TRAINING OUR CHILDREN TO BE WORKERS, NOT SHIRKERS

Uselessness. Instinctively, we know it is a liability. Every thing has a purpose to fulfill; otherwise it is unneeded (Isaiah 30:5). If a refrigerator stops cooling, we get rid of it. If a car cannot be made to run, it ends up as scrap metal. We get that.

Actually, our Father is the one who has revealed this principle in greater wisdom to us. The account of the barren fig tree in Luke 13:6-9 points out that not only is an unfruitful tree useless to its owner, it is also cumbering the ground, taking up space and nutrients that might otherwise be devoted to a profitable tree. It makes perfect sense, then, that every stubbornly unproductive “tree” (servant of the Lord) is doomed to be removed and burned (John 15:2, Matthew 3:10, Hebrews 6:7-8, Matthew 25:30). After all, that is one of God’s stated reasons for creating us, that we should walk in good works (Ephesians 2:10).

As loving mothers, we want our children to thrive, to grow to become productive and capable adults; however, this doesn’t just magically occur at age 18 or 21. Something has to happen during their childhood that brings them to the point of being responsible grownups. We have to “aim” arrows before we let them go, right? (Psalms 127:4, Proverbs 22:6). To this end, we try to get our children to do chores, and gradually take on more responsibilities with age and ability. Yet often our children are not enthusiastic or willing workers; my own children often surprise me with their brilliantly creative excuses. Many children simply have to be forced to do any chores they do, and approach it with such an unpleasant attitude that parents shy away from the conflict whenever possible by asking less and less of them.

As children mature into teens they are technically able to do many of the tasks of an adult; yet many remain stuck in juvenile roles in the home, or even rebelliously regress to the point they are doing very little for others. Our society laughingly accepts and almost condones this as “normal teenage” behavior. But these attitudes may linger for years, damaging the lives and potential of our young people well into their adult years. The Millennial Generation is known for being lazy, dependent, self-indulgent, and generally difficult for employers to manage. That is surely not what we hope for our own children.

How can we, as Christian mothers, nurture good attitudes and work ethic in our children that will cause them to be willing workers and diligent servants of the Lord? What are my own attitudes toward work? Am I faithful and diligent even in tasks I don’t care for? Do I find joy in the small jobs and do them heartily as unto the Lord? How are my children doing as workers so far? Could they (and even I) use some improvement in some areas? Mercifully, God has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness, revealed through the knowledge of the One who has called us (2 Peter 1:3). Let’s get digging in the scriptures to find the answers we need, both for this life and the life to come!

(Lord willing, more to come….)

HOW EARLY SHOULD WE BEGIN TEACHING OUR CHILDREN?

When should we begin to teach our children to know God? It is good to start working on the process before we become parents. The more we have cleansed the love of the world out of our hearts, so that we love the Lord with more of our hearts by the time we become parents, the better chance we have to be able to effectively teach our children to love God with all their hearts.

Ongoing research has shown that even in the womb, babies begin learning language from their mothers. “The mother has first dibs on influencing the child’s brain,” said Patricia Kuhl, co-author and co-director of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences at the University of Washington. “The vowel sounds in her speech are the loudest units and the fetus locks onto them.” (http://www.washington.edu/news/2013/01/02/while-in-womb-babies-begin-learning-language-from-their-mothers/).

Recent research led by Christine Moon, a professor of psychology at Pacific Lutheran University, also shows that infants, only hours old, showed marked interest for the vowels of a language that was not their mother tongue. “We have known for over 30 years that we begin learning prenatally by listening to the sound of our mother talking,” Moon said. “This is the first study that shows we learn about the particular speech sounds of our mother’s language before we are born. Previous studies indicate that the fetus seems to remember musical rhythms,” she said. “They now seem to be able to learn language…” (http://www.plu.edu/marcom/news/2012/12/01/language-learning-begins-in-utero-new-study-finds/).

Mary Elizabeth Dallas, HealthDay Reporter says that by third trimester, unborn babies respond to rhymes recited by their mothers. (WebMD News from HealthDay http://www.webmd.com/baby/news/20140725/rhymes-reveal-evidence-of-learning-in-the-womb).

Charlene Krueger, nursing researcher and associate professor in the University of Florida’s College of Nursing, said in a university news release, “Babies seem to learn even before they’re born. By the time women are 34 weeks pregnant, their unborn babies can respond to the sound of their mother’s voice reciting a familiar nursery rhyme. The mother’s voice is the predominant source of sensory stimulation in the developing fetus. This research highlights just how sophisticated the third trimester fetus really is and suggests that a mother’s voice is involved in the development of early learning and memory capabilities. This could potentially affect how we approach the care and stimulation of the pre-term infant. This study helped us understand more about how early a fetus could learn a passage of speech and whether the passage could be remembered weeks later even without daily exposure to it. This could have implications to those pre-term infants who are born before 37 weeks of age and the impact an intervention such as their mother’s voice may have on influencing better outcomes in this high-risk population.” (http://www.webmd.com/baby/news/20140725/rhymes-reveal-evidence-of-learning-in-the-womb

So all this is talking about a mother reading and singing ordinary things to her baby while it is still in the womb. Research says the baby can and will learn and remember. Could the Christian mother also read Bible story books or passages from Scripture and sing hymns to that same baby as well as the infant or toddler on her lap? Which would be better for the babies to learn—the things of the world or the things of God? “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16).

LIST after LIST of Super Heroes

Allow me to begin with a scripture that should guide our thinking as we read and study this particular post.

“Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.  There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.” (Prov. 19:20-21).

After you have studied the various links and carefully considered how the scriptures apply, you can draw your own conclusions.  I am not here to make choices for anyone.

Continue reading

Lessons from My Mother

What memories do I immediately think of in regards to my mother?

Little hand prints cut out of the remaining dough from making the unleavened bread, spread with butter and topped with cinnamon and sugar.

Mom mopping the kitchen floor with straight ammonia!

Bible studies every summer over the women of the Bible and the United and Divided Kingdom.

Bible studies throughout the school year on the Harmony of the Gospels.

Mom reading her Bible when she went to bed at night.

Mom sitting on the side of her bed praying to God.

Continue reading

MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS: The Syrophoenician Woman and her Daughter

As a child, when I first read the story of the Syrophoenician woman and her daughter, I was struck by the apparent devotion this mother had for her afflicted child. I was deeply impressed. Even now, being a mother has helped me understand that one can love a child whether or not he or she is perfectly formed or of perfect health.

Continue reading

BE NOT WEARY: Making God Real for Babies, Toddlers and Young Children

(Selected and adapted)

How can you make God real to your toddlers and young children? One way is talk about your awesome God 24/7 as Deuteronomy 6:5-7 commands.

These words urge that God is to be loved and served because we are his creation and that his commands will always be our focus. Once this heart infusion of genuine love of God takes place the result will be that the love for God’s commands will overflow from our mouths and into the lives of our children. This is not mere information transfer. This is being completely focused on God and his commands and that becomes the focal point of conversations with children.

So, what does this have to do with young children, toddlers and infants? In the crush of life it is possible to go hours if not days and not talk about God and how special he is. This is particularly true with the very young, who are not yet engaging in back and forth verbal communication. There must not be huge gaps of time when God is not talked about. If you think this is just an Old Testament concept look at passages like 1 Corinthians 10:31 and Colossians 3:16-17.

It is too easy to forget that there is never even a millisecond when God is not actively caring for you. Indeed, your next breath and your child’s next breath only happen if God makes it so.  The wonder of God’s involvement in your life needs to be a “big deal” to you. Engaging in non-stop systematic theological discourse would fall on deaf ears for the very young. However, expressions about the wonder of God should never be far from your heart and your mouth where they are concerned.

Mother Love

Here are some examples:

  • Mommy is so thankful to God for you, even when you have a stinky diaper.
  • Sweetheart, the sun is so warm and bright, God made it to shine on us.
  • I know you are hungry. I am so thankful that God takes care of us and gives us the food we need.
  • Before we eat, shall we thank God for the food?
  • Look at that turtle with its hard shell! God makes each of his creatures special.
  • I know it is raining and we can’t go outside right now, but remember, God sends the rain to make our food grow.
  • Aren’t you happy God sends rain? We can play in the puddles later.
  • I am so sorry you feel bad. Mommy is praying right now that God will make you feel better.
  • Wow, you are learning to use your legs and arms well. It is so wonderful that God made us so that we can use our legs and arms to work together.
  • Can you name all the pretty colors in the sky and in the trees and flowers? God is so special to make a world for us to live in!
  • Oh, that was dangerous! I am happy you did not fall in. Dear Father in Heaven, thank you for taking care of us.

You see, I am not talking about rocket theology here. Nothing is more basic than acknowledging that every second of every minute in your life is given to you by God. This is one way to show the glory of God to your kids. This is a powerful, practical way to make him real!

Let’s give our kids a chance to know God and be thankful for who he is and what he has done in the world (Rom. 1:18-21).  Can they learn the same things if you pack them off to daycare every day?

Waiting to be Taught

MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS: Lois and Eunice

What do we know about Timothy’s background and his family, more specifically, his mother and grandmother?

  • Then came he [Paul] to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: 2 Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. 3 Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek (Acts 16:1-3).
  • For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church (1 Cor. 4:17).

Paul and Timothy

  • But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. 20 For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. 21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s. 22 But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel ( 2:19-22).
  • Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone; 2 And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith: 3 That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto (1 Thess. 3:1-3).
Paul's Last Letter

Paul’s Last Letter

Lois is the only woman mentioned in the Bible specifically as a grandmother.  She was Eunice’s mother and Timothy’s grandmother. Lois and Eunice are mentioned in only one scripture. It’s a quick compliment and oh so important. “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also” (2 Tim. 1:5). This verse can be read as a waterfall, “dwelt first in your grandmother Lois”, then “your mother Eunice”, then “persuaded is in you also”. Lois’s faith must have been an encouragement to Eunice since she was married to an unbelieving Greek.

Paul is the inspired writer of this second letter to Timothy and he has shown us that even one parent, mother or grandmother, can have a profound effect on a child’s faith. Lois and her daughter and grandson lived in a Gentile nation. Timothy’s father was not a Jew nor was he a Christian, and yet Lois and Eunice taught young Timothy well so that he was brought up in the faith. When Christianity was presented to them, they were well grounded and ready to receive it. It must have been a difficult task being surrounded by a nation of unbelievers and in a house where the father was of a different religious heritage. These women made it work and raised Timothy to be a faithful companion to Paul and became one of the early ministers of the Church.

This mother and daughter pair definitely made a difference. Even though the influence of Lois upon Eunice isn’t specifically mentioned, we know that it was there for them to have such a strong sway over Timothy. The power of such influence in a child’s life is greater than any person can imagine. It seems obvious that Lois must have influenced Eunice or she would not have been able to influence Timothy.

If you liked this post, you might also like Training Young Timothy.

 =========

Disclaimer: From time to time you will notice I have ‘reblogged’ or linked to posts or pictures from outside links.  While I appreciated those particular articles, pictures or poems, I am not necessarily in agreement with everything found on the websites or blogs.  Thanks for understanding.