Thursday, December 18, 2014

Paul's Parenting Principles- I Timothy 5:24-25

I Timothy 5:24-25

Some men's sins are open before hand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after. Likewise also the good works of some are manifest before hand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.

One of the hardest lessons to learn as a child or adult, is why sometimes sin is not punished and why righteousness is not rewarded immediately. I'm pretty sure all of us has asked that at least once...a day. :D

Remember last time we were talking about fairness and favoritism? Sometimes we feel like God is playing favorites by not punishing someone or by rewarding someone else. But by having that kind of attitude, we are opening the door for our children to say the same things to us, and with more justice, for we as humans are much more partial than God.

I have been so encouraged lately about this from reading Psalm 73. I encourage you to read it for yourself and pray God will help you have His perspective on this issue.

The main key is we need to teach our children that justice and rewards will be handed out but we don't get to choose the time. It can be very obvious to us that some one is a liar and yet no one seems to be calling them on it. Rest knowing that God has a reason for allowing him or her to continue. If we can show them peace in our hearts with God's timing, they will feel the same.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Paul's Parenting Principles- I Timothy 5:21

I Timothy 5:21:

I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.

Often as parents, we are drawn to one child or another because of a similarity in interest or personality. There is also usually at least one child that we clash with for the same reasons. (This is usually the one who acts just like us but we don't see that side of ourselves.) But whereas you can choose your friends based on similar interest, you can't choose your children. Each one was chosen for you by God, some to mold and shape you, and some to refine you as by fire! You need each one of them and they need you. They need to know that you love them just as much as their siblings. Nothing causes strife in siblings, like the feeling that they need to fight for your attention and affection. Nothing causes resentment and bitterness like favoritism.

This is not to say that you need to treat all your children exactly alike. My daughter loves Little House on the Prairie and wants me to read it to her every moment of every day. My son wants to read about firemen, but not nearly as long as his sister. He has truck to play with and places to run! There is no partiality in reading different things to each of them, as long as I am reading to both. And I don't have to count minutes and worry that I read a whole chapter to the girls, while only a short picture book to the boys. Now, I'm sure as they get older, things will change and my son may enjoy sitting and listening more, and we will be reading The Swiss Family Robinson chapters instead but that's okay. Meet them where they are at!

When disciplining our children, we have to be fair as well. When I was little, the worse thing in the world for me was having to sit by myself. I hated being alone and having to be quiet in my room was near torture! My husband, on the other hand, loves being alone. Being sent to his room was almost a treat! To one of us, it was stiff discipline, to the other, it was rest. Being fair doesn't always mean doing exactly the same thing.

Like all other things, our attitude is key. Ask the Lord to search your heart and help you see where you are prone to show partiality. Or maybe you already know. Check your heart as you find yourself struggling to be patient with that one child you clash so often with. Make sure you are not showing favoritism to one or the other. Love them all as Jesus loves us.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Paul's Parenting Principles- I Timothy 5:17-19

I Timothy 5:17-19

Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward. Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. 

It is important that we teach our children to respect those in authority, not just for our own sake, though they need to respect their parents, but also because it encourages a respect for God. If we learn young to respect the authority we can see, then respecting God's authority as we get older because second nature. This passage tells us to make sure to give extra honour to those who rule well. If the elder is someone who has proven themselves faithful, then make sure they get the honour they deserve.

On the flip side, make sure that your children also see the consequences of not ruling well. We always want to be very careful before making an accusation against someone in authority. Not that they are never wrong but like David, we don't want to speak against the Lord's anointed and ruin their witness, especially if we are wrong. But, if we know something to be true, then handling it in an appropriate way is necessary. Our children need to know that sin is sin, even if it is someone in authority. When an elder sins, because of their public standing, they must be rebuked publicly. No sweeping under the rug because they are leaders. That is the main reason we need to be sure of what we are saying before we say it. What may start as an angry vent, can turn into something much bigger.

(Note: When we are talking of sin, the public nature is referring to those sins that affect the Body. The same standard that applies to the Body, applies to the elders. If they are living unrepentant or a lifestyle of sin, then is the time for public rebuke. A sin committed and repented of needs no more further action than if someone of no public standing had done it.)

Blessing, friends!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Paul's Parenting Principles- I Timothy 5:1-2

I Timothy 5:1-2

Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.

A rebuke is a harsh and forceful. It is chastisement and not meant for someone older. We are supposed to admonish and exhort, as long as it is done with purity.

So what does this mean for our little ones in training? We need to teach respect, of course. Scripture is full of commands to honour elders, parents, teachers, but we also need to teach them that it's okay to exhort an elder, as long as it is done with respect. All of us are sinners, and we all need to be reminded of things from time to time. Just treat them as family; exhort and admonish them as you would someone you have to live with.

This maybe a bit short and sweet but that was what I felt God was showing me for today! Until Tuesday! :D

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Paul's Parenting Principles- I Timothy 4:16

I Timothy 4:16

Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

This is one of those verses that we know in our hearts what to do, but doing it is an entirely different matter.

When raising our children, so often our focus is on their behaviors; what they do, what they say, etc... We forget that quite a lot of those behaviors are from us; either because they copy us or because we have trained them to do those things, whether we meant to or not.

When scripture tells us to take heed to yourself, it means give attention to yourself; look at what you are doing. So often, we forget to stop and look at what we do. But we need to evaluate ourselves. Make sure you are where you need to be; saying and living what you should. Your doctrine is what you teach; which is both what you live and what you say. And once you know you are living right, continue! Don't waver or change course. Stand fast in doing what you know you ought!

The best part of this way to living is that by doing so, by taking heed to what should be done by you, you are saving yourself and your children from the bondage of sin. We show them the way to live by example and if we reflect righteous living, we will help them (and ourselves) avoid a lifestyle of sin.

I hope this blesses y'all! Until Thursday...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Paul's Parenting Principles- I Timothy 4:14-15

I Timothy 4:14-15

Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.

As parents, one of our greatest jobs is to help our children find what it is that God has them to do. Finding our life's work is an overwhelming task in some ways and one that our children need our encouragement and wisdom to discover. It starts when they are young and we encourage their interests by providing books and other resources to help them soak up all the knowledge they can. We can listen to what interests them, and ask questions (which sometimes means, as they get older, that we have to do some research of our own!) Some things will lend themselves to field trips or road trips and we can use these to further explore an interest as a possible future career (as they get older, of course). 

For example, my son is fascinated by fire engines. He may never be a fireman, but I can show him now, even as a young boy how to find out more about something that interests him. We borrow books from the library about firemen and fire safety. We watch fire safety videos on YouTube. We talk about what kind of character qualities a fireman needs, like orderliness and courage. He is learning tools and developing skills that will help him find out what he needs to know about anything, not just potential careers. 

It also means that we give them chances to exercise the skills and character qualities they are developing. For example, if they are learning about orderliness, talk to them about what is orderly in their world and what needs some work. Show them what orderliness looks like in the areas where they are struggling and how they can bring order to a situation. Give them examples from scripture so they can see it in action.

And once they know the work God has given them to do, don't neglect it. It is the same as when they were little children and you assigned a chore. They could not neglect that chore; it must be done. We have to teach them that the work you have to do, must be done. We can not shirk it or give it to someone else; they have their own chore or work to do. We have to complete the task God has given us. What is ours to do, we must do! 

And as always, show them by example. Talk to them about the work God has given you. And let them see you doing it with all your might! 

Note: Due to Thanksgiving being on Thursday, there will not be another post until next Tuesday. I hope to "see" y'all then!

Blessings, friends! And Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Paul's Parenting Principles- I Timothy 4:13

I Timothy 4:13-

Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

Paul gives Timothy very concise instructions in both verses 12 and 13. Timothy is left in no doubt as to what Paul wanted him to be about. We too need to give our children work. They will be working in different ways their whole lives and there is no reason to delay. Teach them the rewards that work brings and to do it well and thoroughly and you will have prepared them for so much of life.

Children love to help. My four year old son will follow me round the house, asking me, "Mommy, how can I help you?" And not only do I get help, he stays out of trouble. Often, children, especially boys, get into trouble for lack of something to do. to put it in kid terms, they are bored. As mothers, it is sometimes hard to find enough things for our children to do, and there are times when there just aren't enough things that they can do, especially when they are young. But sometimes we fall in to the trap that we do the job better so we don't allow our children to learn by helping. Show them how to do it, when they are ready and let them go. It may not be as neat as if we had done it, but the sense of accomplishment that they have from doing work will more than make up for the job that is not quite done to your standards. 

Make sure that you tell them what you expect. There are few things more frustrating to both adults and children as a job description that is too vague or ambiguous. "I want you to wipe the bathroom counter. Make sure you clean up all the toothpaste. " Now the child knows what to clean and what you expect it to look like when he is done. 

Children also love to know there is an end. Set a time and tell them we will all work for the next 10 minutes, then take a 10 min reading break. Or we will have snack once all the books are back on the shelves. Make sure they times and chores are reasonable and then work hard. You will be pleasantly surprised by just how much you can get done with a tiny crew.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Paul's Parenting Principles- I Timothy 4:12

I Timothy 4:12

Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

Not many nowadays despise youth and the more money they have and foolishness they exhibit, the more we follow them. Youth is a god in our country. We want to look young, be young, feel young and we spend millions, maybe even billions trying to get there. We idolize youth. Our children are told they're worth most when they are young. Once we are old, we are useless. But are we, as believers, teaching them to be an example to other believers? Who are we giving them as examples? Are we being the examples we should be? Are we surrounding them with pop culture icons? Or Church fathers? Twerking musicians and posing TV celebrities? Or great men and women of the faith; Corrie ten Boom, Eric Liddell, Susannah Wesley, Martin Luther and others? They will be like the friends they keep. Are they besties with Harry or Bella or Clay? Or do they embrace those who challenge the mind and the spirit?

The word example means someone who is to be imitated. Are we teaching our children to be imitators or to be the ones leading and being imitated? We need to do more than just tell them to be leaders. Give them chances; with siblings, with peers, in the church, in the world. Look for ways to let them practice and yes, even to fail. Help them learn from their failures and to grow as an example.

Being an example in this verse covers every piece of life; what we say, what we do, how we show Christ's love, who we are inside, in our goal to be like Christ daily. It is a 24/7 lifestyle, not something we do sometimes. Teach them like Deut. 6:7 style; all the time!

How do you train your children to be an example to the believers?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Large Family Bedroom Solutions

As we are getting ready to move,  I have been pondering the best options for organizing bedrooms and space for our kiddos. To my surprise and delight, Amy over at Raising Arrows addressed this very subject today! To read her thoughts and suggestions, head on over here.

For our family, since our second daughter was born, we have only lived two places. But we added 4 children while there. We had 4 bedrooms, but we only used three of them. For the first few months, our oldest was in a room by herself. Once our second daughter was old enough (we usually have the babies in our room until between 6-9 months depending on the child) she moved in with big sister, moving from a pack and play to a crib. When our son was ready, he moved into the room across the hall from the girls and his little brother joined him there. Our youngest was still a baby when we moved so she was still with us.

Where we live now, we have two bedrooms, so the three oldest share a room and the two youngest are with my husband and I. Once we move, we hope to have a three bedroom, so we can return to a boy room/girl room set up. It seems to work pretty well for all the kiddos that way.

As far as bedding goes, we usually have the children in a pack and play for the first year or so, then transition them to a crib until they are ready for a big kid bed. Space can be a real issue; trying to fit all those beds can be tight. We have a daybed and trundle for the girls and our oldest son had a daybed as well. Our youngest son has some physical limitations that require him to stay in a crib for a while longer and our baby is still in her pack and play, so we have managed so far. But as they get older, we are getting to the place where we are probably going to have to make some adjustments.

My favorite creative short term solution mentioned in Amy's post is the pillow chaise. My kids often want to sleep on the floor with pillow and blankets. They love forts and "camping" in their rooms. The pillow chaise (found here) makes this just a bit more comfortable. It's not really a great long term solution, but it's adds an element of fun to summers especially! Plus it would work great for Friday night movies or for sleep overs.

What kind of creative solutions has your family used?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Paul's Parenting Principles- I Timothy 4:8

I Timothy 4:8

For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

In our world today, bodily exercise is a god. Having the perfect body and even just being "healthy" is the goal for many and we in the US spend, according to one source, 40 to 50 billion dollars on fitness and health products, clothing and gyms a year. You can't look through a magazine, watch the TV or browse the Internet without an ad for some product or service claiming to make you look or feel better.

The verse above is vital to our children, in that it shows us how to keep the fitness mania in a Biblical perspective. It doesn't tell us to just do what we want. Exercise is good; it profits little as the Bible says it, but the key here is, as with everything else in this life, it needs to be tempered with what is more profitable. Yes, it is good, but there is something better. It is a common problem to think that if there is something better, the first thing must be bad. Exercise is not bad, but there is something we should be spending more of our time on than that.

Godliness is profitable for both "the life that now its an of that which is to come." The time we spend on studying scripture, discipling our children, any way we can invest in the Kingdom of Christ, that is profitable for all things and all time.

So teach your children to exercise their bodies, but help them keep it in perspective and teach them with even more urgency, the importance of the exercise of Godliness. Show them by example how to invest their time and energy what will last. Built up their character and help them remember what will matter in and for eternity.


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