Guiding with a rod

I had the opportunity the other day to experience what it’s like to use a real rod for guidance.

My two toddlers and I had been to the beach and found ourselves some beautiful pieces of driftwood that we decided to bring home for ‘staffs’. So, of course, when we went for a walk to the park later that day, we had to take our staffs to lean on :D.

I also took my book to read while the kids played. So I had staff in one hand, book in the other, and no hands free. Oops. Usually in that sort of situation I’d take a backpack or the pram, but for some reason that day I didn’t. There I was walking along with a 2yo who has a fascination with other people’s mailboxes and gates, and a 4yo who loves to run, and no hands to hold onto them with.

So, without thinking, I used the staff. When crossing roads, they held onto it. When one of them started off in an inappropriate direction, I herded them. When they wanted to get into gates and letterboxes, I put the staff between the child and the object. You’ll be pleased to know (given the rod was 2 inches thick) I never, in the three blocks each way, found the need to hit them for their foolishness.

That little journey gave me an image of what consistent gentle discipline should look like. I remembered these words: “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”” Is 30:21. That is the gentle way my Father disciplines me.

About Claire

I'm part-time stay-at-home mum to 3 children under 10. We're trying to raise them with the gentleness and creativity God uses with us. I'm also a part-time nurse and a volunteer breastfeeding advocate. We live not far from the beach or the bush in NW Tasmania.
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12 Responses to Guiding with a rod

  1. Michelle says:

    How sweet πŸ™‚

  2. greenegem says:

    awesome. πŸ™‚

  3. Cynthia says:

    Your last paragraph brought tears to my eyes. The emotions a gentle leading brought up in me is quite surprising. Thank you.

  4. Pearl says:

    Great image, especially the final words.

  5. Claire says:

    Thank you all and you’re welcome :)!

  6. I love your idea of shepherding your children on this outing; you were right there with your children gently guiding and teaching them what to do while as necessary stepping between them and whatever trouble they might be finding along the way. We are working on first time obedience with my son and I know many arguments are started over this topic, but for my stubborn (3 1/2 yr old) son, it is something we must work on for his safety (we live in the country with snakes and other wild animals, as well as needing to go into the city with fast moving cars and “stranger danger”, so he absolutely must know to stop when I say stop the first time without question). I hope that I can begin using a gentler form of guidance with my son so that he will want to obey me rather than being afraid not to obey me.

    • Claire says:

      Jennifer, I think you are right that the secret is in being ‘right there’ guiding and ready to intervene as necessary. That is probably what this experience was meant to teach me. Thank you for pointing it out!
      I (and other mums I’ve been in contact with) have found that with a 3.5yo, this is especially true. Personally, if I did not feel that it was safe for my toddler *not* to obey me in a given situation (like in an unfamiliar city), then I would need that child to be holding my hand/on a leash/otherwise *made* safe. Have you seen the Get Off Your Butt Parenting website? It’s a great way to combine gentleness with compliance. Here is her post on first time obedience.

      Thanks for stopping by! Good luck with your son πŸ™‚


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  9. Emma says:

    Wow! I must have missed this when it was first posted, or I’d have remembered it. What a beautiful illustration.

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