I’d like to say I am writing this post from a place of parental inspiration and accomplishment, but quite the opposite is true.
Last week was rough in the Coon household. Rough as in pushing boundaries, eye rolling, unkind words, laziness, selfish ambition. You know, all those qualities that remind us how desperately we need Hope beyond our humanity.
In the midst of hard parenting, I find myself with two choices. I can either:
- Crawl into bed and trust everything will look better in the morning (rarely a bad option, by the way, but not always best for long-term change), or I can ask myself:
- What am I (are we) missing here?
The second option, the question, has led me down a progressive road this week in light of four foster children living with us since last December.
Here is the truth: I simply cannot expect specific behavior from children who have not been trained in specific behavior since birth as my own children have.
To do so is a lesson in futility, one that will end in frustration Every. Single. Time. Not only on my part, but on theirs as well.
So we are returning to Basics this week. Basics of attitude, basics of kindness with our tongues, basics of why His word is a lamp unto our feet, basics of what it truly means to be a follower of Christ.
Basics. Basics. Basics.
And while we’re at it, I thought I would share THREE Coon Family Rules our kids hear over, and over, and over again. These three rules never change, they always work in the real world, and I trust they will encourage you in your own parenting. (Even better? Each rule finds its source in the Bible so I have included a reference for easy lookup.)
Rule #1: Be a Servant (Mark 9:35)
This rule is as simple as it sounds. Instead of walking into a room serving only yourself, look around and be aware of who might need to be served. Is someone lonely and needs a friend? Does that man need help with the door? Can you offer that lady a seat beside you? Does your little sister need help pouring her milk? This rule centers around perception and self-sacrifice, and it’s something our family works on every day.
Rule #2: Do your Work with Excellence (Colossians 3:23)
In all honesty? This rule is initially more difficult for the parent than the child simply because it requires continual follow-through after children complete tasks. However, the reward long-term is enormous as your children develop a healthy work-ethic and do not walk away from a job until it is completed beautifully. (I have found it helpful to write out expectations for kitchen work, bathroom work, and bedroom cleaning so children aren’t tasked with trying to determine what “excellence” means for any given task.)
Rule #3: Our Home is a Haven (Proverbs 17:1)
This last rule centers on kindness in spirit and tongue, a positive attitude, and a healthy appreciation for the safety, love, and security of the family home. As I tell my children: Life is difficult and the world can be mean. Your home should be one place you can always find refuge and unconditional love. (I initially heard this concept from James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, and quickly accepted its truth as one of our family rules.) Everyone in the family must work together to maintain the integrity of your home’s haven.
Like any family, we have some days when we knock it out of the park with great attitudes, willing teamwork, and kindness.
Other days? Well, not so much. But the process of raising children is every bit as meaningful as the product. Aren’t you thankful that every morning is a fresh start??
May your family be blessed today!
Note: To read more about our Foster Story, please click HERE.