Today's prayers for goodness lead to a much bigger issue. As we seek to mold and correct our young boys, we absolutely must keep in mind that it is not the outward behavior that we are to focus on. While it is important that they do not hit their brother (a big one in our home), or talk back to their parents (another challenge), and listen to instructions rather than ignore us, we will be doing them a huge disservice if we do not seek to change their hearts. But what I have learned through praying these prayers this summer is that it is not up to us as parents to change our children's hearts. That's God's job. He wants their hearts more than we as their parents want them to have hearts for Him. The last week of our praying for our sons' challenge has a day of "heart change" prayers. So in disciplining them we must remember that we are after a change in their wanting to do good, not just the momentary behavior change. They have to want to do the right thing every time, for the right reasons. Brooke says, "Ask yourself these questions:
What parenting tools have I been using that only focus on changing behavior and not the heart? Am I
willing to lay them down even if they produce what looks like a good child?
Reaching a child's heart takes time. Behavior modification is much faster! Am I willing to change things
about my life so that I have the time to invest in the hearts of my children?
Most importantly: Am I willing to submit my own heart to God and allow Him to mold me from the
Shepherding our boys is not for the faint of heart friends! Once a week or more I'm tempted to just throw it all
out the window (including the boys … ) and take the easier path. So what keeps me going?"
Today Brooke shares some insights given by author Laura Lee Groves, "I'm Outnumbered! One Mom's Lessons in the Lively Art of Raising Boys". Sounds like she and I could be great friends. I am also outnumbered in my home. I always thought I would have both boys and girls. Funny how my sister has three girls and I have the boys. I had no idea what to do with my first son. In fact I remember a conversation with my cousin when I was pregnant that I did not have any idea of how to raise a boy. Well, now I have two and am so thankful for both of them. They are funny, energetic, and full of craziness! I have been constantly seeking a peaceful home for some time now.
Laura mentioned something that struck home with me. Spend time with our sons doing the things that they enjoy, even if we don't prefer to do those things. For years I have stayed away from my husband's football and basketball games. I don't like them and have no interest in them. My grandmother used to tell me to learn to enjoy them. Now that I have two sons who will no doubt follow in their father's steps I am seeing a huge benefit in learning to enjoy those things that I have disliked. Bonding takes place in sharing those moments and I don't want to miss out on that. As they get older, I will definitely want a relationship that is built on trust to be developed. I want my sons to come to me as someone that they can talk to, not see me as someone who just did the necessary house work and disciplined them.
She also mentioned how important it is as boy moms to find other boy moms to connect with. Having a life-line really helps when the craziness seems too much.
Pray for our sons to have peace in their lives, peace in our homes, and peace in our raising them. God says that we will find peace if we seek it wholeheartedly.
Today's prayers really sum up all that we are praying for our sons. Love. Without love, God's love, we miss the mark on everything else. Without God's love our sons will not experience all that God has planned for them. I personally have struggled with loving others for years. The pain from past relationships has placed a barrier between me and the world. It is hard for me to let others in, especially new friends. I definitely do not want my sons to struggle with this. Learning how to love God's way at an early age will hopefully help them cope with difficult situations that are sure to come up over the years. I want them to be prepared to handle disappointments God's way. And I most especially want them to grow up loving each other. Right now this is hard to see with the daily fights over this and that. Prayer. It is our only hope. Pray that they will love when it seems impossible. Pray that they will experience love in their marriages. Pray most especially that they will really know how much God loves them.
Brooke brought up another very important point. The word love is used carelessly too often. "I love this food", "I love that song", etc... Real love only comes from God. Brooke says "God and love are one and the same. There is no real love apart from God, and God is behind all real and genuine acts of love".
I've been thinking of ways to teach our sons to honor others. They will be presented with many opportunities in their lives, such as holding a door open, giving up their seat, or letting someone else go before them. Simple acts of kindness. Then there is the command to "honor his father and mother". For some reason this is a huge problem in our house. Currently a favorite toy has been in time-out and will remain there until a certain someone learns to show respect to his mother. For three days in a row there must not be any trouble. So far that is not happening. Even just now, as I am writing this, I have had to stop to "remind" him that he is to get dressed for school. His interpretation of that is to stand in the hall and bark at the dog. "Honoring his mother"? Not yet. So we have lots of work to do. Boy, as I pray through these I am being shown area after area of character traits that are severely lacking.
Today we will pray for our sons to have servant's hearts. I have always loved giving. Often I round up clothes and house things that we are no longer using and give to Good Will. This week I was asked if I could help out the fire victims around Austin. I told my 7 year old about this and asked if he would like to help by donating some of his toys. This was his cue to place importance on everything he owed. I would never ask him to give away his most favorite toys, but rather some that he no longer uses. For some reason he could not part with anything and was most upset that I had asked. As I rounded up my kitchen things to donate I was saddened that he had this attitude. Had I created this in him somehow? Or have I just not trained him enough in the joy of giving? I ended up showing him the boxes I collected, but that still made no difference to him.
On another note, his servant's heart is not developed at home. Whenever I ask him to help me clean, most importantly his toys and clothes, his response is always something like "I didn't make that mess", "I don't know where anything goes", "I don't know how", or my favorite "I'm too tired, you have to help me". So today's prayers are another uphill battle for me. Another exhausting challenge to overcome. Another area where my sons really need God's hand guiding them to become more like Him.
Today's topic, purity, may seem a little premature for my little ones, however with access to the internet and cable, it is even more important that we start as early as possible not only shielding their eyes and ears, but training them to steer away from such temptations. "Be careful little eyes what you see". It is things like this that make me want to remove the TV and computer from our home, along with any movies and music that are working against what I want to teach my sons. Everyone has their own opinion of the Duggars, but I really like the way their children behave and are focused on pleasing God and their parents. Everyone gets along (and I don't think it is just for the camera). They have no outside influences that can steal their hearts and turn them away from what their parents have tried so hard to teach them. With that said, I realize not all of us can live in isolation with a house full of kids to play with and both parents at home all day. Not everyone has the opportunity to home school and even home church. My sons are being put out into the world at such young ages. So my job as mom is to train them now to recognize evil and run from it.
I pray that as we pray through today's prayers for purity, we will see a definite change in our sons' hearts toward serving God and recognizing things right away that are not pleasing to Him.
I am a child of God, wife of a wonderful and supportive husband, mother to two active boys, daughter to kind and caring parents, sister to an amazing mother of three girls.
I have been blessed with a chance to stay at home to spend more time with our children. While at home, I also run an online store which keeps me very busy.