Grace, Consequences, Old Worship Songs, and Baseball Games

I’ve started a book on parenting:  Grace-Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel.  Honestly, I don’t read that many parenting books;  I tend to be swayed too easily, and it’s hard for me to separate the wheat from the chaff, as the saying goes, though, since wheat is poisonous to me, perhaps chaff would be better.  🙂  I’ve only read the first couple of chapters, but the basic gist of it is to have a philosophy of Godly parenting that is entirely fear-free.  I recognized, a long time ago, that I don’t want fear to be a motivating factor in how I parent.  Martin, either.  We’ve talked about this a number of times.  However, it’s funny (not funny ha-ha) how actions, based on wrong motivations, creep in, or how they just stay in, by habit, unrecognized. 

Part of me is really enjoying the book, and part of it makes me want to cry and cry and cry.  It’s very hard for me to come face-to-face with any failure.  And, while the tone of the book is very gentle, Mr. Kimmel is still managing to point out pretty much everything I’m doing wrong.  So, it’s one of those books that I know I need, but not necessarily — at least not yet — that I’m enjoying.


Today was one of those days where, if you were in the same store, shopping close to me and my crew, you’d first be pulling your hair out, and second, leaving as quickly as you could.  If it wasn’t for my son Ethan, who is very nearly 11yo, I think I would have despaired.  But, in the midst of the rowdy, inappropriate, selfish, disobedient, tear-filled tantrums of the younger three, Ethan was pretty rock-solid.  He wasn’t perfect robot-boy;  he had his moments.  But, when I brought correction, he responded quickly.  He was helpful.  He was alert to his surroundings.  He was patient.  The worst that could be said about his behavior or attitude is that he started heavy sighing when we were in Hallmark for, in his perspective, too long.

We arrived at Costco at 10:30, and from there, briefly went to Hallmark, which we left at 12:05.  So, it’s not like we were out erranding forever.  We also had been planning on going out to lunch — Burger King, if they were good — then going to the library, where each of the three boys have finished the summer reading program, Read Your Way to the Ballpark, and were planning on picking up the ticket/voucher they have earned to a Diamondbacks game by reading 40 books.  So, it wasn’t like I had an entire day of drudgery planned for them;  I wanted to bless them.  Also, I’ve found that it helps if, before we go into a store, we quickly remind ourselves of what is appropriate behavior for that particular place.  I also give them hope by letting them know approximately how long they’ll have to be subject to extra-careful behavior;  I try my best not to expect more out of them than is reasonable.

But, by the time we got back to the truck after our 15 minutes of hell-for-everyone (employees and other shoppers included) inside of Hallmark, I decided that I simply couldn’t reward their non-stop poor behavior by taking them out to lunch.  And, since it was noon, and we were a good 25 minutes from home, we couldn’t just jaunt home and then back out to the library.  So, by connection, no lunch out meant no library, either.  I told them first that Ethan was great, and expounded on his exemplary actions.  Then, with the other three, I did a little line-item list of Really Unacceptable Behavior, detailing what they had done, and why it excluded them from our previous plans.  I told Ethan that I was sorry that, in essence, he was being punished for everyone else’s poor behavior, and that I would think of some way to reward him.

And, we drove home for lunch.

On the way home, I chatted with my hubby, and quietly suggested my idea to him:  that he takes Ethan out to the Diamonbacks/Royals game this evening.  He thought that was a fantastic idea, and though it takes a little schedule finagling, that’s what they’re going to do.

Back to the book:  I have no idea how Kimmel addresses discipline.  I’m going to have to continue reading the books with a great deal of discernment and prayer, and to achieve the seemingly-impossible balance of being both teachable, and having the courage of my convictions.

This morning, I was thinking about church on Sunday the 22nd.  I’m going to be leading worship for the 6-12yo kids, and I was thinking about introducing a really old John Barnett song called Unending LoveI started to cry, just thinking about how powerful and beautiful this song is, and how perfectly simply it illustrates so many concepts we’ve been trying to teach the kids:

Father I come to You, lifting up my hands
In the name of Jesus, by Your grace I stand
Just because You love me and I love Your Son
I know Your favor, unending love

I recieve Your favour, Your unending love
Not because I’ve earned it, not for what I’ve done
Just because You love me and I love Your son
I know Your favor, unending love

Unending love, Your unending love
Unending love, Your unending love

It’s the presence of Your kingdom
As your glory fills this place
And I see how much You love me as I look into Your face
Nothing could be better, there’s nothing I would trade
For Your favor, unending love.

And I was thinking about how to illustrate the idea of “favor” with God.  I think, before I teach them the song, I’ll have one of my boys come up — probably Grant — and stand right next to me, and I’ll put my arm around him tell him how much I love him and just generally be encouraging.  I think I’ll get a “treasure” box, and have him open it, and inside, be cards that say things like “peace,” “joy,” “blessing,” etc.  Then have him run out of the room, out of eyesight and earshot, and continue speaking to him, and offering him the gifts.  Then, I’ll call him back in, and ask him if he heard anything from me while he was “away” or if he could access the box while he was gone. 

I see God’s favor and His blessing much in that way:  He’s not angry when we leave His presence, His protection, and relationship with Him.  But, we don’t receive the benefits that come from closeness with Him when we choose to depart.

Tying it all together:  I see that idea in my mothering, as well.  I want to be very gracious to my kids.  I want to extend them a lot of mercy, to not expect too much out of them, nor expect simply “proper behavior” but from the wrong motivations.  I don’t want to react — ever — out of anger.  I will not ever be vindictive.  However, there are rewards/blessings/favor that comes with staying within the protections, and the guidelines, of one’s parents.

Thus, one kid goes to the baseball game, and the others stay home.



About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on June 13, 2008, in Baseball, Books I'm Reading, Christian Living, Christianity, Family, God/Christianity/Church, Motherhood, Music, Parenting, Sad Things, Shopping, The Dear Hubby, The Kids, Vineyard Phoenix, Worship. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. What a beautiful post, Karen. It sounds like you are doing a wonderful job with your children. Keep with it too – eventually it does take and they behave themselves without having to be reminded. (at least not too often 😉 ) As difficult as it may seem when they are younger, the rewards are great by the time they are teenagers. Not that my kids are perfect by any means, but there are so many things that I just don’t have to worry about with my kids because it was instilled in them at a very early age what was acceptable behavior and what was not. Rewards and consequences are a huge part of that and I think you made a great choice with yours today!

  2. We have seen Tim Kimmel at the Marriage Conference before. He is a wonderful speaker and author. I hope you enjoy his book.

  3. Matthew Walcott


    I came across your blog in my quest for a copy of “Unending Love”. Can’t buy it here. Can’t download it anywhere that I have been able to find.

    Anyway I enjoyed your post. We have 4 children (9,8,6,2) and homeschool. My wife blogs also @

    What a challenge. How rewarding.

    If you know anywhere in www land that I can buy song could you let me know.



  1. Pingback: Discipline… « Mom loves being at home

  2. Pingback: Teach ‘em to pray « Only Sometimes Clever

  3. Pingback: Discipline… :: Mom Loves Being at Home! A Blog on Homeschooling and a Stay at Home Mom.

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