Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Galatians 6:9
And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

We had such a battle on our hands. Pretty much every single day and several times a day, the battle would rage. It was the War of the Toys.
When it was time to tidy up, we would tell the kids to put their things away. They might, or they might not. They would often pick up a little, then lose focus and begin to play. They would perhaps whine and protest, suddenly becoming so weary with fatigue there would be no possible way they could lift a single item. A variety of techniques were instituted to persuade them to care for their belongings, not the least of which involved the removal of ALL toys in the house for a period of time. We struggled and we would rack our brains. Was this a battle worth fighting? Would we be facing this for the rest of our lives? I could clearly see why moms and dads give up. I could see why they throw in the towel and decide to stop the fight, forgo the training, and just do the work themselves. It was tiresome. And repetitive. And frustrating. I could just do it. It would take me 10 minutes to do the job well, and I probably wouldn't hide half eaten bananas, scraps of paper, or dirty socks under the couch.
Then one day, all of a sudden, to our utter amazement, Bob and I realized we weren't really dealing with this issue which was previously so constant anymore. It basically faded away. What do you know, THEY WERE CLEANING UP THEIR OWN STUFF, and doing a pretty fine job at it. Wwwwhat? I was talking to my friend yesterday and she mentioned that she was at an event shopping for homeschooling curriculum, when she saw a family with 8 kids, who were all quiet and well-behaved following their mom like little ducks in a line. How does that happen, she asked?

My personal belief is that does not happen without some good old-fashioned blood, sweat and tears. Extreme effort, parenting style. I doubt that mom just woke up one day with magically obedient children.

I remembered our toy beast that we thought we would never tame and how often I thought about giving up. If we had, we would not have reached this place of sweet reward, actual obedience (for the most part) and a (basically) tidy playroom, with a simple command. This took years.

I am cleaving to the notion that THERE WILL BE GOOD FRUIT, if I as a parent, am willing to put in the work. If I labor, through the fatigue, beyond the frustrations. If I keep teaching, continue instructing, don't stop short, I will eventually, in due season, see genuine, honest-to-goodness results. Satisfying results. Results that will benefit my children for a lifetime. I have to believe that is true.

When our children are young, it is easy to become weary. The fruit of our labor comes v e r y slowly. Sometimes in brief, here one minute gone the next, moments where we see, they really are getting it. There may be, in a certain situation, a glimmer of hope. Perhaps something we are working to instill is actually sinking in....only to find our selves one step forward, two steps back in the next situation.

I for one, want to continue to sow.
There are many things I want them to experience. The joy of hard work. The satisfaction of well earned accomplishment. The recognition that the world does not revolve around them and it is better to give than to receive. The knowledge that it is not always easy to conduct our lives honestly, with integrity, but it is right.
If I want to pass along these lessons, I have to be willing to persevere.

I can not plant seeds one day and expect a flourishing, lush garden the next. It takes time, effort, watering, weeding, and providing the proper ingredients vital for growth. If I do not care for my garden, if I leave it to the elements, or say it's taking too long, I'm done with this, the weeds will prevail. It will dry out and I will be left without a harvest.

As a parent, I know it is easy to do this very thing. To give up, check out, grow too tired of the tedious and repetitive nature of this task. To throw my hands up and say never mind, let the children do as they will. I'm going to find something I'm actually good at and pour my efforts there.

I write this for myself, so I do not grow weary in well doing, as I am often tempted to do. So that I may remember that I can not expect a bountiful harvest in the attitudes, ethics, and actions of my children if I am not a faithful gardener, tending to the specifics of their young lives while they are mine to nurture.


Courtney said...

wow, tisha! thanks for the encouragement, reminder, and challenge!

Holly said...

now THAT is what I call encouragement....and an amazing picture!!

I am linking this! again.

Sandy said...

yes, very encouraging indeed. i was, in fact, going to post today about giving up as a parent. the specific thing, not picking up toys, but fighting with each other.... they are literally hitting and beating on each other A LOT lately. it gets old breaking up these same fights over and over again, but you remind me that i should stick it out... be the stronger one. i'll try.

Amy© said...

I'm so glad Holly linked to this... today was a day I really needed to be reminded of why I do what I do! Great blog. Thank you.

Lisa said...

And HARD work it is. Being consistent and faithful to parent well is a difficult thing. But it WILL pay off in the end. And you already have great kids ..

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