Wednesday, February 16, 2011

{whole children}::soul space

For the past couple of weeks, things have been a bit challenging at the Utterback house. As is the case with most 4 year olds, we have been having a tough time getting our boy to listen to us. Let me just get really real here, and tell you, there are days I've felt like I'm in that movie The Others with Nicole know, the one where she and her children are living in this house, and there are other people there, she doesn't understand why they won't acknowledge her, and then realizes that she is actually dead...and a ghost? That's where we have been. I mean, I'm speaking, and I hear the words coming out of my mouth...TEST 1, 2!, TEST...TEST!!...but, alas there is no reaction from my child. You know that blue-in-the face feeling?...yeah, I've had it for about a month straight.'s not working for us.

I prayed for a solution, and gave myself a good, hard look...and what I realized is that I have not been keeping a tight enough reign on my household.

Now, don't get me wrong...I'm not talking about being strict. What I'm talking about is the responsibility bestowed on mothers to set the tone of their homes. We all know that careful planning and organization are key for keeping finances in check, and for promoting responsibility. However, I think what's even more key, is what it does for the spirit of your home...and especially your children.

For the past couple of months, I have been asking him a lot of questions that begin with the phrase..."What do you want?" know, to eat, to wear, to do, to watch? Ugh! first glance (and, if you're inclined to believe the stupidity of our society), that doesn't seem like such a bad thing. Of course we need to give our children choices. However, I have basically been letting him lead me. *self-truth punch to the gut!* Because, I have so many different things on my plate right now, I was basically looking to 4 YEAR OLD! take over some of the decisions! It's not something that I did consciously, and as soon as I realized it, I immediately put a stop to it. However, I had successfully created an environment, where there was no solidity...and, it showed.

I fully believe children need to have the basic understanding that someone's got their back. For the home to be a purposeful, well-run entity is to create space...for peace, harmony, and development. Children don't need to have to make the choices about meal planning, activities and clothing. They need to be learning and soaking things in...discovering and getting lost in imagination. While that sounds's imperative. It's how they develop who they are going to be. They need soul space.

Speaking of soaking things in...our situation also has another component. It's one we all know well...Television. As I write this, we are on our second day of a TV blackout week, in our home. I like TV. It's fun, it can be educational, and I think it can be an asset...occasionally. I'm sad to admit, we had created a habit of turning on the television. We like to keep up with current events, and we like to be entertained. Add to that, DFW decided to have a northern-style winter, this year. There were weeks on end that we didn't leave our house much.

*information and noise overload*

Have you ever felt frustrated, like you're about to lose your cool, when all of a sudden the air unit shuts off, or the hood fan over your stove turns off, and you realize that THAT was the source of your ire, and you didn't even realize it? Background noise is a major soul-sucker...especially when that background noise consists of opinions and rancor, angst, bad attitudes, self-glorification, and disrespect. I realized that Jax' sporadic behavior could be linked to the fact that the TV was on, all the time. A day and a half into the blackout...and things are 200% improved. He is calm, engaging in conversation, his spirit is quieter. It's not just him, either. All of us have soul think, to ponder, to imagine, to hear, to observe. We have been putting on music, and that has given us the space to worship. It's been awesome! Like I said...soul space.

We are going to keep going with our experiment. As for me, I am going to be more purposeful about what's going on in my home. I don't have the right not to. For me, that looks like getting up early in the morning. I need to receive from the Lord...His love, His word, His wisdom. I need to get my head on straight, before everyone else needs me to do it for them. I'll let you all in on how it goes as I forge ahead this week.

Take inventory on the spirit of your home,'s well worth it...and getting back on track is so much quicker than you think! It's all about the soul space!


  1. I think it sounds like you have a pretty good handle on the situation now. You should give yourself more credit. I don't have kids but I think parenting is a problem solving job. You've seen the problem and taken action! As a side note, when I was growing up we were only allowed to watch an hour of televisiona day and we were not allowed to have any video games either. This forced me to go outside and play with my friends, something that I blame for my super social personality as an adult. Keep it up! Love your blog BTW!


  2. I've been praying about the same sort of things. My kids aren't bad kids...they're not setting fires or torturing small animals...but they get a little unruly at times. So I prayed and I prayed and I got the most amazing answer.

    An old woman in Walmart stopped me in the bean/grains aisle and quoted Ephesians 6 to me and walked away.

    An old man stopped me in the produce section at Kroger, quoted Ephesians 6 and walked away.

    We took the kids to Sunday School, Ephesians 6 was on my son's blackboard.

    I've let my kids get away with acting dishonorably and disrespectful and it's time to reign them in. I love how God answers prayers :)



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