WOOO-HOOO! I finally got a photo on here. Now you're in for it! I am a photo-freak :) LOL
Seriously, this is my last night as a single mom to only 4 kids. I have enjoyed this week, truly, I have. I have missed the big man and #'s 1,2,3 & 7, but I have also loved spending quality time with #'s 4,5,6 & 8. We have had a lot of fun & I have truly felt grateful that my oldest kiddos got to broaden their spiritual horizons.
I have really been feeling like the Lord is wanting to deal in my clay recently. I feel that little "tug"-you know what I mean? I'm not sure what He is wanting.
More me? That's probably it. I mean, that covers everything, doesn't it?
I am also feeling that I am needing to invest some of my leisure time (yes, I make sure I have some down-time most everyday) in learning more about how to train my oldest children for their futures. Oh, I don't really mean career-wise, I am thinking more about their character. Don't get me wrong. My kids are really developing some wonderful character traits, but they DO have weak areas, just like we all do. However, the big man & I both feel very strongly that God has placed each one of these special souls in our care to train in every way we possibly can, and we take that job VERY seriously. There is NOTHING that we wouldn't do for them, as long as we felt God was in it. After all, if He's in it, it WILL work out!
Anyway, back to my commentary....
I have some books that I am about to start reading that relate more to the older child & how to guide them down the path of life to a successful adulthood. I will post the titles as I finish them along with a review.
I have several thoughts on parenting:
1. The hardest thing a parent will EVER do is be CONSISTENT!
This is true at any age. If you are training an infant, toddler, growing child, or teen...they are watching YOU for any loopholes in your parenting. They will spot them and use them to their advantage. Don't underestimate your child! Sweet as they may be, they are still human. ;)
2. I am NOT raising children. I am raising adults.
I Corinthians 13:11 says, "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things."
Do I think my children should never be kids? Absolutely not!
Do I think my children should be mini-me's? Nope!
Please don't misunderstand me, I am talking about training.
From a very young age (sometimes as young as 7 or 8 months), we have begun the training process. Our children have had to learn to obey without question.
Do we do this because we're on a power trip? I think not!
No, we know that there will come times throughout their lives that there may not be time for a question. Life or death may hang in the balance of obedience or question!
For instance, if a child is walking through the yard, and I see a snake, but they don't. I yell, "STOP!" What if they don't? What if they say, "why?"
Move forward a few years.
We say, "Don't ever get into a car with someone who has been drinking." What if, when the time comes, they question in their mind, "Why not, they are fine...no one will ever know."
Now, let's move into adulthood.
God says, "No."
We say, "Surely I heard wrong"
God says, "NO!"
We say, "You can't be right!"
This, at least in my life, has been an all-too-common occurance, and oh, how I've suffered because of it!
It would be so much simpler to have instant, unquestioning obedience so ingrained in me that I would never question God why, but just instantly obey, and then discuss the outcome with Him later.
So many times, we are able to turn around & see what we have avoided due to hearing that still, small voice. Sometimes, when we turn around, we see what we COULD HAVE avoided if we had only listened.
So, I ask this question.
Why would a parent not teach their child to obey instantly & without question?
Is it because they don't want to be tyrannical? Then don't be!
The key to training is love. If a child feels your unconditional love even during training & discipline, then you will have their heart & their trust. A parent is an extension of God, and for many years, we are the only God they will see. Then, as they get to know Him on a personal basis, they will judge Him based on how we have treated them. If we chastise harshly, then that is how they will see God. If we train consistently with immediate consequences for infractions with love & plenty of discussion, then they will learn to love & trust God with their hearts because they will know that He will not abuse it.
We do a lot of talking in our home. Sometimes it is the big man & I doing the talking, and sometimes it is the kids. The rule is that, if you have something to say, as long as it is said in the right attitude, we will listen. This has worked quite well for us so far. Children really do have a lot of insight on situations! There have been times that we have totally changed our minds about something just by hearing them out.
I did NOT sit down to write all of this! LOL
I am going to stop here, for now, and pick up again later.
I hope this is in some way helpful to you.
In the meantime, I am praying for each & every one of you as we walk down this road of parenting and, as we endeavor to raise a whole new generation of God-loving, trusting, productive adults!