Monday, January 18, 2016

Family Boot Camp

If you've been around me any length of time, you've heard the remark "We're going back to boot camp" here many times.
Far too many times, truth be told. That is totally my biggest fault here. And much to my shame, it has been for a very, very long time. I start off great and it all works. Then I slack off because things are going well. Then it all falls back to the mess that started the boot camp in the first place. It's my millstone. And it grows larger and more heavy each time I restart the plan.

Essentially Boot Camp is a time of re-training, review, adjustment, and realignment of family actions with family rules. Here is a post on the basic layout. This worked well with us (when I remained consistent), along with our version of the If...Then chart.
And just to note...we do not withhold meals from children here. They may miss eating with the family as a whole and either eat alone, or with just a parent, but we aren't keeping them from meals in general. That seemed to be a huge point for folks back with this chart, and it truly shouldn't be. The chart is our version...each family needs to design their own consequences for behavior unbecoming. Let's not get wrapped up in the wording of my particular chart, just use the premise to create one that works for your own family.

Back in the day, when the Pearls (To Train up a Child, No Greater Joy ministries, etc) were known mostly in smaller parenting circles, there was something going around called Raising Godly Tomatoes. The concept was basic...
Think of your child as a tomato plant. Most parents provide too little staking for their growing young tomatoes. They care for them intimately when they are babies, but soon afterwards, begin letting them grow their own way. They feel uncomfortable assuming authority over their children and resort to the Putting Out Fires method of parenting. They try desperately to overlook misbehavior and avoid conflicts, unless forced into it by the magnitude of the offense or by their own anger. Serious character flaws and bad behavioral habits, once established, are very hard to change, just like the neglected branches of a tomato plant. Catching problems now and then won't begin to make a dent in the problem. And just like the sprawling, unattended, unstaked tomato plant, there comes a point when it's simply too late. Your child's heart will become firmly fixed in the position it has been growing for all the many hours in between your sporadic corrections and over the years when you've allowed outside influences and peer pressure to do your staking job for you.
 When we did this in our family, the results were exactly as we hoped. When we let the stakes go as it were, the results in that action were equally as expected. Tomato Staking is a parenting concept that I have used and seen the fruits of...and stopped using and seen the fruits of. Did you read that description there?
Serious character flaws and bad behavioral habits, once established, are very hard to change, just like the neglected branches of a tomato plant. Catching problems now and then won't begin to make a dent in the problem. And just like the sprawling, unattended, unstaked tomato plant, there comes a point when it's simply too late.
I do not have my parenting ducks all in a neat row. Not even after almost 30 years of parenting. Not pride there, just reality. I'm sure many parents could say the same thing. Why is that? In my instance, it's lazy parenting. I start off good, I see some shiny fruit growing, then I guess I expect it to continue on without my consistent tending. 
Do we not care enough about our children to train them up right?  Of course every parent wants to train their children up the right way. Problem is, we aren't always taught which way is the right way with parenting. There are a lot of people out there selling their brand of parenting as being the right way. A few churches teach their version of proper parenting. Which way is the right way? They all have good points to their methods, so we are usually left to glean the wheat from the chaff on our own.

I've had a lot of years of chaff. I admit it. I need more wheat. A lot more wheat.

So, boot camp here we come again. And Mom is not just leading the lessons, she is taking her place among the students as well.

2 comments:

ladypinktulip said...

I need boot camp with my kid. I always do the peace at all costs thing. NOT working. She is bratty and it's because I have let her be. I try to keep her happy so I can be happy. Time for boot camp here too...she is 16 and I have a few more years to straighten the tomato stake...Following your posts. Love Kelly Thompson

Stephen Tuck said...

Good luck - looking forward to hearing how it goes.

Jer.6:16

Jeremiah 6:16
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

Blog Archive