Saturday, July 17, 2010

be good? or be a blessing!

dear emily,

this is a 'sabbath rest' repost from november.

my children were ornery little widgets, but they never heard me say,
"be good."  'good' seemed like such a nebulous, lack luster term for
what i wanted from them.

instead, i always urged them to 'be a blessing,' which required
more action and thought.  they understood this included kindness,
cheerfulness, obedience, and helpfulness, all actions we practiced
daily at home.

this required me to conform to the same standard, and i assure you,
they would let me know when i was grumpy or impatient.  all of us
continuously fell below the benchmark, but we asked forgiveness
and then tried harder to be a blessing to one another.

because i expected this kind of behavior at home, it was natural
for them to act the same way when we ventured out.  many tired
mommies slacken standards at home but then have unrealistic
expectations of their children when in public.

consistency is a vital key to training up children in the way they
should go.  it's difficult and tiresome, but the reward is happy,
respectful children who are allowed to go many exciting places
with mom and dad.

now that my urchins are mostly grown up, i hear this a lot,
"mom!  you can't say that in public!"

love,
lea

"the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control."
galatians 5:24

28 comments:

Southern Lady said...

I love that statement "be a blessing." I have never told my children to be good either. To me, that statement is too broad. What is good anyway? I always tried to be a little more specific. My children have always acted the same whether at home or in public. When they were little that wasn't always a good thing. Now that they are older, I am very proud of their actions when we are out and about. Maybe I didn't do such a bad job after all! Carla

Jeannie B. said...

Sometimes, I would like another chance at raising my children because I could do a better job!! Hooray for all those young Mothers who are taking the time to train them in God's ways. I am putting up a sticky note on my wall....

"Who have I been a blessing to Today?"

Thank you for your encouragement to all of us!!

A Tale of Two Cities said...

Be a blessing--encouraging words we can use at every age in life, but especially wise words for mothers to use with their little ones.

Sweet reminders,
Debi

High Heeled Life said...

That is a wonderful way to put it! I'm going to add that to my vocabulary... Happy Sabbath my friend ..HHL

Rebecca said...

I'm sooo going to pass this post along to my daughter-in-law.

I needed to read this today. You are a wise, wise, Momma.

Love to you~

Rebecca

I Love Pretty Little Things said...

i think that I need a do over- Ha Ha! I love "Be a blessing". I will wait for grandchildren and that will be my theme with them. I really like that.
Thanks for sharing,
Joyce

Town and Country Mom said...

Beautiful, thoughtful post. We all miss the mark, but I love how you focus on the target of being a blessing. And, how, you remind us not to expect behavior and consideration in public that we haven't taught at home.

Aunt Amelia's Attic said...

So glad you didn't say; "Be good!" But probably not for the same reason...

To me, I dislike demanding that kids "Be good!" Come on. Just because a kid gets mad and says something wrong or etc., doesn't mean that kid is BAD.

Oh, but mom's don't mean that! That the kid is BAD.

Well guess what moms???, kids are very literal. If they "aren't being good," then they "are being BAD." Come on!

Like my young grand, being taught to swim... Asking how people learn to breath underwater, so they can dive, etc.???????? 'Cause he didn't know how to do it! So he was told you don't learn to breathe under water... you hold your breath. Would anyone have figured out, that he literally though his sister and bro breathed under water? Unless he asked? Maybe that's a reason he's so late in learning to swim!!!

How many such things, do kids misunderstand, because they never ask?

And if moms and dads [let alone everyone one else] is saying Be Good. And a kid CAN'T be GOOD all the time, being human..... So why doesn't he/she get the message that they are then, BAD????? It's logic.

Please, people who feel themselves to be religious, think of this! When or before you harp on the "Be Good" or say "You/that's Bad." Please........ Think.

Keep telling a kid that he's BAD, when he's simply being HUMAN, and he'll believe he is Bad. Or if kids are told they are Bad, enough...... Why won't it become a self fulling prophesy?

If people keep telling you something over and over [Like chinese water torture], you tend to believe it.

Thank you, for letting me say such, here. I am so frustrated with this issue. Thank you!

Lisa said...

I love this! We should ALL endeavor to be a blessing.:)

Jemm said...

This verse is one of my favorites. It is such a good reminder about how to behave. I love your idea about teaching your children to be a blessing, but I'm not sure how to go about implementing it in practice. You know? Tips?

Vee said...

Oh I like that. "Be a Blessing" should go up as a sign in my kitchen. My hubby will certainly appreciate it. (I've been painting the bathroom; I'm very cranky. ;> )

Joan Elizabeth said...

An encouraging post for us all. Thank you.

Sonja said...

Good words Lea! Consistency is absolutely essential, and I was a litle late coming to that one. Many times it was the easier thing to 'slide' or look away. My 3 knew how to work me, in ways they wouldn't dare try with their dad, probably because it sometimes worked! I did learn along the way about the value of consistency.

I love what you said about expectations... kids get that! If we as parents act a certain way and are consistent, we have every right to expect it from them also. And most of all I agree with asking for their forgiveness when we are wrong, and expecting them to give it to each other. I am so blessed to see our kids now doing this with their kids. :)

~*~ saskia ~*~ said...

What perfect quote to end your beautiful post with, Lea. Have a lovely sunny Sunday. xx

My name is PJ. said...

Wow! This brought me up short, Lea! No one ever told me 'be a blessing.' And guess what? I told my children to be good more times than I can count.

Excellent post.

Rita said...

Daar Lea,
what a blessing is your post today.
All of your posts are so inspiring and there's always a good lesson to learn behing your words.
thank you for your words of widsom which always seem to come at the right time.
My dautgher is a teenager now and is going thru a very difficult time confronting herself with life and her peers, but she is indeed a good girl and a great blessing to us. I'm so proud of her and now that I think about it, I never had to tell her to be good and she's always acted the same way whether in public or at home.
Sending blessings your way.
rita

Jemm said...

Lea, thanks so much for answering my question. I think that will help a lot. I'm ALWAYS saying "be good" and it seems so...generic and almost condescending to my kids. As if I think they'll try to be "bad". I need to expand my thinking and this will be a great start!

Keeker said...

Thanks for this...I never tell my kids they are good or bad(I always think of fruit or something going bad and that we toss it in the garbage...I am not gonna toss out my kids)anyways I always tell them to be nice for lack of a better description of my expectations "Be a Blessing" is so much better!!

vivek said...

Hi lea,

Thats So sweet of you , n and truly amazed to see the warmth and the concern you have ..thats so rare..and Being a mom a MOm knows better ..and Moms are the ..world ..to their children.

I always feel charm in you after reading your ur writings....you are truly amazing ..

And you know ..My Mom is coming to my place ...as my Lil bro has gone home to receive MOM.

So its a gr8 ..feeling...

Thanks a lots :)

Take care ..
Keep smiling :)
Have A nice week ahead ..
God Bless :)

Cinnamon said...

I remembered your post today when one of my children was being a bother and I asked her "are you being a blessing?" :-)

Thank you for sharing your heart~

~Cinnamon

Susan B said...

I like that..."be a blessing." That is something I will pass on, it is so much more encouraging. Thank you for sharing... :)

June said...

This is such a great post Lea. I love your outlook on how we should be at home and in public. Yes, consistancy was the key with my own six for sure. It's so much easier when they (we) know what is expected of them at all times.
hugs

Rosie said...

Yup, I'm totally with you...I love to see respectful children...manners are so overlooked these days...really sad...as you tend to dislike the child when it's their parents short fall. Great statement...I too, shall try to be a blessing to those around me...love Rosie

carissa @ lowercase letters said...

consistency... it's so hard sometimes, but so necessary. i love the "be a blessing" rather than just "be good." -i'm stealing it for my own children. : )

Together We Save said...

You are so right, I stress manners and respectfulness with my girls all the time.

Sixty-Fifth Avenue said...

wonderful post! I have a 4 year old and it can be a rough road sometimes. I will be using that starting tomorrow...be a blessing.
Londen

Anne Lyken-Garner said...

This post is a blessing. I must tell my kids to be a blessing, as I always tell them to be good. You're right, being good is passive, but being a blessing requires some work.
Thank you.

Sandra said...

Lea, what a wonderful memory you've touched! "Be a blessing" is one I remember from my childhood and, yes, we should all strive to be a blessing in prayer, deeds and speech.