I discipline my kids and set boundaries:
If you spend 10 minutes in my house, you’ll hear the word “no” come out of my mouth more than once. I think I might say it too much and often too quickly. But it’s useful and necessary. I do not let my kids act the fool in public. Rules are firm and respect is given. Punishments are swift and just in the Gray house. Lessons are learned. Corrections are made and all is forgiven. But it’s all done with love and purpose. It’s all done to “…raise up my child in the way he should go…” I believe this is my purpose: To raise strong men who will be functioning and contributing members of society. It is not my job to succumb to each whim my 3 year old has or allow my 9 year old to make decisions he is not prepared for. I have to train and teach and answer the hard and embarrassing questions. And if it gets me a couple of respectful adults who look forward to coming over with their wives and kids for Sunday dinner…I have done the job God has blessed me with.
We make reading a priority.
It’s important. I mean, obviously. We’re not freaks about it. But since we do allow TV and video games on a regular basis, we feel their little brains need the reading to wind down, relax and learn a little. Gibson struggles with the comprehension aspect, but still reads every night before bed. Matt reads books to him too, from classics like To Kill a Mockingbird to historical works like The History of George Washington. The other day (while Gibson was on lockdown in his room for a bad decision he made) he read a book about our President Reagan. That makes my heart melt. (Marshall’s middle name is Reagan, after our fave pres.) We pretty much read the same dozen books to Marshall night after night. He’s able to memorize them and now we can almost read together because I will stop before I finish a sentence and let him finish it. Sometimes Gibson will read to Marshall which makes my heat double melt.
We take tickling and snuggles and hugs and kisses very seriously in our house.
My hubby is a hammball. Everything is a joke and my boys have picked up on it! Sometimes we’ll find ourselves (all four of us) in a tickle war on our bed. Everyone needs a good tickle. =) I will seriously stop Marshall in the middle of his playing with trains to kiss him. Or as for a kiss and hug. Gibson used to be my snuggler (until spooning with him on the couch watching tv got awkward) but he’s still very affectionate. I love it when Matt will stop me in the hall and we’ll just stand there and hug…until eventually one of the boys will join us and holler “group huuuuuug”. =)
We are raising them ourselves.
I work outside the house. Which means my hubby stay home with the boys. Everyday he makes breakfast, lunches, plays trains, gets homework started. Of course, he does all this while he edits. Basically I hate that our roles are reversed from the traditional ways. I hate leaving in the mornings, sometimes before anyone is awake. I hate missing the day-to-day stuff. But it’s worth every bit of that heartache knowing we made the right decision the second time around. We chose for hubby to quit his swing shift job and focus on the business and the kids. We have less money. We had to cut back. We sometimes have a hard time making ends meet. And that’s okay. I never want to feel the heartache of dropping my kiddo off at someone else’s house all day like I felt with Gibson. I like them here and I like coming home for much everyday to eat with them. I like that someone is home when Gibson gets home from school. Plus, now I can take credit for the potty training!
We trust in God.
We have a church we like. But we don’t go. I have every excuse why. I forget too. It’s not the biggest priority for us right now. I feel horrible about that. I have every desire to go and to have my boys attend Kid Church regularly. But we don’t.
But we do say grace. We count each and every blessing we receive. We ask God for help. We seek Him for answers. We know that everything we have struggled with in our youth and marriage have been lessons to help us grow and learn. We teach our boys to trust in Him and He will lead them right where they belong.