The next child talent?

I dug this out yesterday and just couldn’t stop laughing. Do you think Vera could be a singing talent one day?

                     

She didn’t get all the lyrics down pat, so here’s what it’s supposed to be. (It’s one of my favourite sunday school songs btw.)

Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red and yellow, black and white
They are precious in His sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world

~~~

Shepherding a Child’s Heart: 5 lessons from the book

I’ve been reading Ted Tripp’s Shepherding a Child’s Heart (affiliate link) since the day we took the zoo trip away.

Here are 5 things that I’ve learnt from the book so far.

1) We have authority from God to discipline our children 

“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” ~Ephesians 6:4  

We have been given this important task of training our children up in God’s ways, and the authority is actually from above.

However, more often than we like to admit, our own agenda creeps in, and along with that, unholy anger. This is how Ted describes it: “Unholy anger – anger over the fact that you are not getting what you want from your child – will muddy the waters of discipline. Anger that your child is not doing what you want frames discipline as a problem between parent and child, not as a problem between the child and God.”

He goes on to say that correction is not about showing anger at your child’s offenses, but about pointing out to them that their bad behaviour offends God.

Reading this really helped me to see things from a different perspective. I found that so much of the battles we’ve fought with Vera before was on this basis of us versus her. Although I remember we did sometimes try to help her see that she was actually disobeying God when she acted rebelliously towards us, on hindsight I think we did not emphasise this enough.

2) Focus correction upon attitudes of heart rather than merely on behaviour

It’s often easier to work at changing outward behaviour, but since everything a person does is really a function of his heart, it makes more sense to focus our energies at addressing and engaging the hearts of our children.

There is an example in the book about two siblings fighting over a toy. (Sounds familiar?) In our family, I find that we often ask the elder one to give in to the younger child. But Ted points out that when we look at it in terms of the heart, actually both are in the wrong. Both children are being selfish, and both need to be corrected.

3) Discipline is an expression of love!

It’s not the opposite as we sometimes tend to think. And the guilt that we feel (after we discipline) is probably a by-product of that thinking. I found this quote very meaningful.

“Discipline has a corrective objective. It is therapeutic, not penal. It is designed to produce growth, not pain.”

Although it may be necessary to involve some pain during the process, seen in this light, we can take heart that the focus of discipline is really to help our children grow in maturity and understanding. It is focused on restoring the child back to rightness with God and with you.

4) Choose your parenting goals carefully

My goal as a Christian parent is not to produce children who are well-mannered or excel academically. At the end of the day, when all’s said and done, it is really about teaching our children to love God and to live for His glory.

5) Communicate to understand the heart

Ted advocates the use of the rod as well as healthy communication between parent and child, but I like that he emphasises the need for us to understand our children’s hearts and needs.

“Your objective in communication must be to understand your child, not simply to have your child understand you.”

Wise words…I will definitely be putting some of these insights into good use. Will keep you guys updated on how that goes. 🙂

Have kids, can make music

Her first ukulele performance.

(The notes may all be off, but it still sounded quite angelic to me. A mother’s bias, they call it.)

Praise Him, praise Him, all you little children.

God is love, God is love.

Praise Him, praise Him, all you little children.

God is love, God is love.

God is love indeed, and one of the most obvious reasons I know it is not just because the bible tells me so, but that he gave us this darling little girl (and of course our little boy too).

I can’t help but chuckle as I recall the first time we presented her with a ukulele. She took to it like she’d always been a ukulele player. She strummed, created her own imaginary songs, and basically just sat there without being distracted by anything else. I remember standing at the corner and marvelling at the sight.

Really, I shouldn’t even be surprised? She’s always had the song and dance bug in her. She’s constantly singing at home the songs she learnt in school, at church, or nonsensical, made-up ones. She loves dancing too, and her improv moves never fail to crack me up.

I love you, my little dancing queen.

May you never lose that wiggle and jiggle gene.

May your musical talents be nurtured and grow, that they may be used for His glory.

We’re not going to the zoo

If there was an award given to The Meanest Parent on Planet Earth, I would probably get it.

Last week, Vera was due to visit the zoo with her friends at school. However, she had been disobedient the day before, kicking up a fuss when my godmother picked her up from school. She refused to leave the school and insisted that my mother go and pick her up instead. And it didn’t stop at that. After lunch, she refused to nap at her usual time and was still awake 2 hours later. She only went down after a few spanks on the bum. Come dinner-time, she refused to eat when asked. She had her dinner late as a result, and it was only when daddy came home and asked her to eat!

She was downright uncooperative and difficult the entire day.

Because it wasn’t an isolated case, and she had given my godmother a headache a few times throughout the past two weeks, we decided that this warranted a serious punishment.

And so we took the zoo trip away from her.

That morning, when we told her and explained that because of her defiant behaviour, she would not be allowed to go to the zoo, she wailed like someone had stolen her favourite biscuits AND chocolate cake. Her face was all red and scrunched and I could feel a teeny bit of my resolve starting to shake.

Were we being too harsh?

Was her behaviour caused by something else that we are not aware of?

We reassured her of our love and were generous with our hugs. I told her plainly that it was her disobedience that led to us taking away her zoo trip. She understood, but she was inconsolable. She kept repeating “I want to go”, punctuated only by breathless sobs.

I thought daddy was going to buckle too but he stood firm.

I’m sorry, Vera. You’re not going to the zoo today.

You will learn and hopefully remember the concept of consequences.

Every bad behaviour begets a negative consequence, and since caning is no longer deemed the most ideal nor the first point of call (mainly because of your temperament and also because mummy is trying a different approach), you will learn through the hard way – by having something you desire taken away from you.

We love you. That’s the honest-to-goodness truth. It’s precisely because of this love that you have to bear with the consequence now. (Not in spite of.)

At some point, I wanted to back down and show you grace instead. But I realise that if you don’t learn this today, this scene will likely repeat in the near future, so I will only be prolonging the pain.

For all of us.

~~~~~

It’s funny. Even though we felt convicted that we did the best thing, I still feel a tad guilty from time to time. Even now.

Well, that day passed without much further drama. She was well-behaved over the rest of the week. It’s too early to tell if this would have a lasting effect, and I’m still thinking through what could be the possible factors leading to her misbehaviour. (I will have to save that for another post.)

What is love to a child?

One of my friends sent me on a mission to ask Vera this question: what is love?

So I did.

Her answer came in the form of a hug.

I was a little surprised. What, so simple? (Yup, that’s it!)

To a child, love is as simple and as tangible as a big warm hug. No more, no less.

Wait…maybe there’s more.

We used to have the habit of singing Barney’s “I love you, you love me” song, so to Vera, that has special meaning too. Till today, she sometimes makes a request to sing it together before bedtime. And of course, it’s something we can never say no to.

So, to our little girl, love is a hug and a song we sing together (which btw, calls for a “great big hug” and “a kiss from me to you”). What else?

I think a child really needs to experience love with all her senses. At an age where words take on new meanings each day, “I love you” is still a vital thing to say. Love is something audible, tangible, huggable, feel-able, and oftentimes…edible.

Like whenever I make pancakes or cheesecake or jelly for Vera – just some of her favourite yummy things – she would immediately gush “mummy, thank you…I love you!”

Love is yummy alright.

This month of September, I’m focusing on the topic of love. From loving yourself to what a man needs most from his wife; from giving yourself some time to cool off after an argument, to remembering our love stories, and finally, to the touchy topic of making more babies in Singapore.

I hope you’ll join me as we embark on this love journey…

love to a child

Photo credit: Steph Tan Photography

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