In the "early days" of parenting, when I had 3 preschoolers at home, I felt like it was all I could do to survive. I did my best to discipline and teach appropriate behavior. But mainly we worked on daily routine and right and wrong.
Over these last couple of years I have had a chance to breathe and reflect and consider what it is I really want to "teach" my children. What do I want to model? What kind of legacy do I want to leave? And what is it I want my children to take into their hearts and into the world?
And it really boils down to two things. Kindness and respect. These are what I value above all else. I pray daily with and for my kids for God to help them to be kind and respectful. Now, so far, they aren't always exemplifying these values at home. But we are all working on it together. I hope that they are just so exhausted from being so kind and respectful out in the world that sometimes they let their human weakness take over at home. :)
Also, perfect behavior is not important to me. I want my children to obey me out of love and respect. But they are kids, not robots. I do not expect them to be perfect and I don't spank them every time they mess up.
I believe having a thick skin is important and being able to be teased in love is essential. We are a family who laughs with each other and at ourselves. And you can often tell you are loved by a Fischer if we tease you. But I am teaching my children the difference between teasing and mocking, laughing with and laughing at. I hope they are learning to differentiate between appropriate times to tease and laugh and inappropriate times.
So here is what I want to say to you. If you know my kids, if you spend any kind of time with any of them at all, and you witness unkindness or disrespect, call them out on it. I cannot tolerate my children being rude, sassy, or bossy to adults. I cannot tolerate my children excluding other children, or being mean to their peers in any way. And, if you witness my children being respectful or extraordinarily kind, praise them! And PLEASE let me know as well, so I can be encouraged too. Parenting is tough work and I think we could all use a little more encouragement.
"Your own soul is nourished when you are kind, but you destroy yourself when you are cruel." Proverbs 11:17
"Respect everyone, and love your Christian brothers and sisters. Fear God, and respect authority." 1 Peter 2:17