I know one thing about mothering. One thing beyond a shadow of a doubt. It is this:
My Words Have Power.
The words I speak to my children create reality for them. I can tear down or build up with my words. That's my job. Everyday I must selectively demolish and build. Demolish the bad-- harmful habits, hurtful words, disrespectful patterns of speech and behavior. Build the good-- diligence, bravery, perseverance, kindness in speech and actions, faithfulness in the little things and self-control. I build these things largely by talking about them, teaching them, praising their first timid appearances in my children's characters.
So I know this. The problem is, sometimes the demolition seems to take up all my energy, all my time and emotional resources. Sometimes the bad and ugly seem to rise far, far above my puny little wrecking balls and loom over my head with promises of visiting my children in juvie one day soon... the little delinquents.
Today I woke up remembering that demolition is only half of my job. If I tear down and neglect to build in it's place, then I create a vacuum, and we all know how nature feels about that. If I spend all my time disciplining, training, giving out consequences and negatively reinforcing, and then collapse in exhaustion on the couch, my household momentarily bullied into a semblance of peace, then I've missed it. Because while I rest and recuperate, slowly at first and building to a tempest, comes in all manner of horrible things pouring into the vacuum created by my unfinished work.
Today I woke up determined to do some Rebuilding. I had to slow down first. As always. It always starts there. Giving up my right to Accomplish Many Things. So we started slooooow. We did our chores. We went for a looooong slooooow walk.
We ate lunch.
We read books.
We drew pictures.
That's it. That's all I did today. At least, on the surface. But down deep in Judah's heart I was building all day. Laying the foundation of the man he's going to become one day-- by God's Grace. I praised his bike-riding. His strength. His endurance (he biked nearly four miles while I ran with Jamie in the stroller). I told him about scientists and their keen powers of observation when he noticed a funny kind of grass growing beside the path. "Hooray! I'm going to be a scientist one day!!"
And all the rest of the ride he noticed. Everything. I mean it. Ev. Erything. I was interested in him all day. I taught him that he is important to me, that I care about what he has to say, that I enjoy talking to him and listening. (I'm writing this post in 45 sec bursts, in between helping him with his snapping turtle play-do sculpture).
I know my work is not done because we had one good day. I know there will be plenty to knock down and tear out tomorrow, but I've been encouraged in my determination to Speak Truth into my children's lives. Partly because because I can see it working....
"Mom, sin is really tough to fight. When we try to fight it, we lose... but if we relax... if we relax down in... God can get up and fight it away for us. It's like a big wall in front and we relax down behind and God can *swooosh* fight off Satan for us.You know how in church? In Church we say dat when we sing and pray... Satan TREMBLES? You know dat? It's jist like dat."