Wednesday, April 1, 2009
21 Rules of This House
Discipline is a never ending challenge, isn't it? And on top of that, each child is so different than the next! What works for one, may not work for the next. But discipline is actually not what I wanted to share about today, although it is certainly linked to the subject at hand! I have only been a mama for 11 years, so I still have so much to learn, and so many trials yet to face! But in those 11 years I have managed to make some big mistakes, hurt my children, and even be lazy in the role God has given to me. My peace comes in knowing that the children belong to Him and He is working out His purpose in them. I am so thankful for His grace and forgiveness! I am also amazed at the treasure He has entrusted me with!
Years ago, when I began schooling at home, a friend gave me a few wonderful books that she has used in their home. Amongst them was one called "The 21 Rules of This House" By the Harris Family. It is a very simple book containing 21 rules in coloring book style along with the rules individually written out in poster form. I used them the first year with our oldest, the next year with our second oldest, we repeated them the third year, and so on and so on. That has become one of the first books that I pull out each new year and the kids have actually started requesting that we do it. Four out of our five kids have all participated in this activity. This past year, I finally decided to print each of the rules out in poster form and placed them in our stairway to be a reminder. I found this to be useful when correcting, being a tangible way to show the kids where they were wrong. Many times I have the kids actually pick out which of the rules apply to the "crime". Usually by the end of them reading them, they are no longer stiff and angry from their pride, but begin showing a very sheepish soft smile of repentance, sometimes even letting out a giggle. The "Meet Me in the Stairway" has turned out to be a time of growth and amusingly enough , a bit fun.
What I have come to firmly believe when it comes to the area of correction and discipline is that the first step in this is making sure the kids know what is expected of them! Having vague expectations will only backfire and confuse them. I have found it to be a blessing for them to have a standard to meet, it means that I believe in them and what they are capable of. My husband and I have found, being in Youth Ministry, that this is an area of weakness in the message being sent to the youth culture today. No one has any expectations of the kids today, as a matter of fact, they are generally negative, which actually is like a slap in the face to them, saying you are worthless and unable to do anything. Or they have expectations and rules but show no love to the kids. They kids are in such desperate need of knowing the potential God has in store for them, the deep worth He has placed on their lives.
I cannot tell you how many times each day I sit down and say "This is what I expect". And please understand, this is done in love, not in some crazed drill sergeant way that has absolutely no trace of a relationship involved. Modeling after the Lord is the best way! He gave us rules, commandments, and an expectation of how we should live, and then He backed it up with an amazing show of His love and personal interest in each of our lives! Those rules are for protection, for joy, for peace, and for an intimate relationship with Him! Does not the rules in your home do the same? Do you not protect your children with rules and show your love by teaching them right?
Well, if you are wondering what rules we have in our home, here they are....
1We obey our Lord Jesus Christ.
2We love, honor and pray for one another.
3We tell the truth.
4We consider one another's interests ahead of our own.
5We speak quietly and respectfully with one another.
6We do not hurt one another with unkind words or deeds.
7When someone needs correction we correct him in love.
8When someone is sorry, we forgive him.
9When someone is sad, we comfort him.
10When someone is happy, we rejoice with him.
11When we have something nice to share, we share it.
12When we have work to do, we do it without complaining.
13We take good care of everything God has given us.
14We do not create unecessary work for others.
15When we open something, we close it.
16When we turn something on, we turn it off.
17When we take something out, we put it away.
18When we make a mess, we clean it up.
19When we do not know what to do, we ask.
20When we go out, we act just as if we were in this house.
21When we disobey or forget any of the 21 rules of this house, we accept discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Now, do we have it down in the Drietz' household? ABSOLUTELY NOT! We are a work in progress with the Lord's help. But I do believe we experience a lot more joy and depth in our friendships with each other than if we did not try to hold to these rules.