Phoebe is a mischievous, rambunctious little girl.  She is full of curiosity and is terribly independent.  She loves new experiences.  She wants to do life her own way, without help.

In short, as my mother pointed out, she is a spitting image of me.

Because of her crazy, off-the-wall nature, I’ve found myself saying “no” to her requests or antics before I even evaluate whether or not they are constructive or destructive actions.  It has become a habit.  She’s also taken up this habit from my example and likes to throw “no” back at me any time I ask to do something that requires obedience.

I read an article that really convicted me.  I have become a door-shutter in her life.  Rebelliousness has rushed in where we could have peace and joyful compliance.

I don’t want to discourage curiosity and growth in Phoebe’s life.  Actually, that is what I want to encourage more than anything else!

Since I realized that I was not opening doors of opportunity for her to learn and grow, I tried to make some changes.

1. I started watching her eyes.  Paying attention to Phoebe’s eyes help me to gauge how she is feeling about the situation we are in.  I noticed that when I smiled and was patient with her, she grew relaxed and a smile crept into her eyes.  When I’m distracted and just trying to force my will on her, she gets a certain look on her face, almost like a glaze over her eyes.  And I know I’ve lost her.

2. I evaluate before saying “yes” or “no.”  Do I need to tell her “no” when tries to pick up knives out of the dishwasher?  That would be a yes.  But I can use this moment as an invitation as an opportunity for her to learn by giving her a chance to do something positive.  She can pick up and hand me plates instead.

3. I create opportunities for her experience life and learn.  The essence of homeschooling is that learning starts and ends in the home anyway.  I’m now trying to imagine new ways of helping Phoebe learn, stay busy, and experience life in new ways.  During each day, Phoebe helps me with household chores, but I’m going to try to have a new and fun activity for her each week.  (Pinterest has given me lots of great ideas!)

I get about eighteen years to help this girl grow into the woman she will be.  God gave me the responsibility to mold her until those qualities in her that can seem so negative now will become her greatest strengths.

The Lord has given me this great opportunity and will help me focus my energy on forming this child before she has the moral and mental capability to do it herself.  What a profound task He has set before me!

But my mom helped turn my inflexibility, stubbornness, and bossiness into the positive leadership qualities I have today.  May the Lord help me do the same with Phoebe!