Monday, July 27, 2015

Mom-ing Through Faith: On Freedom and Control, Part 2

Hey there, Mommas! Welcome back. If you're ready to be real and honest and really honest, then come along as we continue with the Mom-ing Through Faith series. Last week, I introduced an amazingly influential book on parenting called Loving Our Kids On Purpose by Danny Silk. Again, if you haven't read it already, I highly recommend it. If you have, I would recommend reading it again. It is that good. It will completely change the way you view parenting, I promise. 

So. Let's continue to dive into some of the rationale of this new way of viewing parenting. While I will be introducing a few of the actual put-these-into-practice-ASAP techniques starting next week, I think it's important to first fully grasp the reasoning behind the author's views, theories, and techniques. 

The thing is, we are humans. Therefore, it feels scary when we become powerless, when we lose control. But, as Danny Silk reiterates, 

You can't control other people, and nobody can control you but you.

That's right, mommas. We cannot actually control the little humans that live in our homes. Don't believe me? Try telling a tantruming threenager to "Come here, right now!!!" and then watch as she either (1) continues losing her mind, (2) totally ignores you, or (3) saunters sloooooower than molases over to you. Then, envision the steam blowing hotter than lava out of your ears because she disrespected you, didn't listen to you, tried to take away your control. Who does she think she is? And don't even get me started on the other little ones who first took up residence in my womb and now, in my home. 

After all, these littles are smaller than us. They rely on us for survival. They need us for their most basic, and their most sophisticated, needs. But. That doesn't mean we control them. In fact,

Remember, in the presence of the Lord, there is freedom, not control (2 Corinthians 3:17). 

And also know that

My job is not to teach my children to let me control them; my job is to teach my children to control and manage themselves, no matter what's going on in the world around them. 

Mommas, if you hear nothing else, hear this: We HAVE to stop trying to control our littles. I'm telling you (as is Danny Silk) it doesn't work. Oh sure, you may get a temporary reprieve. Maybe your littles will, for the love, finally stop arguing for one solitary second. Maybe your toddler will nicely hand over the toy he stole from his big sister. Maybe your preteen will actually listen when you give her a list of chores. Maybe your teenager will respond to your question without an ounce of attitude. But, if this is accomplished through threatening and intimidation and spanking and timeouts and submission-seeking, it will be just that--temporary. 

You see, we have to get to the heart of the matter. We have to stop trying to control our littles and help them learn to make good choices on their own, not because they are fearful of the immediate consequences if they don't, but because they have learned to protect your relationship, your heart...and theirs.

So, here's what we have to do:

...we introduce freedom to our small children, and we allow them to practice messing it up while they have a safety net in our home. 

Remember, one day, these little humans are going to be big humans who go out into the world, where they are responsible for making their own choices without having an intimidating, threatening, "If you do that one more time..." momma constantly looking over their shoulders.

So. In summary of the last two weeks, here's what Danny Silk says: 

One of the primary ways that we show honor to one another is by sharing power and control in relationships. When we help our children practice using power from the time they are little, they become powerful people who are not afraid of the forces outside of them. They learn to think and solve problems. They learn to draw on the power within them, the power of the Holy Spirit, to direct their lives toward their goals in life. They become skilled at wielding decisions.

Yes, Danny! Preach on, brother!

When we keep our children from experiencing what it's like to think for themselves, make their own decisions, and experience the consequences of those decisions, we either end up with compliant children who will be completely at sea when they leave home or rebellious children who wrestle their freedom out of our hands as soon as they figure out we've been withholding it.

Didn't I tell you this book was amazing? Just awesome. 

For the record, this is my second time reading this book, and it is hard to regularly enact what he prescribes (which, again, I'll start to explain next week) because it is so vastly different than the way I was, and likely the way you were, raised. It is SO much easier to fall back on what's already known, and therefore already comfortable, than to try something totally new and different than what we've ever known before. 

But, my hope for each of us is that the more we adopt and regularly apply this mindset, and the associated techniques, the more this way of parenting will become our (my) new normal. 

Have I peaked your interest? Ready to hear some of the techniques? Head on back here next Monday for the next Mom-ing Through Faith post. See you then!

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Psalm 32:8


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