In our kitchen, there is a huge dent in the floor. I see it every day. It is a reminder to me of the day in which I learned something important about myself when it comes to discipline. It was a day when I saw myself in my son’s eyes and saw what I was communicating to him in a very tense moment. When I look at that big gouge, I can feel my emotions rising, and I feel… love? Yes, love. Here’s the story.
In 2009, when our kids were 2 and 4, we moved into a house that would be our “home,” where we would raise our children. It was built in 1955 and needed some updating.
One of the big projects, even before we moved our furniture in, was to replace the old kitchen floor with a new wood floor to match the rest of the original flooring, and then have it all refinished. It was quite a process, but the finished result was gorgeous. I loved that floor!
A few years later, on a particularly difficult day, my son threw a kitchen stool — and it put a huge gouge in my beautiful kitchen floor.
That’s when my temper kicked in.
I grabbed my son by the neck and shoved him down to the middle of the kitchen floor so he could see eye-to-eye with the big gouge that had appeared like a huge crater in my previously pristine hardwood (at least that’s how it looked to me). I wanted him to see up close. “Look at what you’ve done!”
As we sat there together on the kitchen floor, I could tell that he was scared of me. I was scared of me.
That was the day I realized this couldn’t continue.
Up until that point I had spent 90% of my energy trying to figure out how to change my son. That meant I was only spending 10% of my energy on changing me. Sitting with my son on the floor, I realized that it needed to be different. That I needed to be different. And so I dove into Connected Families content to learn all that I could on being a grace-filled parent. (This was before I was on staff.)
So much of the Connected Families material has been helpful to me, from focusing on my foundation to disciplining with purpose, but the one thing that sums it all up for me is this re-rendering of the serenity prayer:
This prayer so perfectly sums up what I learned that day in the kitchen with my son — that it’s my job to work on me.
When I look at that gouge in my floor now, my heart feels warm. Because it reminds me of that day when I realized that ultimately the only person I’m responsible to change — the only one I can change — is me.
Apply It Now:
- Be honest with yourself. What percentage of your energy is spent on trying to change your kids? And what percentage of your energy is spent on changing yourself? Share this number in the comments below, or with a trusted friend.
- Journal (or share in the comments) what physical or emotional scars (like the “scar” in my kitchen floor) God has used to change the course of your life for His glory.
- Download the Serenity Prayer image in whatever size you like. Use it as a reminder to be a safe and grounded presence in your child’s life.
Want to learn more about these concepts? Download our one hour recording of a Discipline That Connects workshop.