Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Rules of the Sand Box

When my first child was about 15 months old I realized he was going to need some rules and discipline that weren't just the when I see it I'll know kind. He was a toddler, he was pushing limits and testing boundaries. I hadn't even begun to think about boundaries. That's not to say he didn't get redirected or told no when needed, but up until then it was just baby curiosity. He was now doing things with a purpose; to see what mom or dad will do. That is when it began.

As soon as I realized how unprepared I was and how little I knew about toddler discipline, I went to the library and made a B-line for the parenting section. I checked out every book on disciple that caught my attention, my first visit resulted in at least 5 books. I now rarely check out more then 2 books on the topic at a time but every so often I feel like I don't know what I'm doing and I go looking for tips and advice. One thing I have gotten from the books I like is that you need to have a set of house rules. 

After reading my latest book, Nanny to the Rescue!: Straight Talk and Super Tips for Parenting in the Early Years, I decided to finally come up with and write down our house rules. I put them up on our board where reminders and lists go so both my husband and I could consider what rules we needed and input our suggestions. The plan was to then put them onto something decorative and post them up in the living room. They sat on that board for weeks, maybe even months, I didn't know why but they just weren't right. 

One holy day of obligation I didn't make it to mass with the kids in the morning. Since my husband went to mass during work, I got to go to mass by myself in the evening. It was glorious! I was there early I got to pray, meditate, and be fully involved in the mass. While I was meditating it hit me, our house rules... THE TEN COMMANDMENTS!!! Of course! What better rules are there then the ones given to us by God? These are the rules that I want them to learn as they approach the age of First Reconciliation and Communion, that I want them to consider when they go to confession. So why don't I start teaching them what those rules are and how to live by those rules now?

I went home and typed up Our House Rules. Under the title listed I-X are the Ten Commandments, rules our kids are expected to live by. Under some of the commandments are little sub-rules to help make things a little more specific to what our particular weaknesses are. Right now these are our sub-rules:

I. I am the Lord Your God You Shall Not Have Any Gods Before Me
     - Love God more then anything else
IV. Honor Your Mother and Father
     -Listen to Mom and Dad
     -No back talk
V. You Shall Not Kill
     -No hitting, biting, or playing too rough
VII. You Shall Not Steal
     -No taking someone else's toys
VII. You Shall Not Bear False Witness Against You Neighbor
     - Always tell the truth

As the kids get older our sub-rules will change to address the challenges we are having, and eventually they won't be needed at all because the kids will be old enough to understand what each commandment entails without it being spelled out for them. Even as I think about it now, I am amazed at how the Holy Spirit inspired me to not only set rules, but to also use those rules as a way to teach my kids about God and what He expects from us. Now I just have to work on making those connection with my kids. "Don't push your sister! We don't push because it can hurt and God wants us to always be kind to people. See it's one of our house rules and one of God's commandments." Something like that anyways. Also, if you decide to try this in your home don't get discouraged when you feel like you are talking and your toddler isn't getting it because eventually they will make the connections. One day they will amaze you with their understanding, but first you have to give them something to understand.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Sandy Beginnings

I would like to begin this blog by explaining my hopes for it and thoughts behind it. I have been praying and searching about a deeper calling that I have been feeling lately. Then as I was loading the dish washer at nap time and musing about what it could be it hit me! I have been blessed with three children given to me by God perhaps my deeper calling is to build their faith and their foundation.

I am not one who can readily quote scripture usually, but this revelation reminded me of the parable of the Two Builders that is quoted at the top of the blog. One builder built his house on rock while the other one built his house on sand. Then when the storms came the house on the rock still stood while the house on the sand was destroyed. Our faith is no different if you do not understand why you believe or do the things you do and you simply go through the motions, because that is what you have always done, when someone or something challenges your faith you will either crumble or be forced to build that foundation you never had.

So I thought "OF COURSE!" I am being called to build rocks. When they are young is the best time to build their foundations, teach them the reasons behind our faith, and answer their questions so that one day they can build their own beliefs on that rock. Since this is the calling God has given me I want to know that I did everything I could to lead them to God the best way I knew how. I want to know that the teachings and information they are given about the Catholic church and our beliefs are true and not someone's ideas about what they mistakenly think they are.

I want to start when they are young because though I was given a good foundation in my youth the house I have built since then could use some repairs, a deep cleaning, and some expansions, perhaps even my foundation needs some repairs. That being said, much of this journey will be a learning and remolding experience for me as well as the building of young foundations. I hope to form them into the granite that they will build their own faith on and that will eventually be tested by the storms of life. Here I begin with a sand box, slowly and through God's grace scooping up the grains of sand and forming them into pebbles and rocks.