Sometimes I look around at my children and wonder what in the world they are all thinking. Especially my younger ones, who have moments when everything I say goes in one ear and out the other all.day.long. And sometimes I hear myself saying “Why can’t you just listen to me?” in a very exasperated tone. Read: Sometimes I yell. Sometimes I just grit my teeth. It ain’t always pretty at the Blevins house.
Aren’t you glad we are all a work in progress? I know I am. God has been impressing on my heart for a long time the need for consistency. Consistent rules. Consistent bed times. Consistent chores. Consistent meal times. Consistent discipline. All of these things contribute to a healthier child and a happier household. I know, because I’ve experienced it first hand in our home. I’ve also experienced first hand the chaos that breaks loose when consistency flees in the face of a higher priority. Of course, you are probably wondering what could possibly be a higher priority. Consistency is pretty important, right?
That’s all well and good until I have a deadline that must be met. In that moment, I sometimes choose to focus more completely on my computer and my “work” then I do my children. Bad move. Because as soon as I start ignoring the four-year-old twins, they sneak into my bedroom, squeeze all the toothpaste out onto the floor, dump all the toilet paper into the toilet, rub my blusher all over their cheeks, cover their arms in my personal lotion, and eat all the tictacs hidden in my purse. They are four. They are supposed to be childish. I am not.
My children are most likely to ignore my instructions at the end of a long day when I have spent hours fully focused on “meeting deadlines” instead of being fully present in their precious lives, consistently disciplining as the day goes along.
You probably have it all together, so this never happens to you. But maybe, your focus is on Internet Surfing, Facebook, Pinterest, phone conversations or texting with friends and family, favorite television shows, or – as in my case – blogging work. On the off chance that you occasionally do what I do and forget consistency, you might be wondering if there is any hope that your children will ever listen and obey again. Here is what I always come back to when I need to start over with consistency.
Pray Out Loud Together. — More specifically, ask Jesus to bless your family, help you be more consistent with your children, and help your children be more consistently obedient.
Practice Humility. –Tell your kids what you have done and apologize.
Practice Consistency. — Spend several days or weeks reinstalling daily habits in your home. Start a new habit, such as family prayer time. Just be careful what you start cause you are going to need to stick with it this time.
If you need a consistent time to start school, set an alarm.
If you need a consistent response to lying, biting, or toothpaste wasting prepare your response ahead of time!
If you need consistent rules, write them down and say them with your children every single morning until you can all say them word-for word.
Unplug for a day. Whatever it is that distracts you from your family should be removed for one day. Is it housework? Go on a fieldtrip. Is it your computer? Turn it off. Spend the day totally, 110% focused on your family.
Today, my husband made a comment about “Mommy’s favorite saying” at the dinner table. My seven-year-old piped up: “Mommy’s favorite saying is “It’s all fun and games until somebody gets their eye poked out.” And he had a good point. I do say that one quite often! But truly, my favorite saying which I hope my children hear me saying long after they have children of their own is this: “Live your values, every day, no matter what.”
The strength of our family is one of the highest values I hold. Now I just need to live that way. Every day. No matter what.