Laziness and Arrogance – Helping Our Children Work Hard with a Happy Attitude: Part 2

At the beginning of yesterday’s post I mentioned how difficult it is for me to answer this type of question to those who do not know me and my family personally and based on several of the responses to that post I did not overcome that difficulty and failed to present a balanced answer.

Yesterday’s post elicited criticism on both ends of the spectrum. On one hand this,

My gosh! You don’t do any of the housework or cooking? That is not right. How can you encourage your kids to work hard when it sounds like you do nothing but delegate?

and on the other this,

I must say that at times I wish that you posted more “real” scenarios and actually admitted once in a while that your children had A bad day. Your posts always sound as if your children are always perfect.

and this,

As far as talking about the shortcomings… your post sounds like you have it down pat.

At the root of the above comments is accurate criticism, both that I’m lazy and that I’m proud. I am both.

I am a sinner. I am a redeemed sinner who faces no condemnation in Christ. However, I continue to sin and fail Him on a daily basis in more ways than I can count.

I am lazy. My husband, children and friends know this because they’ve seen it and they’ve heard me ask forgiveness for my laziness.

I am proud and have far too high an opinion of myself and of my ideas. Once again, this will come as no surprise to my husband, children or those who know me personally.

So, in as far as I’ve sullied the name of Christ by my sin coming through on this blog in yesterday’s post and in previous posts, I ask for your forgiveness. It is my earnest desire that above all else Christ would be exalted by my efforts on this blog and in my life.

He must increase, but I must decrease.

Thank you for your patience with me as a sister in Christ.

It is difficult for me to write about the type of topic addressed yesterday because I currently don’t have (or am unwilling to take) the time that I need to present a whole, balanced picture to those who don’t know us personally. Please allow me to try to add some “real scenarios” to give you a more balance and perspective to yesterday’s thoughts.

First a statement of the obvious, our whole family has bad days. I have bad days. Mark has bad days. Every one of the children have bad days. It’s a fact. We all sin and there are some days when we sin a lot more than other days.

{Please understand that I will generally not share specific struggles or sins of my children because neither Mark nor I believe that it’s good for them to have their private sins placed out in the public arena for people to criticize and comment upon. On this blog, I am purposely slow to point out the failures of either my husband or my children and quick to point out their successes.}

Training our children in hard work and diligence with a pleasant attitude is a daily, if not hourly task. It’s a daunting, discouraging task. Laziness and grumpiness are part of our everyday life, but there is hope and we’ve seen beautiful fruit in our children.

Yesterday I mentioned that we don’t tolerate a lousy attitude in our children. This doesn’t mean that our children never have lousy attitudes and this doesn’t mean that Mark and I handle lousy attitudes properly every time, they do and we don’t.

Teens – Several days ago, one of our teens was struggling with cheerful obedience. This is a teen who demonstrates the fruit of the Spirit in their life (I imagine this would be handled differently if we weren’t confident of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit). I told the child to take a few minutes to examine their heart and attitude in light of God’s Word. A few minutes later, the child returned to me, confessed the poor attitude and asked for forgiveness. Generally, this type of gentle rebuke is sufficient.

Sometimes we remind them of Scripture passages which they are violating. Sometimes we share with them our vision for what their behavior should be. Sometimes we talk with them about how we’ve struggled with the same difficulties and sometimes there are biblical punishments for continual refusal to comply.

Preschoolers - To me it seems that this is the easiest age to tackle these issues. One of the first phrases that we have taught our children is, “I’m disappointed.” When one of our verbal children begins to cry, we remind them that they may not fuss and cry if they are not hurt, but should use words. Then we role play, giving them the words to express their feelings. [Colby’s Attitude Change in Pictures]

The Middles - From around age 4 or 5 until age 9 to 11 are what I call the Galatians 6:9 years.

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

Galatians 6:9 is not for the children, but for me. Chores require constant checking, feedback, rechecking and biblical consequences and when I begin to get discouraged I try to remember Galatians 6:9. If your oldest children are in this age range there is hope  just around the corner (read my post from yesterday). [Teaching Children to Work and Teaching Children Diligence]

We often fail. We always fall short. However, in spite of our failings God has chosen to bless our children with good fruit beyond anything that we could ever hope to deserve. I hope that yesterday’s post will be an encouragement to you. If God can accomplish that in our family in spite of our sins and in spite of our failings, He can do it in yours.

But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. 1 Cor. 1:27-29

We are weak and we are foolish, but God in His great mercy has chosen us to equip these children for His service. Indeed we serve a good and gracious God!

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88 Responses to Laziness and Arrogance – Helping Our Children Work Hard with a Happy Attitude: Part 2
  1. Monique
    February 16, 2013 | 9:17 pm

    WHAT!?! You’re NOT perfect?!? Dagnabbit!!! I *KNEW* something was amiss ;)

    To the lovely ladies who feel discouraged, lay down your hurts. There are two ways which we can view someone who has a working method or is successful in things with which we are struggling. We can pout, steep in our defeat, and ask those successful ones to tone it down a little bit. After all, we’re struggling over here! (by the way, I’m REALLY good at this!). But here’s the thing; standing around sharing defeats with sisters in Christ usually only serves to pat ourselves on the back for our failures. After all, we can’t be that bad if others are struggling just as we are. OR, we can simmer down and adjust our lens. God has dropped someone in our path with experience and encouragement, wisdom, and some possible pragmatic applications. Glean with gratitude, and set aside what won’t work for your family. But don’t despise the messenger, in your heart, or in your comments.

    Hugs to all!

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  2. Kristi
    February 17, 2013 | 12:09 am

    Hi Kimberly,
    I saw absolutely NOTHING offensive in your first post to this question!!! I think many women….when young-er can take offence because frankly they just are not mature! They are not mature enough to realize how blessed they are to have the technology to receive such wonderful advise! I gleaned so much from your answer and am encouraged by your blog. Please do not be discouraged in well doing….there are people out here who thank God for your courage to “put your life out there”. Thank you for being that Titus 2 woman who blesses not only the “younger women” but also your peers, which I am! Please don’t be careful about sharing things that some people may interpret as you saying your family is perfect – the majority of us know that that family does not exist and realize that is not what you are saying – please share……we love it! May Jesus bless you and your family!!

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  3. Tasmanian
    February 17, 2013 | 4:13 am

    I’m devastated to hear the criticisms. My friend and I had a great chat about your post yesterday – the things we found challenging or different from our own families, as well as the reminder that teaching our children to serve CHEERFULLY is an important part of Christian parenting. I taught my four year old a new household task as a response, and realised I tend to request my kids look after their own stuff but not so often serving the family. (Maybe a FEW serving the family things, like bringing shopping in from the car.) I often refer my friends to you 4 Moms.
    My husband and I are excited about the new phase of our life as we have our fourth child soon – which puts us in the “huge family” category in suburban Australia! You 4 Moms are inspiring, encouraging, honest and helpful. Thank you for your blogs.

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  4. Louisa
    February 17, 2013 | 10:02 am

    Hello! Can’t tell you enough how much you encourage me in your posts! Keep up the great work with your kids…you are a good thing in my life! Blessings! Yesterday left me wanting more…more for my kids, more in my discipline as a mom and wanting to read the rest of the story. Thank you! You are being a great Titus 2 woman!

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  5. Christina
    February 17, 2013 | 10:05 am

    Thank you for the encouragement and clarification. We have experienced some intense struggles in the area of hard work lately with our 3 oldest children. Reading this second post, I realized they are all 3 in the “Gal. 6:9 age” and it is my responsibility to be diligent in their training. Thank you for offering hope that this season will reap joy if I fail not!

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  6. Bambi @ In the Nursery of the Nation
    February 17, 2013 | 5:50 pm

    Kimberly,

    Yours is one of the *few* blogs I still read. I don’t NEED someone to help me keep comfortable in my sin. I NEED women who call sin what it is–and keep the standards high in raising up the next generation. This is why I love RO. I have at times (many, many times) felt conviction when I read your posts. If we are Christians we should *welcome* that conviction from the Lord! It is evidence of His grace and leading in our lives!

    I KNOW you are human, you fail…(we are all lazy and prideful at the root) and yet The Lord has poured out His grace on your family and is honoring your obedience to Him. I am so thankful that you blog. I know (boy do I know) how discouraging it can be at times and how putting yourself and your family “out there” and vulnerable to ones who don’t know you…is risky. We can (and do) get hurt.

    I also want to say that I believe one of the reasons the 4 Moms has been so useful/popular/fun is *because* of the diverse personalities in the bloggers and their families.

    Praying for you today, sister. Weary not! Persevere and stay in the battle! Love you…Bambi

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  7. Amanda
    February 17, 2013 | 7:53 pm

    You may feel like your entire blogging career has been a Galatians 6:9 season! But let me add to the chorus of , please PLEASE keep up what you are doing. We’ve never met, and I rarely have/take time to comment, but I love your blog and you are a Titus 2 presence in my life. My husband and I admire your courageous and sacrificial approach to raising and educating Godly children as defined by Scripture–which you clearly love, study, and use as a measure in your lives. Because we have the grace of the Holy Spirit in our lives, those in Christ can reject condemnation (of our adversary the devil) and except the life-giving admonition of the Lord’s gentle conviction because He has already given us EVERYTHING we need for life and Godliness! Thank you for what you do for the Kingdom of God!

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  8. Betsy
    February 17, 2013 | 8:10 pm

    I am curious how your use the phrase, “I’m disappointed,” with your little ones. I’m assuming you teach them to say that instead of crying about somehthing? Could you maybe flesh that out a little in a future post?

    I was very convicted and inspired by your last post. Thank you for laying out a vision of what a family can be like. I know that your family is not exceptional, in that others in the past have expected and required such attitudes from their children. I know this because I have read so many books (Little House books come immediately to mind because I’m reading them with my little ones right now!) where the parents have succeeded in cultivating the same environement you’ve described.

    The Lord continuously uses your writing in my personal growth as a parent. I thank you for the mentoring you’ve provided!

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  9. Tracy
    February 18, 2013 | 1:19 pm

    I don’t think your previous post was arrogant or otherwise discouraging at all. I have learned quite a lot from your blog and found a lot of inspiration for my own family. Ignore the negative and snarky comments, these people don’t live in your home or know your family at all. There are also websites dedicated to snarking on Christian blogs so you just may have been the target du jour for them. Shake the dust off your feet and move on. Thanks for all your willingness to share your life with us. :-)

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  10. Mellissa
    February 18, 2013 | 3:54 pm

    I just want to say that I think you’re awesome. I think of you as a Titus 2 example and wish I knew you in real life (hope that’s not creepy). I appreciate this post, but also have recognized your realness in other posts. I wouldn’t read your blog if I thought you were puffed up. I know you have a genuine heart with a desire a great desire to train your children in the goodness of the Lord and I can relate to that. Be encouraged dear Sister. :)

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  11. Amanda Sikes
    February 18, 2013 | 8:37 pm

    Thank you so much! I am often so encouraged by your posts. My oldest is 10 and I often feel weary and discouraged. Often wondering if she will ever serve without constant reminder. Will she ever see a need and do it without my asking. Thank you for the encouragement.

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  12. Ellie
    February 18, 2013 | 9:22 pm

    In defense of delegating house work: My amazing mother kept an immaculately clean home, homeschooled us, hosted, did ministry and cooked healthy feasts from scratch. I grew up and got engaged and thought this young man was in for a treat! Daughters become their mothers, right? My mom was amazing so I would be too! Day one of marriage I realized I knew how to do NOTHING but ask my mom for help. She was amazing but never delegated and I entered marriage not even knowing how to scramble eggs or wash a load of laundry! So with my 5 kids I am trying to delegate work as well as responsibility so they’ll be set to run their future homes. There is no way on earth a delegating mother can be lazy and get good results. Anyone who has tried delegating knows it’d be tons easier to do as my mom did and get the work done alone!

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    Mellissa Reply:

    this is a powerful comment! [thanks :)]

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    Tonya Reply:

    I can say the same thing! Ellie totally described my life. I now have 5 children ages 2 – 7. Teaching them responsibility and how to properly complete the chores I give them is so much harder and time consuming than just doing it myself. This blog constantly encourages me to keep plugging along and not get weary in well doing. Kimberly, continue showing us young mothers how to accomplish this great responsibility before us with the insight born from experience. Great post! Thanks for sharing your life with us.

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  13. Candi
    February 19, 2013 | 12:21 pm

    Thank you for your openess and vulnerability to your real life. God uses your blog to speak to others and to give real life applicable tools. Unfortunately, the internet (where people aren’t face to face) is a place where commenters can misjudge, prejudge others faults without any repercution. They can’t see the plank in their own eye when they’re hiding behind the computer screen! As of recent, I am especially thankful that you shared your idea of using journals as a way of communication and expression with your kids. It has been a blessing to implement this with my own littles. May God bless you and your family!

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  14. Serenity
    February 19, 2013 | 1:55 pm

    You have encouraged me more than anyone has in the past three years since I started reading your blog. I never realized how much parenting is a MASSIVE task! I used to think if I taught my children manners and how to do chores I would be fine. WOW! was I incorrect. The “why” matters so much more than the “what” sometimes and I never got that until I found you:) In fact, when my oldest son was one I read Tedd Tripps book Shepherding Your Child’s Heart and I was so offended that I threw a silent fit in my head for days! You made me understand, for the first time, that the heart is what matters, not just externals! You changed my life (for the better) more than I can say. I actually went back and read Tedd Tripps book after listening to you and was absolutely broken at how much I have messed up in the past eleven years. But God is gracious and you encourage me to keep trying even when I fail. Thank you :)

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  15. Natalie
    February 19, 2013 | 2:36 pm

    Please keep on with your blog. I printed out all about scheduling and Bible reading from your blog. I only have 6 children, but no family nearby or church as support. You and 2 other lady’s blogs have been helping me raise wonderful children and keep a happier, peaceful house for my hardworking husband to come home to. Please keep up the great ideas and encouragement.

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  16. Val W.
    February 19, 2013 | 2:46 pm

    Thank you so much for your posts! They are so encouraging and are a great inspiration for me as a young mom of three kids, ages 5 and under. I hope you will continue to write in the same manner as you have been, despite any criticism. I really appreciate seeing examples of how to practically apply Biblical standards to family life.

    I don’t feel like you are trying to present your family as perfect, you are simply stating your family’s standards and expectations (and it’s awesome that they are rooted the Bible)!

    Please don’t stop doing what you are doing, and keep sharing with us – it’s a ray of hope in this world that keeps getting dizzier and darker.

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  17. Kate
    February 20, 2013 | 1:38 am

    Loved your other post & love this one as well. I was just talking to my husband about how high I have set the bar. My mother thinks my standards are unrealistic, but they were set by the Lord and I have a right to expect them in my home & from my children. He gave us these commandments and requires that we teach them to our children.
    Kim, we are not here seeking mediocrity. We are here for help. Your wisdom is so beneficial and I thank you for sharing.

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  18. Annie
    February 20, 2013 | 6:35 am

    To add my voice to the chorus, I too am thankful for your blog! RO is one of the very few I still read because I feel your family, your ministry as a mother and wife and woman of God is truly authentic. I feel, through the blessing of the Internet, The Lord has allowed your blog to touch lives, particularly mine, and through out the week I refer back to your posts to search for wisdom and advice and recipes! I have another friend who will print out your blog posts and put them in a folder for when she needs to refer to them. Of course the Bible is our ultimate standard and where I go first and formost, I am still so thankful for who you are, your family and for your blog! Too bad we can’t be neighbors! I would love to have coffee and to chat with you! I feel as though I would glean so much more from you in person!
    Keep up the good work you a doing! May The Lord continue to bless you and your family!

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  19. Katie
    February 20, 2013 | 12:16 pm

    Ok, I admit it of all the “four moms” I read your blog most faithfully, and today I realize the reason is we are more alike than the other ladies. I too am lazy, and have trained my kids to do the work. I too fight the battle of pride. I am so grateful for my husband and kids who are patient and loving with me and encourage me more than they know. Thanks for your honestly today. Writing a blog is so hard to make others understand that you are leaving out the nitty-gritty not because it isn’t there, but because you want to be an encouragement and give glory to God, and not be a person of complaint and discouragement. You did a good job of letting others know you are human and only by the grace of God do you make it through each day. Blessings

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  20. MomStarr
    February 20, 2013 | 2:16 pm

    I feel compelled to comment since I do know Kimberly and Mark and have known them for a long time.

    1. Mark and Kimberly are not perfect
    2. their kids are not perfect (though a true delight to be around)
    3. They are an extraordinary Christian family who have faithfully though not perfectly believed, obeyed and taught the Word of God in their home.

    I do suspect that Kimberly chose olive as her blog theme to illustrate the hard work required to raise children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. She and Mark have definitely worked hard and they bear the fruit.

    When we see a Christian family like this one we can praise the Lord for His faithfulness and be greatly encouraged and inspired as I am EVERY TIME I am fellowshipping with this family.

    Kimberly’s desire is for all of us who name the name of Christ to believe His Word and strive, BY HIS GRACE, to obey it….you too will bear the fruit of righteousness.

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  21. Amber
    February 22, 2013 | 5:41 pm

    I guess I was never offended by the first post. I still appreciate this one because I relate more to it, ha ha! It’s a hard balance to post to encourage while being honest and humble while not being negative or complainy! I definitely haven’t mastered it. For me, it’s one extreme or the other. I think you balance things well, and I appreciate it. I know the amount of work it takes to put in to get these results, although as you’ve stated, it’s God who changes the heart, so this just gives me something to strive for. I especially appreciated the Galations 6:9 bit because I am a mother of littles with my eldest being almost 5 and 6 and feel like I am CONSTANTLY and impatiently delegating EVERYTHING! Thank you for your humility and your wisdom. I truly enjoy and am inspired by your blog.

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  22. Stephanie
    March 26, 2013 | 12:17 am

    I don’t think that I have ever posted a comment though I have been enjoying the 4 Moms for a few years now. What a blessing. As one commenter wrote, it is the difference in perspectives that helps the whole experience, per se. I love and respect your dedication to keep from exposing your children or husband’s sins on the blog. Your blog always sets a high standard…but GOD has set our standard as CHRIST! If people don’t think that there is going to be a lot of work, a lot of change, a lot of prayer, a lot of conviction and just A LOT of everything to achieve that standard, I wonder if they know HIM. Really. God does the work…and He has used your blog to do many works within me toward the goal of conforming to His image and raising children geared to do the same. I, as someone else mentioned, have printed many of your ideas, schedules, etc. and benefitted greatly from them. I, like the one who read Tripp’s book, have often come away convicted to change…and that’s never pleasant or easy…but I am always grateful. Blogs are so difficult. I thank you for the ministry that you and your husband decided to create through your participation in this blog and I do hope that you will continue it in some form or fashion. I do not have a Christian family or upbringing and I have saved you in my favorites as a friend. How richly the Lord blesses…even through technology. Thank you for being a true friend in so many ways. Do not give up! (And, thanks for the breakdown of ages because I too believe there is some kind of reaping in the later years and there seems to be much more work in the early planting years…and repetitive reminders!)

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  23. Jodie
    April 3, 2013 | 10:16 pm

    Your standard for raising your children inspires me so much. It encourages me and makes me strive for better when I really want to give up sometimes. I love your comment about the middles being the Galatians 6:9 years. I am feeling like such a failure as a mom this week so that was like a breath of fresh air for me. Jesus is using you on this blog. Keep shouting out the truth!

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  24. Viki
    June 11, 2013 | 10:35 pm

    Kimberly, I just think you’re great. THANK YOU so much for taking the time to impart just some of your wisdom to us (to me!) I have gotten so much from reading your site. I have five little ones (ages 7y down to 15m), and at times, I feel as if I’m drowning. But if I can read your blog and get just one thing to help me wage this war (can I call it that?) of raising little ones, then I feel I’m doing good. It’s going to be a slow process for me, but I am so thankful for women like who you are willing to share with mommys like me. :)

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