We had a great day of catching up on life followed by a fun family game night at our church. We got to see a bit of Daniel's competitive side (I didn't know Bingo could get so intense). He won twice although there were so many prizes odds were good. It was sweet that at the end of the night he shared some of his loot with Brady who had not been as lucky.
I'm about to call it a day but wanted to quickly share some thoughts that I have found helpful.
There are so many great books on marriage and parenting that I wish I could just download them into my brain so their information and wisdom would be in my mental file at all times. Two of my favorite parenting books are "Shepherding a Child's Heart" by Tedd Tripp and "Age of Opportunity" by Paul David Tripp (they are brothers). I have heard that "Instruments in the Master's Hand" also by Paul David Tripp is excellent and plan to read/mentally download this one next.
I got the opportunity to hear Paul Tripp the other night at a conference. I've heard him speak before and every time he makes me question how I parent. Perhaps the most profound thing he said the other night: "It's not the sins and struggles of your child that are in the way of your parenting. It's your own." There have been times that I've thought, "If only my children weren't sinners, they would be so easy to parent." But perhaps the thought should be, "If only I wasn't a sinner, it would be so much easier to be a parent."
We are only one month into parenting Daniel, but I'm already seeing that it can be a bit tricky at times parenting a mix of children we've had since birth and one that we were blessed with later in childhood. We try to be consistent with our expectations and standards for all our children, yet we need to be understanding of the root of Daniel's behavior and may need to handle a situation differently than we would have with our other children. But in doing so, we are at risk of entering a "double-standard" territory. So far it hasn't been a problem, but I can see that there's potential for it to be.
However I think perhaps one of the best things for Daniel is watching how we discipline his siblings. It has been good for him to see that he shouldn't be afraid of correction--that we are not going to abuse him physically or verbally--but there are consequences to inappropriate behavior and actions. I think he also sees that our love is unconditional and that our correction is an outpouring of that love.
I stumbled upon a blog I had never read before--themourofamily.blogspot.com . Her insight was so wise that I felt I needed to share it. If you are an adoptive parent, I encourage you to take the time to read Laura Mouro's thoughts under the post "Loving Adopted Children" . (Warning: I'm going to share the golden nugget in the next paragraph, so if you plan to read Laura's post, do so first so I don't spoil her epiphany.)
Her light bulb moment came while she was listening to a series called "Loving Little Ones" by Doug Wilson. He was sharing that when we discipline our children, we need to break their will without breaking their spirit. Then it occurred to her that her adopted daughter's spirit was already broken, but her will had been left unchecked for many years. Thus, her challenge is to break her daughter's will AND heal her broken spirit.
So far Daniel's will doesn't seem to be much stronger than my other three, but I can tell that his spirit is certainly broken. I'm grateful to Laura for sharing because it helps me understand my job description as Daniel's mom.
I'll leave you with one more quote from Paul Tripp's conference: "God will never call you to a task without enabling you to do it." And as I think of the task ahead, all I can say is "Amen".