Originally published Wednesday, 22 May 2013.
We all know what they are and almost every parent of small children has experienced them. It’s when bedtime finally arrives and you tuck your kids into bed and pray that they stay. However, they continually reappear to ask for water, a new pillow and a Band-Aid.
I could literally write a blues record recapping our bedtime adventures!
Recently, a friend told me about a book she and her husband were reading that offered help in the area of the bedtime blues they were experiencing. What I gathered from her synopsis was summed up in this one directive to your children:
“It is bedtime and I don’t want to see you or hear you. “
If you see them or hear them playing around they have to “work.”
She and her husband gave it a go. She explained that after a short run of emptying the trashcans, one of her girls got the point and headed to bed. The younger one opted to sweep the back porch but the thrill of sweeping in the dark only lasted a few minutes before she headed off to bed.
There were no tears (from her, her husband or her kids) and there were no discussions. It seemed as though they had creatively shown their kids that life is about their actions and subsequent consequences.
Sounds simple and perfect, right? I was inspired!
I mentioned it to my husband and we were all set. We were actually a little excited about bedtime and anticipated presenting the new trick we had up our sleeves!
We put the girls to bed as normal with the added phrase of, “Mommy and Daddy do not want to see you and we do not want to hear you.”
There was silence for about 10 minutes and then the games began!
We could hear child one and two in their room playing as if it were 2 o’clock in the afternoon!
Following my friend’s instructions, we went up and told them to come downstairs. They looked confused but followed us down.
This was going to be good…so we thought.
Child 3 heard what was happening and insisted on being a part…I should have known something was going to go wrong!
I explained to each girl that mommy and daddy stay up to get work done and if they were going to be awake then they needed to get some work done.
I promise I saw smirks on two out of three of their little faces, which was another clue I missed in the moment, which showed we were in for a long evening!
I sent one of my girls to the laundry room to sort through a mountain of shoes in the milk crates. I have 4 girls, 2 feet per girl and an embarrassing number of shoes- she had her work cut out for her!
I sent another one to the game closet with instructions to organize, clean out and sort through every puzzle and board game. Nothing seems fun about that, right?
Then my third child was told to go and get the broom. The kitchen and bathrooms were all hers!
My husband caught my eyes and whispered, “They look thrilled!” Feeling confident that what worked for my friend would work for us, I nodded back and said, “Just wait.”
“Wait” is just what we did. After an hour and ten minutes of pleasant cleaning I had a clean laundry room, clean floors, a headache and three little girls asking for more! I honestly could not think of another thing for them to do…so I sent them out back to our tree covered, dark in the evening, a bit scary for me even, deck. You should also know that we have a family of raccoons that frequent our deck and most likely live somewhere below it in the creek or possibly even under the deck! Don’t judge me…I was desperate to make the advise from this book work for me…even though I have never read it for myself.
I followed her instructions exactly and here my kids were asking for more. I guess I can say we had some success, in that we taught our children some level of responsibility, but it just wasn’t the same experience as my friends!
The next morning I ordered the book. Clearly I needed to read it for myself.
I also began to wonder how often I’ve done this very thing in my walk with Christ?! I look for an easy way out. I take what I’ve heard from others and what I’ve seen to be proven true in their lives and I try to apply it to my personal situation.
The Bible is true, right? So what works for them, should work for me, right?
Friends, spouses and even pastors cannot give you a firsthand perspective on THE book, the Bible, which was written to foster a personal encounter.
I am committed to working out my bedtime blues but first I must read what the author has to say and then I can take the steps needed to apply his tactics to my personal life.
Are you crying the blues about a situation? I can tell you what God’s word has to say about it but I guarantee that you will get a deeper understanding if you simply read it for yourself!