Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Celebration Replication

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble,
whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable
--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--
think about such things.
Philippians 4:8 NIV
One of my worst habits as a parent is how easily I slip into lecture mode.  Somehow I get it in my head that the reason my kids aren't listening and/or behaving is because they don't understand certain concepts.  For example, if they simply understood how dangerous something was, maybe they would stop doing it.  Or if they knew how illogical crying over a bug was, they could potentially stop crying over bugs. 
So far, that theory has been wrong 99% of the time. 
Finally, one day, I heard a short devotion on the radio that gave me a much more effective tool.  The devotion was about raising boys into Godly men.  They said that one easy way to encourage good character early on is to use words that describe healthy traits when I praise my boys.  For example, instead of just saying "way to go" or "good job,"  I should say things like "that was so BRAVE" or "Wow!  You are such a STRONG LEADER!"  The idea is that it's a simple way to celebrate desirable qualities, define them in a fun way, and simultaneously encourage my kiddos to make more of the same kind of choices. 
So, instead of vividly describing the in's and out's of what NOT to do, I started focusing on using words that cultivated positive actions. 
The change was surprisingly large - and not just in my kids, but in myself, as well!  I found myself to be much more positive.  I noticed an increase in my patience with all three boys, as well as with myself.  They started doing more of what I wanted, without even one warning about how dangerous the opposite choice was.  I was amazed!  Summer vacation is usually the most draining three months of every year for me.  However, all of a sudden my boys are using (and being) words like "brave" and "kind" and carrying the groceries out of the van for me WITHOUT BEING ASKED!! 
Don't get me wrong, they still fight, hit, scream, whine and wake me up in the middle of the night more than I would like.  But now it isn't as draining as it was before.  
It got me thinking about the words of Philippians 4:8...
True.  Noble.  Right.  Pure.  Lovely.  Admirable.  Excellent.  Praiseworthy.
When I think about these things, when I celebrate these concepts, they become contagious around me.  They seem to multiply and the stress I was feeling before is a little bit less heavy.

Pray: Thank you, Lord, for being the perfect Father.  You are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worth of all my praise.  Guide my heart and lips to meditate on you and to lead my children in the same path for all our days.  Amen.

Emily Krill

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