I slacked off on my weekly posts for One Year of Intentional Homemaking. To be honest, I was overwhelmed. I had a million directions that I wanted to go in and I was still recovering from my PPOCD. I was afraid to try new things and share them with you because I was afraid of failing at them.
But, I am over it! And 2015 is going to be our year, I am telling you! So many things are happening within our family, and God just keeps opening so many doors. But the most important thing that He keeps bringing back to my attention is the importance of our home life being at the top of our priority list.
Matt and I had been talking a lot throughout January about things we wanted to change in our discipline methods (or lack of discipline methods), and what we wanted to really focus on this year. One thing we agreed on was changing our focus from behavior correction to heart correction. We have been learning a lot that when we change our own hearts, the behaviors that we desire for ourself follow. Learning that as an adult is HARD, so we wanted to switch gears and really focus our parenting on that this year.
But…How do you teach to matters of the heart? Our kids, for the most part, aren’t old enough for lectures and to be honest, I don’t really find lecturing all that effective. We correct behavior, have set consequences and make sure that we reward for good behavior too, but how do you get your kids to think about the WHY? How do we focus them on doing the right things for the right reasons, not just to earn a prize or avoid time out?
The answer isn’t found in the moments of correction, but its found in between them. So we talked about focusing on certain behaviors that we wanted to instill in our kids and that we wanted to work on ourselves.
God is so good. Whenever I begin to wonder if I am doing the right thing, He finds ways to respond to me so that I don’t have to doubt. Racing through Barnes and Noble while alone one day (I know – it never happens….) I came across a book that I hadn’t heard of, but its title made me want to take it home…
In this house, We will giggle.
It sounds so simple. But when you are in the throws of raising kids its hard. I had to stop and ask myself, how often do I just laugh with my kids? Do I spend more time being worried, or being busy, or being angry than just laughing with them? How often do I make sure that they know I enjoy them? I grabbed the book without even looking to see what it was about.
And it turns out that the entire book is about teaching your child’s heart. It goes through 12 biblical virtues and how to teach them (without lecturing) to your kids while learning to live them out with your family.
If you have not read this book – you should go buy it now! And no – I am not posting any affiliate links, and the author didn’t ask me for a review. This book has really begun to change the way our household is functioning in just days. And mostly because it is working on my heart more than the girls at this point.
What are we doing?
For the last week of January and all of February we are focusing as a household on Joy. I had to go against every bone in my body that wanted to focus on something more “serious”, and now I am thoroughly convinced that this is where God wanted our family to start.
We hung up the memory verse in the kitchen, along with the kid friendly definition from the book:
And we are making an effort to fix our eyes on Jesus and remember how much he desires us to be joyful in all things. We are working on pointing out to our kids things that they have to be thankful for. We are taking the time to praise our kids when we see them doing their work with a good attitude and ESPECIALLY when they do something to help out without being asked but simply because they wanted to help another family member. We are approaching negative attitudes in a different way, trying to get to the root of the attitude instead of focusing on the resulting behavior. Consequences are still being handed out, but its in a different manner. It is hard to not want to instantly punish and then ask questions later. It is hard for me to remember in the daily mess that there are things in that moment that should bring me so much joy. It is difficult to praise Jesus when your child is sick. It is incredibly difficult for me to remember to be an example of joy in reactions to my own problems and stresses.
But it is changing our family dynamic quicker than I ever thought possible. And it is bringing me closer to Jesus every time that I search for something to thank him for. As I thank him to show my kids, my heart is softening and growing closer to him too!
And I have been having so much fun allowing myself to break away from everything to just enjoy my kids. Giving myself permission to just let the messes happen, to play with them – to cancel everything we had planned for our normal busy Saturday and make a point to just spend time with them – has been the biggest blessing on this journey so far! I can’t wait to do more of the activities in the book and fill you in on the affects that they are having on not just the kids, but me as well.
Here are some pictures of what Joy looks like in the Morris Household!
We took every blanket, pillow and cushion we could find and spent hours Thursday just playing in the living room. We had jump contests, pillow fights, tickle wars and just had a blast. We took breaks for chores and to eat, but we were in there the whole morning!
The bigger girls and I took advantage of Emmy’s nap time today and bundled up to go and play on their playground! We spent the rest of today baking, watching movies and eating dinner. Saturday chores still were done, the house in clean and everyone is in their own bed exhausted from a day of fun at home.
My heart is so full of joy.
Thank you Jesus for opening my eyes this week.