March 7, 2017

last night, and some parenting

I had a night last night.

A night in which I had some really sweet, fun moments laughing and playing outdoors with my youngest while Kacin practiced baseball on one of the fields at the park. It was a practically perfect evening. The air was cool, but not too cool. Little league boys and parents were milling around and working hard at practice. Layla rode her bike and I walked or jogged beside her. We stopped at the park and she shrieked with laughter when she went down the really big slide. She called me "Mama Llama"(and busted up laughing when she added "red Pajama") to get my attention when she climbed up the tall ladder and up the slides. She was so proud of herself for successfully riding her bike through the water when the flowing irrigation covered sections of our sidewalk. We sat on the bleachers for a few minutes watching Kacin at practice while Layla tried to get up her courage to go talk to another little boy who was riding his scooter (unfortunately, she never quite did find enough courage). We switched her bike out for her scooter and she zoomed around in circles on it.

But it was also a night in which my parenting patience was pushed to the limits when that youngest got tired and things were not going the way in which she wanted them to. There was screaming and a thrown scooter (not by me, not this time at least) and a march to sit in the car to cool off. Then there was more hitting and throwing and a drive home to go to bed.

It was a night I had.


I've seen all sorts of tantrums in my days as a mother. Some that raise eyebrows. Some that traumatize. I'm not perfect at it, and rarely do I ever give myself compliments, but I do feel as though I have become somewhat proficient, dare I say at a Master level, at staying calm and in control while handling an emotional situation, especially in public, simply because I've had so much experience and practice at doing so.

But I'm not so proficient at every parenting situation. I have so much to learn and to keep practicing.

I read the general conference address "The Righteous Judge" this afternoon. As part of his address, he has a section entitled "The parent as a Righteous Judge." As parents, we have daily opportunities to practice the principles he was teaching in his address. Elder Robbins explains, "To effectively teach a child is at the essence of good parenting, and to lovingly discipline is the very essence of being a righteous judge."

He goes on to say, President Joseph F. Smith taught, “If children are defiant and difficult to control, be patient with them until you can conquer by love, … and you can then [mold] their characters as you please.”8

It is insightful that in teaching how to discipline, the prophets seem to always refer to Christlike attributes.The Doctrine and Covenants gives us this well-known advice on discipline:
“No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
“By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—
“Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love” (D&C 121:41–43).
This scripture teaches us to reprove “when moved upon by the Holy Ghost,” not when moved upon by anger. The Holy Ghost and anger are incompatible because “he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger” (3 Nephi 11:29)

This was a great reminder to me because:
1. It works. Believe me, I've tried both ways (anger vs. love), but love and patience and gentleness consistently yield better results.
2. I need the reminder again and again because it is easy to forget.
3. It applies in so many situations, as we discipline, lead, teach...
4. I just need the reminder again and again.
Natalie said...

I needed this after Riley pushed and bullied her friend off a bike and car followed by her all time worse tantrum to date when I tried to redirect her- very embarrassing. I have a long way to go. I will be reading this address today. Thanks!