I believe that three is the tipping point.
(Three kids, that is.)
Before three my kids were easily individuals and their actions were pretty much their own.
After three, not so much. It is super easy to let everything just sort of run together. Mostly in a bad way.
Some possible examples:
(None of them ever happen around my house, of course.)
One child colors on their bed...and the others bear the brunt of my frustration of my having one extra thing to do, despite the fact that they had nothing to do with it.
Another child asks for a snack for the 13th time in 12 minutes...and I say "no" too harshly to the other child who simply asks for a drink of water.
A child asks to help make lunch and I shoot him down because I know if I don't all of them will want to help and then it will be a big mess and I just swept the floors, dag gone it.
Sound familiar? Yeah, not at your house either, huh.
this book a while ago.
I loved it so much I rushed through it because I couldn't get enough. I decided to re-read it, slower this time, and journal my thoughts as I make my way through it again. For me, re-writing something really helps me absorb it.
I was in chapter 10 this morning and her words were like a hammer to my head. It is like she has snuck a video camera inside my house or something:
One way to counteract the bulk effect and treat our children as individuals is simply by realizing that it is not their fault that there are so many of them.
When Scripture says to bring them up in the nuture and the admonition of the Lord, it is not talking about finding the most effective way to organize them.
The more children you have, the more you need to be pastorally minded. Look to each of their souls and their needs.
Be a pastor to your children. Study them. Seek them out. Sacrifice the thing you were doing to work through minor emotional issues.
While your children are little, cultivate and attitude of sacrifice. Sacrifice your peace for their fun, your clean kitchen floor for their help cracking eggs, your quiet moment for their long retelling of a dream. Prioritize your children far and away above your other work you need to get done. They are the only part of your work that really matters.
As their mother, I am responsible to see them individually, even when they present themselves to me en masse.
Fat souls are better than clean floors.
Most of the time children do not know that what they are doing is overwhelming. This is because they do not forget that they are individuals.
Your children are not a situation. They are individuals. Discipling an individual for a collective situation is a great way to alienate your children. It is not only unjust and unkind, but it is untrue to the gospel. Christ takes our sins; He does not load us down with someone else's.
I told you it was like she has camera's set up in my house.
I'm off now to go make a mess in my kitchen. With my kids...