"....Your children shall be like olive plants all around your table." Psalm 128:3

Monday, April 23, 2012

Praising the Good



It's so easy for me to become focused on what my children do wrong..

 - when my five year old forgets to make her bed - again. And I have to remind her again.

 - when my angry boys resort to punching each other, I have to become "judge and jury" to figure out who's right and who's wrong. I have to discipline them and train them in patience and love.

 - when the trash isn't taken out - again, I have to track down the guilty party, make sure he does the job, and train him toward greater responsibility.

But when the bed is made, I barely acknowledge her hard work. When no one is arguing, we manage to get more on our to-do list done. When the trash is taken out, we just put more trash in the trash can.

When things are going well, it's easy for me to forget to give thanks and commend those who are doing well. I have come to realize that I can unintentionally discourage my children when I remember to discipline them, but forget to encourage.

In 1 Peter 2:14, Peter mentions leaders that are sent by God "to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good." The same can be said for us as mothers.

It can be likened to making deposits and withdrawals in a checking account. If we just write checks and never make deposits, the checks we write will bounce. In the same way, if we just correct our children but never encourage them, our discipline efforts will fail.

Personally, I tend to "overdraw" and spot the wrong-doer before I spot the right-doer.  But my children started to change when I started to change. I started to look for what they were doing right. Instead of focusing all my attention on all their wrongdoing, I looked for opportunities to encourage them and bless them when they were doing something good. And that's when things began to change.

That's how the Lord treats me. He doesn't overlook my sin. He keeps His promises and disciplines me (often after much long-suffering and mercy on His part). But He also blesses me when, by His grace, I obey Him. The Scriptures are full of promises of blessing for those who choose to obey Him. And those promises are part of what gives me hope as I persevere in following Him.

Many of you are probably very good at encouraging your children when they do well. For those of you who are like me, I challenge you to spend the next few days catching your children doing good things.

 Conduct an "experiment": Pay attention and grab every opportunity to encourage and bless. Watch your children playing happily together, think about all the chores they do around the house, and appreciate their strong points. Take notes if you have to - I did!  :) And start blessing your children with encouragement.

For example,  words of encouragement: "I love you!" "Look how much you've improved in this area!" "You are such a blessing to me!" "Yay! I saw that! Good job!" "I've noticed that you and   _____ are getting along much better today. God is helping you to be more patient, isn't He?" "Your cheerful attitude is such an encouragement to me."

Physical gestures: A wink across the room, a big smile, a big hug, applause!

Gifts and special events: Sometimes real progress in an area of serious struggle might deserve a special blessing - a special home-baked treat, a favorite dinner, a piece of jewelry, or some other special gift...along with words of love and encouragement.

I'd love to hear about the results of your "experiment".   :)

"..do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."  ~  Ephesians 6:4

Have a blessed day, friends!
  







linking up this week at Deep Roots at Home

28 comments:

  1. Love the Titus 2 in you! This is so encouraging and full of love. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind words, Christine..and for stopping by! Soli Deo Gloria!

      Delete
  2. Love this post, Lisa!! I'm going to join you in this challenge. This is actually a daily challenge I've been giving myself for quite sometime through all the "change" in our lives ~ moving, funerals, etc. I want my children to feel encouraged, uplifted, loved, and know that their mother is a beacon of stability, safety, and unconditional love in their lives. As I look to God for His mercy to overlook a fault of mine, I'm praying that I could be so gracious and extend that to my children and look for the good and praise that instead.

    Blessings as you go through this challenge too!
    Katie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well said, Katie. My prayer is that I will exhibit grace to my children..as the Lord has shown grace to me. Thanks for stopping in and sharing! :)

      Delete
  3. It is hard to focus only on the good, but it is so needed that we, as mothers, as children of God, focus on this.

    I tend to forget to praise them for a job well done...instead, I take them apart when it is done.

    Thank you so much for this encouragement Lisa.

    m.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right, Maria - it does seem easier to just tear them down. But the Lord can change us - He is able to help us encourage and bless, instead of discourage and belittle. :) Thanks for sharing with us. :)

      Delete
  4. Oh Lisa, I really need to read this! I have gotten so good lately at pointing out all the things they are doing wrong. I know part of it is because I am so frustrated at myself. I will definitely accept your challenge and make a real effort to do better :) You are such an encouragement.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm thankful that this post has been an encouragement, Tesha. I get frustrated at myself, too, but the Lord is helping me...day by day.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for stopping in. :)

      Delete
  5. Thanks for this great reminder Lisa. Today I was very quick to point out the transgressions but not so quick to praise. With Gods help, I am certainly going to take up the challenge and catch my children doing right! Lovely encouraging post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Shirley Ann. Have a blessed day looking for the good things. :)

      Delete
  6. It is a conscious decision I try to make each day. I almost have to have it written down somewhere! And giving them each a hug each day is important to me, too. My oldest would go for days without one, if I did not make it a priority. Very good post. You are a good mom.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good for you, Jenn. I am constantly going back to my "good things" list to be reminded to look for the right things. :) Thanks for sharing!

      Delete
  7. Today was not my finest mommy day- I did tend to focus on all the bad and wanted to blame it on being tired, being stressed, being hot... instead of just owning up to what it was- Me. Thank you for such a wonderful post of encouragement.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me, too, Erika - I am definitely the type of person who focuses on the bad. But with the Lord's help, I am changing...slowly but surely. :) Have a blessed day!

      Delete
  8. In think in general, as humans, we tend to see the things that "go wrong" instead of the things that "go right." Of course, when one is training and teaching children, focusing always on their mistakes can help hinder their process for growth, and this is something we would not want to happen.

    I think what you have composed here will be very encouraging for Mothers with young children. I pray they will be blessed by your words.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My prayer is that they will be encouraged too, Mara. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

      Delete
  9. Such an encouraging post, Lisa. Children just bloom when watered with kindness and praise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love that quote, Georgina! :) Thanks for sharing it...and for dropping by!

      Delete
  10. Blessed indeed! Thanks for posting this, Lisa.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by, Lisa. :)

      Delete
  11. What a wonderful post Lisa. It's so easy to be critical. I have a very critical mother, so that is one area that I have really made it a point with my own family -- to be encouraging & thankful. But that doesn't mean I don't need work in not being critical of others...like extended family or church doings, augh. I really need to think more before I speak in all situations. Learning to bite my tongue is a painful lesson. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have also found that biting my tongue is painful, Jane. Thanks for sharing with us. :)

      Delete
  12. I can relate to this post. I keep praying that I will become a mother who praises her children more than fault-finding. Thank you for this well-written post.

    Bethany

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping in, Bethany! :)

      Delete
  13. What a blessing of a post! This is VERY encouraging! It still applies to our older children, too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it does apply to older children, Jacqueline. Thanks for the reminder! :)

      Delete
  14. THis is me exactly! And I am going to work on it. Starting TODAY. Thank you Lisa!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like you're determined, Monica. Good for you! :) Blessings!

      Delete

Thanks so much for stopping by. I love to hear from my readers, and your thoughts are welcome. And I try my best to respond to each and every comment. :)