Parenting

An ongoing series of informational entries

Train Up a Child

April 5, 2014

Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22: 6) We have all read and heard this scripture, but do we truly grasp what it means? Sure, we know that we should teach our child(ren) to be faithful to the house of God, not say bad words, and play nice. It's easy to have a child and do our best to do these things, but when it comes to the gifts God has given us in the form of our babies, He expects more.

My children are my heartbeat. God has given them to me so that I would give my very best. Every child is given one childhood, and it is the parent's responsibility to give that child their best. The way they are trained up will determine what they become as adults, and the lives they will impact, including their own children.

The only accurate guide to parenting is the Bible. No parent is experienced, and each child is different in their demeanor, personality, and learning style. Parents learn right along with the children. It's a system of trial and error. However, when parents seek to please God in all that they do, God will help them and give them wisdom, and the training of the child will fall into place.

Parents need to teach children how to be saved. Eternity is a long time and they will eventually go to heaven or hell. Teaching a child about Acts 2: 38, and praying with and for them are the basics. Other basics are teaching them the Word of God, and taking them to church faithfully so that they can learn to worship and hear the preaching of the Word.

However, where your child will learn the most is in everyday life. If you take your child to church and they hear the preached Word of God, they will know what is expected, but if you don't make sure to live accordingly, you will confuse that child. Children are observant. They watch everything we do and say. As they grow, they know what we do is right, or it's wrong. They see us dress right and go to church and pray, but they also see us when we go home. It's easy to be a Christian in church, but it's not always so easy to be a Christian at home where nobody is watching...or are they? Our babies are watching everything we do, and yet, do we care? We are examples to them, and they will look up to us and pattern their lives after us, however good or bad that may be.

We are guided to 'train up a child in the way he should go'. We can teach them to love God, which is the first and greatest commandment, by being faithful to God and trying to please Him in all things. We can also teach them to love our neighbor, which is the second commandment. Our children learn to love through our actions and the words we say, not only to others at church, but to the person who cut us off in traffic, the lady who was rude at the grocery store, how we react to our spouse when we're angry, and even how we treat our child when they have done something to irritate us.

Love and obedience are two very powerful parts of living for God. We can teach our children obedience by how we react to what is preached. How do we respond to our pastor when he preaches something, or when he asks something of us? If we display a bad attitude and complain in front of our child, they are not going to see obedience, submission, and respect as an integral part of serving God, and they will battle this continually through their lives. We, as parents, should uphold what our pastor says, as long as it is truth, and we should apply it to our lives and uphold it in our homes on a daily basis. If we do not require our children to follow what the man of God and the Word of God says, but allow them instead to do what they please, we are not training these treasures that God has given us in the way they should go.

We, as parents, need to realize the impact that our every word and action has on our children. That also goes the other way...every word or action that we should do, but we fail to do also impacts our children. If we are looking at things, doing things, and saying things we shouldn't, and that we know are wrong, we may say that we are struggling with something, but do we realize what we are doing to our children? Confusing them and bringing them down with us! We are affecting their very salvation! They hear what we say about our spouse, which is also their other parent. They see us when we don't obey the Word of God and what our pastor has preached. They see us when we don't require them to obey, and we allow them to do what they want, which includes what they read, what they listen to, what video games they play, which friends they play with, and what they wear. They are children! They don't know what they want. It is our responsibility to make sure our children do what is right, even though they may not understand or even like our decisions. We must desire the best for them at all times, and that doesn't mean giving them what they want to make them happy, but guiding them in the way they should go so that they would be saved and attain heaven! Why do we give them choices about such things when they are not yet adults? Give them choices about what color to wear or where they want to eat, but not about decisions that will impact their eternal lives! If we require them to be accountable, they will get the doctrine and standards into their hearts so that when they become adults they will make right choices. As adults, those things are a part of who they are because that is how they were trained up as a child.

Let us all endeavor to be the best parents we can possibly be, with God's help, and to guide our children and raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The key...walk in the Spirit each day, obeying and pleasing God, and we will teach them through our good example of how to be a Christian. One thing I learned that has helped me over the years of parenthood is this...set your standards higher and stick to it. Don't give in when your child complains about it. Hold fast, because that will be your safety net when the devil tries to knock you down. When you set a boundary much further than is necessary, if you fall, you won't fall past that boundary. Don't let things into your home that you don't feel good about, don't dress or allow your children to dress in a way that could cause someone else to stumble, and don't act in such a way that could trip someone up, especially your child. Their salvation is in your hands. What will you do with it? When we invest in our children, the returns are incredible!

Just a Mom

June 19, 2014

I can't count the times that someone has asked me what I do. I tell them I'm raising my kids. Their response..."Oh, you're just a mom." If you mean 'do I have a college degree and am I working forty plus hours per week to bring home a paycheck', then yes, I'm 'just a mom'. This is for all the moms out there who are 'just a mom' to everyone else that is endeavoring to climb the corporate ladder.

Our children are given to us as a gift and a blessing from the Lord. Psalm 127: 3 says, "Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward." So many people see their children as a nuisance or a bother, instead of being thankful to God for the wonderful treasures he has blessed us with. Don't get me wrong...children are a lot of work and it takes a lot of effort to consistently ensure that every aspect of their needs are covered. However, even in the difficult times, we need to remain thankful that God saw fit to give us a family. Having a thankful heart can change a situation because it will change our mindset.

God instructs us in Proverbs 22:6 to train up a child in the way he should go. As parents, we are to train our children, not just how to cook, clean, be responsible, share, and have good hygiene. We are to train them about the things of God by teaching them the word of God, how to be saved, how to pray, to be faithful in church, to be a good steward, to serve God, and to love God and others. Let me just point one thing out...the scripture does not tell us to make sure our children are trained up right by someone else. He tells us to train up our children. How can we be sure when we drop them off at daycare each day that the standards in that place of business or home are going to be acceptable? We have to realize that God gave us personal convictions to live by, and to raise our children by. If we are allowing someone else to raise our children, are we truly giving our best to God and training them up in the way they should go? And yes, the daycare providers are the ones training our children. Consider that most eight hour per day jobs include a lunch hour, plus travel time, dinner, baths, and sleeping, that doesn't leave much time in a day to parent. Don't get me wrong...I know that there are situations where there is no choice but to go to work to provide for the family. However, I also know that there are many families that are not willing to sacrifice the niceties of this world in order to be a parent and raise their children to become successful adults in the kingdom of God.

Yes, I am just a mom! I have worked at my children's Christian school to help cover the costs of tuition. When I had health problems and could no longer teach, I started homeschooling. I have always been passionate about my children and being an actively present mother in their lives. More often than not, finances have been more than tight, especially when my husband was out of work. However, I chose to be a mom and be with my kids. They are grown and gone in the blink of an eye, standing on their own two feet and starting families of their own. Then we don't have another chance to instill values and teach them what is important.

If being 'just a mom' means that I am training up the future wife of a missionary, an evangelist, Sunday school teacher, interpreter for the deaf, pastor, prayer warrior, youth leader, or church janitor, then I'll chose to be a mom any day, because these individuals are going to make a difference in somebody's life for eternity's sake. Being a mom means that we have a ministry within our homes to train up our children in the way they should go...that we are instilling the precious things of God into the hearts of our children that they would desire to serve Him all the days of their lives, and that they would continue to carry the torch and train up their own children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Can anyone else train up your children as only you can? The answer should be easy. No! In His wisdom, God knew the perfect parents for each child. Don't waste another moment. Step into one of the highest callings and become 'just a mom'!

Protecting Your Children:  How Far Will You Go?

May 29, 2014

We all know that it is a parent's job to protect their children. We don't allow them to put small items in their mouths when they are babies so they don't choke. We tell them not to talk to strangers. We teach them to look both ways before crossing the street. We make sure they are clothed in proper attire before going out into the cold. There is an endless list of ways we can protect our babies. However, do we think about how we should be protecting them spiritually?

As a Christian parent, the basics of spiritual training are taking our children to church, teaching them the Word of God, and teaching them how to pray, and although those things are essential, that is where many parents stop. Do we consider the things that we allow to influence our children, both in and out of our homes? The salvation of our children hinges on the things that we allow them to be exposed to. Christian parents need to raise up a standard and adhere to it.

2 Corinthians 6: 17 says, "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. We live in a world full of sin. God commands us to separate ourselves from it and "touch not the unclean thing". In other words, we may live in this world, but we are not to partake in the sinful ways of it.

Psalms 101: 3 says, "I will set no wicked thing before my eyes." How many parents allow their children to sit in front of a television hour after hour, watching fornication, lying, thievery, witchcraft...yes, witchcraft exists even in the 'cute' little cartoons in the form of mystical, magical hocus pocus! How does God view these things? There are scriptures stating that these things are sin, or an abomination to the Lord. If we would not partake in these sins, why would we watch them? I've often heard the argument that there are 'good' things to watch. Those supposed 'good' things are so few and far between that one must ask themselves if it's worth it. What are the chances that your child is going to turn on the TV and see something that is not pleasing to God...something that they will remember for years to come? It's simply not worth it!

Another way parents need to protect their children is to be proactive! What are they listening to on their iPod or mp3 player? The music this world sings is that of adultery, heartbreak, cursing, and drunkenness. Kids walk around with their headphones on and it never crosses their parent's minds to check and see what the words to those songs are that are infiltrating their minds.

Do you allow your child to use the internet in the privacy of their room? Children are just that...children. They are not adults, and they cannot make mature, adult decisions. That is the parents job! Too many parents assume that their child is a good kid and they surely wouldn't do anything wrong. It only takes one click to enter a website that will lead them astray. I know adults who have done that. How much easier would it be for a child? If your child is going to use the internet, make sure they are supervised and there are parameters set for the sites they are allowed to visit.

Who does your child text and talk to on the phone? Do you know? No matter how many times I have searched my phone records to make sure my own children were in healthy, godly friendships, I have still found dirt on some of them and my searching brought to light some communication that could have been very dangerous for one of my children if it had been allowed to continue. If you don't know whose number your child is contacting, find out. If they aren't a good influence, block them! Cut it off! I realize that sounds strict, but it is your job to protect your child's soul!

This can be applied to the books your child reads, video games they play, and the friends they are allowed to spend time with. Simply put, if you question it, put a stop to it until you can learn more and make a wise decision. Some may say that this is a harsh approach to parenting, but we are to "train up a child in the way he should go", which means preparing them for heaven. Our time on this earth is only for a short period, but eternity is forever! Revelation 21: 27 says, "And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life." No sin will be allowed into heaven. We will spend eternity with Jesus. Therefore, why would we allow sinful things to influence our children?

Rise up, parents! Our children were given to us as a gift, that we should do our very best to raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord! If you truly love your children, fight for them! For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6: 12

The Value of a Mom

November 30, 2016

Moms. No one would be on this earth if not for moms. God knew what He was doing when He created mothers. They care for their young from birth, feeding, clothing, cleaning, loving, disciplining, and teaching. Their job is truly never done, even after their children are grown and gone. Many of us still run back to our moms when we need something, whether a shoulder to cry on or some tried and true advice. Most often, we take for granted that our mom will always be there, but do we really grasp the value of a mom? Do the moms out there truly understand the value they have in the lives of their children?

From the eyes of a mother, we watch our children from infancy. Do they need fed or changed; are they uncomfortable, do they have a tummy ache? As they grow older, we watch to make sure they don’t run in the street and they play nicely with others. We discipline our children when they act inappropriately, we tell them how to have manners and be polite, and we constantly watch our children’s actions to ensure that they are doing things right. However, how often do we stop and look at ourselves?

The Lord instructs us to train up our children in the way they should go. Protecting, loving, providing, and disciplining are all needed, but are we training them? The one thing many moms forget is that while we are watching our children, they are watching us.

There is an old saying that talks about leading by example. Our children watch us, they learn to do what we do, and they copy us. After all, if Mom does it that way, surely it must be right, right? Or is it right?

The most important job we have as mothers is to train our children in the things of God, that they would grow up and choose to serve Him so that they would be saved and spend an eternity with Him in heaven. That is a monumental task, and our beloved babies learn much of what they are going to know from watching us. Yes, even though they attend church and Sunday school, living a Christian life is a day to day relationship with Jesus, not just on Sundays and in mid-week service. They are with us each day, seeing how we respond to the storms of life, as well as how we act in anger, or in joyous occasions. They see where we prioritize our relationship with God. Do we always put Him first, or do we allow other things to come first?

How we live our daily lives demonstrates to our children how important they are to us as well. Actions speak louder than words. Our children sit on the pew service after service and hear their Sunday school lesson each week, so they quickly learn what the Word of God says about salvation, doctrine, and holy living. We must consider what we are showing them when we choose to disobey the Word, or allow our Godly standards to fall by the wayside. Are we telling them how much we love them with our words, all the while acting in a way that is teaching them that they can do what they please when they think no one is looking, and Jesus and an eternity with Him really aren’t that important? That is exactly what we’re telling them by our actions…that their souls aren’t important enough for us to fight for, but instead, that it’s okay to be selfish and act as they please.

On the other hand, each time we arrive to prayer before a church service and spend that time with God, each time we give Him our all in worship, regardless of how we feel instead of sitting on a pew with a lukewarm heart, and when we make it a habit of taking our children to the altar, we are teaching our children the importance of time with Him. When we are faithful to each service and we choose to focus on Him instead of talking of the latest news during service, we are teaching our children to reverence God and His house. When we faithfully attend prayer meetings and have our children help us work for God, we are instilling in them a love for the things of God and for serving Him! But it’s more than that.

On a day to day basis, when our children see us reading the Word of God, when they hear us praying, when they hear us singing songs of worship, when they hear us chatting with God throughout the day, when they see us take a stand against unrighteousness in the home or when they see us forgive an offense because being offended and bitter isn’t worth throwing away our relationship with God, they are learning.

As they grow older, our children don’t always go down the path that we would like, but never think that each prayer they heard, each trip to church, and each stand you took was wasted. Those things were instilled in them, and they will find their heartstrings being pulled over and over. Keep praying, Mama! The battle is not over!

If you are struggling with living in a manner that is pleasing to God and being the example that your children need you to be, it’s never too late! His mercies are new every morning! Each day we show them by example how to live right, it’s one more day that we are showing them that we do truly love them because that is the ultimate love…to train them so that they would fall in love with the things of God and spend an eternity in heaven. Remember…our children are always watching and learning from our example, because there just aren’t many people in this world that even come close to being as important as a mom.