Wednesday, December 08, 2004Parenting has been really helpful to my character development. Marriage has been helpful too, but in a different way. Marriage brought to light many, many flaws I didn't know I had, whereas parenting has helped me to deal with flaws, wanting to set a good example for my children.
I don't tolerate pouting or whiny attitudes in my children, particularly the older one (4 years old). I expect him to tell me exactly what is bothering him in a normal, calm voice so we can discuss it and decide what, if anything, to do about it. If he can't find the words to express what is bothering him, I expect him to ACT cheerful or go to his room until he is ready to talk about it with me. In these cases, going to his room is not a punishment, but just a place where I can send him to do his pouting in private. I want him to understand this is not acceptable public behaviour. Once in his room, he occasionally will start to throw things or yell to show his frustration, at which point he gets spanked. Then we pray together, and I try again to get him to open up. Eventually, he always manages to say something that enables me to discern what is on his mind and by discussing it, the pouting is defused. Sometimes, I feel the primary cause of his whining is fatigue, and I still don't tolerate it. I expect him to go to BED, and rejoin the family when he is rested and happy.
Now, do I ever whine or pout at my husband and children? Yes! I am sooooooooo guilty. I have a terrible time finding the words to express my concerns with my husband and will carry around a grudge, expecting him to approach me about it, and when he does finally ask what is wrong, I will usually start by saying "Nothing..." With my kids, I get awfully crusty when I'm overtired. I'm realizing that I need to hold myself up to the same standard that I have for them. So, Rand, you'll be pleased to know I am going to be making an effort in this area. It seems to me that if I have a concern I'm not ready to talk about, I should make no hint of it in my behaviour. I need to figure out exactly what the problem is, and what I'd like to see change, and calmly talk about it, or let it go completely.
Among the Christians I know, I often notice a skepticism about people's - even Christians' - ability to change. Yet regarding myself, I know I have absolutely changed for the better since becoming a Christian, and I continue to change. I know my character is improving, although, probably not as quickly as it should. I have also seen character development in my husband during the time I've known him. So I am thinking that the skepticism out there might be misplaced. Can anyone shed some light on this? Of course we will all be agreed that when a person is truly regenerated, the Holy Spirit enters into them and there is a fundamental change of attitude. But what happens after that? Are we attacking our own flaws and getting victory or are we too busy seeing everyone else's flaws?