I finished up a great parenting book a couple months ago called "Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus" by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson. It was about not teaching your kids to be "good" and force lawful obedience, but to teach them about grace in their sin. It was so refreshing, and something I needed to hear in my own walk. It's easier for me to say "just give me some steps to take and I'll do it" instead of allowing myself to be fully covered with the grace of Jesus.
It was one of those books where I desperately wanted to discuss it with someone, but so far, haven't found anyone who's read it. (If you have, let me know!)
That said, last weekend I did something with my oldest that seems opposite of giving grace, and much more like obeying the law. But I'd had it up to here with the unending sassiness coming from Miss G's mouth. Uggh.
So I made a reward chart. For every time she had a "happy mouth" (without being prompted) she got a sticker. For filling up one chart, she got to Build a Bear. Upon filling out chart No. 2, she got to dress her animal. (Yes, big reward, I know, but she LOVES stuffed animals, and LOVES Build A Bear!)
It worked. She filled out two 10-boxed charts in 5 days. And so far, it seems to be sticking. On top of motivating her to be successful, it's given me insight into how often God is working...and how often she actually has a pleasant mouth...allowing me to step out of my wallowing belief that she ONLY is sassy.
We've also been praying for her mouth every night...I don't want her to think she can do it by herself. She's going to be my rule follower...and I need her to know that she WILL mess up and that's OK, because of grace. I am a rule follower as well...and it's hard for me to get called out on doing something wrong. I liked to be good. In fact, in Wichita the other day, I didn't move through an intersection fast enough and got honked at...it flustered me and made me angry...I don't like to mess up, and I don't like people to see it happen.
The Bible is full of sinful heros. (Something that is all too often overlooked in Sunday School). But God pursued them in their sin and He used them. He is pursuing me in my sin and using me. The same with my kids.
Now, whether a sticker chart falls into the "good" category or the "grace" category, I really don't know. But it worked...and opened opportunities to pray over G's sinful mouth...and again, to see that things aren't as bad as I often think. I'm going at this parenting thing blind...some days I don't know up from down...but it's helpful to know I WILL mess up and it's OK, because I'm covered in the grace of Jesus.