Category Archives: The Christian Home

treating your kids like somebody else’s.

I might get flamed, but I’m going to go ahead and say it: we use spanking as a form of discipline. When Tim and I made that parenting decision, we said we wanted it to be rare (only for serious offenses) and never done in anger. Well, that sounds nice on paper but over time what I started to realize was that I felt like I was spanking for everything and was also not staying totally calm when doing it. Also, I felt like yelling was accompanying the spanking, and in the end, it wasn’t very effective — Sam didn’t seem to be getting the message, I was getting increasingly frustrated and mad, and ultimately, I felt like my relationship with Sam was suffering. I didn’t like being around him, and I am pretty sure he didn’t like being around me.

I don’t think parents and kids always need to like each other, but as a whole I felt like the atmosphere of our home and family life was turning sour. There just wasn’t much peace or joy or even love. As a Christian mother who wants a home filled with fruits of the Spirit I knew that something needed to change.

So I started to think about discipline, and how I handled Sam. And I thought back to my babysitting days — how did I discipline (i.e. teach) the kids I was watching? I am sure I had to soothe tantrums and referee fights and say “no, you may not have 12 oranges for dinner” at some point during my babysitting career. So how did I handle those issues? Then it hit me: they weren’t my kids — so I wasn’t able to spank them or haul off and yell at them when they drove me nuts. I had to come up with other ways to discipline them simply because it was not within my authority to spank them or yell at them.

So, today I have been trying to treat Sam like he wasn’t my kid. I know that sounds odd but why is it okay to yell at your own kid but not someone elses? The fact is — it isn’t okay. Why do we treat our own kids worse than we would treat someone else’s kids?

So today I decided I would treat Sam like I was babysitting him. I couldn’t yell at him or spank him.

And you know what? Today went better. I felt like I needed to dig deeper and find creative ways to get him to do what I wanted him to do (or to stop doing what I didn’t want him to do) rather than just yell at him to stop or come here right this instant or whatever. I felt like he responded better to these tactics and that there was less tension between us as mother and child. And because there was less tension, he seemed more obedient and compliant because I was treating him kindly.

It also struck me that he isn’t my kid — he’s God’s kid. I have been called to love him and discipline him and raise him, but maybe I should treat him a little more like he’s Somebody else’s kid on a daily basis.

I don’t know if we’ll give up spanking altogether — but at least for now I don’t think it’s working for us. I can’t keep my cool and it’s just a little hypocritical to discipline my kid for throwing a fit when I respond to him by…throwing a fit.


appreciation: a definition

I am reading a lovely little old book I found called The Christian Home. It must have been my mom’s because it has her maiden name in it in her handwriting. I think it’s out of print, which is a shame, because it’s a really excellent book. I started reading it this morning while Sam played and found myself dog-earring lots of pages with great quotes I wanted to write down and remember. One thing that really stood out to me was a small section about appreciation.  I know what it means to appreciate something — to be grateful. But I also thought of another meaning for “to appreciate” — that is, to increase in value as time goes on. I try (most days, and usually not very well) to appreciate (that is, be thankful for) what Tim does for me, for Sam, and for our marriage, but does my husband’s worth to me grow in value and preciousness the longer I am married to him?

The heart of a beautiful marriage is appreciation. The smile with which husband and wife meet each other at the end of a busy day, when things have gone wrong; the loving kiss which they place on each other’s lips and the tender word of greeting can make the hardship of a disappointing day drop away. There are so many, many things that husband and wife may be genuinely thankful for in each other. One lovely Christian wife told her dearest friend that every day her husband thanks her and commends her for the things she does about the house. She said that even if she made mistakes, he would find something about her mistakes for which to commend her. No wonder that home was a bit of heaven on earth! One minister testifies that his father would go out early in the morning and find the most beautiful rosebud in the garden and ” put it at mother’s place to greet her when she came to breakfast.” When he stepped behind her chair and gave her his morning kiss the whole day was glorified. Even if the children had gotten out of bed on the wrong side and had come downstairs in a mood to quarrel, they felt ashamed because the life of their home had been touched by the beauty of a thoughtful and gracious love! This little family lived close to the line of genuine poverty, yet the home was radiant because of the love of the father…The great apostle John said, “Little children, let us love one another.” Appreciation is love at work. And appreciation will never fail to inspire, encourage and bless, for “love never faileth.”

-The Christian Home, pg. 60-61, emphasis mine