I know I'm not responding well. His actions frustrate me more than they should. And I know he's hearing way too much negative things from my mouth than he should, too.
I was reflecting at church tonight that my focus is off. I am frustrated because he's not obeying. And that's legitimate is many ways, but I realized I don't want a kid who just obeys (as nice as that may be). There will be times in his life where he shouldn't obey--times when he needs to stand up against his peers, stand up for what is right, stand up for justice. And obedience is just an action. It's something we train dogs to do. I'm not a trainer; I'm a parent.
What I need to refocus my desire on with my children is love. That's really what I want. I want them to love me. I want them to love others. I want them to love God. Now, obedience is typically an outcome of love--but it's not the main goal. So what I need to focus on is teaching my son to love. I can't do that by getting impatient at him or yelling at him. I can do that through being patient and sowing more words of affirmation and blessing than I do frustration.
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So, we're taking conscious efforts to teach our children to love and think beyond themselves. I just need to show, model, and do it more. Children everywhere need to hear words of love spoken to them far more times than words of anger, frustration, or even impatience. Of course, "out of the heart, the mouth speaks." So the important thing to do when dealing with my children is to make sure I'm building up my heart with the same things that I want to come out of my mouth. I want to speak words of love, patience, and affirmation to my children; I need to make sure my heart is abundant with those ideas.