Guilty as Charged

“I am the one holding the keys to the atmosphere in our home.”
~ Terry Maxwell ~
Author of: Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit

Ouch! Does this quote ever hurt?

When my kids are out of control, I’m the reason why!

It’s an all too familiar scene. Me checking email while the kids are supposed to be doing their school work. I look up in between typing. “Joey(9), have you started your school work?” Chris is still sawing logs in bed, and Timmy (6) is playing nicely with Grace (4) because I haven’t set out his school work yet.

I’m distracted and not in control of my kids. When I call Timmy to do his work, he ignores me. Chris (12) finally slumps down the steps, disrupting the semi-quiet house with his just out of bed attitude. (Not a good one, mind you.)

I pull myself away from the computer and try to gain control of the morning, but we’ve been off schedule for some time now.

I could blame it on the fact that the Chris’ play has caused us to stay up late many times a week, for several weeks. So in an attempt to catch up on sleep, we all catch a few extra winks in the morning.
I could blame it on the holidays and the cold weather that makes me want to spend the day in my pajamas surfing the net. Or I could blame it on the fact that my kids are just rebellious. But bottom line is they are following my lead. When I don’t have a plan for the day, the day seems to spiral out of control. Kind of like this…

No one is listening to me and if they are, they’re not obeying. I raise my voice a little louder, not wanting to deal with their disobedience, hoping that they’ll just listen and do what they’re told. Fat chance. They continue to ignore me until I finally get frustrated enough and lose my cool.

I run through the house like a lunatic, trying to get everyone back on task. My nine year old starts to yell and whine back at me, my 12 year old throws insults at my nine year old and my six year old cries because I raised my voice at him. When I gain composure and try to apologize, he won’t listen to me and stomps off to find a quiet place to cool down.

I feel the weight of my sin and try to make everything right again. I find those I’ve offended and apologize. We talk about disobedience, distractions, the enemy and his fiery darts and then about consequences.

This scenario happened the other night. We all repented, and we all understood (and received) the consequences of our sin. But was it enough to change our behavior? Enough to change my behavior?
The reality is I’ve grown weary in doing good. It’s no fun parenting all the time! So I think over the last several weeks, I’ve slowly allowed myself to get out of focus. I’ve welcomed the distractions because I’ve wanted to distance myself from my never ending parenting and homeschooling responsibilities. And I had to pay a price for it!

My children’s behavior is a result of the atmosphere I’ve created. I didn’t wake up one morning and consciously say, “I’m going to let my home go.” It just happened. Slowly.

But the story doesn’t have to end here. If I am to blame for the negative behavior in my home, I have the power to turn it around. How? By following God’s leading…

A gentle answer turns away wrath.

Train up a child in the way he should go…

Do everything without arguing and complaining.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Beloved, let us love one another.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal…Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

I think those are good places to start!

5 Responses to Guilty as Charged
  1. Sue Bell
    December 17, 2008 | 11:09 am

    Thank you for your article… It’s my first year homeschooling and this is exactly where I’ve found myself! I had just decided it was me and the disintegration of our schedule (thanks in part to the 2 year old). We’re working on the schedule over the holidays!!

  2. Karen
    December 17, 2008 | 12:42 pm

    Girl, I am right there with you. And, I have that Maxwell book, and it has caused many an ‘ouch!’ moment with me too!!

    There is always something there to take us away from a regular routine. My husband travels lots, Christmas break, visiting relatives, and so on. I am the most easily distracted of all, I believe!!

    I have helpful Bible verses typed out and hanging in various places in my house – on the refrigerator, in front of my desk, in our school room – wherever I will see them often. Keeping them in front of my eyes helps me to get them solidified in my heart.

    As usual, this time of year brings about self-examination, and you have hit on one of the things that the Lord is speaking to me about right now.

  3. Timmy
    December 18, 2008 | 1:28 am

    “The enemy’s fiery darts”. Is that another way of saying “our shortcomings”? lol If you say you are responsible for letting your children loose focus of their own (which i agree with, and it is entirely understandable :]), then it is also everyone’s fault for letting him or herself get off task. Although your kids won’t be quite as in control as you without your prodding, they still hold much responsibility for it.

    I think I plan on teaching my kids that we carry the fault of our unhealthy actions, not “the enemy”. Then we can focus on God’s helping words and wisdom to fill in the holes in our logic. Great post.

  4. paul merrill
    December 18, 2008 | 6:55 pm

    I love how you closed your post with Scripture. Lots of great reminders for all us parents!

    Merry Christmas.

    -Paul Merrill for Wycliffe’s The Seed Company

  5. Gina
    December 18, 2008 | 7:41 pm

    Sue, I wish you all the best! Homeschooling with a two year old is HARD! Just go with the flow. Even when you’re not teaching, kids are learning and PBS can be your substitute teacher and the library (videos) your best friend!

    Karen, I know about distractions! Since we’ve moved to the new house (and before) I’ve been a little off schedule and the chaos in my homeschool room doesn’t help. I hope to clean it up during Christmas break!

    Timmy, I agree with you about teaching kids to carry the fault of their unhealthy actions, but the enemy does know our weaknesses! I’m all about natural consequences. Thanks for reminding me I need to place more responsibility on my children for their actions, especially now that they’re all older and can definitely understand this!

    Paul, I need reminders often! Thanks for the comment!