Day 22. (Monday) Focus on child closest to “B” in your family. Do all the same steps you did with Child A. What talents does he seem to have? What are her strengths? Are there interests that he has that you’ve put off developing? Think through everything about that child that you can. Write them all down. Any ideas that come to mind, write those down too. The tricky part is, now you are working on Child A… you’re not leaving him behind. But, you’re also trying to notice B. Catching everything B needs and is, is very important. You need to be able to focus on all of your children simultaneously at times. One hint: Jesus was very good at focusing on “the one before him.” When he was helping the woman at the well, he gave her all of his available attention. He wasn’t trying to help all the women nearby. He didn’t call them over and ask them about their lives too in order to “maximize” his ministry. Focus on the child before you. If the other kids are playing a game and the toddler is in need of you, give him all of your attention. Don’t be looking or listening for the errors of the others unless it happens to be why they’re playing that game in the first place. 😉
Day 23. (Tuesday) Ok, today you’re going to find child B’s biggest area that needs redirection and focus on it. Just like you did with Child A, you’re going to catch every occurrence of whatever “sin” is his particular problem today. If he whines, you’re not going to miss a single solitary instance. (Well, you will but you’re going to work like you won’t). If he’s a thief, you’re going to make sure he gets plenty of opportunity to steal and you’re going to catch every single one of them OR you’re going to make sure he doesn’t get any chances to fall. He can’t steal anything no matter how hard he tries. Whichever way you want to make your focus, you’re going to do it.
Conversely, you’re going to catch him doing three things right. Make sure you get at least three things that he did right. If that means that you say, “I’ve noticed that every day you get up on time,” then so be it. Catch. Doing. Right.
Day 24. (Wednesday) Keep working with Child B but today you’re back to watching your tongue. You’ve been under a lot of stress. It’s hard work parenting. You have so much to do every day that it’s easy to let the irritants have a voice. Yours. It’s time to put the breaks on that again. Smile where you can, don’t let those kids get away with anything that they shouldn’t… but watch your tone. Exaggerate the gentle firmness if necessary. Speak slowly and clearly. Speak softly (soft for YOUR voice, not soft for the average person. If your voice is naturally soft, go softer… just a bit. If it’s naturally loud and crazy… the proverbial Italian or Greek “out there” voice… soften it a bit.) ENUNCIATE. Make every word be something you should say. Put aside all sarcasm, all whining (parents whine at their kids just as often as kids whine at parents in some homes, did you know that? Listen to yourself and make sure it isn’t you!), and defeat. Speak with the “law of kindness on your tongue. If necessary, be the kindergarten teacher that never loses her cool- even when she’s dying to. Don’t give up the ship of Child B but add in control over self.
Day 25. (Thursday) Again, help Child B succeed. Don’t give up on Child B’s main weakness. Keep a close watch out for it. But today, you’re going to focus on his strength. Give him something TO do that will make him a success rather than always drilling in what NOT to do. If he has a strong sense of justice and you’re usually harping on him to quit tattling, quit trying to control the sins of others etc, then find a way to channel that in a good way. Show him how God has made him is GOOD and it’s just how he’s using it that is wrong. Let him pour out that sense of justice in a cause that can truly benefit something and isn’t self-righteous. Have him write letters to congressmen on behalf of the unborn. Have him write notes of encouragement to soldiers. Have him be a referee for outdoor games with the rest of your children… whatever you can come up with that utilizes your child’s strength in a positive way. Find a way to do it, and help him see how a good thing (justice, decisiveness, tenacity, etc) can, when used selfishly or improperly, be a bad thing (glorying in other’s disgrace, impetuousness, stubbornness etc).
Day 26. (Friday) Today is a maintenance day. Keep the plates spinning. You’re trying to smile more. You want to control your tone and your tongue. You aren’t letting Children A and B get away with anything, you’re encouraging their strengths, AND… you’re keeping up with the other kids. They’re not relegated to the back room to be brought out when the first two have improved relationships. Noooooooo this is important stuff here.
Remember. You have nothing better to do than these children. Nothing. Dinner isn’t more important. Organizing that closet isn’t more important. Doing your scrapbook, reading your book, or watching that movie is not more important. Present yourself a living sacrifice to your Lord. Sacrifice self on the altar of obedience and “Train up” those children “in the way” they ‘should go”.
Look, I know this is hard work. I know it sounds like a lot. It is a lot. But you can do it. I’m not asking you to do anything that God hasn’t already commanded. I’m just the reminder. The nag. Do it.
Day 27. (Saturday) Ok, it’s time to work on that thing. You know, that thing that drives you crazy. Maybe only one of your children do it, maybe they all do. What is it? What are you tackling today? What is your plan of attack? Ask for help. Get input. But do it. Today is your day to strike the first blow against whatever it is that is hurting your relationship with your children.
Day 28. (Sunday) Day of Rest. Smile. Tone. That scripture that says, “He remembers their sins no more…” Well, how about a day where they don’t hear once about their past mistakes. You get a rest from working for the most part and they get a rest from mom being “historical” about their errors. If that isn’t a problem for you, GREAT. You get a bigger rest and so do they!