Archive for the 'parenting' Category

Learning First, Before Teaching

Awhile back I went to a homeschooling meeting with some people from my church. We were there to hear from a local homeschooling veteran, advocate, and education counselor. I’m so glad I attended because this wise woman spoke truth, as if God were speaking to me right there in the basement apartment on a Tuesday night.She went around to each attendee and spoke to each of us regarding our children, and each piece of advice was different because each family is different. To the parents of a high schooler she counseled them in this way and that, and to the new homeschooling family she told them to take an extended summer. Regarding my three children ages 6, 3.5 and 12 months at the time, she told me, with tears in her eyes, “Enjoy your children, take them to the park at least twice a week, play with them, because before you know it they will be all grown up and you’ll be walking them down the aisle toward their husband.”By the end I was tearing up too.It was exactly what God needed to tell me. I can get very caught up in teaching the “right” thing and “doing school” enough times per week that I sometimes forget to let my kids run around outside or to play a game with them! I didn’t think I would be “that” kind of a mom, but when I have so many things to do inside my house (school, cleaning, naptime) I sometimes forget to venture out for the sake of my kids.The whole thing, speaking with this woman, was something I’d been realizing that I had needed for a few months. I had recently been shown (convicted is too strong a word) that, much to my dismay and surprise, I don’t know everything. Yet I had been spouting off advice left and right about what to do, blah, blah, blah, when really I should be learning more and experiencing more before I go and say what someone *should* do. This includes my kids. I need to be focusing on making my walk with Jesus straight while I’m trying to train my children.

The woman at the meeting quoted Luke 6:40 “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” Jesus is giving the Sermon on the Mount in this passage. If we as parents desire for our children to be lovers of God and doers of his Word, we first have to love God and do his Word. This had a profound effect on me regarding my roles in life and specifically my role as a homeschooler.

Practically it means I need to make time to meet with God and read the Bible and other supplemental books on godly living. I need to address issues and repair them. I need to meet with Godly women mentors and be discipled, not just disciple people.  If I want to make sure my kids have a strong relationship with God, I first need to have a strong relationship with Him. I feel the weight more heavily when I realize that my own study of the word and relationship with Christ affects not just me, but extends to my children as well. Yet it is not a burden. It gives freedom!

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” –Matthew 11:28-30

As you seek to teach your children, whether or not you are homeschooling, in what ways are you seeking to continue to be a learner yourself? Are there any ways that you feel you need to seek growth in order to better lead your children?
(Post by: Addie)

Children And Scripture Memory

Truth transforms lives. This is something that we believe but too often do not practice. I thought about this as 2010 approached this year, how I say that the very Word of God holds such transformational power as the Holy Spirit uses it to speak truth into our lives, but how I contemplate and store up these words much less often then I ought to. What an amazing gift we have been given that we have access to the very Word of God…wow!

As a parent of young children I never thought about having them memorize scripture until they were “older,” perhaps five or six, until I watched my almost 2 year old memorize entire songs on her tape player (yes we are one of the few family that still listens to tapes). I picked a verse that I thought was applicable (Mark 12:30) and started saying it with her at every meal. Within 3 days she had the verse memorized. This was almost 2 years ago and she has now memorized 12 verses, which is far fewer then she is capable of.

This year we are trying to work on memorizing a verse a month together. It has been a challenge for me to remain consistent in saying it with her every day. I find that as I work on helping her memorize and understand the scripture God gives me greater depth of understanding into passages that I thought I “understood”. This has also served to be a great parenting tool. We memorized Ephesians 6:1 and when discipline needs to happen around here we use this verse to help her understand that God desires us to obey our parents.

Probably one of the most exciting things is how God uses my daughter’s scripture memory to speak truth into the lives of adults around her. She often wanders around reciting verses, meaning that the truth of Scripture is then heard, and with the power of God then has the ability to transform hearts of those whom she comes in contact with. For our family, scripture memory is a vital part of being missional, not only to those in our community but to our own children as we build in them at a very early age the truth that they need to navigate life and be transformed through the power of Christ.

When did you start working with your children on scripture memory? What are some things that you do to give the Word of God a prominent place in your home? Do you have any helpful ideas to share about how to help children learn the Word of God?

(Post by: Amie)

Revisiting My Role As Mom And Teacher


This is Addie again. I haven’t been writing much recently, but I have a good reason. Wesley Robert joined our family at the end of January! Isn’t he cute? I think he is, but then I am biased!

My girls and I have been adjusting to daily life again now that there is a baby around. As such, my view of homeschooling has changed a little bit. I am thankful for this change because I can see how my previous view wasn’t what it should have been. I was recently convicted that I am not really loving my children well. Sure I love them because they are mine, but I was having a very hard time finding joy in where God had placed me as their mommy. Mostly this was because they were disobeying and my husband and I weren’t doing a good job of disciplining them. Toward the end of last year I felt a huge burden as their mommy. I was just so exhausted. Sure I was 30 weeks pregnant, but even a non-pregnant mommy would be exhausted. This caused me to be very short with them and very angry. Not. a. good. time. Thankfully, God is sovereign and through this difficult time showed me my areas of sin and selfishness, and where I needed to help the girls so they could learn to obey mommy and daddy and love Jesus. It really challenged my view of being a mother, especially a homeschooling mother.

I asked myself these questions, and discussed them with my husband:

1. Why did God give us these children?

2. What do we want for our children?

3. What is our role as their parent?

4. What is our role as their teacher, and what do we want them to learn?

The answers, for me, to these questions were:

1. to sanctify me and glorify Him

2. to love Jesus

3. to direct them to Jesus

4. to direct them to Jesus and love Him

I had to face that my role as their mom, even if we do not choose to homeschool, is to direct them to Jesus. It seems simple, but to me it wasn’t. I was very wrapped up in doing the fun crafts and activities but not living like Christ in their lives. I was choosing to plan fun things to do but was not disciplining them when they were disobeying and sinning. A good friend pointed out to me that my 5-year-old’s sin of not obeying is small right now, but when she is 15 it will mean sneaking out of the house, and when she is 25 it will mean being put in jail. Exaggerated, hopefully, but it could happen if we fail to teach her to fear and obey God! My job as her mother is to train her in obedience, train her heart to love God. This means not being short or angry with them, as I had been, and consistently doing what I said I would do regarding discipline.

The timing in which I was learning this was certainly God-ordained. I was not glorifying God with my mothering, and there was about to be one more child to mother! I am so thankful God showed me where I needed to improve and, moreover, trust Him and His will. Proverbs 23:19 “Listen, my son, and be wise, and keep your heart on the right path.”

In my next entry I will share some practical tips on how this has worked for my family, how it’s affected how we do school and some of the rewards we’ve seen.

What do you feel are some of the good priorities that you have in place as a mom and/or as a homeschooling mom? Is it a ever a challenge for you to love and lead through disciplining consistently? Are there any ways that you feel like you’ve gotten off track? Let’s pray for one another in this!

(Post by: Addie)

Tuesday Topic: Culturally Acceptable Discipline

This week’s Tuesday Topic has to do with a conflict between government law and what many consider to be a Biblical and or an important part of discipline.

From Kylene: Here in Denmark spanking your child is illegal. Are there any other ladies living in countries where they are not allowed to spank their children?

Please share your wisdom and experiences with Kylene and the rest of us in the comments! Kylene’s daughter is about to turn one with discipline becoming more of an issue, so this is a pressing issue for her. Also, are there any other scenarios that you have encountered where the form of discipline that you believe is best differs from the cultural norm? How does this affect you and how do you handle it?

(If you would like to pose a “Tuesday Topic” question to the readers here, please send it to:

Ministry at Home

Mom and babies

I have been reading and thinking through a great article posted on Reviving our Hearts, and it is so good and thought provoking that I wanted to share it with you. The post is titled Ministry at Home.

Like this article discusses, it is so easy to define “ministry” as something that happens outside of the home to people outside of our family and to forget that the most significant ministry that we’ve been entrusted with as mothers is right in front of our eyes… or our knee caps!

Of course it is also 100% true that God has called us and fully enabled us to be salt and light to those outside our family as well. By suggesting this article I am not discouraging anyone from doing the “ministry” that you are called to, BUT I do think it is so very necessary for all of us to examine how we are doing at our primary ministry, that being to our family, before we look elsewhere for ministry opportunities. Motherhood is hard, time consuming work and will by necessity demand the bulk of our attention and heart! We need to evaluate and ask God how much He is actually calling us to beyond this great calling that exists in the daily ministry of motherhood. God gives mothers an abundance of opportunities to be salt and light while never neglecting our primary calling, meaning that our  families should never need to be sacrificed for “ministry.”

Two things are true. We are clearly instructed in the word to value and excel at our work as wives and moms, and we are also very clearly instructed to be faithfully holding out the word of life. I think all of us can tend towards focusing on just one or the other of these callings. It is easy to be focused exclusively on our lives at home and to forget to forget to participate in the ministry of reconciliation that we have been entrusted with, or we can become wrongly convinced that what happens in the home is not as significant as the ministry that happens outside of it, and thus neglect our highest calling.  Since many of your families are in ministry or are strong believers, I am assuming that you might battle the temptation to forget the value of your work as moms as you see all of the other ministry opportunities around you. I know that it is a temptation for me if I don’t consciously combat this lie.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic and article! I’ll leave this post up for a few days to give you time to think and respond if you need. Do you ever find yourself believing that “ministry” is something that happens primarily outside of the home? What helps you place a correct value on your role as a wife and mother? Do you wrestle with the opposite challenge of struggling to look outward? Would you like to share your thoughts on finding the right balance?

“…and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure,working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” Titus 2:4-5

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16

(If anyone is looking for more great thoughts on this topic of ministry at home, please check out the post Mothering As Ministry from the Stay-at-Home Missionary blog.  Joy’s blog is absolutely one of my favorites. Her blog actually where I first found the link to the article above. She is a wise woman and all of her posts on motherhood are so encouraging and convicting.)

(Post by: Ashley)

The “Good Mother” Criteria


Driving my (environmentally friendly, non-car-owning) son back to city where he lives after a visit home, he suddenly and without preamble said. “I think you were a good mother.”

Oh yeah! The words every mother longs to hear. Tears well up.

“Why do you think I was a good mother?”

“You walked us to school. You fixed our meals. And you read to us.”

Really. Really? If I had only known it was that simple! I could have saved myself a lot of angst.

My children are in the young adult phase, twenty-somethings. (The most challenging phase for parenting so far, to my mind – but nevermind, I don’t want to scare you.)  I have a missionary, a math teacher and a bartender. I like them a lot. And I often agonize over how I did raising them – would that be different if I had done something differently? Does this come from the junior high transition back to the US? Is that a reflection of my worst fault?

But here is what I know. I walked with the Lord through their childhood. I did what I knew to do at the time. I trust in God’s mercy, and in his unfailing love.

And, by the way, I know Peter Rabbit by heart.

What sort of “good mother” criteria have you created for yourself? Have you ever found yourself adding more things to that criteria than perhaps God would? Which of those things do you think matter most?”

(Post by: Carolyn)

Kids In The Land Of Plenty


Did you read the Berenstain Bears books when you were a kid? I did and I remember the book “The Berenstain Bears Get the Gimmies” as one that we frequently enjoyed reading in our family. Now I know why my parents bought it and likely encouraged us to read it so often! Kids with a case of  the “galloping gimmies” are quite a challenge!

I think much of our current struggle is due to culture shock after just arriving in the US, but wow, going into any store with my daughter right now (3 1/2 yrs old) is pretty much a recipe for disasters. EVERYTHING seems to be marketed to children with some sort of cartoon character, free toy, or balloon attached. We have faced drama like I have never experienced before. If you are like me, when on the field you likely daydream about trips with your kids to the big American grocery store where you could get anything and everything that you could want. This new dimension of constant whining and near-tantrum melt downs is enough to make me long for the day that we get back to Russia and can shop again in stores that are a bit more tantrum-resistant!

Being that my kids are little, this is uncharted territory for me. We are trying to strike a balance of enjoying some of the advantages of being where we are, but also teaching values such as contentment and delayed gratification (we can’t ride the merry-go-round at the mall today, but we can come back and ride it another day), etc. Unfortunately it is more difficult than it sounds to try to help your toddler understand that just because there is a life-sized cardboard cut-out of Buzz Lightyear offering her a box of cookies at her own level doesn’t mean those cookies are actually for her.

Ok expert moms (and moms who along with me are enduring this for the first time), please share your advice, even if it is just to say to suck it up, hold onto what is reasonable, and endure the tantrums! It would be fun to hear from your experiences and wisdom!

Here are a few online articles that came up on that are related.  There were some good ideas in both articles.

I Waaaant It!

No More Whining!

Also, I am planning to go back and go through the book  “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” , as I know it talks about the whole issue of whining and goes in depth about addressing the heart issues behind such behavioral challenges. Has anyone else read this book? I think it’s great!

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