Thursday, October 1, 2009

Getting out the Brushes

My children are such a blessing! They're smart and funny and generally do their best at everything that's required of them. But there are frustrating times, too. We've been struggling in a few areas lately. Mr. Monk has had a hard time with self-control. Twinkle Toes needs to be reminded of the importance of truthfulness. Measle struggles with cheerful compliance and American Boy is trying to learn to use his words and to be flexible rather than crying every time something doesn't go his way. Even Baby Lu is trying Mommy's patience these days. It seems like overnight she went from being this cute, docile baby to a strong-willed, shrill-voiced bully. So I've been revisiting the parenting books. I love this quote from To Train up a Child by Michael and Debi Pearl.

"If you have painted a picture you don't like, don't blame the canvas. Get out the brushes and paint something better over the mess you made."

So simple, yet profound! I'm fortunate my children are so good natured and want so badly to please me. Whenever I learn something new and want to implement it, they're always game. They really adjust well. When we took their tv away a year or two ago, they didn't protest. When a friend came over and packed up 4 bags of their Barbie stuff, the girls didn't fuss one bit. Twinkle Toes even helped her to the car with them. When I decided after reading the Duggar's book Twenty and Counting that I wanted them to start saying "yes ma'am" every time I asked or told them to do something they really got into the Yes Ma'am Game. They've never had an allowance like most other kids and they don't complain about it. They're good and precious children, but they are children and Big D and I are supposed to be teaching them and training them so that their lives will glorify God.

I often stop by the Internet Cafe Devotions and this morning we were asked if there was one request that God would grant you, what would it be. Immediately I knew the answer. My greatest desire is to one day look down from heaven and see thousands of my grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great grandchildren, etc. serving the Lord in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. This requires that Big D and I have a multi-generational view of our family right now. The parenting decisions we make now will have long lasting effects, either for the good or bad. A godly heritage is the proverbial gift that keeps on giving. Likewise, neglecting to instruct and discipline our children now will be the curse that keeps on taking.

So at the recommendation of the Pearls, I'm getting out the brushes. There's much I love about the portrait that is our family life. It's not a complete mess, but it can be better.

(By the way the beautiful illustrations for tonight's post are The Measle's and Twinkle Toes' interpretations of Kandinsky.)


  1. Great post and a great quote from the Pearls. I have her book Created to be his Help Meet. Love it.

  2. Kandinsky is my favorite artist. Lovely portraits. Is your family like the Duggards?

  3. I'm curious what other parenting books you recommend, if any. I'm starting to sound like a broken record every time Gracie throws food. It makes realize that I am going to need some additional guidance in raising her and future children. I don't know what I'm doing.

  4. Jan, I love parenting books, so I've read many. I loved the Duggar's book, Twenty and Counting. They have so much wisdom and practical advice! I also love Steve and Teri Maxwell's resources. Their website is I've benefited from Managers of their Homes, Managers of their Schools (even if you don't homeschool this is wonderful!) and Keepers of their Hearts. I also like Shepherding a Child's Heart by Ted Tripp. There's some good stuff from James Dobson, as well, such as the classics Dare to Discipline and The Strong-willed Child.

    You're already way ahead by thinking about these things now!



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I'm an on-the-run mom to 6 kids who studied and taught exercise science in a previous life. I love all things running, nutrition, and health-related. I usually run at zero dark thirty in the morning and am often quite hungry before, during, and after my run, but I live a rich, full, blessed life with my children, family, and friends. My faith in God is my anchor, and looking to Him and His promises allows me to live fully even when life circumstances are difficult. While running gives me an appetite, my desire is to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for physical food.