it quiet and we need time to just BE for a minute or 20″ they gave no thought to it other than “ok mom.” And so began the process of “logical training” in my children.
For a long time, we JUST sat in the quiet…I told them they could think about their day and what they were looking forward to, or could think about how much they love their mother (believe me, it takes some want to to love me. bless.) or they could spend their time praying. Talk to God and thank Him for your morning. Thank Him for giving you life, and your abilities, and your senses, and your family, and your safe environment, and your school, and your friends, and your teachers. See, when you just stop of a few minutes…you really realize how MUCH He has given you. Thank Him. Thank Him for your bible and for your sight to read and your mind to absorb. Thank Him for Jesus. Over and over. AND OVER. Thank Him for your daddy who works so hard at being the man he should be for you. Look around you. Your daddy does what he does so you can have what you have. Thank Him for giving you your daddy. Ask Him to protect your daddy as he goes to work and back and while he’s working. Thank Him for each other…your sister is your sister for a reason and be thankful for her. Your brother is serving a purpose in your life and be thankful for him. (trying to get your 7 year old daughter -who is very “mature” for her age- to pray and be thankful for her much less mature annoying silly gross stinky brother…funny stuff.) After you have spent time just simply being thankful, ask Him for the help you need today. Ask Him to help you when you have that fear come over you about pooping in the toilet at school and someone hearing it plop and you being embarrassed by that. (scout – true story). Ask Him to touch the heart of that mean boy who pulls your hair and calls you “mommas baby” every day as you walk in a straight line to the lunchroom. (autumn – true story…we taught her about “being the bigger person” and “being a good example” and FAILED at teaching her it was completely ok to punch this kid square in the nose after so much torture, which she would have NEVER done…too much like her compassionate and loving daddy. vomit.) Ask Him to protect our hearts from anger and fear and sadness and nervousness. Ask Him to give your teachers a good attitude. And then remember that you are able to pray to Him because of His Son and what He did for you. So for about the first year…we sat. We prayed. In the quiet of the morning. It was AMAZING.
Then a new development in the logical training 101 came about. We began to pray out loud together. We would take turns in the morning saying a prayer for us all. We would say out loud what we needed help with that particular day or what we were especially thankful for or who we knew needed our prayers. Me, my 8 year old daughter, and 7 year old son in our living room, holding hands and bowing heads together…praying. Talking to our Father about Him, our day, and His blessings we SO did not deserve. It was beautiful. Special. I will take those memories over a game winning shot or an all A’s trophy or a Class Favorites award A.N.Y day. I cannot fully express to you how precious these times were. Man, God is so good.
Well with time, and with change, and with maturity, came news “ways” of spending our morning quiet time. 9 and 10 years old by now and I start wondering “are they getting this?” “Do they know WHY we are doing this?” “Do they even care?” So, being a very challenging type minded person, I decided I would “test” them. I stopped calling the morning meetings. I stopped reminding them “its 6:30 do you have your teeth brushed?” every morning just to see what would happen. I continued my being ready and sitting down…and guess what?!! So. did. they.
Amazing right?! I mean, who knew if you trained a child to do something over and over that eventually he/she would just do it without having to be told. That God. He’s SO smart.
So, the time of doing your own thing in your own way began. We would spend our time in different rooms. We were free to pray, think, study, read, rest, whatever we wanted really. And that was extremely nice because I could see that they were “getting it.” They understood the “why.” And I couldn’t have been any prouder.
Oh yes I could. When Autumn was 11 and Scout was 10 (the year following the “doing our own quiet time thing”) they self reflected and applied the teaching they had received of “sin is when you disobey what God has said, sin separates you from God, Jesus is the only way to be brought back to Him” and in a moment of eating supper at our dinner table and normal conversation of the sermon we had just heard at services…the lightbulb went off. The door bell rang. Ding. “Ohhhhhhhhh….I AM A SINNER!” hit them both. They knew that disobeying us was disobeying Him and that when they KNEW what we had said and they CHOOSE to do what they WANTED instead, THAT WAS SIN. Sin put Jesus on the cross. So that means I did that. I cannot fully describe to you the looks on their faces upon realizing this…there was a “oh I am so sorry Jesus” mixed with a “oh crap that means I am lost if I am not with God” and an instant “I want Him to forgive me!” The most heart breaking AND the most inspiring looks I had ever seen. On my children’s faces. Faces I birthed. Faces I had kissed a concagillion times. Faces I had washed. Faces I had watched sleep peacefully. Faces I adored. Now shamed by the realization of what sin did to their Jesus. And guilt knowing THEY were the cause. And a desire to MAKE IT RIGHT. “OH HAPPY DAY…HAPPY DAY…WHEN JESUS WASHED…MY SINS AWAY!” There has never been a more completely true song written. It was made to look so ugly (sin) and was truly the most beautiful thing to ever take place (forgiveness). They were baptized that night with their earthly mom and dad present and loved ones gathered around to celebrate their new birth…their birth as a son and daughter belonging to their proud Father in heaven. It was truly the best day ever. Humbled. Wow. As I relive it through words typed on a keyboard…chills cover my skin and tears flow from my eyes. There is no-thing, no-where, no-nothing I would rather be than “his wife their mother.” I am getting to live the best “things” in life with my favorite people ever. Hands raised Lord. You are AWESOME!
Now at the ages of 13 and 11 (50 some odd days from 12), we now spend our times in the morning as follows:
We don’t have to be ready until 7:00 now because new boss meant new work time of 7:30. Fist bump.
Ready meaning ready physically AND spiritually to begin our day
Scout has begun to be mine and Autumn’s leader in our Bible quiet time
He reads to us every morning…he is being trained to lead his family one day Lord willing he find a woman to accept his stinky feet. lol
We cover our heads and in silence we listen and learn…she is being trained to be submissive to her husband and to learn from him and be lead by him as he follows Christ
He directs our minds in prayer to our Father for our day, our souls, our lives, our responsibilities, our examples, and forgiveness for our sins.
Does this mean we/they/he/she/I am/is perfect? or “holier than thou” (post soon about that concept I’ve heard ONE too many times)? Nope. It means WE KNOW HOW IMPERFECT we truly are and HOW MUCH WE NEED JESUS in order to survive the attempts of evil that will come our way today. And tomorrow. And the next. Lord willing those times come. So…we begin our day will a quiet time of reflection and study in His word and in prayer for His guidance, protection, help, and forgiveness. He is worthy.
“So has logic come any easier to them Tressa?” you ask. Yes and no. Yes in that there are plenty of moments that they take time to think about what they are asking or what has been said to them…no in that there are still several times I have to remind them “what does logic tell you?” This will continue to be a training process. I mean, they are JUST now to the ages they are SUPPOSED to be using logic right…TJ?!! hahaaaa. At least now, when the command to “use your logic” is stated in our home, nobody asks “what’s that?” Praises.
Spending time together. Quietly. Meditating on the Lord and His amazing grace. Praying. Studying as a family or as individuals. Making God and His word normal conversation in your home. All things I advise. Not because I know it all…but because I know THIS works. It’s been tested and proven. No time like the present to make a MASSIVE impact in the lives of your children by simply being quiet.
The link is to an article Jen Hatmaker (if you do not know her…I will pass on the advice of my dear Shelana, “look her up. Now.”) posted this morning on FB. I read it an THAT’s what led me to write this post on this day. It’s not so much directly related to what I’ve typed but it spurned the thinking. I just never desired the “go all the time” mentality to be instilled in my children. I had an uncle one time say “you mean to tell me Scout isn’t playing baseball? Well that is just awful…some of my best memories of my kids are right here at this baseball field (we were there to watch our nephew play) and you’ll regret not having those memories!” To which I replied “I would rather our best memories be made over supper at our dinner table. Just being us.” “To each their own.” (which should be ‘to each his/her own’ because each is singular which requires a singular pronoun and their is plural…types my “English 101 teacher” personality known as “OH would you shut up!” She’s happy to meet you.