Monday, February 16, 2009

Mini Lesson Monday - Fight the Good Fight!!!

Okay, so how many of you reading this who have children really, truly knew how hard it would be to raise kids? (I am NOT raising my hand at the moment). Let me rephrase the question: How many of you reading this who have children really, truly knew how hard it would be to raise kids, despite all of the wordly influences that they come into contact wtih?? (Still NOT raising my hand...). It is hard! Are you agreeing with me? I realize that with each age and stage in a child's life comes new and challenging situations - we are so there! It seems that here lately, the kids (Parker especially - he is in 3rd grade now) have come home telling us things that they have heard at school, seen at school, etc... that make me so disgusted! I am so glad (as we tell them OVER AND OVER) that they are telling us these things, and not just keeping them to themselves or repeating them to their peers. At the same time, what do you do?? We can and do talk to OUR kids until we are blue in the face about how these things are NOT appropriate, tell them what God wants in our lives, etc.... I know that those things are sinking in, or they would not be coming to us with every little thing that they may question as appropriate or not. For that, I am thankful. But what do you do about the kids whose families may not share the same degree of morals that we do?

Mark and I have talked at length about these things, what the best decision for our family is as far as schooling is concerned, and how to handle these tough situations. We both agreed that we would feel SOME better about the situation if we could hear the kids follow up stories of their experiences with, "...but I told them...." So, we talked to the kids about this. We explained to them that as much as these kids seem to have the "right" to say some of the things they are saying, Parker and Kinlee had just as much a "right" to not have to hear them. Make sense?? We talked about how the only way these kids were going to know that they preferred NOT to hear things like this, was for them to let them know. How do we do that, they ask??? Well, you walk away and ignore them, but better yet, you tell them, "I don't want to hear words/things like that" - pretty soon, they'll get the idea and stop. We explained to them that MOST of the time kids say/do certain things, they are doing it to get a reaction out of someone. What kind of reaction are you going to give them?? Are you going to laugh along with them, are you going to repeat it yourself, or are you going to try to put a stop to it as far as you are concerned?? We all decided the latter would be the best choice.

I know this is long, but fast forward to our "solution" and "experiment". We discussed the verse found in II Timothy where Paul said that he, "fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith". We talked about what that meant, and we set forth to help them learn to "fight the good fight". Their job was to "head these kids off at the pass" and see how long it took for them to begin hearing less and less in conversations with them. Their job, if they encountered such situations, was to tell the other kid (however they deemed necessary) that they didn't want to listen to talk like that, to please quit using those words around them, etc... Each night at supper, we discuss their encounters, what they did about it, and what the reaction from the other kid was. Mark and I are the "judges" and we determine how many star(s) they got on their charts seen below:
We also stressed the honesty expected and that if there was a situation that they may have laughed at, or chimed in with to encourage, we wanted to hear about those, too. No stars would be taken away, but no new stars would be given. We discussed the flip side, also, to say that if there was a day where no stars were received, that could actually be a GOOD thing, because it meant that nothing was seen or heard that was inappropriate - that is our goal.

We have been very pleased with some of the kids' stories. The pictures above were after the first day, and several stars have been added since then. We have also been very amazed at the reaction of the other kids. One of Parker's peers has said on a couple of occasions, "you can't tell me what to say" (even though Parker keeps persisting). Another of his friends (after coming to our house and asking me about the charts), has told Parker that he "is not going to say any bad words anymore!!". Kinlee has successfully gotten a boy in her class to erase a "picture of a dog pooping" :(, and had another boy end up apologizing to her on his own for saying an alternate "B" word for "bottom". I realize that these things may seem small and insignificant, but they are the beginning. Dealing with them is the beginning of saying no to drugs, no to alcohol, no to smoking.... Are we assured that our kids are not going to mess up?? Absolutely not. Are we guaranteed that they are not going to be put in tough situations that they may not handle wisely? No way! What we do know, though, is that we are discussing these things, trying to do something about it, and striving to help our kids take a stand. I can't see any harm in that! We might even be doing some good in the meantime (crossing fingers, knocking on wood, and praying REALLY hard here!)

Please join me as we continue to pray for our kids and our raising them. Here are a few challenges for this week:
  1. Be an example to your kids if YOU are out in public and encounter cursing, foul language, etc.. in front of yourself or your kids.
  2. Encourage your kiddos to stand up for what they know is right.
  3. Keep that open line of communication going with your kids, whether it is conversations at the supper table, talks before bed, or a prayer before school.

We are all in this together - any further "tried and true" solutions are welcomed!!!!!!

By the way, I realize that I just destroyed the "mini" in "Mini Lesson Monday" - I promise they won't all be this long - I just needed to vent! :o) Thanks for reading....


Alternate 4 CraigsList said...
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Wendi said...

Great post Steph!!! I love the idea!!! You guys are great parents:):)