How Training Your Child Can Bring New Peace into Your Home

How Training Can Bring New Peace Into Your HomeLike dumpin’ bugs out of a jar.

That’s how their daddy often described it. Our little ones were prone to scatter and wander at will. Each of them with his or her own agenda, heading out in a different direction of their very own.

So full of fun. Free-wheeling. Independent.

And chaotic.

On the days that I wasn’t trying to make anything happen or get anything done – it wasn’t too bad.

But what if I was actually trying to accomplish something? Or go somewhere?

What then?

Then it was a challenge. I felt almost…helpless.

Like somehow these small people were determining my day. Determining my decisions.

Rather than the other way around.

And it didn’t set right with me.

Nor did it settle so well with them. There was this slightly out-of-control feeling to the whole enterprise and so they whined. Fussed. Tested.

And we often clashed.

Then I heard my dear friend from Texas say something that changed my world. Or at least changed my perspective.

I overheard her telling her child in an oh-so-soft, sweet, and….um…firm voice:

Darlin’, you just need to get on my train.

(Accent is optional, but adds an unmistakable charm.)

She smiled and she was warm. She also knew where she was going and what she was doing.

Her children knew it too. They were secure in her plan for them.

Well, that’s what I wanted for our children. I didn’t want to drag them, pull them, or push them.

I simply wanted our young ones to get on board.

How Training Your Child Will Bring New Peace

Looking for Your Children to Get On Board?

1.   Prepare with prayer.

Before launching a new approach, make sure it’s covered in prayer. Even the best plan is only effective as far as it’s carried out in Christ’s strength.

2.   Go slowly.

Especially at first. If your children have basically had free rein of the place? Then slowly add structure. For instance, the first week you might add set meal times. Then naptimes and bedtimes. And when that’s in place, add specific chores or responsibilities – even if it’s only finding their shoes or picking up toys. Then incrementally add on your other expectations until you’re well on your way.

3.   Stay cheerful.

This is a happy train! It really is. You’ve got good things in store for them. Remind them that you have a lovely plan for their little lives. Maybe they don’t “want” to nap? But you know better. You know this is what’s best for them.

It’s time to get ready to go somewhere? Line up what you want them to do and then help walk them through it.

Allow for plenty of time for training though. Don’t wait until the last minute to make your call.

4.   Remember, God appointed you the conductor of this train.

No need to apologize. This is where the “firm” part comes in. No need to make a big deal about it, but remain confident in what God has called you to do.

He’s asked you to be the parent and your child…well, to be the child.

He’s not designed that little one to be in charge – that’s just too big of a responsibility for those young shoulders.

5.   Keep the destination clear in your mind.

The goal is not to get things done. It’s not about getting places on time.

It’s about your child learning to yield his or her heart to your plans.

Much like they’ll be doing - is this not our hope? – to Christ Himself someday.

So why not encourage your young ones to get on board?

And then everyone enjoy the new peace it brings into your home!

Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it. ~ Prov. 22:6

In His grace,

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100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson *If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get the FREE eBook, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage).

How to Restore Your Soul…When You Feel Like You’re Losing Your Mind

How to Restore Your Soul When You Feel Like You're Losing Your Mind

To this day I don’t know just how it happened.

She was the most adorable baby girl you’ve ever seen and I was beside myself with gratefulness for her.

First there was her big brother who was very busy and all of 18 months old.

Then there was this tiny pink thing.

My very own sweetheart.

She was beautiful alright, but not the greatest sleeper. She wanted to nurse all night long and it took some of the fun out of it, if you know what I mean?

So I’d been doing this all-night party thing for several weeks when I started getting delirious. A little loco.

One night I found myself walking with her in circles until 2 am  when finally . . . at last . . . got the baby darling to sleep. I gently tucked her in bed and quietly crawled in next to my sound-out husband.

And collapsed into a deep sleep.

For about 12 whole minutes.

That’s when I heard her soft cries starting up again.

I roused myself and leaned over the white, lacy crib and I . . .well, I screamed.  

Something like this: Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!

My poor husband bolted upright in bed, immediately on high-alert. “What is going on here?!”

I stared at him wide-eyed—nearly as shocked as he was. Disbelief at what I’d done. Ashamed and embarrassed.

“I dunno, Honey. I guess I kinda . . . snapped.”

And so her daddy tenderly picked up our baby-doll and took over where I left off. But as he left the room, he gently admonished,

“Hey, don’t let yourself get in that place again, okay?”

Ah yes, That Place.

I can assure you that I never intended to “get there”.

Since then – four boys and four girls later – I’ve learned more on how to avoid getting to That Place.

Hands of mother caressing her baby girl sleeping

Here are a few tips on how to restore your soul when you feel like you’re losing your mind. A mix of spiritual, physical, and just plain practical ways to keep from yelling into the baby’s crib and other crazy-mama moments . . .

What to Do When You Feel Like You’re Losing Your Mind

1)  Get the rest you require. Make it a high priority because it can make all the difference. Sleep deprivation is a terrible thing. Go to bed early or take a nap. Ask friends or family to take over and curl up in a quiet place. Get serious about getting some sleep.

2)  Do this in Christ’s strength. Not your own. Don’t convince yourself that “I” can do this, but minister in His power rather than your own. Place Bible verses around the house, sing praises, and pray as you go throughout your day. Motherhood is a spiritual endeavor.

3)  Don’t neglect your own needs. Sometimes a mom gets so busy she forgets to eat right, to shower, and even go to the bathroom. She forgets to love with her husband or talk to a good friend. My dear, how can you fill up your child’s heart if yours is on empty?

4)  Be willing to ask for help. At first it felt rather stupid and weak, but I figured it was better than a break down. So one older lady folded clothes for me. Another teen girl came over to play with the children. We even sacrificed for a season and had a cleaning lady come in.

It’s now been 19 years since I yelled into the crib.

How to Restore Your Soul When You Think You're Losing Your MindThat baby girl is now a lovely young lady and I’ve asked if she remembered me losing it with her?

She put her arms around me and said she only remembers snuggling together, reading stories aloud, and splashing in mud puddles.

And I’m beside myself with gratefulness.

My very own sweetheart.

Resting in Him.

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*How about you? What kinds of things do you do to restore your soul? I hope you’ll share with us!

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Got In-Laws? One Great Way You Can Grow Closer

Got In-Laws - One Great Way You Can Grow Closer

If you go east on Reserve Street toward the Swan Mountain Range, you can take a left onto our street.

If you go west on Reserve Street toward the Thompson Lakes, you can take a right onto my mother-in-law’s street.

Living only 10 minutes apart you would think we would see each other all the time, but that’s not what happens.

She and her sister live together, and they’re busy with their Bible study ladies and serving at church. They go to water aerobics class and watch my little nephew play soccer.

And we’re busy over our direction, with Matt counseling and preparing sermons, me writing blog posts and Spanish lesson plans, and that 17-year-old who sleeps at our house always on the go.

So we pass my mother-in-law with a quick hug at church and an occasional dinner at her house, but I wish for more.

Well, this week some friends of ours were moving, so we offered them our house while they were displaced for four days.

We packed up and went to my mother-in-law’s and her sister’s house for a three-night sleepover.

It was so fun.

We felt like we were on vacation, with clean sheets and wonderful suppers prepared for us. We enjoyed a slow breakfast coffee and chatting together. One night I graded papers while we all critiqued episodes of Gold Diggers, and then the sports enthusiasts cheered on the Chicago Cubs.

We didn’t even have to take off time from work or spend money on gas and a hotel.

I think about when we visit my mom in Wyoming and how special it is when we go there because we’re all there. You know what I mean? We’re all the way there –not just popping in for an hour or two.

A different kind of connection and closeness happens when we live in the house together for a few days.

Got In-Laws? One Great Way to Grow Closer

I know I would enjoy my daughter and her new husband coming to have an occasional sleepover at our house, even when they live in the same town as us. (Did I say that loudly enough for her to hear? I SAID –I WOULD LOVE FOR MY GROWN KIDS TO COME FOR A SLEEPOVER.)

I’m all about subtlety.

On a sober note, my dad went to be with the Lord just eight months ago, at the age of 67.

Now I am looking at our moms and knowing time with them is precious. There is no promise of how long we will get to hang out with them on this earth.

Of course, I have no idea what your relationship is with your parents or in-laws, but if you have a healthy relationship that you would like to enrich, try pulling out the calendar and planning a few days to stay together.

*Your turn: What are some of your favorite things to do with your in-laws? Your best memories? Please share!

Christy FitzwaterChristy Fitzwater is a pastor’s wife south of the border (Canadian, that is.) She has two children –a newly married daughter and a son who is a senior in high school, although she is in denial about the latter. Christy is a librarian’s daughter and an English major who loves the smell of a new book and freshly sharpened pencils but who occasionally can be seen in a kayak as her one claim to athleticism. Living in Kalispell, Montana she teaches high school Spanish at a Christian school in the afternoons and spends the mornings writing her devotional blog, Off the Shelf. Her greatest desire is to help people know and understand who God is. You can also find her at Pinterest and Twitter.

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21 Questions Your Son Really Needs You to Ask Him

21 Questions Your Son Really Needs You to Ask He is not exactly a big talker. 

That son of mine.

He is kind, thoughtful, and a man of action.

But not necessarily a talker.

More of the strong, silent type, if you know what  I mean?

And I don’t mind it so much that he doesn’t say a whole lot. I tell him that’s fine by me.

He doesn’t have to be a talker . . . but he does need to be a communicator. 

Not merely for my sake, but for the sake of his friendships and future relationships. Because even at the age of 12, this young man already knows he hopes to marry and become a family man someday.

Just like his dad.

And marriage requires communication.

And parenting requires communication.

And friendship requires communication.

So this sweet guy of mine is learning to communicate. We’re practicing now with our eye on the future.

And you know what I’ve found? I’ve discovered that what works the best is if I ask him the questions.

He needs me to start the conversation. 

21 Questions Your Son Needs You to Ask 21 Questions Your Son Really Needs You to Ask

  1. What would you say was the best day of your life so far?
  2. What was the worst day of your life…and why?
  3. If you could pick one meal for me to make you, what would it be?
  4.  What mountain do you wish you could climb?
  5.  What do you admire most about your dad?
  6.   What kind of music really moves you?
  7.   What is your favorite Scripture verse? And why that one?
  8.  What things does your sister do that frustrate (or encourage) you?
  9.  And what does your brother do that annoys (helps) you?
  10.   What do you think you’d like to do for a job when you get older?
  11.   Why did that (movie, song, conversation. etc) disturb you?
  12.   What’s the best thing about being a part of our family?
  13.   What’s the hardest part about being a middle child (or youngest, oldest, only) in our family?
  14.   What sorts of things in this world make you angry? Wish you could fix?
  15.   Can you describe what the perfect day would look like to you?
  16.   What would you say are your top 3 movies? And what is it about them that you like?
  17.   What skill do wish you could be better at? What we can do to help you improve it?
  18.   What kinds of things make you want to cry?
  19.   What character qualities do you especially appreciate in a friend?
  20.   What do you wish I understood better about you?
  21.   Do you know how much I love you?

So I ask the questions and then try to listen with all of my heart.

Because when our oldest son left for college and I asked him what was the most loving thing I’ve ever done for him as his mom?

His said it was that I listened.

I don’t want to ever forget that.

So ask your son what’s on his mind. What’s on his heart?

Then listen to what he has to say.

Communicate and build a close relationship.

He needs you, mom.

Sometimes more than he can say.

In His grace,
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P.S. Free Printable of These 21 Questions for Sons HERE
P.S.S. Also:  21 Questions Your Daughter Really Needs You to Ask Her

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