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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Crossed lines

There are many things I expected about having a puppy.  I expected to loose precious items to his incessant need to chew.  I expected to pick up poop and clean up accidents.  I expected to take time and time again to train the kids on how to act and play with him.  What I didn't expect was to learn some very basic things about how I parent my kids based on how to train a dog.

For the 48 hours after Kai came into our home, we were googling nearly every article imaginable about training dogs. (I love that my spell check recognizes the word "googling".) And over and over they talking about positive reinforcement... excessively praising their successes.  Now I've heard this before- in line with both dogs and kids.   But as I've been working hard to praise the dog- it has crossed over to me naturally praising our kids more when I see something good.  And their response has told me two things: 1. Praise wins their hearts in a way discipline never can.  2. My kids don't get nearly enough of it.

Here is what I naturally do in my flesh.  Kid makes a mistake- one that usually makes some work for me- like spilling milk all over the floor.  I sigh, complain about having to clean it, try to make them clean it, get frustrated at how poorly they do it, then berate them for their clumsiness. I top it all off with stabbing verbal reminders all day for their one failure that morning in the kitchen.  Gross, eh? And not at all a living example of the gospel.

So I am learning somethings from owning a dog-  to praise my kids more. And when they make mistakes, to let them go in love.  After all- that is what Jesus does to us everyday.

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