Loving Our Kids On Purpose.

It just makes so much sense...

"God is a safe place.  Because sin has been dealt with in the New Covenant, we no longer need to be punished or controlled but need to learn to manage our freedom responsibly, which changes the goal of government as well as the goal of parenting.  When love and freedom replace punishment and fear as the motivating forces in the relationship between parent and child, the quality of life improves dramatically for all involved. They feel safe with each other, and the anxiety that created distance in the relationships is chased away by a sense of love, honor, and value for one another." ~ Loving Our Kids on Purpose, p. 43

The premise of this book - Loving Our Kids On Purpose by Danny Silk - is building a heart connection with our children and teaching them to manage the freedom they've been given, modeling the way God interacts with us, His children.  When God sent Jesus, something new was created, something much greater than rules or The Law - a relationship. 

No, it's not about letting my 18-month-old do whatever she wants, without any boundaries.  If that were the case, then today alone, she would have jumped off the bed onto her head, drawn with crayons on the blinds, and eaten dog food.  It's that I love her enough to stop and teach her in that moment, rather than screaming "STOP DOING THAT!" while I continue surfing Facebook. 

My challenge is to redirect and show her how to use her energy without falling on her head, how to be artistic without defacing the blinds {although sometimes the mess just happens, and you deal with it!}.  It's about respecting her as the unique, divinely created individual that she is.

One of the greatest bits of parental advice I've received so far is on this simple plaque from Etsy.  I must repeat it to myself several times daily as I alternate between pulling my hair out and being thankful - "Luci Belle is not an inconvenience.  She is a human being, for God's sake.  When she's tugging on my leg saying 'Mama!  Mama!  Pease!', stop doing the dishes.  Stop, kneel, and LOOK at her." 

It's not easy, and no parent is perfect.  The other morning, I cursed out loud multiple times and smacked our naughty dog in front of my daughter, and even though she had no clue what I was saying, she saw what I was doing.  Ugh.  I acted rashly and violently.  I immediately burst into tears, so not proud of myself at that moment. 

Loving well and loving on purpose isn't the easy way.  The easy way is to react, to inflict punishment out of anger, to say, "Just do it because I said so."  What's difficult is getting into the nitty gritty of real relationship and loving intentionally.  I want to establish trust with my children, to walk through life with them.   And above all else, to love them well.

God help me.