Heart over behavior

I think we’ve all been there… 

Busy with some necessary task and then you hear it. Yelling, crying, and overall upsetness. 

Frustration in a parent can sometimes be a huge blinder. It tempts us to get angry and upset with our child's behavior. It pushes us into a position of crisis. We feel the need to eliminate the behavior immediately and that forces us out of the place of peace we need to be in to help them. 

This place of frustration and urgency keeps us from looking at their hearts. But that place of looking at their hearts is just exactly where we need to be…

1 Samuel 16:7b “...The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

See, what is so important about looking beyond behavior is that this is the only place we can truly correct our children. 

Punishing and shaming for behavior does nothing for a child. It gives them nothing–it only takes. It disarms, disempowers, and disengages their little minds from learning. 

On the other hand, looking at their hearts and connecting before gently correcting,  as Jesus does for us, does the opposite. It GIVES. It equips, empowers, and engages. And here, in this place, a child will learn and flourish. 

Next time you find yourself running into a “moment” with your child – try to see their heart over their behavior. 

Instead of saying this…pause and ask yourself this..

You know better! → I wonder why my child thought they had to hit to get that toy back? 

Stop yelling! → Does my child know that they are heard? 

Why are you throwing things?! → Have I taught my child appropriate ways to let out anger + have I made those ways easily accessible for them?

You’re making this so hard for me! → Have I connected intentionally with my child today and given them tools to have some alone time while I complete this task? 

Stop fighting with your sister/brother! → Which problem-solving skill clearly needs some work and how can I work on developing that skill with them?

I like how James says: 

This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.
James 1:19-10

Sometimes a simple pause to ask ourselves a question before opening our mouths and speaking helps bring peace and the wisdom of God into a situation. This is where we can use the insight of the Lord to see into their hearts and bring them into our peace where they can learn and grow. 

I know sometimes these little changes are sometimes much easier said that implemented. And if the implementation of these swaps feels overwhelming, you are not alone. We have a special community that gently holds each other accountable while offering support via zoom calls, emails, messages, group mentoring–all of it! You’re always welcome to join us. CLICK HERE to learn more.


More than Not Spanking

I want to talk to you parent to parent.

For many of us, it didn’t take long to see the obvious error + danger that comes with spanking a child to get them to comply. Hitting kids = not good. It isn’t all that difficult to understand.

But what I want to share with you is that being a gentle, peacemaking parent is a whole lot more than just not spanking. 

Not spanking does not equal gentle parenting. 

The first is a step in the right direction! The latter is a lifestyle that must be learned and practiced consistently by parents. 

Being a peacemaker parent comes from an understanding and appreciation for who your children are, who you are, and who Christ is. If that is a new concept to you, you can read more about that here. 

Operating as a person of peace in the raising of our children is such a gift to them and goes far beyond the absence of spanking.

If we choose not to spank but continue yelling, shaming, punishing, and other loud and damaging modalities, we are not peacemaker parents! 

A peacemaker parent is Christlike + bursting with the fruits of the Spirit. 

Questions to ask yourself in a crisis as you cultivate and pursue being a peacemaker:

Am I operating in the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control) even when confronted with conflict or crisis?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

How would Jesus answer my child right now? 
The one who says that he remains in Him ought, himself also, walk just as He walked. I John 2:6

Are my hands and arms open to give love + grace to my child in their time of need? 
I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, Who walk in the way which is not good, following their own thoughts. Isaiah 65:2

Is my voice soft + gentle or is it big + scary?
A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1

Would I be proud to show someone how I am confronting this situation? 
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. II Timothy 2:15

These questions are hard to ask ourselves sometimes–and we need to remember that the Lord always gives us grace as He empowers us with His Spirit. Chances are, there will be many times that the answers to these questions are "no". But we keep trying and keep working toward the goal of being a peacemaker. 

At the end of the day, we do our best as parents. There is no perfect parent, but we do have a perfect model–Jesus Christ. We always look to him. The author and finisher of our faith and we model His methods, His ways, and His teaching the very best that we can as we raise our little disciples to be like Him. 

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