Praise, Applause, & Treats

Some of you recall when I built The Sarah Home blog back in November of 2007 and how God spoke to my heart about this unique women's ministry to help heal wounded lives. Recently I was given the opportunity to be their Program Director and I have been super swamped since that day, just ten days ago. I have spent an incredible amount of time helping them get readjusted to their new routine and catching up with the case load.

Today I attended a special court appointment called Prop 36. As each of the students in this program are called forward they are praised for how long they have been sober, given a candy bar, and the entire courtroom applauds.

When my very own husband completed his first year in the program at The Well, we had a graduation ceremony for him at the mission. One thing a friend of ours said that really stuck with us all these years and rang true in my mind today was this; 'Scott has done a great job in his program and he finally stopped doing what he never should have started in the first place.'

This is very true. We give praise and applaud these drug offenders for being sober for 30 days, 60 days, 3 months, etc.. But the fact of the matter is they never should have gone down that road. Don't get me wrong, praise and applause is a very good thing, however it should begin when they are born and continued throughout their years as a child. Where were their mothers when they were small children? Who should have been praising them as they were young?

It's so very important they we instill in the lives of our children how much we love them, train them, lovingly discipline them, and praise them. We have to say, "no" so often, that we should do all we can to say "yes" as often as possible!

My children don't get something for nothing, meaning that as we go through the store and they ask if they can get a toy I do not get it for them. As matter of fact, they're not even allowed to ask for things in the store. Since they were old enough to sit up in a cart they knew that if they were good throughout the entire store I would get them a box of animal crackers. They loved that! I trained them in the store, by talking to them along the way, discussing the products I was buying with them, reading labels out loud, and cautioning them not to reach out and grab anything. There were two times when Gina was tempted by the shiny glass jars of red spaghetti sauce and as she reached for the jar it crashed on the floor sending sauce all over the aisle and all over me.

I called for assistance, offered to pay(although they never made me pay), and taught my Gina to apologize to the worker. The third time we turned down that aisle I stopped before we got to the sauce and reminded her of what happened the last time. I placed her hands on the bar in front of her and told her that her hands belonged there and no where else. Some may think that I would have avoided walking that close to the shelf, but she needed to learn how to avoid temptation. So we walked closer to it this time and I watched her carefully. I watched her eyes and as she looked to me with puppy dog eyes, longing to hold that shiny red jar, I said, "No Gina, don't touch that jar. Now look away." I taught her to look the other way. Each time we went to the store after that she knew what her expected behavior was. At the end of the store I got her a treat if she obeyed.
Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

I made many mistakes with my little ones while I was a young mother. I never had any formal training with children. I read several books along the way and still read more! Each day is a new day and each child will test their parents over and over again. Don't give up moms! Keep teaching, keep training, and keep consistent.


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{ Californialily } at: July 2, 2008 at 10:19 PM said...

Wonderful post Lisa! I am so fascinated to learn more about parenting skills and how I am rear my two boys. I love your posts and I always see how amazing your children are. That only goes to show what an amazing mother they have!

{ Sisterlisa } at: July 3, 2008 at 8:55 AM said...

Thank you Charlene, Every day is a new day of discovery and learning. Children change from day to day, and so must the mother's parenting be adjusted. I'm always needing to keep my mind fresh with different ways to train, guide, and discipline.

{ Angie } at: July 3, 2008 at 9:20 AM said...

Wonderful words of wisdom. It is easy as a parent to get caught in the trap of controling outward behavior and not shepherding a child's heart, going to the root of the behavior. I am learning and they are learning. I love to learn from you, Sisterlisa.

BTW, the story about Gina touched me so. Brilliant!

{ Wendy } at: July 3, 2008 at 9:33 AM said...

Great points Sis! I like the Gina story, wonderful object lesson for sure :o)

{ Martha Leah } at: July 3, 2008 at 4:39 PM said...

Great post Lisa!!

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