Recently I was thinking about what it means to be a Mom, and I was going over some of the finer details of parenting in my mind, I started to ask myself a question, "What am I responsible for when it comes to parenting my son?" There are many opinions and answers to this question, but as a Christian Mom I came up with a few thoughts. Our job as parents is not to be our Children's best friend, even though that goes against popular belief. We are called to teach them.
Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it."
Each of the following items is worthy of an entire blog or book and are not complete, but this is a list of things for which I believe we need to teach our children:
* TO LOVE THE LORD GOD WITH ALL THEIR HEART, SOUL, AND STRENGTH - We need to teach them more than just how to attend church with us. We should teach them all throughout every day. As parents we have more influence over our children than anyone, and our own actions are teaching our children about who God is, who Christ and the Holy Spirit are....and why they are worthy of our Love and Worship. We are also examples of how our day to day lives can be forever impacted by having a personal relationship with Christ. We need to not only teach them how to love our Lord with all of our heart, soul, and strength, but we need to show them what it looks like by our example.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates."
* GOD ESTEEM VS. SELF ESTEEM - This will ruffle feathers undoubtedly (I worked for years in counseling centers and fully understand the controversy over this subject). In my view, 'self'-esteem is not all it's cracked up to be. It is putting the wrong (and very fallible) person first...us! When we, as humans, are depending on our ever changing ideas about what the definition is of failure and of successes, WE are guiding how we feel about ourselves, thus it is 'self-esteem'. This will change like the ocean tides as our opinions and life circumstances affect our opinions. However, if we have 'God'-Esteem, we are building our view of ourselves upon what the Creator of the Universe says about us in the Bible, His Word is solid and unchanging. Our children can have security, less worry, and find a life much more fulfilling by focusing on truth. This is not just a truth to teach our children but to remember ourselves. I have found that I've used the term 'self-esteem' so often over the years that I have to make a conscious point to change the way I speak about this...especially to my son. I think in many ways it is harder for our kids to feel good about themselves, with all the outside influences, than it ever was for us. They need all the help they can get to counteract what they see and hear when they're out in the world. I believe this is the case whether you send your kids to public school, private school, or if you homeschool. Satan does not want our children to grow up with a firm confidence in who God says they are, because he does not want them (or us) to fulfill the purpose that God has put on their lives. We must battle this by teaching them what God says about them in the Bible.
* WISDOM AND DISCERNMENT - Our kids must know how to make choices between right and wrong, and not just when we are there to help lead them to the answer. We must teach them how to do this themselves. They need to learn how to take the facts and weigh the options, making decisions based on what is true. We need to teach them that the Bible is where we find out what is true, what is moral, and what pleases the Lord. It is important that they would not be weighing decisions against what 'feels' is right, but what the Word of God teaches. It is true that part of learning is experiencing failure. Seeing the consequences of poor choices can sadly be a great motivational tool to avoid such mistakes in the future. As parents we pray that they learn while they are still under our protective wings.
Proverbs 2:1-6 “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding—indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”
* SETTING BOUNDARIES - If we must teach our children how make decisions, then we must also teach them how to set a boundary when they are faced with decisions that are difficult to make....and this is very IMPORTANT for them to know how to do when you are not around. Peer pressure can be overwhelming and we must discuss and even role play with our kids, preferably before the temptations present themselves. If we have incorporated setting boundaries with our kids at home with chores, rules, etc., they will be familiar with the concept. I am a firm believer in giving our kids the facts of some of the larger temptations in life (age appropriate details of course) and explaining why it is important to set boundaries with people to protect ourselves not only from temptation, but also from being manipulated or abused by others. If we aren't telling them the truth of the dangers that wait for them outside of the safety of our homes, then they will eventually ask someone else (often another child), and who knows what sort of information they will get. How will they know why it is important to set boundaries, if we don\'t explain it to them? I like to give life examples in this area and point out some choices from the child’s own life...good and bad. Give them specific examples. Once children begin to accumulate friends, you are sure to eventually be faced with a child (and sadly often parents) who need some boundaries in order to keep the relationship in a healthy place. You might even need to walk through the process with your children of discontinuing unhealthy relationships.
* DISCIPLINE AS A MODE OF TEACHING - Giving our children rules and boundaries, and helping them to be able to expect in advance the outcome of their actions...is what I believe is not only Biblically correct but helps our kids to feel safe, important, and loved. **Discipline does not = physically beating or verbally abusing a child!** Three key words on this subject are....CONSISTENCY IS KEY! Explain to your kids exactly what you are expecting of them. In that same conversation you should explain the time frame for the request to be completed, and instruct them of what the consequence of not completing the requested action will be (and where it applies, what the reward will be for completing it). It is important, no matter what the age of your child, to balance the positive and the negative consequences. We will discourage our children if they feel like they are always getting punished without also being encouraged for their accomplishments. Praise can be a great motivator.
Proverbs 23:13-14 “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die. Punish them with the rod and save them from death.”
Colossians 3:21 “Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. “
Proverbs 3:11-12 “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.”
* COMPASSION AND SERVING OTHERS - It is important to teach our kids that serving others is not only a good thing, but something that will make them feel good. Selfishness breeds pride and causes many problems and should not be excused in children just because they are young. Give your children the gift of knowing what it is like to put others first! There is no other feeling that beats knowing that you have surprised someone with a blessing of provision that they had no idea was coming! You get to feel for a minute like the hands and feet of Jesus. Our kids need to also realize how blessed most of us are to have a roof over our heads, food to eat every day, and someone to love and care for us!
1 Peter 4:10 “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
Luke 6:38 “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
* HOW TO CHOOSE FRIENDS - Helping our kids to identify what makes a good friend, and the qualities that they should want to have in their friends will help them to reduce friendship drama. And DO NOT underestimate the fact that your children's friends have a great deal of influence over them! As a parent you will be thankful for good choices in this area, I promise. Know the parents of the friends that your children are spending their time with. If there is ever a question of safeness....do not allow them to spend time at that child’s home, and definitely do not allow sleepovers! God gave us parental instincts, if you have a so called ‘bad feeling’; I feel strongly that you are wise to take caution with that family or child. Like the old saying goes, “You are better safe than sorry.” You would likely be shocked to know how many kids are abused staying over at other people's homes. A great friend who loves the Lord and is also trying to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord will likely not only be a good example but a great encourager to your child in times or trouble. I believe the following scripture from 2 Timothy speaks for itself:
2 Timothy 3:1-5 “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”
* TEACHING HEALTHY INDEPENDENCE -I believe this is best in small doses and in varying degrees of responsibility, but this is what prepares them to be on their own. Allow them to learn and falter under your supervision. Keep your Mothering eyes open for teachable moments... they're all around you! We need to teach them to stand on their own. Often we as Mother’s can be quick to do things for our child that ultimately does not teach them to do it themselves. We can also inadvertently be stealing opportunities for our children to be successful in learning and accomplishing new goals. Little children can be asked to put on their shoes or coats, where older children can be given larger responsibilities which teach and prepare them to be independent such as cooking dinner. I personally find this one very hard as a Mom....but alas I am trying. :-)
Having a good husband and parenting partner makes a world of difference as does having a solid and group of fellow Mom's who allow for vulnerable and 'real' conversations about the ups and downs of Motherhood and offer advice and hugs when needed.
For those of you who are single Mom's, I want to say that having that core group of fellow Mother's is essential! I spent 10 years raising my son alone, so I can relate to the special hardship that comes with trying your best to be both Mom and Dad to your children. You can often feel like your falling short. If you are a Christian, remember Christ is your Partner and He is the Father to the Fatherless (even if they do have biological Fathers that just may not be present very often or ever). If you aren't a Christian, all I can say is.....consider it friend.....I'm not sure I could have made it without Him! He is still my best friend, closest confidant, and best advise giver!
I am far from a perfect parent; I'll tell you that in all honesty and humility. I'm just attempting to be a good steward of the son god gave me each and every day.
May God grant you wisdom, strength, and stamina in teaching your children.
My name is Jessica Krohn, our family lives in beautiful Southern Oregon where we are centrally located to enjoy the best that our state has to offer. We are just a short car ride from both the mountains and the beach. I am a Bible believing Christian that focuses more on my ‘relationship’ with Christ than on the idea of ‘religion’. My family attends a non-denominational Christian Fellowship Church.
I love to study the Bible and discover the wonderful gems that God has left for me to find throughout His Word. I have a desire to study theology and make it easier to understand for both myself and for others. I enjoy finding ways to help make the Bible applicable to our everyday lives and circumstances. I have a great respect for those scholars who have come before me to make this process so much easier for me.
I was born and raised in a small coastal town in Oregon. As a little child I was taken to church by my Grandparents until they moved when I was around 9 years old. I was saved at a very young age despite the fact that I never attended church with my parents. As a young teen I rededicated my life to Christ and was fortunate enough to find a family who faithfully picked me up for church each week and drove me, as the church I wanted to attend was a good 15 minute drive and I did not yet have a driver's license. This family played a vital role in the formation of my faith and in teaching me Biblical truth as a teen. This was where I learned firsthand the power and importance of mentoring.
I am happily married to my best friend John, who is an Author and a blogger who has a PhD in Psychology and Theology, as well as being an ordained Minister. Together we have 3 sons, 2 grown adults and 1 teenager still living at home.
I find that as a Mother I am challenged to put my faith into action as God leads me through that process one day at a time. Parenting is the hardest job I've ever had and yet the most rewarding. I have learned more about God\'s character and the way He loves me by walking through the steps of parenthood. I understand so much more than I ever used to about unconditional love.
When I was a young woman (around the age of 25) I began to suffer from physical issues that led me through years of surgeries and debilitating pain. I have overcome and conquered prior disabilities that the Doctors said would never heal or change. Only to later be diagnosed with Lupus. I've witnessed God removing illness from me and then I\'ve also watched Him walking by my side through it. This teaches me to continually cling to Him.
This process has not been simple, but I say this to let you know that as you read my blog posts, I am not just one who writes about pain and suffering from books that I have read or from a theory I was taught in school. I have walked on my own two feet through the valley of the shadow of death. I have stared death in the face and I am still here to share my story.
My hope is that part of the reason that God has allowed me to go through such things is so that I can be an encouragement to others who may be struggling through their own trials. And I believe with all my heart that this is indeed why I am still here. I want to be a good steward of the life he’s given to me.
My prayer is that this blog will be a place where we can share and encourage one another, and in the end that we would know that we are never alone.
May God Bless you in mighty and amazing ways!
Jessica Krohn http://remnantpostings.blogspot.com/