Saturday, July 13, 2013

Little Life Lessons

One of my least favorite phrases on the planet is "teachable moments".  This is probably because every time I have someone share a "teachable moment" with me, it's because I've screwed up.  The person who uses this phrase on me is trying to redirect my behavior in a loving way.  Logically, I know that.  Emotionally, I hate it.  Experiencing a teachable moment often makes me feel inadequate or like a failure.  The reality is, there are people in my life who care about me enough to hold me accountable when I mess up and who are wanting me to grow and change into a better person.  And, I'm not perfect.  I don't know what I'm doing a lot of the time, and I need my trusted friends to point out when I'm not doing something right or could do something better.

I have realized that as a parent, I do the same thing with my kiddos.  Every day is filled with teachable moments.  Currently, we are talking a lot about consequences and priorities.  Since my babies were born, I have been teaching them that for every action, there is a consequence, good or bad.  We have talked about consequences in discipline.  When Cecely or Titus make a poor choice, we talk about the choice, and they have to take whatever consequence I deem appropriate.  When I make a mistake, I share it with them (if it's appropriate) and tell them the consequence that was given to me.  Right now, we are talking a lot about how our choices affect those around us.  We've discussed in great detail why it is important to think about the choices we make.  Whatever we decide to do will affect those who love us for the good or bad.  We've also talked about that there isn't a time limit on consequences.  The choice that was made in our life 6 month ago greatly affects Cecely, Titus, and me, even though we weren't the ones to make that choice.  This situation has given me a major and extended teachable moment to show my children how important it is to seek God, Christian friends, and God's Word when facing big decisions.  Our lives are a mess right now, but I have shown them in the Bible where God promises us a future of good, not of harm.  I have told them that if we continue to follow the Lord, do as His Word tells us, He will honor that.  Our lives are never going to be perfect.  No one has a perfect life.  I like to reiterate that we have to make that choice to trust, obey and follow Him.  As a result, positive consequences will come our way in His perfect timing.

We have also had the "pleasure" (I say with great sarcasm) to learn about priorities.  Again, the shift in our family has caused a change in priorities.  Cecely and Titus know that my priorities rank as God, Cecely & Titus, my family, my friends, my job...and so on.  The Bible spells out for us over and over again that the Lord should be the top of the list.  Ideally, the spouse comes next, then the kids, etc.  My children know that they are on the top of my list, right under the Lord.  Over the past two nights, we have really been honed in on why priorities matter, and how those priorities affect our lives and the lives of others.  Right now, all 3 of us battle the feelings of isolation and despair.  I have made it a point for us to sit down together as a family and list the people our world who care about us and who have us on their priority list.  Then, we go over who is on our priority list.  Sadly, my kids feel as if they are not priorities in lives where they should be.  This opened up the opportunity to have a teachable moment about family, and how you do not have to be blood-related to be family. 

Remember that old song "I'm so glad I'm a part of the family of God..."?  I am teaching my kids that God gives us a great gift of not being limited to blood relatives to have a family.  Isn't that true for all of us?  You may or may not have wonderful kin.  You may get along with every member of your family; you may only visit your family on holidays, if that.  But, God has blessed each of us with surrogate family members through our membership in His family.  I am so grateful for that!  I am blessed with several amazing and close blood-relatives; and, I am equally blessed with so many family members who don't share by genetic code (and I'm sure they're thankful for that)!

However your family is put together, remember to make those who love you and who you love to feel like a priority.  Talk to them, pray with them and for them, invest in them, help them, let them help you.  Remember as you face decisions in your life, that your choices do not only affect you...the ripple effect of your choices goes out to all in your life.  Look around for teachable moments for you to share with others, and possibly more importantly, where you can learn from others!

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