Monday, February 7, 2011

Growing Kids God's Way

I don't know if I've just been under a rock the past few years (like 20) or what, but I had never heard of Growing Kids God's Way until a new Sunday School class started a few weeks ago. I signed up immediately, and am very excited to be a part of this small group of parents who ultimately long to raise our children up to love God and be a contributing member of society.

First of all, it's neat to be in a small group of parents with small children. The class is designed for parents of kids 2-7. This narrows the group down a bit, and it's fun to learn from those in the class. It's interesting to hear how others parent, and it's comforting that the struggles we have with D are common (and struggles for other parents, too).

Secondly, though the material is wordy and the videos can be dated (b/c this program really is close to 20 years old), the wisdom and Biblical values inside are priceless. Sometimes I just need someone to tell me what to do, how to do it, or why I'm doing it, ya know?

Here are some highlights so far! There will be more to come, as we are only partway into chapter 2 of the study guide. (These highlights are probably my interpretation or thoughts on a thought that the authors bring up...please note: I am not an expert at this nor will I be when I am done with this class.)
  • The responsibility of raising a moral child is HUGE...awesome...grand...(insert adjective here). I know this. I really do. Partly because I'm trying; partly because I feel that I'm failing at that very thing most days. But it does make me feel better to hear someone say that it can be done (now if he would just GET to how it's done, so I can get on with it! - j/k).
  • One of the ways to teach our children to internalize Biblical values is to give attention not only to what is being taught, but how. I get it. What I'm doing is not working. D can be so hateful sometimes. He rarely shows emotion to punishments, unless I am drastic and take a group of toys instead of just one away. Time outs only work 40% of the time, and though he doesn't like to see me disappointed, that doesn't stop him from testing me time and time (and time and time) again. So, the thought is that methods matter. If something doesn't work after trying it many times, try something else. Each child is different and will respond differently to many different methods.
  • Historically, we have 2 different kinds of parents: authoritarian and permissive. If you know me, there is NOTHING permissive about me. Sometimes I feel like I'm so hard on my little brown-eyed boy. What I've learned already in this class is that both are WRONG. Dead wrong. Authoritarian is all about suppressing evil (bad choices), stifling rebellion, and a fear-based parenting. Permissive parents just want to avoid conflict. They're very concerned with how happy their children are. They desire a stress-free family life (which is impossible, I tell ya!), and let their children do or have whatever they want at any given time just to avoid fits, screaming, etc. Children in these families learn they are the boss and can very well be difficult to deal with out in the real world. I tend to be authoritarian in nature, but long to do it right. So...I'm here to learn. And I will share any knowledge I learn here in blogland b/c I think we should all be equipped with whatever we can to tackle this huge responsibility called "parenting."
  • Our standard for moral training should come directly from the Bible. Note to self: that means I must continue to delve deep in the Word so I am equipped when a new struggle comes up. Depending on age appropriateness, use verses to train. Eventually this will instill in our children the desire to be Christ-like.
  • The ultimate moral mandate of Scripture is this: to regard others higher than self. To be others-oriented. We must model this for our little wee ones! Oh, Lord, give me a heart for others so D will have a heart for others.
  • God's moral requirement does not vary from child to child. As parents, we must be intentional about the standards despite our child's temperament and personality. We can help shape them! (Woah, this is a tough one. I'm sure this will be harder the more kids we add to our family!)
  • Most of our moral training needs to take place outside of conflict. (Okay - reality check here: do I train D outside of him making bad choices? No, I do not.) We have become very intentional about this, and have noticed a change. Daddy does a great job at this, and I'm working on it. But they have the greatest conversations now about making good choices/bad choices. Little D has already started doing more polite things like reciprocating "hi's" from people he may/may not know (instead of hiding between my legs), opening doors for people in public (so sweet <3>
  • After age 3, we must begin to tell them not only what to do, but why to do it. The why makes all the difference. I think I will blog about this at a later post b/c I see this is getting long. But stay tuned for the Why post. This is an interesting concept that I had literally never thought about. Oh, how teaching will be different for me when I get back into the classroom!
I leave you with a quote and a smile:

"Legalism removes the principle from the heart and the soul of the child."

Now, who wouldn't smile at THIS face?!

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