Discipline.

Standard

I think the only discipline worth having is self-discipline. Do any of us like being told what to do and when?

As I began to write this morning, it occurred to me that discipline must come from the Latin for disciple.

A disciple I thought is someone in training to become what their master is. Like Jesus and his disciples.

I looked it up.

Dictionary.com had this to say:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/discipline

dis·ci·pline

noun
1. training to act in accordance with rules; drill: military discipline.
2. activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training: A daily stint at the typewriter is excellent discipline for a writer.
3. punishment inflicted by way of correction and training.
4. the rigor or training effect of experience, adversity, etc.: the harsh discipline of poverty.
5. behavior in accord with rules of conduct; behavior and order maintained by training and control: good discipline in an army.

Wow.
Way down on the bottom it did say:

Origin:
1175–1225; Middle English  < Anglo-French  < Latin disciplīna  instruction, tuition, equivalent to discipul ( us ) disciple + -ina -ine

So I was right.

But I’m going to go with definition #2.

Activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training.

I’ll add that #1 is a close second!
Training to act in accordance with rules.

Children need to know the rules. I also tended to teach my children which rules they could break.

ALWAYS stop on red.
SOMETIMES it’s ok to not brush your teeth.
ALWAYS say please and thank you.
SOMETIMES it’s ok to have desert before dinner.

Remember, I’m talking about raising children here.
There is no NEED for military discipline.
We PRAY they are spared from the discipline of poverty,
and  about the last definition ” punishment”,
see previous post.
https://ktskindwords.com/2014/01/01/there-but-for-the-grace-of-god-go-i/

Short answer, DON’T.
Why?
See previous post.
https://ktskindwords.com/2014/01/02/expectations/

Short answer, it’s not our job.

We are here to HELP our children find the strength of character to become SELF-disciplined.

They need to get themselves up, get themselves dressed.
Attend to their own bodily functions.
And feed themselves.

Most of us in countries where obesity is epidemic, know that we do a LOT of emotional eating.
Our mothers, not knowing what to do with their anxiety, let alone their children’s, do what most of them know how to do, they COOK.

They are occupied and busy so their anxiety goes down.
But now they have  made food that SOMEBODY has to eat!
Luckily, for my children I didn’t like to cook.

Matthew 4:4 says,
“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

Their father was the bread maker and short order cook and I was their huggable mother and Guru.

When they would come to me upset about anything, we’d talk about it.
Sometimes their problems were an easy fix.
They didn’t know the resources they had available to them. I’d do anything I could to help fix it or find someone who could.

Then there were the times there was no fix. It was just the pain of growing up in the world.
After letting them vent until the story had been repeated 2 or three times, I’d say,

“Take a hot bath, and go to bed. If you still feel this way in the morning, we’ll see what we can do.”

Off they’d go with their heart lighter because they had vented.
IMPORTANT part parents!
It might make you uncomfortable to hear your child is suffering but you have to let them tell you!
Telling them, “Oh, don’t be silly. You aren’t weird, fat, skinny, short, tall, slow, clumsy or any of the other 1000 ways our children hurt each other.” doesn’t help.
They’ve heard it. They have been called it.
Because the other children listen to their parents judge and condemn others and belittled themselves and their children. They repeat mean things that they hear.
Your child’s embarrassment, shame and hurt are REAL.

But ninety nine percent of the time they woke up like we ALL do. Feeling MUCH better and ready to take on the new day.

HINT: Don’t necessarily ask them in the morning if they are still obsessing over the thing they talked about last night! Good chance it’s forgotten!! And though they hate to hear it, a lot of it is hormones.

There was a morning my child was acting ill and I knew he wasn’t. I probed and probed and discovered he was scared and nervous because he had to play his String Bass in front of the class and wasn’t prepared.

Can anybody relate to THAT feeling?

Guess what I did. I said,

“You have permission to go to the nurse with your stomach ache at Orchestra period. There is no need to miss the whole day because of the fear of one class.”

When the nurse called, I let her know,

“I’ve let him go to you because he is afraid. No, I’m not picking him up, send him to class in an hour.”

Of course my son couldn’t believe I’d told her the truth. But that’s a future post.

We need to emotionally feed our children…
They want your arms and UNDERSTANDING  not chips!

Now on the self-discipline building and practical side of not feeding your children in excess of their nutritional needs.

You may ask your kid to clean their room until the cows come home and they will willfully and happily sit on that pile of clothes texting their friends until you’re blue in the face.

Grandpa Dr. always said,
“Your child’s room should not be included on the tour you give your friends. It’s their room. Close the door”

BUT, don’t make lunch for them?
You’ll hear about it.

That’s when self-discipline comes in!
You let them make it themselves or at least ask for it.

My two-year old knew how to make peanut butter crackers.
I use to say he’d be the child that would be sitting on my undiscovered dead body with the crackers and peanut butter jar. And he’d be using a fork because that’s the best way to put peanut butter on a cracker.

I don’t put a lid on my peanut butter, at least not a tight one.
You have to have things available for your children to get to. Which is why you are still in charge of what they eat.

If you have carrots and celery sticks in the veggie drawer, that’s what they will eat when they get HUNGRY enough.

You can’t be afraid to let them get hungry! That’s KEY. They should only be eating because they ARE hungry!

Grandpa Dr.  used to tell mothers all the time,

“Your kids will balance their nutrition on their own. Maybe they do only want to eat potatoes for a few days, it’s ok.”

You ever binge for a while on something?

Kids are not machines. They may not want to eat when you feel like feeding them.
If feeding becomes a cooperative act between the two of you, life is much easier and you get to be lazy.

I don’t make food my children won’t eat. I don’t like waste. But it’s me wasting it not them, if I’ve cooked something they have said “no thank you” to.

I know all the parents out there that had to eat what was on their plate and every last bit of it.

It’s the 21st century people! Is it really so hard to make dinner a little more accommodating?

If you are eating something that your child doesn’t like, is it really so hard to scramble an egg? Haven’t met a child yet who didn’t eat scrambled eggs.

Remember, we are here to show our children that we care about THEM. Their tastes, their needs, their dreams.

If you read,
https://ktskindwords.com/2013/12/24/baby-care/
then you know I was a VERY picky eater. I’m SO grateful my father just let me live on peanut butter and tuna sandwiches.

He didn’t yell at me or tell me I was ungrateful.  He just let me eat a sandwich while everyone else was eating whatever they ate.
He didn’t shame me. He didn’t send me from the table. He didn’t make me eat something I didn’t like so I’d start some horrid cycle of eating and purging.

He didn’t make food a fight.
The other thing parents do.

EAT THIS OR ELSE!
Or else what? You’ll hurt me after I have thrown it all up?

It’s SELF-discipline.

Grandpa Dr. used to say,
“The only ways pre-verbal children can rebel are to clamp their mouth shut and squeeze their bottom!
They want control of what goes in and when it comes out.”

And you WANT them to have control!

We may have to force them to do what we want them to do, but the things they need to do, they are pretty excited about mastering.

Hmmm. Mastering.
Isn’t that what discipline was for? To help us become like our master?

Did you ever feel kinder after someone shamed you?

The other thing everyone tells parents is,
“They’ll do what they see you do.”

I didn’t make my earlier children do many communal chores. (The pendulum has swung back a little for the last one.)
They would help me, but they didn’t really have anything they were responsible for.
I figured if I just went around quietly picking up and rinsing off dishes etc. They’d SEE me doing it and would do it eventually.

Eventually, my 4.6 GPA , 16th in her high school class daughter was washing her clothes before going to BYU. She had used 3 times the soap required for her small load.
We all know what that does.
But not her.
Guess I really hadn’t taught her do the wash before she left.
But trust me she was working. You don’t get a 4.6 slacking off.

And she knew she was supposed to have clean clothes when she left. And since that load she has washed all her own clothes.
I’m smiling.

The last story I’ll tell is how I got my 13-year old boy to get up for school with little complaint or little help.

Started in Kindergarten.
It helped because he slept with me then (future post), but I would get up and get a bowl of cereal and bring it back to bed. I’d wake him up quietly and then remind him there was milk on his cereal and if he didn’t want it soggy he needed to wake up and eat it.

He’d roll over, sit up and take the bowl. I’d crawl back into bed. We’d watch EXACTLY 20 minutes of any TV show he wanted. After that he had to hop up and go potty. You know if you start eating something in the morning your bowels start working too. This is where you get to teach your own routine.

Some of my kids would regularly go after school. When I had 6 of us living in a  house with one bathroom, we couldn’t all relax for 20 minutes in the morning.
But a couple can, and a couple in the afternoon and mom goes when she hears the bus door close.

It’s a family problem.
Maybe little Suzy gets first dibs because she hasn’t learned self-control. Seniority is NOT always the way to go. But oldest does get shot-gun seat.

Back to our disciplined morning.

He had 20 minutes to go potty. (Always have reading material there!)
As he became older he wanted to shower every morning.
That’s a good thing.
I always made my children bathe at night, so the sheets staid cleaner longer.
But they could have a quick wake up shower in the morning.

But he split up his potty time. He decided how long he stayed in the shower now or sit on the pot.

I’d be shouting the time as we’d go.
“Son, it’s 6:40am. Get out of the shower!”

Then he had 10 minutes to get dressed and 10 minutes to brush his teeth and grab his school work.

And he was out the door.

There were mornings he cried after we did all that and I would calmly drive him to school and answer all his excuses with,

“We’ll see after school. Bye honey.”

He would dry his eyes and get out. There was no way THIS lazy mom would EVER take a clean, fed, dressed child back home.

And now he is 13.

We watch Survivor together, 20 minutes at a time.
(DVR greatest invention EVER!! I NEVER watch commercials. ALL my watching is by CHOICE not chance.)

The other morning he showed up at my door when MY alarm went off.
All dressed and ready to walk to school.

Another alarm went off!

“NO Tanner, I’ll still take you. I don’t trust your self-discipline enough that you’ll get yourself there on time. But come sit on my bed and we can watch ALL of Survivor.”
Smiley face.

I’ll stop. Not because I don’t have more to say, but because I’m trying to be disciplined in my writing. I’m trying to write a book one blog at a time. Starting with those things I think most important. Forgive all the self referencing links, but I’m trying not to get boring or repeat myself. It’s hard writing a book people are reading backwards.

Your children are YOUR disciples. Remember how kind, patient and forgiving He was to his.

Matt 9:13
But go you and learn what that means, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice…

He doesn’t want you to beat up your kids to do ANYTHING.
He doesn’t want you to beat yourself up. No flogging, no sackcloth.
BE merciful.
I’ll talk about punishment in the next post.

Be me kind,
KT 🙂

Expectations.

Standard

We all have expectations of our children.

Many people have children that they hope will help them farm or carry on a family business. Maybe be the first one to go to college or to follow in their footsteps to their Alma-mater.  We hope they will give us grandchildren. Take care of us in old age.

I had MY kids because I was determined to grow a people that understood and loved me. The “I Hate Katie Club” from 3rd grade still chanted in the back of my head. My relationship with my mother and been very strained. I set out to prove if you treated children with love and respect they’d love you. A “We Love KT Club”.

I got the love I expected but I failed to account for the fact that if you do your job right, your children grow up and go away. The new “We Love KT Club” wasn’t going to be living with me forever.

I also realized that even though MY needs for love were met, I’d put five individuals on their own path to find love and fulfillment in a sometimes cold, scary world and they’d have to do it on their own.

My good friend in elementary school had a developmentally challenged sister. She was older than we were but still wore diapers. The effort her mother had to go through changing her made a real impression on me.

I began to think, if I had a special needs child I’d be SO grateful if they could wipe their bottom and feed themselves.Those two tiny things would make my work as a mother so much easier.

So, I began to have the attitude that my job really was to prepare my children to feed themselves and clean up after themselves. If they could do that EVERYTHING else was a bonus.

The metaphor worked because in the big picture all their growth was towards these goals. If they got an education or developed and extraordinary talent it meant they would be feeding themselves better and perhaps could pay others to clean up after them!

But those were the basic responsibilities we had as citizens. Feed yourself and don’t make a mess.

So, the next time you find yourself asking more and more from your children, reflect on what they have ALREADY accomplished.

Count your blessings if they walk, talk, smile. Don’t wait until your child has received the good grades before you love them for all they are NOW.

Appreciate your children the way a special needs mother does.  Appreciate that you aren’t changing diapers. That they CAN carry their plates to the sink.

As my children grew, there have been times when I thought,”Whoa I’ve taken this too far and I haven’t expected enough.”

But It’s not their job to be here to please me. I forced them into this world, it’s MY job to give them every help and encouragement I can to find their way.

Do I still feel blessed to have my Mars Rovers out there reporting back to me what they have learned and observed? Yes, but that’s a bonus not a right.

My children are everything I could hope for and expect.

Loving, compassionate, curious souls that delight me everyday.

And they are clean and fed. 🙂

Be Kind,

KT 🙂

There but for the grace of God, go I.

Standard

Happy & Content New Year!

My given name is Katherine Grace. Katherine means pure. Pure Grace.

It is by pure Grace that I enjoy the blessings that I do. I don’t believe I have done ANYTHING to deserve the life I’ve had. In fact, I would expect to have had it a whole lot worse if we, are in this life held accountable for every misdeed, bad choice, or stupid behavior.

So, I find myself very hesitant to offer advice because I couldn’t tell you how the big picture works. I laugh when I think how I would explain how I’ve lived.

“How did you do it KT?”

Well, first you need a wonderfully generous Dr. Father to subsidize your lifestyle for 54 years.

What? You don’t have one? That’s a problem.

So, I don’t have big advice for big problems. I have little advice for little problems.

I DO have quite a bit of general knowledge about a lot of things. Mostly varied theologies and history. However, I think I have some wisdom on parenting, I’ve raised 4 adults and am still raising a 13-year-old.

Wisdom is defined  as “the ability…to think and act utilizing knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight,”

Today’s WISDOM…

Remember you are your child’s first conception of God. I mean the big picture of God. How the universe works. Before you teach them your traditions, you teach them what they might expect from God. How God might treat them.

Do you meet their basic needs? Do they have to scream to get them? Are you stingy?

Do you anticipate their needs? Do you listen to their quietest pleas?

If you want your child to “believe” in a loving God. You need to BE a loving parent.

Although I don’t identify myself strongly with any religion, I was raised Presbyterian and converted to Mormonism and have now evolved into a peacenik “Be ye kind” Buddhist type. But I still tend to couch things in Bible text terms.

In Matthew 7:9-11 it reads:

Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?…If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Seems clear that we are to shower our children with good gifts just like our Heavenly Father showers us. Don’t be afraid to answer your children’s prayers. Don’t be afraid to explain why they may be praying amiss. Don’t be afraid to tell them they can dream (pray) about anything and one day if they get an education and are lucky,THEY may get those things on their wish list. You don’t have to demean the dream or feel guilty you can’t provide it.

Provide what you can.

What can we ALL provide? No matter our big problems?

A safe place for our children to express themselves. Validation that we hear what they are saying. Encouragement that they are up to the task.

And MERCY!

When my children did something wrong (too strong a word), let’s say unexpected, I would think,

“Did my Heavenly Father punish me every time I did something I wasn’t, maybe suppose to do?”

No he didn’t.

We have heard it over and over that we teach by example. Doesn’t matter what our words are.

So, if we want to teach mercy? Be merciful.

I’m not talking about letting your kids get away with bad behavior. I’m saying that if you have a child looking at you with remorseful eyes, maybe a big hug and a talk is what you should do, not a strict punishment. I have found that explaining to my children how what they did might have hurt them or me, I usually get understanding. In the big picture ALL our laws and rules were (ostensibly) made for our protection. We don’t want to get hurt. We don’t want to hurt people or animals.

That IS the law. “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Don’t hurt yourself, don’t yell at yourself, don’t trip yourself.

Comfort yourself, feed yourself, believe in yourself.

And your children are your closest neighbors.

I have grown so grateful for the times both my earthly and Heavenly father had mercy on me.

There is the old poem about children learning what they live.

(http://www.empowermentresources.com/info2/childrenlearn-long_version.html)

This year let us show our children what a loving merciful God could be like. And on the off chance there is no God, we have created the most loving environment we were capable of sharing with our children.

Be kind,

KT:)

Begin.

Standard

This is it. My blog. I got it for Christmas from my oldest daughter.

Can’t tell you how nice it is to have your child believe in you, encourage you and do the tech work so you can just BEGIN.

I’ve wanted to write those things I’ve found to be true, kind and helpful for a long time.

Words are powerful things and it’s my intention to use my words for encouragement, healing and comfort.

My daughter posted some words I’d previously written on Facebook and a great picture of my dog Eevee. It’s as good an introduction as I can think of, so for today I’ll just say start there. 🙂

Thanks for your interest.

Be kind,

KT 🙂

Baby Care

Standard
Image
I’m a pediatrician’s daughter. I grew up with the mind set that you are born with a body that works. My dad was always off checking on new perfect little babies or sending sick babies off to specialists. His bread and butter was just talking mothers through things mother nature takes care of. 
I learned that if you weren’t delirious, fever was your friend. It was killing the germs that were making you sick. You weren’t trying to get rid of a fever, just trying to be comfortable. 
To never wake a sleeping baby/child. (Unless it’s been dropped on it’s head. Then you wake it every hour for the first 24…hope I don’t need to explain that these are general principles.)
I learned it’s easier to get rid of a bug than to kill it, so you scrubbed EVERY scrape with soap, warm water and a wash rag. Neither me or my five children have had anything get infected in the last 53 years.
I learned colds were caused by viruses so I or my children rarely if ever took antibiotics.
This is the short list.
I was thinking about it today because I heard a teaser that said maybe what we thought was high blood pressure was really normal. Gah! The only medicine I even take is for my slightly elevated blood pressure! And yesterday it was the vitamins we don’t need to take. Could they continue to whipsaw us anymore?
I believe I’ve staid healthy because of my common sense father, picking eating and benign neglect.
Never followed any fad diet. Never stopped eating butter. Never ate spicy foods. (My intestines work like a charm) I lived on peanut butter and tuna.
Never over did anything. 
Never held back my emotions. Good or bad they have flowed freely, leaving me with a soft heart and arteries I believe.
I can hear my daughter saying “Get a blog mother!”
Just putting it out there that our normal state should be joy and health. Keep your hands out of your mouth. nose and eyes and you’ll save yourself some grief. 
I DO know that many are out there in the midst of healing. I have been blessed beyond measure with good health and count it God’s grace. I’m hoping to curb just a tiny bit the ways we make ourselves sick. May you soon be back to health and comfort.