Tag Archives: Proverbs 31

Homeschooling and Dad

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Being a Mom, a homeschooling Mom, whose full time “job” is to raise, teach, and nurture my children, my husband works long hard hours to support this endeavor. This is our first ministry. Training our children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

So how, considering these hours, does Dad get in on all the homeschooling fun?
Well, we have a variety of ways, during the weekends he has time to play with them, take them to work alongside him in his endeavors and hobbies (feeding the bunnies, working in the garden/backyard, going grocery shopping, worshiping in church together, doing ministry together etc.)

Despite all of these wonderful things we can do as a family on the weekend, we found that the children missed his input during the week, and by the time he came home, and other concerns took over, we neglected to communicate about our children’s needs, habits, and how he could address them.
So, we’re trying something new.

This is our new behaviors chart. With a bit of duct tape, some dowel rods, and colorful twine (all found around the house.) I used a small portion of my Thirty One home organizer that I had yet to find a use for. (My friend, Emily, is a Thirty One consultant, and this was one of my fabulous hostess perks.)
I taped the dowel rods on, labeled with each child’s name, and when that child disobeys knowingly, or is insubordinate (for instance, if I ask them to put away their toys and they say “No! I won’t!”) I tie a ribbon around the dowel rod. When the dowel rod is full (5 ribbons) Daddy will talk to them when they get home. He might pray with them, instruct them with scripture, come up with a new consequence, and follow up in the following days to be sure the behavior is improving.  Or, if their dowel rod is empty, he might take some time to reward them for that, like a solo trip to the store together, or an hour to play a board game together. Something simple.

Here is what I don’t use a ribbon for, if a child just needs correction, and then follows through immediately. Like so:
Child 1: But I want it!
Child 2: No! You may have it later!
Child 1: *takes toy*
Child 2: *Cries* Don’t steal my things! Please give it back!
Child 1: *is thinking*
Child 2: Mom! I asked her to give it back! She took it!
Me: Did you steal?
Child 1: Yes.
Me: What should you do?
Child 1: Give it back.
Me: Then do what is right.
Child 1: *Gives it back.*

I don’t tie a ribbon for this. It was solved Biblically (as per Matthew 18) and after the whole thing, the child who was offending was disciplined, and expected to apologize. We usually use a form of restitution (Give them a turn with one of your toys for awhile now, plus returning the toy in question.) to discourage stealing. In this case, when confronted, the child immediately did the right thing. Ribbons only get tied when they have to be reminded several times for the same offense, or when they refuse to correct their behavior on their own.

The reason we implemented this is because I am a forgetful Mom. I know, I’m no supermom! I need ways to remember, otherwise it gets lost in the heat of the end of the day. He walks in the door, tells me about his day, I give him the important messages (Aka: The guy called back about those tires you wanted to buy.) and when I finally do get a moment to tell him about our day it is either out of proportion and not accurate (Our day was HORRIBLE! They were naughty all day long!) or an incomplete picture (we went on a field trip. I’m whooped.) This forces me to recognize that one moment in the day does not a bad day make, and provides accountability for the children and myself.
At his suggestion, we also did something else: Posted a child friendly version of the 10 commandments and other scriptural principles that apply when dealing with other people.

Our Ten Commandments and family rules, as per Phillippians 3

Our Ten Commandments and family rules, as per Phillippians 3

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Why “Oh, Let Them Play, They’re Only Children!” Shortchanges Our Kids: Part 2

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In Part 1 we discussed the presuppositions we make about our children and their sin nature. I also came to the conclusion that a child centric lifestyle is harmful, and not right from a scriptural perspective. The best place we can find how we ought to raise and guide our children is in God’s Word.

So am I saying our children need to be little automatons? Slaving away daily in submission to my own will? Nope. I’m not saying that either. What I am saying is this:

Daddy working out a science experiment with Emma.

Daddy working out a science experiment with Emma.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7, ESV)
I know I refer to this scripture a lot. Like here, and here, and here. But that is because it is a lot of what I do, day in, and day out.
As Proverbs says, our job, as parents, is to train our children. Training our children the value of work, and that play is a natural consequence and result of hard work, is more appropriate than teaching them that play is owed to them.

  • We need to be Intentional– Letting our kids play indiscriminately isn’t training them. “A child left to himself brings his Mother to grief.” Proverbs 29:15  We need to give our children goals, purposes, things to do, places to go, We can’t allow them to determine what is right for themselves, but we need to intentionally expose them to what is good, true, and right. Does this mean we need to be on top of them every minute of every day? No. This leads to my next point:

    Playing with their new baby brother.

    Playing with their new baby brother.

  • Teaching discernment is the first part of training, and the last part too. In fact, it is a constant thing when they are young, as it gives them skills later on in life to meet sin head on, with wisdom, and knowledge. In Hebrews 5 Paul talks about discernment as something that is a result of constant training and practice. It is something we must do with our children from cradle to adulthood, and never stop. They need to see us using it, and we need to teach them how to use it, and practice it with them. Proverbs 2 gives us a beautiful example of a father speaking to his son on this subject: “My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.”
  • We need to walk beside our children as we train them to do new things, and we need to expect them to work at skills as they go. As soon as my children can walk, they begin to have chores. Why? I want them to know the value of hard work, and practice it often. Isaiah puts it like this: “To whom will he teach knowledge, and to whom will he explain the message? Those who are weaned from the milk, those taken from the breast? For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.” It is a constant action, something that is block on top of building block. The best way to do that is to follow the practical instructions in Deut. 6, do it daily, in everything you do with your children.

    Playing together outside.

    Playing together outside.

  • We need to be educated. Proverbs says: “The companion of fools suffers harm.” If we don’t want our children to be fools, we need to seek wisdom ourselves. How can we teach what we do not know? Where to look for this education? Everywhere in Scripture. God has given us all instructions for a productive and just society in his word. EVERY word is profitable.
  • We need to be gentle, loving, and nurturing. Ephesians 6 reminds us that we need to raise them in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord” and not to frustrate them. This doesn’t mean we always have to accede to their whims, so much as we need to be careful that what we require of them is in God’s Word, without adding in our own wants. In other words, the parent who is disciplining their child for “being annoying” (guilty!) rather than for “breaking God’s law” is frustrating their child. There is no consistency to my feelings as a parent. My annoyance is an ever changing yardstick. God’s Word is ALWAYS the same. Do not kill, Do not lie. Do not steal. Give to the Poor. Obey your parents.
  • Training them the value of work, and appropriate priorities begins day one. Proverbs is chock full of wisdom on this one. If we are lazy, our needs can’t be met, Work produces good things. Work allows us to bless others. Work has an eternal value to that end. Work glorifies God. Work feeds us, there is a direct relationship between our willingness to work, and our ability to provide for ourselves and our family. Working as a team is better than working alone. I could go on and on about this one.
Practicing writing words.

Practicing writing words

In conclusion: When we say “Oh they’re only kids, just let them play.” we are assuming that training them for adulthood is something that only happens when they either enter, or get closer to adulthood, and not a lifetime proposition. My children do play, they do have fun, but they do so with an understanding of what God expects, what he provides, how we personally fit into his plan, and that everything has a goal, a purpose in a world made by a God of order.

In Part 3, I’ll discuss some practical applications of scripture in teaching, guiding, and training our children.

Being a Proverbs 31 Woman- A Challenge

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Lately, I’ve learned more about the Proverbs 31 woman, and how much more I have to go to match up to those standards! First, lets look at who she is:

The Woman Who Fears the Lord: Proverbs 31:10-31

An excellent wife who can find?Proverbs-31-30-1024x680

She is far more precious than jewels.

The heart of her husband trusts in her,

and he will have no lack of gain.

She does him good, and not harm,

all the days of her life.

She seeks wool and flax,

and works with willing hands.

She is like the ships of the merchant;

she brings her food from afar.

She rises while it is yet night

and provides food for her household

and portions for her maidens.

She considers a field and buys it;

with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.

She dresses herself with strength

and makes her arms strong.

She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.

Her lamp does not go out at night.

She puts her hands to the distaff,

and her hands hold the spindle.

She opens her hand to the poor

and reaches out her hands to the needy.

She is not afraid of snow for her household,

for all her household are clothed in scarlet.

She makes bed coverings for herself;

her clothing is fine linen and purple.

Her husband is known in the gates

when he sits among the elders of the land.

She makes linen garments and sells them;

she delivers sashes to the merchant.

Strength and dignity are her clothing,

and she laughs at the time to come.

She opens her mouth with wisdom,

and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

She looks well to the ways of her household

and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Her children rise up and call her blessed;

her husband also, and he praises her:

“Many women have done excellently,

but you surpass them all.”

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,

but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Give her of the fruit of her hands,

and let her works praise her in the gates.

 

You know what sticks out to me the most in this whole passage? This lady is NOT lazy! This is something I deal with daily, especially when I struggle physically. I do not want to work hard. I want to wait til I feel like it. But when I feel at my worst, I don’t feel like it! Well, God works in mysterious ways, and sometimes, whether we feel like it or not, he nudges us into a season of sanctification. A little trial by fire, if you will. We’ve been in one. Just recently. One that has given me an appreciation for the Proverbs 31 woman, and a taste of success in this particular arena. Not total success, mind you. Just a taste, but enough to have me wanting more. Just when we lose our guts and determination to hold fast to a set of ideals, God reminds us of where he had us heading to begin with, and gives us encouragement and strength to keep it going.

So what is our “trial by fire”? A rental property. One might not refer to it as that on average, but it is a growing experience of the most telling kind. In becoming a Landlord you learn skills like: Working hard, discernment, wisdom, how to read people, frugality, and realistic expectations. Just as I was nearing the (difficult, and physically demanding) 9 month of pregnancy, our current tenant gives us his notice to leave. This tenant’s leaving is a joyful thing, not because he was awful, but because it signals a positive change in his life, and a chance for us to finish the updates we put on hold to allow him emergency tenancy in a difficult situation. The unfortunate trial by fire began with the timing. I was NOT willing to get up on a daily basis, and traipse, 3 children in tow, a half hour drive to paint, hammer, clean and work all day, 9 months pregnant. No Siree. That doesn’t even cover my husband’s list of things to do, all things I was incapable of doing. Things like grouting a tub, installing a new bathroom sink, installing new flooring, carpentry, that kind of stuff.

But desperation, and financial needs have an effect on you that normal life doesn’t. The work HAD to be done in ONE month. Otherwise, we would be stretched too thin, paying two mortgages with no direct rental income. We had enough saved to make it 1 month. But not enough to make it 2. And so, I painted, I cleaned, I hammered. A friend, and my parents stepped forward to lighten the load, but boy did we ALL work. My thanks go out to them for their support. Mothers all around knowing that I was struggling to begin with, and now was saddled with this urgent responsibility, stepped forward to provide meals (Thank you to everyone who did that! Bless you!) At the end of a day that I had sat on a stool painting a door frame, or polishing a banister, etc. I was too exhausted to even bother cooking, those meals kept us going.

So what does this have to do with my Proverbs 31 journey? I learned: In womanhood, there are NO excuses. Sometimes you just have to woman up, support your husband, and do what is necessary to free him up for the work he must do. He did a lot more than I have, putting in late nights, and then rolling out of bed at 5am the next morning for work. I feel like I haven’t seen him in weeks. Meanwhile, to free him up for his work I had to manage to get my list done, plus manage a tenant search. And let me tell you, THAT is a fun Proverbs 31 woman business opportunity. Instead of considering a field to buy, I was considering a tenant to rent! Despite the discomfort, the (several) labor scares, the frustration, and the silent sense of accomplishment that accompanied my hard work this month, there is also an understanding of WHY the Proverbs 31 woman is so valuable, and why her husband is known in the gates. It has been my driving force this whole month:
Proverbs 14:23
“All hard work brings a profit,
but mere talk leads only to poverty.”
Simple, huh? Now I know there is more to the Proverbs 31 woman than THAT. But, at this point, it is the lesson I needed to learn. Even if I did have to figure out how to paint, hammer, and clean while sitting, and NOT inducing labor! 🙂 Laziness is not something that can, or should be justified by physical limitations. Ladies, as hard as pregnancy, health problems, or anything else is that pushes us down, it cannot keep us there. Hard work returns a profit, and it is hard work whether you do it sitting or not. When you are struggling through an illness, a difficult time in your life, don’t allow the excuse of “I can’t” stop you from being a Proverbs 31 woman. Be creative, because if she is anything other than hard working, it is creative. A Proverbs 31 woman creatively supports her husband.

I do hope this is an encouragement to other Moms struggling through personal difficulties. Desperation does breed some kind of ingenuity, but don’t let it stop there, learn a lesson from the hardest times, and carry it into the good times, because hard work DOES return a profit. Don’t get caught talking about being a Proverbs 31 woman, BE one.