Personal Blog by Rhonda Crowdis Hardisty

Archive for July, 2013

Parenting from the Heart: Correction

wpid-IMG_20130706_154653.jpgWhen I had children of my own 20+ years ago, I was determined to do things right. My children would know that I loved them without question, and they would follow the rules I set forth because that is what I expected of them.

This actually worked as I planned until the dreaded teen years hit. Each went through their own form of rebellion at a different age. My middle daughter waited until 17, but it hit my oldest at 15, and my youngest at 12. The biggest challenge was that my oldest and youngest were 15 and 12 at the same time.

They were even helping each other to conspire against my rules. My oldest would sneak out to spend the night at the neighbors they were forbidden to speak even speak to, and her sister would lie for her. My youngest would make phone calls or get into things while her sister ran interference with me. Most of the time I figured it out fairly quickly and set them straight before they ended up hurting themselves or doing something irreversible. It was a very trying time for me as a single parent.

The last straw came the day my two older daughters and I went to a football game with friends and left the youngest at home. Grounded. She was not to leave the house or even answer the door. We returned home two hours later to find that my youngest was not there. We checked with neighbors and friends, but no one had seen her. I wasn’t worried. I was just frustrated. I had a feeling she had gone somewhere with the neighbor children I mentioned earlier.

The girls and I went to the store to take care of a few things while waiting for her to return. We ran into a friend who told us they had seen her there a few minutes earlier. Big surprise. She was with those neighbors! Should I mention that they were 12 and 15, unlicensed and roaming the streets in their mothers car! I could go on, but that’s another story in itself.

Needless to say, by the time she arrived home I was no longer in the mood to discuss the situation with her. When she walked in the door my first words to her were, “go pack your things.” Without even asking my parents, I decided she was going to live with them for the rest of the school year. It was November of her 7th grade year and she needed some serious intervention. Sending her to my parents in the country seemed like just the right move at that point. She looked at me in disbelief and asked “What?“. I repeated my instruction and advised her she was going to Grandma’s in the morning. She spent the rest of the night in her room.

I called my parents and got everything arranged. I thank God for Christian parents who listen when He speaks, even when it’s not a comfortable instruction.

Those six months were the most difficult moments of her life while at the same time some of the most crucial to her emotional and spiritual development, as well as mine. I believe it was the most important step I ever took as her parent. Now that she is 20 years old she can look back and see how difficult those days were for me as well as her, and know that it was God’s leading that placed her there for her own well-being.

It’s hard sometimes to let our children fail or to see them in a situation that makes us as parents feel as if we have failed them. I have written before about how difficult it can be to answer the phone when my children call for fear that they are in trouble from which I cannot help them escape. The most difficult part is to know how to respond in the midst of that trouble. My first thought is to rescue them, but the Bible tells us in Proverb 3:12,

“For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.”

We cannot always save them from their own choices. Sometimes we have to correct them or allow them to be corrected. Once they are beyond the grasp of our parental control we have to let God take over those reigns. He is in control and knows so much better than we as parents, the right path on which to lead them. He doesn’t need our approval or even theirs, but giving it to Him can make easier on all of us.


5 Minutes from the Heart: Beautiful

998020_10200153982603881_840550960_nEvery Friday, Lisa-Jo and friends join up for a common writing prompt. We all give it just five minutes and share what’s on our heart or our mind. Here’s mine…

9:17 am Start

Beautiful is what I think of when I see my granddaughter’s face every morning.
Her red curls and gray-green eyes are nothing short of breath-taking.
She often reminds me of her mother at that age, but with a little more spring in her step.
She is a little more in control. She is the boss around these parts and everyone knows it.
Her beauty flows beyond her hair and her eyes, straight to the heart of the person lucky enough to meet her.
She’s a jewel, a gem. She’s a ray of sunshine in an often dreary world.
Her smile can melt a heart from across a field, and she, even at less than two and a half, knows that she has this power.
She has her Daddy and her Papa wrapped around several of her fingers.
She’s beautiful inside and out.
Even when she’s covered in apple sauce or spaghetti, there is a beauty that is unmistakable.
That beauty is my granddaughter.

Stop! 9:22 am

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Parenting from the Heart: Slow to Wrath

thCACQKSEYAt the mall last week I had a 6-year-old who could not stand still, could not help but put his hands on everything he walked past, and could not accept correction without becoming increasingly angry. In fact, his two-year-old cousin, who was also a handful, was better behaved. I finally had to take both boys, who are 4 and 6, into the hallway while my daughter and granddaughter finished shopping. When we headed to the car, my daughter informed the boys they were not going to go swimming that night due to their continued behavior. This was the last straw for the 6-year-old and he shut down immediately; refusing to walk to the car and threatening to run away. It was a difficult situation that could have escalated very quickly.

Recently, I have found myself more and more often faced with a child who quickly becomes angry when he does not get his way. My knee jerk reaction is often to snap at him for this behavior, but I know better. So,  instead I work to de-escalate the situation in a more proper way by calmly discussing the problem and working toward an agreeable solution…MOST OF THE TIME!

Having raised three girls, taught primarily girl courses such as Interior Design and Apparel at the high school, and then taught primarily girls in the Life Skills unit, I have undergone quite a lesson in appropriate responses to male children since moving to elementary to teach students on the Autism Spectrum in addition to taking on two boys with ADHD in my home. Both of these diagnoses often include male children who are quick to anger, have difficulty listening to instruction, and speak before they think. This makes it so important as a parent and an educator to be quick to listen, slow to wrath, and slow to speak.
I ended up carrying the 6-year-old to the car, kicking and screaming, strapping him in against his will, and praying for a safe trip home while watching to make sure he did not try to jump out at a light. He continued to complain out of anger saying that he did not love us, that we were mean, and that we should die. All we could do was listen and pray until he finally broke.
About half way home it happened. He began to cry, and we knew from training and experience this was a turning point. This was his release. I reached for his hand. He accepted and held it in his lap as we quietly drove on. I once again told him that I loved him to which he responded positively. As we pulled into the driveway he apologized for his behavior.

James 1:19 says “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”  As a parent and educator I must be the righteousness of God for my children, and especially for my students, who may have no other avenue of viewing the love and righteousness of  Him, than through me. I have to be constantly reminded to listen before I speak and think before I respond, especially in the volatile situations where I find myself.

God does the same for us, when we as adults find ourselves acting as children throughout various situations in our own lives. How often do we thank Him for being such a gracious and loving parent? How often do we show our children the same grace and love He has shown us?

5 Minutes from the Heart: In-between

daily-motivational-quote-for-once-i-get-the-feeling-im-right-where-i-belongLinking with Lisa-Jo again. Love her 5 Minute Flash Mob writing challenge!


I always feel like I’m in-between.

In-between what I’m doing now and what I’ll be doing next.

In-between jobs or callings, mostly.

I don’t mean to allude that I don’t have a job, but rather I am at a point where what I am currently learning will take me somewhere else.

I believe that what God has allowed me to do right now: good, bad, right, wrong, etc. will help me to help someone else in another phase of my life. So, in that aspect, I am always in-between.

I also don’t want to allude that I am not satisfied with where I am at any given moment, but I am always looking forward to where God will take me next. I enjoy the moments whether good, bad, right, wrong, etc. knowing that I am there to learn and grow so that at another point I will be prepared to share in the growing and learning of another person.

I enjoy learning. I don’t always enjoy growing. So, in those in-between moments I remind myself that being in-between is all in God’s plan and it’s exactly where I belong.


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