Thursday, November 5, 2009

strong-willed children

dear emily,

james dobson saved my life with our strong willed daughter, shelby.  he encouraged me to not look at her nature as a trial but as a life with a strong purpose.  truthfully, though there were difficult aspects in raising such a strong will, the benefits dramatically outweighed the obstacles.

who would you rather have on your team, the person who doesn't really care or the one who knows the best way to win?

she really had the most brilliant ideas and constantly implored me to do better. i wish i had discovered earlier that her opposition to many things stemmed from her ability to improve ...almost everything i did. unfortunately, it never dawned on me that a three year old had a finer sense of schedules, clothing, cooking, cleaning, etc. than her mother!

no children's expert ever said, "some of you have children that can help you be a better mother." they all said, "whatever you do, make sure your strong willed child knows that you are the boss!"  so, one time i asked her in exasperation, "who do you think is the boss around here?"

she calmly replied, "me."

i wish i had just given her the car keys right then.

so, here is the balance.   she needed to know not only that mom and dad were the ultimate bosses but also that her opinions were valued and occasionally implemented.

a wise person once told us to never ask a child to do something or not to do something unless we were prepared to back it up.   this forced hans and i to think before we said things.   if we asked shelby to pick up her room, and she didn't do it, she had a consequence.  if she ran into the street after we told her not to, there was another consequence.

in spite of my many mistakes, shelby is now a precious young woman of God.  your little samara will be, too!


1 timothy 4:12
'don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.'