We had our home study last tuesday (yes, on Valentine's day). It was a really neat experience. We answered REALLY personal questions about our parents, our childhood, our dating life, our marriage…etc. it was actually sort of theraputic. I know that's odd but it's really great to look back at your life and realize, this is why we've come to this conclusion to become foster parents and adoptive parents.
And in light of the fact that we only have a handful of weeks before we have more kiddos in our house,
we've had to make some changed around the house. Some are just security changes, locking things up that are "hazardous", others will be painting the guest bedroom to make it a child's bedroom but one of the biggest changes we are making is our discipline.
DHS and the CALL both have rules and guidelines on how you can discipline a foster child in your home. And to avoid double standards between Jax and a new child, we're adjusting our "method".
Jax has entered a pre-three year old stage that I'll call the "I'm just…" stage. Its constant arguing and "mom, I'm just playing…" (when I've just told him to put down the car and go up stairs for bathtime, or something). So, we've got to nip it in the bud. No arguing, no back talk - only obey.
So, yesterday he got one strike and he was out. Already sitting in the designated "time out" chair for arguing with mom. In the time out he proceeds to pitch a ugly little fit. So, he got sent to his room until he was ready to calm down and choose to obey.
At one point, listening to his fit, from downstairs…Kyle and I look at each other and say, "this is going well." and we laugh. But just moments after that, we hear quiet.
We wait. Then a little voice say, "mom. I'm ready to obey."
In that moment I saw what God was teaching us. And it's bigger than just that fit. I'm okay with spanking, it's what we've been doing. But I can see now that sometimes a child (or an adult) has to just be left to themselves for a period of time (time out, or sent to their room) until they can choose for themselves to make the right choice. Because I know that I can coerce, force or convince Jax to fear me and obey me. But even after he does agree to make the right choice, he'll repeat the bad one. And he hasn't learned anything.
Yesterday, after then above incident happened, we didn't have any more blow ups after that. It wasn't a perfect day because no day is perfect, but we saw a change. And I believe God showed us this, to help us see how it can work in the future. That there are ways to be consistent, to be firm but stay inside the guidelines. And ultimately may help us teach all our kids about choosing to obey Christ instead of being coerced or convinced to (because that rarely sticks).
I see this in the bible and I see it in my own life that even as Christ disciplines me because he loves me…there are times that he leaves me be for a season, either in my sin or in my misery over my sin. He allows me to make the choice to return to him or not to. Even the times that he does something drastic that seem to be forceful or or to get my attention, things that may incite Holy fear...its still with the intention to get me to choose him. I can be coerced my friends or family to do the right things, I can be persuaded by a preacher to do right things, but unless actually make the choice to surrender myself to the Lordship of Chirst, nothing will stick for long.
I'm so thankful that He is teaching us, so that we can hopefully teach all our kids.