Praying Attention


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So much of parenting has to do with paying attention: Noticing patterns in kids’ behavior, spotting attitudes that linger, taking note when a child is quiet because something’s on their mind. So many parenting issues can be addressed quickly, right there in the moment—but when we’re distracted, we miss opportunities to shape kids’ character, or to draw them out and develop a meaningful, real relationship. I don’t want to get so caught up in the where-did-I-put-those-immunization-forms-what-do-I-cook-for-dinner-who-outgrew-their-shoes-this-week life that I miss the REAL life stuff. I’ve found that when I’m praying specifically for each of my children, I’m more aware of how they’re doing and what’s going on in their little world. When I pray and pay attention, I’m a better mom, not to mention a better me.

“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15–16)

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Author: Elizabeth Laing Thompson VIEW ALL AUTHORS POSTS

Elizabeth works from home as a writer, editor, diaper changer, baby snuggler, laundry slayer, not-so-gourmet chef, kid chauffeur, floor mopper, dog groomer, and tantrum tamer. She is always tired, but it's mostly the good kind.

4 comments

Comments
  • Zara Plakakis April 28, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    So true! Needed the reminder.. Thank you so much. Btw I m new here 🙂

    • Elizabeth Laing Thompson April 28, 2015 at 8:50 pm

      Welcome, Zara! Hope you enjoy the site!

  • Shana Rose June 23, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    Hi Lizzy, I just read a few of your posts, this is my first time at your site. I wasn’t raised with religion (beyond the holidays that mainstream Jews and Christians celebrate), I dabbled with Pagan observances and find myself mostly celebrating a quietly personal way that encompasses many of the core beliefs found in all the ancient religions. So, I don’t know much about the good parts of the Bible (whereas…the bad parts do get a lot more press). I’m also a single mom and came from a pretty traumatically abusive situation when my son was 2, my daughter weeks away from being born. Sorry this is going on….
    The point I’m getting to is that my son, who’s now 4.5 is very disrespectful. He’s a kind, sweet, empathetic boy, but he’s been through trouble with me, and seen me when I was my darkest and lowest. I’m working on myself, rowing this little boat of ours furiously day and night, and just want to do right by us all. Your reminders that God put me in charge of this family were helpful. But what I’d like to know is, where to start? I might be out of my depth, you’re not a miracle worker necessarily! But small miracles. After all, the reminder that I’m the parent for a Reason, was one. Any other advice you can give on strengthening the good fight when there’s much work to do be done? Thanks, Best, Shana

    • Elizabeth Laing Thompson June 24, 2015 at 4:51 pm

      Hi Shana! Thanks for all that you shared. It sounds like you’re an amazing mom, “rowing this little boat…furiously day and night!” I admire the way you are fighting to do the best you can for your kids! Hmmm. Where to start…that’s a good question, and as you said, I can’t promise any miracles, but I’m happy to share what I can. For me, the place to start is always with prayer, and biblical principles. You may not be comfortable with those things yet, but I have always, always found both answers and peace there. A friend of mine just wrote a blog post on where to start reading the Bible if you are new: http://aladyinfrance.com/where-in-the-bible-should-i-start/ . (But honestly, if you do decide to pursue a biblical approach, it also helps so much to find a friend to help you walk through it in person. It’s intimidating to try reading the Bible all by yourself, especially if you’re mostly familiar with just the fire and brimstone stuff. 🙂 )

      If it makes you feel any better, I think most four- and five-year-old boys really struggle with disrespect. They just think they know better than everyone, and especially their mamas. Whenever my son acts that way, I have to be very strong with him, and humble him. I never insult him or return rude comments for rude comments, but I am very firm. I tell him, “God put me in charge of you, and it is my job to teach you how to act and who to be, and it is your job to listen and obey WITH A GOOD ATTITUDE.” And then I DO NOT GIVE UP OR LET DOWN UNTIL I HAVE WON. That sounds crazy, but sometimes you have to have a showdown with kids, and you have to WIN. You have to win their respect. If they are still rolling their eyes or fighting you, the battle isn’t over yet. I think you also have to give yourself permission to start fresh and parent with confidence even if you have made mistakes or if your son has seen you at your worst. Everybody messes up. No parent is perfect. That’s okay. You are still the mom, and you are moving forward and doing the best you can, and you’re only getting better and better at this mom thing! I have posted about some of these things on my Facebook page, Facebook.com/tenderyears. If you scroll back, you’ll find some thoughts on confidence and parenting past your own mistakes, and parenting cocky little boys. 🙂

      Hmmm. What else to get you started? James Dobson’s parenting books are all great resources. I also love “New Parent Power” by John Rosemond (older book, not Bible-based but with a strong sense of morality and LOTS of practical, “what do I do in this specific situation”-type help). You might also enjoy my parents’ book, Raising Awesome Kids in Troubled Times, or my book The Tender Years: Parenting Preschoolers. Both of our books incorporate scripture and Christian principles.

      I hope that at least gets you started! Keep me posted on how you and your kids are doing! So glad you got in touch.

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