I started "school" with the kids on Monday. Each week we have a plan for learning but it's all accomplished through everyday activities and a few worksheets. I want it to be a fun experience for the kids and my goal is that they don't even realize they are learning through the process. Each week we have a specific character trait and corresponding Bible verse and story to discuss. This week's character trait is respect (I'm sure you guessed that already) and the verse we're using with it is 1 Peter 2:17 - "Show proper respect to everyone."
What's amazing to me is how much I'm learning through this experience called parenting. For a long time, I had this idea that parenting involved a lot of just being right and kids molding to that. Sounds like a good idea right?! I say "no" they say "yes ma'am". "I'm the adult, you're the kid, you just need to LISTEN!" "I can scream at you but you better not even THINK of raising your voice to me." Just a few examples of how I thought parenting worked and I just couldn't figure out why I was ALWAYS so frustrated and angry and why my kids wouldn't listen. I've learned A LOT from my kids over the course of the last few years. Their NICU stay taught me that I am a lot stronger than I thought I was, juggling the needs of two tiny newborns taught me to multitask efficiently and attempting to teach my children how to be considerate human beings has taught me that it really is more about leading by example than I ever thought it was. If you don't believe me, try explaining to your 3-4 year old what "respect" means. You'll probably tell him/her that we show respect by saying yes ma'am, using kind words and not hitting or raising our voice. If your 3-4 is like my two, he/she will undoubtedly start asking questions. "Why?" is a favorite in our house. With my two, the questions were very humbling. They began to point out little things they notice I do and asked why it was ok for me to do that. Ouch! Some might say that because I'M the adult, I should have just told them that I'm their mother and they don't need to worry about me. But what does that teach them? What does that teach me?
I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father, that He has made such drastic changes in me over the course of the last year. God has really opened my eyes to what it takes to be the type of wife and mother He wants me to be. Hearing my children say their Bible verses is such an awesome experience. Making a pact with my daughter to work really hard at controlling our outbursts, is very humbling but it strengthening both of us. I can't imagine what I've done to deserve the blessings that God pours out each and every single day.
Through all these positive changes and growth, there has been some negative. Really though, negative isn't the right word. Satan has really tried to trip me up the last couple days. Yesterday I came really close to loosing my temper with the kids for the first time in a REALLY long time. I just couldnt' figure out why all of a sudden they were throwing tantrums and arguing with EVERYTHING I said. Then it occurred to me, I've been trying to live out and teach my children respect this week. The Bible says that Satan is always there trying to find a way to get his foot in the door and it's not a big secret that patience can be a huge weakness of mine. After a lot of prayer, a talk with Aaron and a little venting, I felt 100% better and I know that God will give me the strength I need to continue to teach my children and to learn from them.