Taking Responsibility by Apologizing

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Welcome to the start of our Parenting Weekends, co-hosted by Lisa from Me Too Moments and myself. For the month of March we will be focusing on the theme Building Responsibility in Children.

In our first post, Kaylie shares how they practice the golden rule in their house. She talks about how they build on the golden rule to teach their children to take responsibility by doing something that a lot of us find hard to do- apologizing to those who they have hurt.


Kaylie Hodges is a wife to an amazing husband and mom of five sweet babies under five. She has three bio daughters and two adopted sons. She is a Truth Seeker, a Jesus Follower, and a Strong Coffee Drinker. Kaylie blogs about faith, family and funnies at kayliehodges.com

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My house is a zoo. I have five kids under five, and like their mama, they have Big Feelings and they aren’t afraid to share them.

We are thick in the impulse control stages with most of our children and it turns out, none of us have much of it, but we believe that sometimes you have to lead your heart and we put that into practice in our home.

We are a golden rule kind of family, in fact, it’s one of the few rules I’m actually decent at enforcing.

Therefore, whatever you want others to do for you, do also the same for them–this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12

My peripheral vision catches her pulling it out of the toy box, while I’m trying to get snack ready. I know before it even makes it all the way out…it’s going to be a problem. That particular toy always is.

She sets in down for just one moment to pick up her water bottle with both hands, I barely see him swoop and in and I certainly don’t have time to stop him. Only nine months apart, these two fight like cats and dogs.

It is to his detriment. She claws. It’s her signature move that no amount of discipline seems to cure her of when the heat of the moment is upon her.

He stole her toy. She scratched his face. They both fight against me to try to avoid time-out. But, for them, the worst is yet to come.

On a good day, I get low before each of them before I look them in the eye, towards the end of a long day? I might just bellow from across the room…How does Jesus tell us to treat each other.

“How we want to be treated.” They mumble in reply.

Do you want to be treated that way?

“No.” They whisper. (Occasionally I get a defiant “yes”, but usually a quick real life example of that situation happening to them cures them of that response.)

“Okay, then you need to go talk to your brother.”

This is the part they don’t like. To be honest, when it’s my turn to apologize, I don’t usually like it either.

We practice apologizing as a way of taking responsibility for how we have treated another person. All of us, parents included. No matter what our feelings on the matter really are.

Many a time I can easily justify my righteous indignation and my raised voice toward my children, but at the end of the day I have to ask myself if I would want to be treated that way. If the answer is no…I owe an apology whether I feel like it or not. We hold them to that same standard.

We actually script out children’s apologies so that they can not only see where they went wrong, but also figure out how to do better next time.

It looks like this:

“I’m sorry for… (scratching your face) because…(that hurt you), next time I will (use my words) because (I didn’t like it when you took my toy).”

We don’t wait for our kids feelings to line up with their actions. We help them to line up their actions with scripture and pray that in that God moves their hearts.

Of course as we get older we try not to treat others badly, but in this world of sinners we bump into each other and we leave bruises. If we don’t learn to take responsibility for the hurts we cause, our hearts get hard.

Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity.
Proverbs 28:13-14

Doing unto others as you would have them do to you is a big bite to chew, it takes practice. Taking responsibility for how your treat others takes practice. It’s a daily practice of getting low before God, and getting low before each other.

“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”
Romans 12:10

You can read other posts on parenting here, here and here.

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