WARNING: Most of these have to do with bodily functions, so anyone who is squeamish may want to proceed with caution.

  1. Splashing toilet water on Mommy is not a fun game!
  2. No, you cannot eat my spit bubbles.
  3. Can you tell Mommy you're sorry for flinging pee pee in her eye?
  4. We don't chew on our brother's toes.
  5. Please don't blow boogers on the candle.
  6. No, Elmo is not better than Jesus.
  7. I love you all the way to the moon, and back!
I have fallen into a bad habit. One that I realized several weeks ago and immediately knew I needed to blog about it, but just didn't want to. I knew that if I posted it for the world to see, I'd be accountable for changing it, and I've just been too lazy. But God simply won't let me get away with it anymore.

I believe God has given parents the job of preparing our kids to follow Him in adulthood. While they are children, they trust in, obey, and depend on their parents. If we can properly teach them these concepts while they are young, they will make an easier transition into trusting, obeying, and depending on God when they are older. The target Bible verse I use comes from Galatians 5.
"22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."
In my mind, my disciplining is to develop these characteristics in my children. So when Patriot throws a tantrum because he can't have candy for breakfast, I put him in time-out and explain to him that we need to have patience and wait for an appropriate time to eat candy. We also need to have self-control when we are disappointed and respond appropriately. Or, when he argues with me about a decision I've made, he receives a pinch and I explain that he needs to trust Mommy to know what's right (faithfulness). In these ways, I'm discipling his heart.

Here comes the bad habit I have to break: I have been disciplining his behavior rather than discipling his heart. There is a fine line between the two, but I hope you can see the difference. Disciplining the behavior is, in my opinion, the easy way out. I toss him into time out for not sharing with his brother, but don't follow up with the discussion about love and kindness.
The long-term affects are that he eventually learns the right way to act, but he may not learn the right way to be.

I think I fell into this bad habit with Azlan's birth. I was tired and distracted with the baby and simply stopped taking the time to disciple Patriot's heart. Then, as we grew out of the newborn stage and into baby stage, Azlan still isn't old enough to understand heart issues like joy and peace, so I can only discipline his behavior right now (knowing that "No, you cannot touch the phone" will lead to a self-control lesson in a few months). Now I have teach myself to discipline the two boys differently according to their level of understanding.

Looks like I'm learning a hard lesson in self-control!
I have lots of important things I've been thinking about blogging: Patriot's birthday party, the Biblical view of spanking, gun control and the Christian family . . . We'll save those for another day because today I'm writing about candy corn.

If you're anything like me, you mark your holidays by candy. Easter brings Cadbury eggs, Valentine's was created for chocolate truffles, Christmas is marked with peanut butter balls and chocolate covered cherries, and Halloween is all about candy corn.

Let's first zero in on exactly what we're talking about: Brach's Autumn Mix is the only candy corn worth eating. It is the perfect combination of traditional candy corn, indian corn (with the chocolate bottoms), and mellowcreme pumpkins.

My candy corn ritual begins the first day of October (even though they start selling it in stores at the beginning of September). I buy a bag of candy corn, take it home, and remind myself that one serving is approximately 20 pieces. Then, almost every day in October, I have one serving of candy corn while the boys are down for their naps. My candy corn must be enjoyed with a glass of water to balance the sweetness but not distort the taste. My candy corn will NOT be shared with the children but may be shared with Matt -- he appreciates, even though he may not agree with, the importance of the ritual.

I think it's important for us to have little traditions that help us mark the passing of time. My holidays are filled with them. And not every tradition involves candy, but probably should.