“I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me.”
― C. S. Lewis
― C. S. Lewis
I believe in the sun even when it's not shining. I believe in love even when I don't feel it. And I believe in God even when He is silent. (quote found on the wall of a concentration camp)
Thursday, June 7, 2012
The Perfect Balance
Wouldn't it be lovely if we lived in a world of perfect balance? Well, we don't.... so that bubble is burst. :) How is that for blunt? LOL
We had our second support group meeting tonight. I think it went pretty well. I am always nervous about talking too much or saying something stupid. I probably did both. :)
I love the ladies that are coming. They are such wonderful and committed moms! We have room for more if anybody would like to join us! :)
Tonight one of the things we talked about what the need for both Nurturing and Structure.
In the study guide we are using, Nurture is defined as: Affection and Mercy. Structure is defined as: Correction.
I would call Nurture, the art of being attuned to our children at an emotional level, calming their fears and making them feel totally safe. Structure, I would call gentle correction combined with instruction.
Our children need to feel safe, BEFORE we are able to instruct. Many times I have heard people say, "But if they do something wrong, they need to be corrected! Otherwise, they are being allowed to get away with everything!" "When they are adults, they need to be able to hear criticism from their boss".
I would like to address these two statements, because I think they are important! It is TRUE, that children need correction and to not get away with doing wrong things. They need to learn.
It is also true that when our children are adults, they will need to be able to handle instruction from a boss or teacher, who most likely will not be familiar with BCLC or the Art of Gentle Discipline!
For the child who is healing, it is very,VERY important that they feel safety and love. They need to know that if they have done something wrong, you will be there for them, you will still love them, and you will still LIKE them. They need to know that you will keep them safe and that they are secure in your love. If THIS step does not happen, no amount of instruction (structure) will penetrate the heart. Why? Because the heart will not be open to receive it. The heart will be too busy protecting itself. Every defense will encircle that heart and it will be impenetrable.
Let's use an example:
Say your child has told an obvious lie. They know they have done wrong, but are not about to admit it.
They are definitely in preservation at all cost mode. You want them to confess that lie, but no amount of instruction is going to cause them to fess up. No threat, no instruction, no consequence, nada.
Let's say you know they have lied. You can simply declare to the child with a mouth full of cookie crumbs.... "I see you ate the cookies that I asked you not to eat!" Instead of "Did you eat the cookies?"
With a warm and sympathetic heart, it would be a good time to reassure them of your love for them.
Sit with them, breathe with them, love on them and help them to relax.
(That is the nurture part)
THEN.... follow up the nurture part, when they are CALM, with instruction about why we do not lie, or why it was wrong to take the cookies. "Mom didn't want you to eat cookies because it would spoil your dinner!"
Tell them that you feel sad that they disobeyed, but that you love them always. (more nurture mixed with instruction) Give them opportunity to talk..
"BUT I WANTED THEM!"
"I understand you did. But it is more important to obey mama!" "I will never let you starve! I love you!" (instruction in family life. This is a concept they may not understand for a long time)
And then, talk to them about why it is important to obey. It is pleasing to God to obey. It is refreshing to the soul to obey. It brings us joy when we obey. Use some playfulness and role play to help them know how to respond appropriately. You be the kid, let them be the parent, and then switch roles.
This is gentle discipline in action!
When our children's hearts are open to instruction, it is received well and we find that they work hard on permanent change! They will become more secure and stable under our loving guidance. And that change will carry over into adulthood, where the children will be able to receive instruction from that boss. :)
So how do we know when to nurture and when to implement structure? For us, we seem to use nurture first and then teaching. It has worked well. When the children are doing well on a regular basis, ( responding well to instruction and feeling safe) and because we offer many hugs and affirmations during the day, we can go straight to instruction and they receive it well.
So we imperfectly try to find a perfect balance, and in time, we find each other through forgiveness, mercy and grace. :)