God’s not a helicopter parent…

We’ve had a revolt of EPIC proportions in the Duffy house.  I suspect that the mysteriously unexplained fevers I’m having are ‘stress-fevers’ (is that a thing? Cuz I think I have it..lol) 3 kids at home the last 2 weeks, oy.  I’m out-numbered, I’m half a man down because I’ve been sick, and its 90 degrees…

So, I did something I thought I’d never do.  I created an ally… with one of my kids…Yes, I’m plotting them against each other. I had to cut some losses and level the playing field. Heck, I’m desperate.  The history buff in me knew that countries have made alliances with other countries, even though they didn’t see eye to eye on everything.  They set ground rules and tried their best to work together.

So, I set some ground rules and gave CB#1 his first test. (We affectionately refer to the children as Crap Bags #1, 2, & 3.  Like I said, we call them that ‘affectionately’.  Our facebook friends dubbed them CB#1, 2, & 3. We don’t ever call them this to their face. I don’t think at least..lol)

I needed to take a shower so I gave CB#1 a notepad and told him to watch the two younger kids.  He was to make a tally of every time they did something they weren’t supposed to.  CB#1 is our rule follower.  Even though he does fall to much temptation, he knows the rules, and likes enforcing them with others.  Especially Dad 🙂

I didn’t tell the other kids what was going on. Just sent him down to the couch and told him to start counting. I took a shower and got ready, about 20 minutes or so, and then I went down to check.  When I got to the couch and looked at the notepad, my eyes went bug-eyed.. CB#2 had 56 tallies, and CB#3 had 68. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

What.the.heck.

I’ve been thinking and praying a lot lately, about how to teach my kids whats important in this world, and what is not.  I foresee the next few generations will struggle quite a bit, to learn right from wrong in the world.  The world is changing, I’m even struggling with knowing right from wrong.   This brought me to think about how God oversees us in our day to day life.  Maybe I should be using that model, to raise my kids.  But that only brought me to the realization that Gods not much of a helicopter parent.  From the very first book of the bible to the very last, he pretty much just set the ground rules, with the expectation that the people will follow, and then lets the naturalness of his peoples decision-making play out.

Adam and Eve sinned, causing them to feel shame and they were no longer welcome to walk with God in the garden of Eden.

The Israelites wandered around in the desert for quite a long time, in order to learn to live by Gods word alone.

Lots wife turned to salt, for looking back when the angels warned her not to.

David and Solomon both lost favor with God, for not heeding to Gods warnings.

And I’m pretty sure I remember Peter sinking in the raging sea, for not listening to Jesus, in their little trust-building activity.

There is POWER in natural consequences.  Thank Heavens for a God that loves us so, that he sends warning to us both through various people and through our ability to learn from natural consequences!  But there’s something to be said about how God does it all.  He tells, sends warning, and then BAM, consequence when we disobey or doubt.  There are also many instances of grace, and mercy, and much filled with love and protection.  But hard lessons? #boom, swift, quick, lessons.  Man, we need to spend more time praising God, because if I were him, I would be doing a whole lot of weeping for my people.

Sadly, that’s what I have been doing a lot lately…  For my kids…  They’re my people.  And they just.are.not.getting.it.  Don’t get me wrong, they look all sweet and charming when you see them, but don’t be fooled.  It’s just an act.  They are like 3 Chucky’s on steroids at home lately.  I used to have some saving grace when we would go out to a store, they were somewhat pleasant most of the time.  But even that’s gone out the window as of late.  Ugh.

I suddenly found my self reading more into the ways that God warns us of what is ahead.  He sends angels, visions, dreams, and watchmen.  What he did not do is stand over everyone and continually correct, fix, and guide the people. No helicoptering in the heavens!  In a moment of desperation weakness exacerbation despair hopelessness pure divine intervention, I suddenly knew what I needed to do.  I needed a watchman.  I needed an ally.  I needed to help all 3 of my kids learn to grasp a HUGE concept.  Not only would one of my CB’s come back in to my good graces, he was going to be able to take part in seeing what it takes for the other two, to work their way back.  Bonus!  He’ll also learn what the bible tells us about giving warning to a fallen world.  You know, no biggie 😉

Now, let me be clear.  We are very strict about tattle-taling..  I’m not really condoning that here, and it’s not really the job of a watchman.  But I do need some insider info.  I’m not God, I can’t see into their guilty stained hearts, unless the chocolate is also stained around their fingers 🙂 So it’s just an added bonus that my little watchman is going to be trained to warn and guide on one side, and play the role of informant, somewhat, on the other..  Our tattle-taling strategy in the past has been unique and still works quite well.  The goal of tattle-taling should be to curb complaining.  You don’t want to teach kids that they need you every second of the day.  Oh, what confidence is built in teaching your kids to work things out on their own.  It’s been a life saver, and gives a great boost to some of my kids that are quite anxiety-ridden.  So, long ago we created a rule.  If a kid came to tattle, I said “Is anybody hurt?  Is anybody bleeding?  Is anybody crying? No?  Then hit the bricks kid..”  The kids actually found it quite funny and would remember that they should first try to work it out on their own.

BUT MY KIDS HAVE TAKEN THEIR BEHAVIOR TO A WHOLE NEW LEVEL, FOLKS!

So, we’re trying something new.  While I guide my rule follower to learn soft and easy ways to offer advice to the littles for their poor decision making skills (because God is my witness, they clearly can’t seem to hear me anymore!), in return he is relieved of his eternal grounding and tasked with being my eyes and ears.  He’ll offer warnings to them and then make sure I can stay informed.  Yes, I know that a watchmen isn’t a tattler, but a Warner, and yes, I know that the Watchmen weren’t rewarded with endless amounts of Chai Tea Lattes, but whatevs.  I’m desperate, remember?

We tried so hard to let the natural consequences be the only consequences, but I have three kids that have only made it out of their rooms like 2 days in the last 2 weeks.  As parents we need to step up our game sometimes.  I’m definitely not against bribing suddenly, but in all seriousness there’s much for him to still be learning along the way.  He’s already connect several dots in the last few hours, about why certain behaviors are so important, and really wants to be sure that he’s ‘helping’ the other kids and I, and not hurting them.  His heart is in the right place, and his eye is on the prize.  All I can hope for is that it stays there, and I know that it’s going to be my job to continue to nurture it into that place, but we’ll all benefit in the end.  I’m one tired Momma, ravaged by countless unexplained fevers in the past few weeks, we could all use quite a break around here.

The thing I’m trying most to remember through it all, is that this parent thing can never stop.  I try to give up like all.the.time.  I have to keep going.  When we goof, we admit mistake and move on.  We’ve had quite a few less-than-proud moments in the Duffy house in the last few weeks, and desperate times are calling for desperate measures.  The key is that I never forget to keep going.  If something doesn’t work, I’ll change it.  We can talk about everything as a group, but I can’t forget who the parent is when it comes to making the final decisions.  Not everyone is gonna be on board all the time.  The only way our kids are ever going to trust what we say, is by watching our follow thru.

So, we’re trying something new.  I built an alliance.  Hopefully it will blossom to mediation and bring all the Duffy’s back around.  Who knows around here though.  Tomorrow you might get an excellent post on #failure  😉  Hopefully in a few weeks it will instead be a praise post for #reconciliation  🙂

Wish me luck!

(**Please check out the reconciliation link above, to hear an awesome sermon from our church’s guest pastor last night, Pastor Doug Bursch from Evergreen Foursquare in Auburn, WA.  You can also follow him on twitter: @fairlyspiritual.)

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