Terri Camp is a guest blogger from terricamp.com
I am a mom with teenagers - lots of teenagers! I say that, not to make you groan or feel sorry for me, which is the societal norm, but so you know that I have gone where I am telling you to go. None of my children have been to school. As a homeschool mom raising eight kids eleven years apart, I have had my share of frustrations.
My biggest frustration was that feeling that all I was doing was disciplining children and we weren't getting anything done. There would be times that I would measure my progress by how many books were read, how many pages were complete, how many A's were made, even though I felt like the rest of my life was falling apart around me. I could see results in the "work" that was accomplished. However, there was a catch in my spirit that I was measuring the wrong thing. But Lord, I would plead, I need to feel accomplished! I didn't feel that unless I could see immediate results. Well, let me tell you, the disciplining of our children may not yield immediate results, but most definitely the time spent training them, will be the most rewarding of our lives.
I can honestly say that I have never had a teenager talk back to me. Never. I have never had a teen raise his voice at me. With all my heart, I believe it was because back in the days that they were forming their futures I took the time to discipline them. You know, when they are two they are forming their futures. And their older siblings are also forming their futures. It is amazing for me to see my older kids lovingly discipline their own kids, because they learned that skill at home. I had worried that if I spent too much time disciplining a younger sibling, that the older ones would miss something in their education. That is the furthest thing from the truth. When we make the first things first - the rest will fall into place.
What I realized was the discipline of my children had to take first place, no matter what the rest of the kids were doing. Now that doesn't mean I hovered over my kids and beat them down by picking out every issue in their lives. I have not come so far as to be without sin myself. I think one of the worst things we can do is point out their failings, in the name of discipline. However, establish some very clear guidelines, adhere to them, teach your children to adhere to them, and the rest will fall into pace.
In our house we had a family motto for the kids that went like this, "I obey the first time, every time, without questions, and a smile on my face." Simple, to the point, and easy to remember. I didn't expect perfection out of them, but I did expect them to obey. I knew that everyone makes mistakes and not every mistake needed to be met with discipline. But for sure they had to obey. It may seem simple, but when the kids haven't learned it, they require a lot of time to help them learn.
It's been several years now that I've had to bring up the family motto. Just for fun, I asked Tina, who is 23, if she remembers the family motto. At first she said, "I'm not sure I remember it." So I said, "I obey ..." Quickly she said, "The first time, every time, without excuses, and a smile on my face." She replaced questions with excuses. But I think I like that too.
On those days when you're feeling like all you're ever doing is disciplining your kids, try to remember that the payoff for that is worth more than any page they fill out in their math books, any book they read, any A they receive. When you have a child who grows up with self-discipline, you have a child who has succeeded beyond most of the population. It is definitely Time Well Spent
Inspirator, Author, Speaker and Mom of 8