Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches
By Rachel Jankovic
This little book of little chapters about little people was more than a little helpful. While dishing up some juicy ones about nursing twins while the ever helpful husband sleepwalks, and the like, the author encourages and points to important principles.
The encouragement is to take heart that your labor is not in vain. Rejoicing in the task before you is possible! You can be in the trenches (and the author knows them in depth), and not be overwhelmingly frazzled and frustrated.
The author often assumes the reader understands these principles, and has learned them elsewhere. One place to go is “Shepherding a Child’s Heart,” by Tedd Tripp.
Guide your children out of sin, don’t simply stomp on them for sinning. I’m big on being careful not to over-correct when you see a problem. Many in the church today see sin taken lightly, and attempt to correct that with excessive discipline for their children’s sin. This is a recipe for exasperating children, which Scripture forbids. Spanking is not the silver bullet. Jankovic leans the other way. Often the best way to shepherd away from sin is to show them the freedom and joy of obedience, rather than merely punishing bad behavior.
Shepherd the heart. Don’t simply react to behavior. Show the deeper problem you’re rejecting. If they can’t share a toy, they are putting it before loving their neighbor. Keep it simple like that – no “who had it first?” “How long did you have it?” gymnastics, which only obscure the issue. Have few behavioral rules, to make mental space for the principles.
The power of personal example, and unintended consequences. If you only engage with your children when they sin, they learn things from that. If you grab their toy away and tell them not to grab toys, your direction is not clear. If you don’t repent of obvious harshness, and tell them to say they’re sorry for the slightest things, they are learning a lesson. A bad one, but they are learning. The darkness of little people sinning cannot overcome the light in the long run (John 1:5). It can do so in mom’s spirit, though. The victory of the light begins in mom’s attitude, when faced with sin. Parent with faith that God will use you to get them out of the sin. Be not dismayed at it. Disappointed, yes. Resolved to change it, yes. But not cast down.