We choose our attitudes. We decide how we will respond to the children's choices. The children decide how they will respond to the parents...
The natural inclination cannot be trusted for two seconds.
I've been trying to impress this fact on the minds of the twins. They can choose happiness or misery and if they choose to go the "way of the sinner" and life is hard it's no one's fault but their own. The habits are formed.... and unfortunately, inclination reins, and inclination is not of the higher power...
"The will is the governing power in the nature of man, bringing all the other faculties under its sway. The will is not the taste or the inclination, but it is the deciding power, which works in the children of men unto obedience to God, or disobedience.
Every child should understand the true force of the will. He should be led to see how great is the responsibility involved in this gift. The will is...the power of decision or choice.
Every human being possessed of reason has power to choose the right. In every experience of life God's word to us is, "Choose you this day whom ye will serve". Everyone may place his will on the side of the will of God, may choose to obey Him, and by thus linking himself with divine agencies, he may stand where nothing can force him to do evil. In every youth, every child, lies the power, by the help of God, to form a character of integrity and to live a life of usefulness."
Child Guidance pg. 209
Buster had one moment yesterday when I thought he was going to allow his old habits and inclination take over.... but I had him stop and think. Did he want to go the way of the sinner? Or did he want to choose happiness. Amazingly, he made a conscious choice to do the right thing. If we can somehow work through those moments until his habits have been reshaped.... unfortunately, I know from experience he will not choose right every time and this rebuilding of the character is going to be a slow and arduous process.
Missy too, had a moment to decide.... and she chose to go the way of the old habits. I acted swiftly and gave her opportunity after opportunity to make a new decision and change her course of action. She was in full blown tantrum not caring or thinking and trying desperately to kick me. I was dodging successfully and I just asked her, "Are you really, really trying to hurt me?" It was a jolt to her senses and she stopped. I asked her to make a decision and she started screaming again. . . I started praying and singing aloud and we were interrupted by someone needing to know something. She stopped and I took the opportunity to once again show her where her fit was going to take her and that she had a choice. She chose to obey. I then put her in pajamas and put her to bed and she went right to sleep and had a good nap. She woke up happy.
It's morning again and we start the whole process again. I'm cringing inside 'cause I have a feeling she's not in a cooperative spirit and who knows what she will DECIDE today.
One verse I wrote out for me goes like this:
Not by might,
nor by power,
but by my Spirit says the Lord of Hosts.
It serves to remind me that there's nothing by my might, or authority, or strength or anything that I can do to change these kids. They were formed in the womb of a woman who made poor choices and their prenatal influences had their effect. They endured 4 years of neglect and chaos and trauma, they were removed from all that they knew and put into a foster home for a year and a half and then, before they understood what was happening they were dropped off here where life resembled nothing they could ever recognize and they now have a mom who makes them face their choices over and over and over. Only by the Spirit of God can I expect results.