Hey there!!! How's your week going so far? As you know, I was presented with a challenge right out of the shoot on Monday. I was feeling pretty accomplished after my talk with my 7 year old....that is, until she had her next breakdown....that day!!! Then again on Tuesday, several times. I am seeing (and I did already know) that this has become a learned behavior for her. It's her "auto-pilot" if you will. She hears something that she doesn't like and she responds in the same way, every.single.time. I can certainly beat myself up over not having done such a great job parenting her, I can spend my time crying and worrying (much like she does). Or I can simply move forward from here.
But where am I going to go? How do I start over? What should I do? All very good questions, if I do nothing but move, I'm not going to yeild new results. The same thing will happen because I've not developed a plan of action, a lesson plan of sorts. Enter Scripture.....as Christian parents, where else are we supposed to go for instruction on life?
Proverbs 22:6 "Train a child in the way that he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it." Young's Literal Translation says it this way "Give instruction to a youth about his way, Even when he is old he turneth not from it." I've always looked at this verse in relation to teaching them about God, bringing them up in the church and while I believe that is a large part of it, I'm seeing that there is more to this verse than we give it credit for. We are going to be talking about a little of both.
Going back to that seed story from Monday, if we were to just leave the seed in the pot and walk away, nothing is going to happen. The seed is going to stay a seed, with no hope for reaching it's full potential. As the sower of that seed, we are not doing job if we just merely drop it in and walk away. Do you see the correlation to parenting here? If we simply create a family and then do nothing to cultivate that family, we can't expect to reap a good harvest.
Ideally, we need to start converstations early on; with God, our spouse or other people that will serve as a support to us in raising a family, about what we want our family to look like. We know we can't just leave it to chance, but often times, that's exactly what we do. Then we leave it to the world. After pre-school, our children spend large amounts of time away from the family hub. We then feel the need to pile on extra-curricular activities, we allow our kids friends to take up any other time there may be left and the home becomes a drive-thru, full of non-nutritional meals and I'm not just talking the food that we eat.
Know that I am not saying that those things are bad on their own, I'm talking about them as a whole with no room for the family unit. God laid on my heart years ago to go the homeschooling route, I know that not everyone is called to that path, I get that. Honestly, I could have my kids here with me all day every day (and I do) and I can still miss the boat. Just having them here doesn't mean I'm doing my job. We have to be intentional in our parenting.
So getting back to what we want our families to look like.....as adults we have certain dreams for our children, but before we start placing those dreams in front of our children we have to teach them how to get through a day, how to deal with their surroundings, how to love, to serve, how to be a friend and how to have friends. We have to "train and instruct". A teacher isn't going to walk into her classroom and just sit at her desk and do nothing all day, is she? No, she's going to have a lesson plan in place that she is going to follow. She knows what her students must learn in a certain amount of time and she knows how she's going to teach them. Our job is the same. We only have so much time to train them up. Believe me, it goes faster than you can even imagine!!
I want to tell you, that in no way shape or form, do you have to follow the crowd on this. God has given you charge over your family, over your home. Guard it fiercly. We, personally, have chosen to not allow our children to over-engage in activities that are going to take them out of the family hub for too long a time. We don't want to chauffer them from activity to activity. We want to gather around the table at the end of every day and share in a calm meal. Our kids play soccer in the fall, our boys have played baseball in the spring. We are involved in church activities. But we are in charge of our family. We don't want to keep busy for the sake of being busy. Our days are full enough with regular life. I don't feel the need to add more to the plate. So consider this your permission to say NO more often.
So once you've decided what your overall goal for your family is, you then need to work out the smaller details. The path to take to get you to the end goal. What is important to you? What qualities or characteristics do you want to help develop in your children. God has gifted them in certain ways, notice that. Years ago, God transformed my view on missionaries, and I began to pray that my children would have a heart for missions. I wanted that to be a tender spot for them. To know that the world does not only consist of the space 2 feet in front of them. God helped us to form beautiful friendships with some missionary families. Our schooling has a large place for learning about missionaries around the world and how to pray for them.
I also want my children to develop a heart for serving. Jesus came not to be served but to serve. I want my children to follow that. The first place for them to work that out is in the home. We are a team, a family unit, we work for the same goals. Now they don't always share that thought, they don't always want to work in that way, but it's a part of the training. They will have homes and families of their own some day and they need to know how to run a home and serve a family. We, as a family, seek ways to serve others. We use our home to do that. Our children help us with everything. No one person owns a job all to him or herself. Cooking, cleaning, yard work, etc. I've never been good at keeping up with chores and allowance. I don't really even believe that they should be paid for personal responsibility so in our house, there is no allowance, they truly want for nothing, but that doesn't mean they get everything they want. You do a job here, because it's your responsibility, you have to be responsible, that's it.
Now if someone goes way above and beyond or they show exemplary actions, we will pay them, sometimes monetarily sometimes in other ways. What are some qualities or ideals that you'd like to see in your family? We can't forget Love -first and foremost. The funny thing is, is that if we seek to show them Love and teach them Love, the other things that I've mentioned will probably fall into place. If you do the other things first, then Love ultimately grows. So love is the initial seed, it's the foundation, it's the framwork, the walls and the roof.
What's your plan of action? It's never, ever too late to start!!! Let me pray for us!
Father God, Daddy, thank you for allowing us to be a part of your family. Thank you for the examples that you show us each and every day. Thank you for sending your Son to be the perfect payment, the perfect example. Bless our families, grow those seeds first in us, that we may strive to grow a family that resembles yours. Bless these moms and dads, let them feel your love, your grace, your guidance. Bless the work of their hands, that their children would be the gifts that you intended them to be. Let them turn to you for instruction, lesson plans, strength and peace. In Jesus Name, Amen
See our facebook page for a link to a really cool blog site and opportunity to dig into intentional parenting...it's a 10 day challenge, with free printable journal pages to help you along in this journey!! www.facebook.com/aplace2gather
God bless <3 Lorraine