I am a proud wife and mother, and a born again Christian. I work from home as a writer while taking care of Miss N, our six-year-old, Miss M, our four-year-old and Miss C, our newest bundle of joy. Life is crazy but so much fun!
Sunday our pastor preached a message on The Fear of the Lord. Little did I know it was going to apply to parenting! It was much needed for this mommy.
Proverbs 1:7 says "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."
I pray often for wisdom. I need it like I need air to breathe when it comes to raising my girls. That verse in and of itself was crucial to me this week.
However, the sermon also had some other tidbits of truth for me. Pastor spoke about how we as humans are motivated. Fear is one motivation. We do things because we fear the consequence. Another is reward. We do things because we want reward. These are the most basic motivations. Fearing the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, because it is the most basic motivation.
Next in line is the motivation of duty. Often we do things because we feel it is our duty. The most honorable and highest motivation is love.
He then had an illustration of how this relates to parenting. When a child is a preschooler, they respond to physical motivation. Punishment and reward are what they respond to. Biblical discipline creates right actions. It does not really matter what the heart attitude is. You can be parenting selfishly or selflessly, but the motivation will work.
When the child hits ages 8-10, she begins to sense the attitude. If you are parenting with a selfless heart, they will notice. In these ages the physical reward or punishment is still effective, but the heart also matters because they notice and remember. They will catch on if you are parenting selfishly.
When the child hits age 16, you can no longer apply the physical punishment. You can attempt to ground, take car privileges away, and such, but if the child is going to rebel, she will rebel. You cannot force obedience. At this stage of life, the child doesn't just sense selflessness, but she responds to it.
I am sure I am not explaining this correctly or clearly. What I came away with is this: My heart attitude as a parent and disciplinarian is being molded now, while my children are small. My sinful heart leans towards selfishness (This is mommy time, how dare she interrupt! Can't she see I am on the phone! Why won't she sleep, I need to work! I can't believe I am up again this night - sure she's sick but I am tired!) Do you notice how many times this mommy uses "I" in her mental dialogue? Not pretty! I need to change.
If I am parenting out of love as the motivator, not fear, reward, or duty, I will parent in a selfless way. I will be making decisions and disciplining based on what is best for my children, not what is best for me.
I need help in this regard, but I now know where to turn! It starts with a basic fear of the Lord, which really starts with understanding more about His character. In 2010, I think I am going to focus on learning to love my Lord all over again. This will help me to be a better parent as well.