I received an AWESOME newsletter in my email box today and I would like to share it with you. It is written by Kirk Martin from Celebrate Calm.
I have been reading Kirk's emails for a while now but after attending his seminar on Intense Children I have been listening to his parenting CDs and sharing his commentary and today I want to share it with YOU.
If you think that your job as a parent is to control your child's behavior, you are doomed to feeling frustrated, angry and disheartened. Why?
Because you have placed your satisfaction and happiness in the hands of another human being-likely a six or sixteen year old-and that is always a dangerous place to be. Because then your child can exercise complete control over your emotions, simply by "misbehaving." Because you cannot ever control another person's behavior and it is not your job.
So let me tell you this as bluntly as I can. You are not responsible for your child's choices. Your child is. As long as you take responsibility for your child's choices, your child never will!
If you want to use your child's behavior or choices as a measuring stick of how well you are parenting your child, then I submit to you that God is a terrible parent. After all, let's look at how well He did as a parent.
(1) God creates Adam and Eve, and provides a home in paradise for them. Pretty cool, eh? So what do they do, seemingly immediately? They disobey the one negative command He gave them. Then they lied, assigned blame and tried to cover up their disobedience. Sound familiar? So does that make God a bad parent because His first two children did not listen to him?
(2) Adam and Eve have a couple boys to start: Cain and Abel. Beautiful scene, right? Well, as it turns out, one of the two boys is a murderer. Do any of you have a 50% murder rate among your children? Didn't think so.
So here we have two examples of "parents" raising their children in near perfect settings. There was no pressure from school, fighting traffic, working long hours, paying the mortgage. And in the first two families, we see the kids messing up big time with very disastrous consequences.
I promised to keep this short, so I want to encourage you. Raising and teaching a more intense, emotional child is challenging. It just is. So you should expect this to be the most difficult job you have in life (besides being married!).
But there are a couple great upsides. First, we have kids who I consider "good soil." As we sow time, patience and an unending belief in them, we will see amazing qualities blossom inside them. They just don't always blossom in our timing. So be patient and hang in there.
Second, I am so grateful for my son because had he been an easy, compliant child, I would never have been challenged to grow up and take control of my own emotions. I have been transformed by this journey in ways I never thought possible.
So take a step back, wash off any guilt and frustration, and let's begin tomorrow with a fresh perspective. You can do it!
5 Random Observations About Faith
(1) One of the qualities I like best in our kids is this: they have really good hearts and a deep spiritual sense. They often connect on a deeper level than others. So make sure you find avenues for your child to express this deeper purpose: through youth groups, serving the less fortunate, volunteering time to help others.
(2) Even if you do not have a particular affinity for a church or synagogue, your kids will often find great comfort and security in knowing there is a God, that He is in control and that He has established a certain order in the universe. Don't overlook the importance of this order and structure for your child.
(3) Many of your kids don't like going to children's church. Some of them scratch the paint off the walls while you push them into a room, screaming. Relax. Many of our kids prefer to be in adult church. They will sit and color, and soak up the lessons.
(4) Model it. Many parents get upset because their kids don't seem to share the same passion for their faith. The single most powerful thing you can do is model and live it yourself. Want your kids to be compassionate, love God and read God's word? Let them see you doing it.
(5) Some of you live with guilt, because when you try to pray for others, your mind wanders endlessly. Or when you sit listening to your Rabbi, Pastor or Priest, you find yourself making a grocery list while taking notes.
Guess what? God made your brain the way it is. So if you pray better while standing or walking, do so. My best times of communion with God are during my morning walks with my two dogs. The activity actually helps focus me, and it's a really peaceful time for me where I experience more clarity. I always take notes on our Pastor's sermon, but I also am usually writing out a newsletter idea as well (like this one!). Multi-sensory stimulation improves attention and retention.
Pretty Cool Huh? You can sign up for Kirk's newsletters here