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My Yard...My Rules!
by Louise Willard
03/29/11
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When my six children were growing up, just like any other mother, I used every opportunity to teach them things that would help them handle themselves in any situation that might arise. I tried to teach them principles which applied to them as children, but would also go with them through life.

One of these principles applied to how they allowed others to treat them. It was basically; "If you want to play in my yard...you play nice! If not...you can't play in my yard!" It's that simple!

I do not necessarily endorse everything Dr. Phil says, and I haven't watched his show for years, but I read something he wrote that said; "You teach people how to treat you!" That is so true! I learned that lesson the hard way and am still in the process of "re-teaching" some who I allowed to get away with things I should have corrected a long time ago. You live, and hopefully, you learn along the way.

Being a Christian made this principle a little harder to understand. We always seem to think we have to tolerate being mistreated or spoken to in a disrespectful way because of the concept of forgiveness. Well, guess what, you can forgive from "afar." Doesn't mean you continue to allow the bad attitudes or behavior of other people to keep intruding into your life and creating turmoil. Stop the drama!

God began to deal with me about setting a standard for how I was to be treated and had me confront anything that was contrary to that standard. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. It upset quite a few people. They were not used to me being that assertive.

(There is a big difference between asserting yourself and being aggressive. In the form of a verb, asserting means: Declaring with confidence; maintaining; defending. To aggress means: to make a first attack; to commit the first act of hostility or offense; to begin a quarrel or controversy; to assault first or invade.)

Because of setting the standard and holding to it no matter how hard it was, and not backing down regardless of the initial reactions of those I was "re-teaching," my life has changed so much. Not only is there such a difference in some of my relationships, but I am different too! I have more confidence...and it's not ego or pride...It's knowing who I am. I am who God says I am and being treated with disrespect is unacceptable! I apply the same truth to the people I interact with and I will treat them with the same respect; anything less where they are concerned is equally unacceptable.

Circumstances will continue to come up where I will be tested on both sides of this principle; daily. I know that, and with God's help, I will pass the test. On my own behalf and on the behalf of others!

So, if you want to come into my "yard"...come on in...but you better play nice!


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