I have a list of things I catch myself saying over and over again. Every mother does.
Here’s my top-ten Mom Mottos (in no particular order):
(2) You’re interrupting…
(3) Can you try saying that again, but without whining?
(4) We only color on paper.
(5) Your shirt is NOT a tissue!
(6) I’m NOT going to tell you again! (and then I totally do)
(7) Are you making an honoring face or a dishonoring face?
(8) You have two seconds to stop that.
(9) Get your finger out of your nose!
(10) Get your hands out of your pants! (moms of boys will feel me here)
But during a visit with my family, I picked up another great Mom Motto from my sister Caroline (who, incidentally, has three boys). I heard her tell one of her sons: “You have two options. You can choose to ________ (obey) or you can choose to _______ (insert punishment). Which option will you choose?”
As soon as I heard it, I immediately filed it away in my brain’s I-want-to-be-a-better-mom file.
So, in case you have one of those mental storage bins, here’s how the motto usually works out in my house: “You have two options. You can either pick up the playroom like I asked or you can go spend some quiet time by yourself in your room. Which option do you choose?”
And because Option A (obedience) usually sounds better than Option B (punishment for disobedience), the twins typically chose the first option. I use this method because I want to convey to my children that obedience and disobedience are choices the Bible describes as wise and foolish, respectively. I want my boys to know their choices matter.
In Ps. 21, I can’t help but picture David framing for his children the two options presented them in life.
According to David, those two options look like two divergent paths – the path of salvation and the path of destruction. Both end at two different destinations.
So, here’s your two options in life – pulled straight from Ps. 21:
Option A: Salvation brings blessings of goodness (vs. 3)
Option B: Disobedience brings punishment from the hand of God (vs. 8)
Option A: Salvation brings eternal life (vs. 4)
Option B: Disobedience brings death in a fiery oven (vs. 9)
Option A: Salvation brings glory, honor, and majesty (vs. 5)
Option B: Disobedience removes any legacy we hope to have (vs. 10)
Option A: Salvation brings gladness from the presence of God (vs. 6)
Option B: Disobedience brings futility and failure in endeavors (vs. 11)
Option A: Salvation brings confidence (vs. 7)
Option B: Disobedience brings instability and death (vs. 12)
The choices are pretty clear. Option A is the better choice – by far.
My own children are still learning that the temporal satisfaction of Option B will never outweigh the eternal rewards of Option A.
And I’m learning too – mainly that I do my children no favors when I shout out threats, repeat instructions like a broken record, or teach my children to delay their obedience until I’ve counted to three (which I’ve totally done – and did last night – by the way!) I want my children to obey because it is the right and wise choice. But ultimately, I want my children to learn what loving obedience looks like with a far greater choice looming for them in the future.
Interestingly, in Ps. 21 both Option A and Option B are accomplished by the same powerful Hand – the Hand that created them and is worthy to be praised. God is the loving parent who does not shirk from his duty to guide his children toward wise choices and discipline them when they make foolish ones.
Now, if I could just be the type of mother who consistently strives to guide her children toward the path of salvation, patiently waiting for the eternal and precious rewards that come with the difficult choices before them.
Now, that’s a message I wouldn’t mind listening to over and over again!
What Mom Mottos do you find yourself repeating? Somebody should really start writing those down! Praying we can step out of our cliches and into God’s Word as diligent mothers.
Did you miss a post in my Psalms series? Check them out here.
Kristen @ Celebrate Every Day With Me says
Your mom mottos had me laughing! I love giving choices. It usually works really well for us . . . except lately. Definitely dealing with some testing to see if the consequence is really going to happen. [exhausting} So this post is the perfect encouragement for me. Thanks, Melissa! (PS- love how you connected it all together. You’re brilliant!)
I owe the stroke of brilliance to my sister! She had to right all along – but the truth is, even if we say all the right things, our children are the ones responsible for their decisions. As a mom, that’s the toughest lesson to learn!
1,2,4 ,your sister caroline’s saying and to add to this,”are we making wise choice or are we not making wise choice?”
Becky Heffner says
Yahoo! I’m doing something right! 🙂 But seriously, presenting choices this way is something my hubby and I have consciously done for years. And it makes a huge difference.
A Pastor friend of ours would tell the tale of his father’s “options” for Sunday church attendance:
1) You can go to church mad
2) You can go to church happy
Either way, you’re going to church with us. You get to decide your attitude.
That has stayed with us as parents. And I think our kids have thrived in an environment with limited, appropriate choices rather than the trends of “do whatever you want” or “do whatever I tell you”. Both extremes are dangerous in the long run.
Jessalyn Hutto says
Ha ha! Yes, hand out of your pants is one that I am currently repeating over and over and over and over and over. It cracks me up now. Anyway, I too find that presenting the choices is helpful not only to the boys but to help remind myself to calmly and faithfully carry out discipline rather than getting angry and being tempted to discipline out of anger. Thanks for these helpful gospel connections!
And don’t forget about “somebody is going to
Get hurt!” I say that ATLEAST 100 x a day! 🙂