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― C. S. Lewis


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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Whacking Through The Weeds OR Not....

I was visiting Sally's Blog "I Take Joy" today, and just loved what she had to say about how grace based parenting is NOT leniency or coddling. (I added the coddling word)

Her post got me to thinking about parenting kids who come from hard places.  Not that I don't think about it all the time.  But I began to focus on  what some think BCLC is, or Grace Based Parenting is.  If you don't understand the concepts, you might think it is spoiling, allowing children to be out of control, smiling as your little princess throws a huge fit, demands, talks back, etc.
(you get the picture)
What a horrifying thought!  It is not at all even close to the truth.

When children come into our lives after living a life completely separate from us, they come with their own set of values, morals, ideas, likes and  dislikes; and those may be quite different from our own!
(that is an understatement) :)
In order to help them root out unwanted behaviors, we need to cultivate the soil.  Gently!

Picture a child's heart as a plot of land for a garden.  But this land has not been cared for at all. There has been no fertilizer, no compost, no weeding of any kind, no careful hoeing, no water..... it has just been left to itself.  Do you know what a garden looks like that is left to itself???

It looks kind of like this picture.  Rather wild isn't it?

If you just go in and start whacking down every weed you see, you are going to cause more problems in your garden.  Whacking weeds will only spread them.  The roots will still be there and the seeds of those weeds will fall into more soil and you will have a bigger problem that you started with!

In our Children's lives, if we bring them home and just start whacking at the weeds, (the unwanted, trauma based behaviors) we will only be spreading them.  It might look pretty at first! The weeds are all gone! SEE!

But then, they will start to come up all over the place! Why?
Because we forgot about the root!  The root causes of many behaviors are based in fear and shame.
Trust me, your child wants to get better, they really do!  But sometimes it is just so scary!

Now, if you were a garden, wouldn't you be scared if farmer John came over, big and tall, wearing his hat, gloves and overalls, and just started whacking at you?  Wouldn't that make you want to run and hide?

That is a picture of our children, who come home already frightened and then, all this whacking, chopping and supposed weeding starts to happen....
In reality, the little tender trust shoot that was starting to grow gets chopped down with the hoe of anger, impatience, adult temper fits, demands, and the attitude of "Enough already! When are you going to grow up and face the real world?"

Then answer is, they  need to be cultivated with love, fertilized with kindness, sown with patience,
and watered with abounding grace.

If a child's weeds are just whacked, there will be a naked garden, suffering from lack of nutrition, too afraid to emerge from the soil, lest they be whacked again.

A good gardener knows that gardening takes time.  They are patiently dedicated to having a wonderful garden of blessing with luscious flowers to adore and foods to eat as the reward of their labor.
A really awesome garden takes YEARS to cultivate. It doesn't happen in one season, two or even 4 or 5. 

Working in that soil the nutrients needed is a labor of love. 
Tending those little plants carefully, will lead to an abundant harvest!
Weeding must be carefully done, much like a surgeon must be careful, we must too!

Put the weed whacker away! It doesn't get the right job done!
Get on your knees and pray about what weeds need to be carefully and gently removed from our children's hearts, and pray about how to remove them.
And then, nourish your children's lives with the abundance of grace that flows from a life turned over to Him.
I promise, they will grow! The weeds will try to come back, but you will know how to work with your child to help rid them.
And they will.  Their little heart garden will bear the fruit from your labor of love. :)
Tender trust shoots bloom when they aren't whacked!  They develop deep roots! And when the winds of struggle try to blow them away, uproot them or destroy them, they thrive.

In the process of growing the garden of your child's heart there will be thorns, but don't forget to smell the roses! :)


Fatcat said...

That's a beautiful analogy.

Annie said...

Oh, Christy! I SO agree - that is an amazing analogy. You may have known me long enough now to know that I am a person who doesn't understand anything that can't be presented as an analogy - I'm impressed!

Christie M said...

Thank you ladies. I think sometimes analogies can solidfy something in our minds and we can grasp the concepts better. :)

Annie, I am so glad you are still blogging!

Aus said...

Morning Christie - long couple days for us! Great couple posts - and in re this one I'll share an experience if I may (or may not - you aren't stopping me!!...;)

Last weekend our oldest dd and her dh were in town for a visit - and we were needing to have a "heart to heart" - we've been "drifting away" from each other and wanted to tie off to the dock before things got too bad - this happens with adults sometimes...

The littles were playing around while we talked - and could tell we were "talking serious" - but as littles will do wanted attention from time to time. I was "running interference" for the ladies - but wanted to stay involved in the adult conversation too.

Anyway - enough fabric - the littles were absolutely wonderful - gave us all the time we needed - it was a great afternoon. (As an aside - I couldn't praise them enough - and made sure to praise them in front of our DD and DSIL - that "public praise" is also an important part of "connected parenting" and the BCLC type method!)

But prior to all of that our DD and DSIL both commented on how well the kids were doing when we would ask them to give us "more time to talk". They too noticed how cooperative the kids were being when all they wanted was to have the older sibs (who live out of town and they don't get to see that often) come play with them.

Our DD is a school teacher too - she "gets" kids...

And that IS the BCLC type of parenting in action...

And THAT is something I wish I had known 28 years ago as I started into this parenting thing!!

Great stuff - hugs around -

aus and co.

Annie said...

Just too, too busy.... I hate it! But I got so far behind at work and home earlier this year, I feel I'll never catch up!

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