Five Love Languages of Children–time
Today, I acted as sergeant. We had stuff to do, and I wanted it done ASAP. If not sooner. School, jobs, clean-up project, Sabbath prep. Food to cook, baths to take, the whole nine yards plus some.
I set a timer for the first round, then laid out the day. Such and such will be done by one hour, then this next project, and so on.
That worked well for 2/3 of my sons. The other son worked, but at a slower pace, and he did not meet the deadline. Grr…
The next phase also stretched out, and I began to get cranked up. More orders, more frustration all around. Less efficiency, and not so much getting done! Have you been there?
Can you win and lose in the same day?
Yes, you can.
You can win battles, but lose hearts.
And that’s what I was doing. Trying to win at all costs. Oh, I didn’t know it. I just knew that my boys needed to shape it up and get moving so we could get things done!
As you have probably experienced in your homeschool and family, giving orders doesn’t do much to bring everyone into harmony. Well, it didn’t bring harmony here either. It just led to frustration for all, plus the added bonus of people giving up! When a couple of kids give up, less gets done, and leads to the Grumpy Mom.
Grumpy Mom, Grumpy Kids
Happy wife, happy life is true. So is Happy Mom, Happy Family, even though that doesn’t rhyme! Mother is the queen of the home, and if she has sunshine, the rest of the home usually will reflect it! Of course, everyone has a grumpy day here and there, but as long as everyone is not contributing, that person can usually climb back up onto the happy path soon. So, Mothers (and Fathers), you have a huge influence in your home!
When you begin to hit those brick walls, you need to do some self-evaluation. Prayer is key. Humility also is necessary. But first, you have to stop and actually ask yourself (and God), “What’s going on here?”
If one or two children are having a bad day, can’t get along, and keep causing interruption, they may need to be separated, and led to Jesus so that they can come to the decision to surrender self and get along. This process can take hours, because our human hearts can be so stubborn! But don’t give up!
If, however, all of your children seem to be having a hard time respecting you, and they can’t get along with each other, perhaps you need to stop blaming them and look at Numero Uno. That’s right–you.
Could you be the problem?
Not every time, of course, but sometimes, it really is you. I had to come to that conclusion, but I had to take a little step back to see it. I was a contributor, which effected my tribe.
In reality, I didn’t actually feel all that angry, just frustrated at the lack of follow through. There was some distraction involved, for sure. This gets all moms, especially when you look at your very-long To-Do List!
Lord, It’s me!
That day, once we broke for lunch, I was able to take a breather, assess the situation, and take some steps in the positive direction. I began to encourage rather than criticize. We ate outdoors. Tensions eased, and I thought all was well. Turns out I was wrong.
Change ME! Give me your words
This was my prayer. I admitted that I had contributed to our problem of an unhappy day, and began to seek God earnestly. I determined to just not talk until I knew I was saying God’s words. I smiled. Did you hear me? I said I smiled at my children!! I saw almost instant fruit with two of mine, as they began to smile back. They began to help out more, which encouraged me a lot!
But that one little black sheep
One guy did not snap out of his grumpies. In fact, his anger seemed to increase. He acted awfully, to be honest. He lashed out against his brothers and ran away when we tried to eat outside. He appeared to not notice the beautiful day, and refused all efforts at kindness.
I had to leave him alone. He needed time. I needed time. I needed to pray, to see what was really happening here.
Turns out it was the brothers. He felt like nobody cared for him. I remembered I’d had to spank him for throwing rocks at our cabin, and his heart just shut down. So, it was me and the brothers.
Time to put the list aside
I decided to put everything on my list aside. If it wasn’t going to get cooked, cleaned, made, or whatever, so be it. I needed to take time with my guy.
Thankfully, by then I had the full (cheerful) cooperation (can you say YAY?) of my two older boys, so I gave them the list to tackle as time would permit. I decided to take a walk with my closed-lipped, closed-hearted son.
I will wait for you.
Well, he just ran away and hid from me. So, that didn’t work out so well.
Praying for guidance.
I prayed some more. My impression was just to just walk along behind him and do my own thing, waiting for when he got ready to open up. However long that took, I would wait.
So, I spent my time “ignoring” him, while very aware of moods and vibes that he was sending. I took pictures of blueberry plants. I checked out my rose bushes. I just did my own thing apparently, but I kept working my way towards my prodigal son. You have to understand that we have 26 acres, so he had a lot of ground that he could run away on!
I sensed the Holy Spirit’s leading. Call to him–come look at these plants–aren’t they amazing? He came. He looked rather indifferently, but did not run away. I knew God was in this. So we looked at blueberry blossoms. And I asked him to take some photographs. And his were better than mine. I knew that his heart was healing when he snapped a picture of dear old Mom!
You want to know what made the final push towards oneness again? It’s when I offered to hit some rocks that he was throwing with a stick, baseball-style. So, he’d toss, I’d hit. Then I threw and he hit. This opened his heart. Something so simple.
We didn’t talk; it would have spoiled the moment. We just walked. We watched some ants. We followed them to their hole and moved their rock. We spent time together. And a heart healed.
Love language: quality time.
Read about the Five Love Languages of Children: Touch in this post