Monday, August 8, 2011

More or Less Encouragement???

I had a blog in mind. Sorted. Organised. But oh how the Lord has challenged me about the content!

You see recently I was grocery shopping and saw a Mum with a three or four year old boy. As he placed an item into the trolley, the Mum exclaimed, "Good job! I'm so proud of you!"

And I thought, really? Sure, great to see that he's a helpful little guy. But "proud" of him? I thought it was a little extreme. Surely not particularly sincere? 

Now before you say it, I KNOW! I have no idea what sort of a morning she had been having with him. Maybe there had been some discipline preceding  the said incident, and she was trying to turn things around. Or maybe this little man had other issues at the time, or in life, that meant he needed enormous amounts of encouragement right then.

At least she is shopping with her child. A rare event in Jakarta. Why bring them to the shops when you can leave them behind with a nanny? Never mind all they learn about colours, maths, food groups, healthy (or not so healthy) food...but I digress.

You know how once you see someone in the supermarket, you may as well strike up a conversation and have coffee afterwards, because you tend to follow one another around for an hour and could probably recite much of what is in their trolley and perhaps even guess at what they are making for dinner? Well, that is what I did with this lady and her son. Pretty sure it was spaghetti bolognese.

And so I noticed, that she didn't say thank you when her fruit and vegetables were weighed (which happens as you choose them in Jakarta - not at the registers). Now before you say it, I KNOW!!!!! Who's to say that I'm not distracted one day and forget? Or that she was thinking about other very important things and just forgot that one time, and I happened to witness it.

But it made me wonder, how are we teaching our kids about what is important? About what we value? Individual effort? Obedience? Taking pride in our actions? Or loving others? Showing gratitude?

Yet I find myself in that terrible conundrum you sometimes find yourself in - you know the one - who's throwing the first stone, take the log out of your own eye... Hhhhmmm.

You see this week I am finding there is more discouragement than encouragement in our home. It was made loud and clear this week through the Bible, a book I am reading, and a message at church - do you think I was supposed to be taking notice? I have been dealing with some character issues, particularly with my older boys. And tough things have needed to be said. But I'm not sure I said them in ways that will build them up. As the adult in the relationship, I have a responsibility to do that.

"The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down." Proverbs 14:1

I'm not convinced I am building rather than tearing at the moment. 

So I'm going to leave everyone else alone. 

And focus on my little flock.

Giving thanks:

- Reprimands from the living God.
- Forgiveness.
- Hard conversations with my sons. Chances to grow them into good men.
- Opportunity to think about what I value, but more importantly, to ask if I am actually imparting it?
- New days. The hope that I will do better through Him.
- Plans for one on one, times four.
- Wisdom in the bible - everything I need as a parent. 
- Good teaching, good books.
- All Mum's out there who are doing the best they can.
- My flock. And the gift of shepherding them.


  1. Yes, reprimands are cause for gratitude, signs of His love. And recognizing that is another grace gift. Thanks for the reminder. Grace and peace to you in Jesus!

  2. The humbleness of self recognition is absolutely a gift. I enjoyed the post and the pics.

  3. "Opportunity to think about what I value, but more importantly, to ask if I am actually imparting it?" -That is so powerful. Went straight to my heart.

  4. Your blog is amazing and inspiring. We too have four children all within 5 years, three girls and a boy. It was such a joy to recognize some of the same struggles and sweet moments as well that we've experienced with our own six, especially your travel posts. We recently spent a year abroad living in Turkey and traveling, what an adventure. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  5. Thanks so much for your encouragement!