image Hi, my name is Truevyne, and I haven't argued for 2 days. On Tuesday, the master debater caught me at a weak moment, and I engaged in a few minutes of a futile meaningless battle. I won't let this discourage me as I press on toward my goal of argument-free parenting.
Here's how it works. I keep a bag of tools I recently learned from our fabulous therapists. The tools are recorded on index cards, and each morning I look over them.
Tool Number 1: Ask more questions and give less directives. It's number one for a reason. Asking questions creates problem solvers who eventually won't need to argue anymore.
Secretly pretend you are playing jeopardy and put every request in question form.
Do you think whining and complaining is going to get me to...? Why do you think I'm asking you to...? What do you think I'm thinking? What do you think I want you to do? What are you supposed to be doing? How's that working for you? What will you need to be ready for soccer? What is the one thing you always forget? Which would you rather do? Wash dishes or clean the table and floor? Which part of what you are doing is respectful? Would you like to get started on that in five minutes or seven? How many times do you think you'll need to ask me that question tonight? It's time to get ready for bed. What are the things you'll need to do for that? How long do you think it will take you to finish your homework tonight? Would it be fun to set a timer to see if you can beat your time from another night? Can you trust me to take care of that? Nobody likes folding laundry. Can you do it anyway? Would you like to fold laundry first or do your homework?
If these questions ellicit arguments, I just say, "Let me know when you are ready to..." and I walk away. If the child follows I ask, "Do you think following will get you what you want?" Or use tool number 2.
Tool Number 2: Loving Responses When my son tries to pin me down for a row, I have memorized a number of phrases in response. These I use a loving response with kindness and sincerity in my voice, NO sarcasm (unless I've fallen off the wagon).
Nevertheless, I need you to... The world is full of surprises. Remind me again, where do you need to be? I don't have time to argue just now. If you still want to argue, I have time at 4:00 this afternoon. Thanks for telling me how you feel. Thanks for letting me know.
And my all time favorite...
I love you too much to argue, dumplin'.
Tool Number 3: Journaling
Let the child journal the argument to look over together LATER when the conflict isn't so hot. Many times, my child thinks what he wrote earlier in the heat of the moment is ridiculous.
Tool Number 4: Crosstalk
Ask respectful and concerned questions of another adult like, "When do you think Junior will be ready to take responsibility for forgetting to feed the dog? I wonder if it will be today or tomorrow?" or "Do you think Junior would like to join us on our family outing or sit and watch us play when we get there?"
Don't ask other children, because sometimes children will respond in a mean way. Seriously, I crosstalk to my cat when my husband is not around. "Patches, do you think my son will ever want to do what I've just asked? Don't you hope so?"
I'm interested to hear if anyone out there tries any of this stuff. The therapists advised us to pick one thing to work on for the day in the beginning.
Occasionally, stop by and ask me about my arguing sobriety. It'll keep me on my toes.
This morning I sat comfortably in my seat during worship at my church, while a man loaded and unloaded a shotgun into another congregation fifteen miles or so at a church down the same road. My son was warming up for his swim meet finals about three miles from the scene of this horrific crime. Maybe you heard about this on the news. Last I heard, one long-time usher deliberately put himself in the line of fire to protect and was killed. This evening, a 63 year old woman died from her wounds. Four more congregants were critically wounded. The children of the church were putting on some kind of musical on stage when the deadly shooting began. Pray for their little hearts, and for those who have lost or had a loved one seriously hurt.
And before it begins, but maybe it already has, I'd like to call for others not to criticize these folks have somehow or another gotten what they deserve. I'm begging for compassion and an outpouring of love to be the remedy for this heartbreak.
I've been strung out for all 14 years of my parenting on a consuming life-sucking habit. All my children have discovered my addiction and have slowly deconstructed me by abusing this weakness. It's not like I wanted to, but you know, it just felt like I was doing something. However, I was only feeding the growling monster of my obsession.
Hi, my name is Truevyne, I am a an arguing junkie. There. I've said it. I somehow believed that if I argued with my children, they would forsake their childish ways and step up to the maturity plate. Are you laughing at this ridiculous statement? I am now that I've been coming clean.
One of my children is a master of contention. In fact, his preschool teacher (and friend) informed me after his first day, that my son would either become a lawyer or lead some kind of rebellion. I've had a over a decade of perfecting my debating skills. Never the less, I find I am the loser every. single. time.
I've learned some incredibly valuable tools to kick my habit over the past few weeks. Wanna know something about those tools?
Tomorrow (might not be up so soon), Sunday, and/or Monday, check out your grandson's city wide meet results in: Boys 11 & 12 50 Freestyle Boys 11 and 12 200 Medley Relay (he's part Tellico Village/TVST) Boys 11 and 12 50 Breast 11 and 12 200 Freestyle Relay (again his score is part of TVST)
He qualified for the finals in all four events which has never happened before for anyone on our team as far as I know. He got 11th place overall in free and breast. The relay teams he swam with came in 14th or so.
Peace couldn't swim due to ear infection. Wise One missed too many meets to participate in city due to bronchitis, camp, and grandparent visits. Pooh Bear swims tomorrow, but she will not make any finals, though I know she'll swim her little girl heart out.
He must have been 17 or 18 when I first met him six years ago or so- a young man who sang his heart out while he played the keyboard. I didn't know him well or for very long, but I did know when he led worship at my church, I connected with God at a deep level. Something about Jason's youth, his strong and honest voice, and his hardcore love of Jesus made him stand out to me like a red silk ribbon on a fancy Easter hat. He was the first I ever heard belt out "My Glorious", and I've never been pleased with any other artist who attempted, including Delirious. My sons were much younger then, and I didn't take the time to hope or pray that my children would turn out like Jason when they got older with all his gifted passion focused in worship. I thought of that just now- now that I know they'll never be able to meet him for themselves.
My world started spinning when I heard the newscaster say that Jason Hovater's life was being celebrated today after giving his life for his country as a soldier in Afghanistan. I couldn't get my breath for a moment taking in his pretty sweet wife, Jenna, as she talked confidently, no tears, about the incredible person of Jason.
Once I'd run into to the pair as they were working on landscaping outside the church with Jenna's dad. They practically dripped with sweat and were covered head to toe in dirt. Never the less, I could see adoration in Jason's eyes looking over at Jenna, but I didn't know they married until tonight. I knew she meant it when the newscaster said Jenna's young love for Jason would never die.
Jason Hovater is gone at the age of 24. I know for a fact that this one is heaven's gain and our loss. I'll be looking for you, Jason, on the other side. And it will be truly Glorious.
Imagine oppressed, abused, and discarded children finding hope and destiny, then rising to free the very nation in which they've been enslaved.
Consider a seven year old Camdodian girl rescued from captivity in the sex slave trade becoming healed and whole, following her destiny into adulthood to build a business which employs others brought out of the same bondage.
Think of hundreds, thousands of boys and girls being delivered, loved back to life from such a dark desolate place, embracing God's call on their lives, and turning the tide of a corrupt nation towards redemption.
How could such a thing ever be possible?
Only through prayer.
And Robert Craig knows something about prayer. In fact, Robert worked with Mike Bickle to establish the International House of Prayer, a prayer watch which runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week since September 1999 in Kansas City. That's eight years of prayer without ceasing, folks. Does that dwarf your personal prayer life and stun your brain like it does mine?
Robert also knows something about building business. He holds an International Business Degree from Cal State Fullerton and has launched many small businesses. He's been part of the corporate world as well while working as chief financial officer for an environmental company. His long term plans include offering these gifts of expertise to the Cambodian children as they reach maturity and enter the marketplace.
Now Robert and Anita and their three children wait on the Lord's timing to move forward and start a House of Prayer in Cambodia and perhaps a rescue orphanage to fulfill the vision God has given Robert for the children trapped in the sex slave trade. In fact, the Craig family is in Cambodia on this very date of the 40 Day Fast scoping the treasures the Lord has planted there for them to discover on their journey.
What do the Craigs need the most? You won't be surprised at the answer.
Pray for: - Ending of the sex slave trade - Personnel and financial resources to fulfill vision - Safety
Has the Lord written similar ministry on your heart? Contact the Craig's on their website- hopcambodia.org.
Interested in learning more? Check out the same website. Register and get to know something of the country of Cambodia, the Craigs, and their work. Robert also runs a Facebook site here It is my honor to fast and pray for these folks today for such a worthy and God-driven call to action.
You also might want to check out what my 40 Day Fast partner, Valerie, has to say about migrant workers.
I remember those first few weeks after my oldest child’s birth. It seemed I could not take my eyes off him. I was amazed at how tiny he was, and how tightly he could be bundled in that little receiving blanket. Wrapped up just as tightly were all the hopes and dreams I carried for him. I found myself asking, who is this child? My experience is probably common. We look at each new life and ask “What will she be when she grows up? Am I holding the next Frank Lloyd Wright or Madame Curie in my arms? Will he marry? Will she choose to be a mother, too?” The possibilities for their future seem endless.
In his letters, the apostle John refers often to the people of the early churches as “my dear children”. He goes on to say in his third letter, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” Isn’t this really the very best we can imagine for our children? The greatest of all the many possibilities for their lives? What would our lives look like, what would we do differently each day if this was true for us? What if seeing our child walking in the truth was a joy greater than seeing him or her chosen as varsity team captain, going to Harvard on a full academic scholarship, or even winning the Nobel Peace Prize. No greater joy. Nothing better, more important, more worthwhile. May this be our goal, our highest good, and the motivation for all we do for our children.
Joanna Williams Director of Children's Christian Formation St. George Episcopal Nashville, TN