Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Mom After God's Own Heart: Chapter 5

I could not have read this chapter at a better time. For those of you who I've recently talked with (Square One girls, Community Group girls, etc...) you know that we are in the process of starting to really discipline Caleb (insert a very scared, confused and worried look on this momma's face!). This chapter, gracefully titled, "Train Your Children in God's Ways" focuses on training, disciplining and raising a new generation of committed Christ followers.

The verse for this chapter is Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." I've always admired this verse, from afar, until now! It's one of those verses that you read and hear about before you are a parent, and you think, ok, well, that's easy enough to do! Oh, if I could only watch film clips of my life before Caleb, reading over and thinking about that verse, I think I might have peed in my pants had I known the responsibility, fear and blindsidedness that comes with that verse! And not only that, but the what-seems-like MILLIONS of other verses in the Bible that talk about how to train and discipline our children, so that they truly will grow to be Christ-followers!

So, as you can see, this truly is a hot topic for my life right now. Not only becuase it's one of such importance, but becuase it's one that I truly feel I know nothing about! To start from scratch is an understatement! Don't get me wrong, my mom disciplined me, and she did her absolute best being a single, full-time working parent, and for that I am eternally grateful, but most of my discipline was grounding and not necessarily teaching the difference between being obedient and disobedient, as well as choosing to make the right decision that would honor the Lord.

Continuing on to the chapter itself, I must admit that I while I was overwhelmed at the content, it was a good overhwelming feeling. Challenged? YES! Encouraged? YES! Equipped? YES! We all know it is no small task to raise a child, especially if you are one who's trust and guidance comes from our Heavenly Father! Elizabeth George has a gift, and I am so thankful that she knows what her gift is, and uses it to further the Kingdom of God!

In the section titled "Growing a Child", Ms. George talks about Educating and Initiating with our children. "We as the parents must do the training and educating. And we must be agressive and take the initiative. Our training should be willful and on purpose, something we commit to, schedule, plan, and do, taking every opportunity to educate our child 'in the way he should go.'" While that pretty much sums up the chapter, I do want to go in to a bit more detail of how best this can be done, with some practical application that I will be putting in to practice in our own home.

Hands-on Training
"As hard as it is, don't give in to your natural mom instincts and make all the choices for your child (which is easy to do but damaging in the long run). Instead train them and show them how to make good decisions (FOR the long run!). Active training also involves training your children through correction, which includes discipline when necessary. (More on this in a minute)."

Live-it-out Training
"This nonactive training process involves providing training and instruction by modeling right behavior. It's much more personal...and much more difficult. it's walking the walk in addition to talking the talk!"

Insert my comments: CRAP! Lord, I am SOOOO not at a place to be providing this type of training! There are so many areas of my life that I struggle with, and thinking about having my sweet little Caleb following after my own example is quite frightening right now! Help me, Lord, to change my own ways so that I can put into practice this vital kind of training!!

As Proverbs 23:26 says, "My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways." Your children will follow your footsteps more easily and often than they will follow your advice!

From a Seedling
"It's not hard to make a child or a tree grow right if you train them when they're young, but to make them straighten out after you've allowed things to go wrong is not an easy matter." What an insightful quote from Henry Ward Beecher. There is such truth in that statement, and I think we all can attest to it, whether in our own lives, or in the lives of other we know!

The question is, what are ways we can start to train them young? How can we train them now, even at 17 months old, so that they will grow and not stray? "Start reading, teaching and instructing, NOW! Initiate the training and teach your heart out. No matter what they do or don't understand, they will sense your love and passion.. They'll also become accustomed to your voice and to your teaching. Believe me, they pick up much more than you can imagine.

Think about this, the kind of person your child is going to be, he is already becoming...and becoming quickly! When your child is three years of age, they have done more than half they will ever do for their character.

Live out God's way continually, teach God's Word constantly (Deut. 6:7-8), and enforce God's wisdom consistently with loving discipline throughout your child's upbringing (Eph. 6:4)."

Take these few verse to heart when struggling with disciplining your children...

Discipline the child in whom you delight (Prov. 3:12)
Discipline while there is still hope (Prov. 19:18)
Discipline diligently the child you love (Prov. 13:24)
Discipline a child in the way he should go (Prov. 22:6)
Discipline foolishness our of your child's heart (Prov. 22:15)
Discipline evil our of your child's heart (Prov. 20:30)

"Clearly the Bible teaches that to love your child is to discipline your child. Properly training up a child is a two-edged sword. On the one side, you must point them to God's way. And on the other, to enjoy and success at all in training your child for God and for life, you have to know your child, to know what makes him or her tick. Each and every child is fearfully and wonderfully made and has his own "bent". There is a way or direction each is meant to grow and go in. Each child has natural talents and personality traits that must be encouraged. Your children are individuals with special strengths and capabilities--their own beant--that should be developed."

Heart Response
A bit of encouragement...
"Please, roll up your mothering sleeves and dive in. Give being a mom your heart, your all, your best, your time, yoru blood, sweat, and tears...and above all, your prayers! Learn all you can do. Do all you can. hang in there. Don't get discouraged. Don't even think about giving up. And pray always! God has entrusted you with a new generation. And He's also given you all of the grace and strength and power and wisdom and love you will need for every step and second along the way. Believe it and own it. Never forget--you are a mom after God's heart. For this you were born."

Little Choices That Reap Big Blessings
1. Start TODAY! It's never too early to start training your children. And it's also never too late. Whatever you do, do something today!

2. Talk to your husband. Seek to agree with yoru husband on the manner and methods you as a team will use for discipline and correction. Consistency is the goal.

3. Enroll in a parenting class at church.

4. Be flexible. Constantly evaluate your training and discipline. What's working? What's not? What forms of discipline can be dropped? Which should be intensified or kicked up a notch?

5. Be generous with praise and encouragement. Speak up when you see godly behavior in your children. Let them know that you noticed. Celebrate!

6. Pray like you've never prayed before!! Start praying now, don't wait another second!

7. Have lots of fun! Training takes time, effort, and planning. And so does having fun. So create a page for every day this next week and plan in one element of fun. Let the party begin!

Thank you Elizabeth George, for sharing your heart on the matter of training. I think I underlined more of this chapter than any other chapter so far! Thank you for giving me the tools, and references to not only be a mom after God's own heart, but to raise children after God's own heart! This book is such a gift and encouragement to my heart!

What I'm going to attempt to put in to practice in our home over the next seven days is:

For my own schedule:
-Wake up with Aaron and do quiet time/prayer/journaling/reading

With Caleb:
-Daily Bible Story time (same location, same time every day)
-Prayer time
-Mommy reciting Scripture Memory (usually happens while I'm feeding Caleb)

I'm being good and not trying to overdo it, giving myself an attainable goal, by only trying this out for one week. From there on, we'll see what happens!

Until next time...

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Jill, I have just read your blog regarding training one's child. It is indeed hard to start all over again with everything when things are really messy: household organised, children's routines up the creek etc, you name, it is currently a big mess in our household. Reading your blog has encouraged me. My older daughter is now 5 and I have a 2 year old. Where has that time gone? Five years have come and gone and I know that I have not done any of the heart training that Elizabeth George is talking about. Thank you for writing in your blog that it is never too late to start even when things are overwhelming. I feel encouraged. Thank you again. Yours sincerely Sharon Ames