Parenting With An Atmosphere of Grace Series:
My Little Prince and Princesses
As you may have heard me talking about my three children (Trey-6 Audrey-5 & Isabella-3), one thing I have not talked about much is how my wife and I are rearing them as they grow. There is a distinct difference between the oldest (first child), second child and baby of the family. You may have read books on how each possess character traits similar to the same ranking of age in other families.
Audrey is my middle child and she, by no means, lacks personality. She is by all definition, “little miss personality”. Audrey is a lot like her mom in that she does not hesitate to tell you what she is thinking. Even when she knows you are disciplining her – she has to be heard and it usually begins with, “But,…” in which I reply, “The only ‘butts’ around here are the one that is going to be spanked,” and that usually gets her attention (after she finishes her thought, of course).
Audrey is unique. She doesn’t need a spanking like some other children may. She actually just needs the look and that usually brings the crocodile tears immediately following. She has such a gentle and caring heart that people are affected by her personality and touch. She is an old soul and she really cares about people. In Lance’s post, The Heart Before the Head, he talked about shepherding the heart first and eventually the head would follow.
Needless to say, we just finished the first half of our vacation, which was a 3 day Disney Cruise, we had some issues with our two youngest (of course, the girls, because boys know how far to push you). Anyway, Audrey was having some issues of obedience and my initial reaction was to just get angry and threaten her with either taking things away or the dreaded fanny spanking if the behavior continued.
As I was pondering this, Legacy came into mind as Lance, Gary and I have been talking about direction and vision and I was cut to the core by my reaction to her disobedience. I was trying to rear the head instead of cultivating her heart. So as I failed miserably in trying to rear my child the right way (or at least my parental way) I realized that even in our greatest mistakes we can claim victory and that is what I did. The victory was not in being right or wrong or winning the battle. The victory was won by shepherding her heart.
I squatted down to her level and calmed her down with a hug and told her that her daddy loved her and was not going to spank her, but I wanted to talk to her. I asked her if she thought the way she was behaving was acceptable in any terms and she responded, “nooooooo” with a long pause and meekness to it. In which, I then apologized to her and told her that I was sorry in the way that I reacted to her disobedience. I asked her if she could work on hearing and listening and doing what her mommy told her to do in t the first place, in which she said, “yes”.
The victory that I feel was won is that I gained her heart instead of just her head hearing and doing the behavior I wanted. The older I get, and the more I look at young ladies, I realize it is extremely important for dad’s to love their daughters and to give them as much time as they need from their dads growing up. I hope not only to teach her the heart of the matter, but to show her love and respect, chivalry, loyalty and honesty and down right good ways that a man should always treat a woman.