Permission and Promotion

by Marita Crozier
via Pleonast

I recently read Lessons from the Classroom: 20 Things Good Teachers Do by Hal Urban. Don't be fooled by the title into thinking that this book is only for educators and thus not for you.

On the contrary, this is one of the best books I have ever read about life in general. There are so many wonderful messages found in this book there is no way I could fit into one article. So instead I am going to write a short bit about what's been on my mind the most lately from this book.

I have read many great books that inspire me in many different ways. I will read it and love it and put it into practice with gusto...for a few weeks before I forget all that I read and revert back to my old habits again. I do much better when I have have a tagline to quote to myself to help me remember.

I loved the book Do Hard Things. This has become an oft repeated moniker around our house. When something comes up that someone doesn't want to do, someone chimes in with a "Do Hard Things!" and we all know what is meant by that. Sometimes we have to do things we don't want to do ... we have to do hard things.

I have picked one up from 20 Things Good Teachers Do. It has really stuck with me and helped me and I am sharing it with you.

"What you permit, you promote."

Stop and think about that a moment. Perhaps it doesn't smack you right between the eyes like it did for me. But there is so much truth to that simple statement.

My first thought when I read it was naturally applied to my family in our homeschool. It is a book about good teachers, after all.

  • Everytime I permit huffing and puffing and general whininess or argument when one of my kids has been given an assignment, I am only promoting that attitude.
  • Everytime I permit a sloppy, half-done effort at an assignment, I am promoting that exact work ethic.

You get the idea. But then I began thinking about this in other areas of our home life.

  • Everytime I permit my kids to leave their things on the floor, I shouldn't be surprised that they will continue to do it...I promote it when I allow it.
  • Everytime I permit a child to argue their way out of something I told them to do, I am promoting that behavior the next time I ask them to do something.
  • Everytime I permit an outburst of anger or frustration, I am only paving the way for it to continue indefinitely.

Really, anytime I permit any negative behavior, no matter how small I am giving my hearty endorsement of it and shouldn't be angry or frustrated with them if they continue to act that way.

Sometimes I am tired and I don't feel like dealing with a negative action. But lately I think to myself that what I am permitting, I am promoting and it gives me that kick in the pants I need to stand up and respond the way I know I need to. Quickly and consistently.

But wait a minute. This whole "what I permit, I promote" thing applies to me too. Only, I don't want to admit that, do I? If I permit myself to stay up too late doing housework or playing on the computer so that I am too tired to give my full attention to my kids and my household duties the next day, I am promoting that example to my children, even to myself.

  • If I permit myself to be too busy to read my Bible or to pray to God, I am promoting that behavior to my children and again, to myself. I shouldn't be surprised if I never have time to do these important things or allow myself to whine and declare I didn't have time. I permitted it. Therefore, I only promoted it.
  • If I permit myself to approach my housework in a half-way manner, taking too many breaks or not redeeming my time then I am only promoting the notion that approaching responsibility is a half-way affair to my kids.
  • If I allow myself to give in to my own frustration, allowing myself to respond in a negative, sarcastic or angry way with my kids, I am only promoting the teaching that responding that way in and difficult situation is totally acceptable. Not only that it is acceptable, but I am encouraging it.
  • If I permit questionable movies or songs, I can not deceive myself into thinking that I am not whole-heartedly promoting those same movies and songs to my kids and promoting them to a higher station of prominence in my own life than I should.

Every time I openly criticize another person or say something negative about someone, or permit my children to do the same, I am promoting a character that is critical and judgmental.

I could come up with a zillion examples of permission and promotion of things I shouldn't be permitting and promoting. But next time you find yourself facing a difficult situation with any area of your life, call to mind this helpful phrase...because it is true.

What you permit, you promote.

Think on that and grow wise.

"Who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them" (Romans 1:32).