If you have not already read the page titled Major on the Majors, we encourage you to do so here before continuing.
We have all heard the phrase, “Win the battle, lose the war.” When it comes to raising children, we have to keep our eyes on the prize. Our objective is fairly straight-forward: to raise children who honor and please God. If we can accomplish that, everything else will fall into line naturally.
When our children were young, I (Jim) picked up the knickname “grammar boy” because I routinely insisted on proper grammar from the kids, particularly around the dinner table. We had more than one discussion about whether the correct word usage was lie or lay, or the number of times that “like” was used in a given sentence exceeding my allowable threshold. We had great fun while trying to sharpen everyone’s language skills. When each child turned 18, however, I zipped-quiet my comments regarding grammar, even when I may have wanted to say something.
On a more serious note, there was one Monday morning when the kids were rushing around getting ready for school. We all know how hectic that can be around the house. From my home office, I heard one of the kids yell upstairs to Linda, “Where are my socks?” There was nothing wrong about the question, or the volume of the voice that spoke it, but the tone was one of disgust if not outright demeaning to Linda. The tone and inflection was just wrong. I think that most dads would let this incident go by unnoticed, but this was an important matter that needed attention. I quickly went over to the child’s bedroom and told them calmly but very sternly, “You will not speak to your mother, my wife this way.” Issues of the heart like respect and patience with one another are extremely important in any family; the incident had nothing to do with finding socks. The incident was closed, never to be repeated again.
Hardness of your child’s heart is always a battle that you cannot ignore. Do not be overly focused on the details of a given infraction; rather, focus on your child’s heart.