A group of us at Hearth Keepers did this and I decided to share it here. You never know when someone might need a bit of encouragement or help. I’ll post the next week’s stuff every Saturday for the next eight weeks so that you’ll have a couple of days to go over it. I hope it’s a blessing. I sure kicked myself in the butler with this one.
For the next eight weeks, you’ll need a small notebook. You want something you can fit in your purse and take everywhere. You’ll also need a pen that is with it at all times. You don’t want anything to be an excuse not to do your assignments.
Day 1. (Monday) Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Your goal is to observe your children all day. If you’d normally correct behavior, by all means, do it now but don’t start worrying about new problems to fix. Just identify them. Write it down. Something like
John- Disrespectful expressions when he doesn’t like my answer/direction.
Sally- Whines for what she wants. Other kids seem to give in to quiet her.
Mary-Tantrums around nap times. Need to de-stimulate her earlier.
Just keep the list running all day long. Write down your areas too. Things like.
When I’m tired, I tune them out.
I ignore behavior when I don’t want to deal with rebellion.
I dread naptime.
Whatever needs changing, write it down. Even things as simple as, “We need to bake cookies more often.” Or “The children need more frequent baths.”
Day 2. (Tuesday) Keep up yesterday’s lists but today your focus is smiling. Every time you walk past a mirror, smile. Every time it registers that your child is looking at you, smile. Smile at them when they get up, smile at them when they go to bed. Smile at them from across the table. Smile. Smile. Smile. If they misbehave and you have to correct them, once it’s over and you’re going on with every day life, put your hand on their shoulder and SMILE into their eyes and say, “I love you.”
Day 3. (Wednesday) Keep up the lists if you happen to notice something. Don’t not write it down because “that was Monday’s work.” But it isn’t your main focus. If you have to choose between writing it down and today’s task, skip the writing down business.. Try to remember to smile but again, it’s not today’s focus. You’ll focus on that again next time. However, today you are going to work on your tone. If you do nothing else today, keep your tone as level and even as possible unless there is a reason to be absolutely thrilled or if your child’s life is in danger. (danger of irritating you doesn’t count!)
Do not allow yourself to be discouraged if you fail. You’re going to fail. You’re going to get an irritated tone, raise your voice, whine, whatever it is that you normally do. If you want to be REALLY brave, for the first half of the morning, record yourself. Then listen to every single word you said. Did you whine when your child tripped and spilled his plate and glass all over your freshly mopped floor? Did you snap when your child forgot how to carry in addition even though he’s done it for three years? Did you issue directives with a tone befitting a drill sergeant in the army?”
Day 4. (Thursday) Ok, so today you’re going to do something completely different. Yes, if you see a problem to work on, write it down. Smile as often as you can remember. Don’t forget to try to control your voice. However, today it’s about prayer. Turn every irritation, frustration, excitement, and joy into a prayer. Appeal to the Lord when your child rolls his eyes at you. Beg for the strength to be consistent and discipline him. If he takes out the trash for his brother, praise him and the Lord for the gift of such an encouraging thing! Anytime you have a moment alone, PRAY. Ask for wisdom. We’re promised to receive it! Ask for an infusion of agape for your children. Praise the Lord for His mercy and goodness. Meditate on scripture about loving these gifts!
Day 5. (Friday) Today is reminder day. I want you to write down as many truths about parenting, children, and such that you can think of. Do it on index cards, slips of paper, whatever you need. Hand write them. Don’t use a computer. You need that cognitive connection. Write things like
Parenting isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon.
I can’t expect them to excel the first, second, or fifth time they try.
God gave me these children as a blessing, not as a punishment.
Every negative trait has a positive possibility.
My responsibility doesn’t stop with instruction. I must follow through.
Day 6. (Saturday) Observe again. It is time for you to pay attention to what Dad does that makes them “hop to” or “get away with murder.” Dads tend to be one of two types. Either they are E.F. Hutton types, or they are marshmallows and the kids run wild when he’s around. Figure out why. Is he consistent? Never consistent? Does he have their respect? Their disrespect? What is it about him that causes the response you think the Lord desires from your children? Find those things. Emulate them. Write it down. “When he says no, they know he means it. I must leave the impression I don’t. Why is that?” Take all the notes you need in order to have a game plan later.
Day 7. (Sunday) It’s a day of rest. Do it. Rest. Just relax and enjoy your children. Do whatever you usually do on Sundays but don’t make it another day of constant correction and changes. You all need a break