Disciplining with Humility + A Mother's Identity

Parenting is humbling (and sometimes humiliating). It can also breed the worst kind of pride. When our kids obey in public, and bonus points, if someone sees their excellent behaviour and compliments me, I'm not going to lie - it's ecstasy.

One day, the stars aligned and our three kids all came to me exactly when I asked them to, not touching a single object on the insanely crowded urban Canadian Tire store. Have you ever been in one of their city locations? It's like they're afraid to let customers see even an inch of bare wall or shelf. And they didn't touch, they listened, and they came (!!!)

A Hasidic Jewish man watched it all, and please note Hasidic men never talk to non-Hasidic women, and also tend to raise numerous, extremely obedient children... and he gave me his nod of approval and said, under his breath, "Good obedience". Coming from him of all people, it felt like the praise from the praiseworthy. I was shocked and kind of felt like I was the greatest. A few days later my youngest had a tantrum in a small, crowded grocery store and I felt like the entire store knew I was just a fraud.

The ups and downs of parenting are so extreme, and if our identity is wrapped up in our kids - their successes, their failures - it will either crush us or make us unbearably prideful. Christians have a better identity, but sometimes we lose sight of it. The Bible says we are beloved by God, that our forgiveness was bought at the greatest price, and that there's nothing we can do to add to or subtract from God's love for us. Our kid's behaviour, their grades, their sleep patterns, their meal preferences, their abilities or deficiencies; none of them are our identity. I love this story from Jami Nato,

 "When my 9 year old lies and I catch him in it, I say, “Hey. I saw that. I lie too to get my way. But it’s going to hurt you. Go upstairs and take some time to ask that God might change your heart.” Sure, sometimes I yell first. But you get the point. A common phrase in this house is, “Go upstairs and ask God to change your heart.” Not “GO to your room! I can’t believe you did that! (because I did that yesterday?)” What kind of a tool is that?"

We have a higher identity than that of mother, and it should lead us to humility.
When we discipline, when we correct, when we encourage and when we praise, the gospel frees us to do it humbly. I don't do this perfectly, but I'm thankful that it's true. 

***All photos by Rachel Cheng.


  1. Anonymous16.8.17

    Great post! Thank you!

    And you are not alone in relishing in the Hasidic man's compliment. There is a very densely populated Orthodox Jewish community nearby and I would be over the moon if I heard such a comment.

    Please do more posts like this.

    1. At first I was just plain old shocked that he spoke to me, haha. Glad you liked this post! I'm aiming for a balance of my faith, parenting, as well as other Lifestyle topics that interest me :)

  2. Anonymous18.8.17

    So timely... I often feel myself going up and down depending on my child's behaviour. I read this full article and felt convicted about what it said about redirecting our children to the Gospel.
    Thank you!

  3. Anonymous18.8.17

    Btw... I can't comment on your instagram pictures because I don't have an account, but I LOVE PEI! So excited to see your pics of red sand. A few things I loved were:

    - The New Glasgow Lobster dinners... sooooo much food! All-you-can-eat mussels, salads, dessert, chowder (lobsters are not all you can eat, though). I suspect any lobster dinner you can find on the island is probably delicious!
    - The PEI Preserve company in New Glasgow was really nice
    - The North Rustico Beach was great - small and free to get in!
    - Brackely's Beach was really nice, too, though you had to pay
    - The beaches on the south shore are really nice for clam digging! Apparently they're usually warmer, too. My guess is you've already been already, though.
    - A local ceileigh is definitely worth it.

    And of course, Cow's ice cream is a must!

    They have a Paderno outlet sale in Charlottetown at some point (it was in August a few years ago), if you are longing for anything Paderno!

    I think you'd written that you were staying near Summerside. Most of the places I know are in the north because that's where my friend's parents live, but anything on the island is beautiful.

    For another time (when your hubby is in tow to help out!):
    - The "Anne & Gilbert" musical is fantastic. I loved it. (It used to be in Summerside but looks like it's maybe in Charlottetown now.) The music is fun and I personally enjoyed it more than the "Anne of Green Gables" musical.
    - Tea at "Dalvay by the Sea" is nice! My friend's grandma paid for the high tea, so I have no idea what it cost, but it was fun! Or if there was any possible way (unlikely) you could escape with your Lily for an hour, normal tea might be a hilight for her. (You've mentioned that she's a quality time girl.)

    Hope you're having a wonderful time! I've been to the island four times and have loved each visit.


    1. Thanks for all of your PEI recommendations! Sorry I'm just getting to reply now. We didnt' see that musical but it sounds like a DREAM. next time!

  4. Oh, I yell.
    I am odd where sometimes I catch myself being so gentle and understanding and other times I go, "Why did I say that like that just now and raise my voice so much??" Ugh. Parenting is tough.

    1. SO SO true. No mom does this perfectly, least of all me. I'm often catching myself yelling or at least being crazy impatient. This was a good reminder for me :)