Welcome back to the 31 days of Parenting Pointers and Mommy Refreshers at Hearts Homeward. If you want to read yesterday’s post, you can find it here. I hope you come get your tank filled whenever you are able this month … and even if you can’t be here every day, you can subscribe to this encouragement by email or Bloglovin.
I wish I could be sitting face to face with you and we could chat and pray over these posts … since I can’t I hope you are able to be somewhere with your feet up, your favorite hot beverage nearby and a moment to sit by yourself and be refreshed.
Today’s Parenting Pointer
Training Your Child in the Way He Should Go
In Proverbs 22:6 God tells us we should train each of our children in “The way he should go” and when they are older they will not depart from that way. Some people take that verse to mean that if we raise our children to know Jesus, if they ever wander from the faith they will return. While that can be true, this verse is speaking to something else. We are to train our children according to their bent – according to how God made them.
Some children are introverts and others can’t get enough time with their 50 closest friends. Some children are scholars by nature, devouring books – even being able to read while walking! Some children learn by listening to instructions. Others learn best through experience. Some children are sensitive to touch and movement. Others are more tuned into scenery, images and visions of what could be. God never made a duplicate. He makes each of us unique. Each child has been given talents, preferences and sensitivities which are their very own. Our job as parents is to learn our children. What makes them tick? What special gifts and talents has God placed in them? What are their passions?
At a very early age my oldest child showed a heart for others who were hurting. He wanted to give more money to the church than he kept for himself. He spent time caring for children younger than himself. Though at times he can be impatient in other arenas, when it comes to being around someone smaller or weaker than himself, he is extraordinarily compassionate, patient and helpful. We saw this tendency in him and provided outlets for him to exercise his shepherding and giving “muscles.” A few years later we saw him show a talent for music. He obviously could play instruments by ear with no training. We decided to get him involved in learning to play the piano. He has grown in his abilities and now even has a small business of his own teaching piano.
My youngest son is an artist. Nothing stays in the box with him. Life is large and he wants to express himself through creating. When given paper he makes doodles which are exquisite. He isn’t as much of a shepherd and doesn’t have the gift of giving (though he has been generous plenty of times). His talent and joy comes in bringing people together, making life fun and beautiful and thinking up new and wonderful creations. When he was four I realized he needed a ‘space” for creating so we designated the kitchen desk as a “craft station” for him. We also have allowed him to take yarn out to his playset to weave a creation – believe me this was a stretch for my inner perfectionist, but again, we are training him in the way he should go.
When you go with what God has put into your child, you are working with God, honoring His unique blueprint and plan for the person He made. You aren’t stepping in and trying to form your child into your image or an image you want them to mold into. You are seeking what God has placed in your child and bit by bit drawing it out, affirming it and allowing room for it to blossom.
Are there gifts, talents or interests you see in your children? How can you facilitate the development of these God-formed unique aspects of each of your children? It doesn’t have to be elaborate. When you honor what God has put in, He comes alongside you and draws out what He planned as well and you will see amazing fruit in your children … and when they are old, they will not depart from the unique person God made them to be. They will be their best self because you helped them know themselves and cultivate God’s design.
Have you ever had one of those nights when you go to lay your head on your pillow and you just feel awful about something you did or said to one of your children? You ignored them when they wanted your attention or you raised your voice or worse when they needed instruction and correction. You pushed your agenda or you mismanaged your time so you didn’t have enough reserve from which to give them what they need. Been there. Done that. I have hit the pillow thinking there is no way to do over and I’d better start saving for their therapy sessions now because they are going to need it!
The other day I was pondering I John 1:8-9
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
God knows we will sin – even in our parenting. We may have the goal of being the perfect mom, but He says, “If you say you have no sin, you deceive yourself.” We are going to sin as mothers. We are human. But … If we confess our sins … come to Him instead of running from Him and trying to clean up the mess on our own … confess, cry out, tell Him about how we botched it and ask Him to help us … He IS FAITHFUL. He is faithful. It is His faithfulness we rest on as mothers, not our own. He is faithful and righteous. Again, not your righteousness, sweet mama. He Is the One. We go to Him because He is faithful – we can count on Him – and He is righteous – all goodness comes from Him and He is oh, so good. And He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness. ALL. ALL. ALL. Oh, that’s what I am talking about! He is going to take that sin that bogs you down, the harmful things you did, the way you felt about yourself and your children and He will cleanse you from it.
There was a season where my parenting was laced with impatience and I found myself raising my voice at my oldest son way more often than I wanted to admit. I felt such shame over this yelling as I had been raised in a not-so-self-controlled environment and the last thing I wanted to do was take out my impatience on my sweet son. I finally realized I needed help. Maybe the level of my irritability was normal – most moms I talk to tell me they yell at their children too. But, I didn’t want to settle for this and I knew there were roots of woundedness driving my perfectionistic impatience, so I asked a friend to care for my boys and I went once a week for ten weeks straight to meet with my mentor and we dug deep and I cried rivers and God met us there and I was healed.
I still slip up. I still need 1 John 1:9. I’m not about to take a walk across the lake at the local park. But, I am light years away from where I was. God holds out the offer of healing and cleansing and sometimes that involves more than praying and reading His Word – sometimes it involves healing relationship where we can pour out our pains and share our fears and be heard. If you need help, go ask someone whom you love and trust and commit to them that you want prayer and you want to dig into whatever is fueling your impatience and irritability towards your children. As you do, God goes with you. He promises to meet you in your place of need and to cleanse you from ALL unrighteousness when you meet Him with a humble and willing heart.
I pray that you found something in this post that let you know you are not alone. God is with you and you are like many other mothers – trying to do your best and failing sometimes as you do. Come back any or every day this month to get another Parenting Pointer and Mommy Refresher. And, as always, I do love hearing from you. Let me know how I can pray for you or if something I wrote here touched you.