William, our third child now 20, had a baby blanket. As he grew, he carried the blanket everywhere, sleeping with it, traveling with it, always needing this blanket. Deriving a measure of security from this blanket, he would gently rub its corner against his face; he was never without it until only that small corner was all that was left. Of all of our children, change was hardest for him. Weaning him from the blanket took longer than weaning from his mother’s milk.
Many times, as our kids were growing, we stopped and looked at one another and said, “What’s wrong? Things are not as good as they were. The kids are not obeying as well, our lives are out of sync.” Then we would take inventory. Often we would find that it was not the kids that had changed, but we had changed. We had not stayed the course; we had not taken the time; we had not allowed ourselves to be incovenienced. We had not been consistent.
As long as we blamed the kids, “The kids do this, the kids do that,” we made no progress. When we took our parental responsibility, when we said, “We are the problem!” we made progress. We sat down and talked. We agreed to get back on track; and when we did, the kids did.
Let’s face it. Children need consistency; they like doing the same thing over and over and over. It is part of the joy of youth. When they know what to expect, when the rules don’t change, when the boundaries are clear and firm, it is like they are wrapped in a blanket of security. Home, mom, dad: your kids need to know that they can count on you to be consistent.
“Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.” How’s that for consistency? Let’s follow his lead.
Question of the week: How do you maintain consistency in your parenting? What keeps you on track? Do you write down your plans? Do you have mentors or models you look up to? How do you keep your parenting goals in mind so that you can stay the course?
Last week’s question: How do you and your spouse maintain your oneness or unity?
In our workshop, we mentioned three ideas that are worth repeating here. 1) Set aside 15 minutes a day of uninterrupted time to spend with your spouse talking and listening. Make sure that the kids know this time is to uninterrupted. If you are insistent, this time can become invaluable. 2) Have a date night each week. This event comes highly recommended by Dennis and Barbara Rainey of Family Life. Enjoy one another, keeping business at a distance. 3) Chris and Suzanne Lynch have two small children and no family nearby. They keep a date night by getting the kids in bed early; then they alternate Friday nights cooking a special meal for each other.