Friday, May 8, 2009

Child Personality-Jayden and the Dishwasher

Notice in the picture all of the excess bubbles inside of the dishwasher. Believe it or not this was caused by a future genius and innovative thinker that has no fear of failure. Our third son decided to enhance the powdered dishwasher detergent by mixing in some of the liquid dishwashing soap (typically used for washing dishes by hand). This created massive bubbles that poured out the door of the dishwasher onto the floor around it.

Having six children we have a broad spectrum of personalities walking around the house. It is a beautiful thing to behold. Jayden is our child who learned how to ride a bike at age three. He sees something done once and he has already reproduced it twice before you can blink an eye. In receiving instructions, he is five steps ahead of you and telling you what he discovered. He likes adventure; he can barely sit still, unless there is some body part moving he cannot think straight. Truthfully, at Hill Academy (the name of our homeschool) he has to hum, shake his leg, or tap his foot, to be successful in his schoolwork. These are personality traits that Jayden has shown since day one.

With all of the personality traits described above Jayden could be labeled disruptive, disobedient, wreckless, clumsy, noisy, and such like. Often children are pinned with these negative labels by teachers, friends, and family. Not in the Hill House! It is illegal to shape a person’s personality with negative words. As a parent you have to look at your child as God sees them. A parent can look and see and 8 year old snot nose child that has just ruined the floor and caused the dishes to need rewashing. God sees a future leader, inventor, or missionary.
As a parent I have learned over the last 13 years that you don’t discipline a child to the point of crushing their personality; but rather celebrate the personality trait and give correction to the mistake that was made. Jayden would say, “If liquid soap works in the sink washing dishes why wouldn’t it work in the dishwasher?” Can I punish him or yell at him for exercising a gift the Lord has given him to be creative and ingenuitive? God forbid. The floor can easily be cleaned and the dishes can easily be rewashed.

An expert could come along and say, “Mr. and Mrs. Hill you need to set better rules in your house.” To that statement I would say I can list rules from sun up to sun down and in the morning Jayden would have explored a new area we wouldn’t of thought about. One day he took several red ink pens apart and transferred the ink into a toy nerf bullet. With the bullet full of ink he used it as a stamp and a marker to create a wonderful red piece of art on a piece of paper. Did I forget to mention this was done on the brand new carpet in our brand new house next to my favorite chair. Jayden had it all thought out no stains on the carpet or the chair, this time, Phew! So of course I corrected his actions again but didn’t crush his God given personality.
My wife and I pray for the proper balance in creating an atmosphere for our children’s gifts and personalities to blossom. What are Godly boundaries and Instruction that go along with a child like Jayden? We have all heard that phrase your strength taken to extremes can become your greatest weakness. So far God has led us to the following items to protect the gifts that are dwelling in our developing Jayden and children like him:

Pray that the child is filled with the Holy Spirit at a young age. Until a child comes to an age of accountability for his faith, belief, and confession a parent works overtime providing external boundaries. But when the Holy Spirit comes on board he has an internal compass that will provide direction, wisdom, and conviction.
Teach him to ask for help and instructions. Proverbs 1:7b “…fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Jayden would rather figure it out on his own versus ask. I have to train him with God’s word as my tool that it takes humility to stop and ask when you need help or unsure about something. Pro 15:33b says, and before honor is humility.” It is honorable to admit you don’t know something and ask.
Teach him to Fear the Lord. The reverential fear of the Lord starts for a child with respecting his parents and elders. Proverbs 1:7a “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” Proverbs 15:33a “The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom…” With Jayden having close to no restraint or fear to try something, I have to train him to respect God’s natural laws, like gravity. Jayden has jumped into the deep in of the pool because all of the other kids did. The first time he did this, I thought in my mind what is this boy doing he can’t swim. After I let him struggle a little and pulled him up I asked him what was he thinking. He said he would just sink to the bottom push off the floor of the pool and come back up for air. LOL! No fear! He always thinks he is a few steps ahead of you. I think the water stinging in his nose taught him to respect water in that instance. Plus we enrolled him in swim lessons ASAP.
Work overtime to reinforce safety with him and take time to train him in things. Where other children will come to a cautious point and just stop…Jayden will come to that point and just press on even to the destruction of what he is trying to accomplish. Proverbs 27:12 A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished. Proverbs 14:16 One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless. Discernment of evil or trouble is a button we want him to have turned on so I will set up scenarios and ask him to tell me what he would do so he has an opportunity to exercise his senses.

Lisa and I have a challenge to instill reverential fear, wisdom, and humility in our son. These traits will be guardrails for my son as he matures into his gifts and personality. Oh the joy of parenting.


  1. What a great post! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Sounds pretty familiar, I was that! My mom laughed, asked me what I learned and had me to clean it up. She is a retired teacher now, but she fostered whatever I had an interest in. As an adult, I have inclusion taught high school biology.


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