We have a little joke at our house that is based on what I think is a pretty solid parenting truism – “They only do what they see their parents doing.”
When Molly loses her temper, I’ll tease – “She only does what she sees her mom doing.”
When Anne forgets her library card for the 1,000th time – “She only does what she sees her dad doing.”
When Nathan burps at the dinner table – “He only does what he sees his dad doing.”
Yeah, it rarely goes over very well. But unfortunately (or is it fortunate?), it is pretty true. At least it was for Moses.
Look at what Moses’ parents did in Hebrews 11:23 – “By faith, Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw that he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.”
Compare that with how Moses acts in Hebrews 11:27 – “By faith, he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.”
Did you catch the two similarities? (I bolded them, so I sure hope you did!) #1 – Moses’ parents saw things from God’s perspective; they saw something others might have missed. Moses learned to see things that were invisible! #2 – Moses’ parents weren’t afraid of a king because they knew The King had other plans. Moses learned to follow The King, fearless of whatever a king felt.
What will your kids do some day because they see it in you today? Is that fortunate or unfortunate? The answer is up to you!
From the time my kids were barely big enough to toddle, every day when I came home from work I would whistle as I entered the door. It was my version, I guess, of “Hi honey, I’m home.” I loved hearing the kids’ squeals and shouts of “Daddy!” and listening to the precious pitter-patter of their feet running to hug me.
As they got bigger, that became my call for them to come find me. When it was time to leave the park or play-place, I’d give that same little whistle and they’d come running, regardless of how much fun they were having. In a loud and crowded room, across a park or swimming pool, from downstairs when it is time to get in the van – they hear that whistle instinctively, and know it means “Dad’s calling”.
That explains why tears filled my eyes when I read a verse from the prophet Isaiah I had never picked up on before. Isaiah 5:26 – “He lifts up a banner for the distant nations, he WHISTLES for those at the ends of the earth. Here they come, swiftly and speedily!”
God whistles. He whistles when it is time to gather His people.
If you know me at all, you could guess that after I dried my eyes, I whistled – and the kids came running – and we had a little lesson. After giggling together at the thought of God whistling and guessing what it might sound like, I told them I hope more than anything that when God whistles for them, they run to Him swiftly and speedily!
Oh God, please whistle for my kids!
I’ve noticed a change in my son’s morning routine. He used to start every day by asking if he should wear short or long sleeves. Now he wears long sleeves without asking. Every day. And sometimes a sweatshirt or jacket. I didn’t think much of it since it has, after all, been “winter” in SoCal.
Then a few days ago he came in with a couple pieces of wood and asked if he could somehow tie them with rope around his head so they covered his face, “and maybe drill some holes here for my eyes so I can see”.
Come to find out, there’s drama in the neighborhood. One of the boys Nathan plays with got a BB gun. Now Nathan thinks about the reality of getting shot with a BB every day from the time he wakes up to the time he goes to bed. He frets about it, plans for it, and dresses accordingly.
A BB gun. And he’s crafting his own armor.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12
Maybe we should take a lesson from Nathan. When was the last time you woke up planning on being attacked by the enemy, so you buckled some truth around your waist or covered your weaknesses with righteousness before you even left the house?
We are in a battle. Our enemy is far more menacing than the neighborhood kid with an AirSoft. And we must – we MUST – be ready!
Friday night we had a fun on-line parenting seminar. Thanks to all of you who tuned it and added to the conversation. It was fun, hopefully helpful, and we will definitely find more opportunities to do it again on different topics.
In our talk, I referenced several books and wanted to list those here for future reference:
- “Right from Wrong” by Josh McDowell. (Word Publishing, 1994) – This book (specifically chapter 6) was the main source I used for the content of my talk. See my notes at the end of this post.
- “Not Even a Hint” by Joshua Harris. (Multnomah Publishers, 2003)
- “Questions You Can’t Ask Your Mama About Sex” by Craig Gross and Mike Foster (Youth Specialties, 2005)
- “God’s Design for Sex” series by Stan Jones and Carolyn Nystrum. (4 Book Series.)
- “Parent’s Guide to the Spiritual Growth of Children” by John Trent, Rick Osborne, Kurt Bruner (Focus on the Family, 2000)
Notes from my talk:
Intro – Review Rusty’s message from Relationslips Week 3
- Three hats parents wear
- Groundskeeper – sets the boundaries
- Official – enforces the rules for the good of the game. “This is how it is supposed to be played.”
- Coach – keeps players focussed on the bigger picture
I’m taking this information from Chapter 6 of “Right from Wrong” – “The Test of Truth” – but applying it in a more “developmental stages” idea.
Proverbs 22:6 “Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
- This verse is a principle, not a promise.
- We all as parents want so badly for this to be true!
- This chapter gives us a framework to help it become true for our kids – to give them skills to know what is best, and to help them to choose it when they are faced with a decision.
- The first steps in understanding something.
- Think Math. We have a 2nd grader who is learning addition facts. Amy and I know that in a few years, she’ll be doing Algebra and crazy theories.
- But right now, she NEEDS to learn that every time, without fail, 2+2=4. Those are the precepts of Math.
- Developmentally, we start teaching our kids to obey precepts (i.e. “rules”) from the very beginning. Don’t wait until “they’re big enough to understand. They are learning authority and obedience from day one.
- Every time, without fail, we follow God’s precepts.
- Psalm 119:9 – “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.” God’s Precepts.
- Galatians 3:24 NASB – “Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ.”
- Precepts aren’t the end. The Bible isn’t about a list of do’s and don’ts that we simply obey for obedience’s sake any more than my daughter has to learn 2+2=4 for addition’s sake.
- Precepts lead us to the next step of understanding…
- Behind each specific command (precept) is a principle.
- Principles explain the “WHY” behind the precept.
- Honesty is the principle behind “Thou shall not lie.” Honesty is a better way to live than lying.
- Value for life is the principle behind “Thou shall not kill.” Loving people and helping them live and succeed is a better way to live than murder.
- Principles help us see the right/best way to live, not just a list of rules to keep.
- My 10 year old son has entered this stage. He wants to know why he needs to make right decisions when many of his friends don’t.
- He sees it a lot in areas of respect. Respect for authorities like parents. Respect for property. Respect for other people, like his little sisters and the twerpy kid on the block.
- I have had to have many conversations with him explaining the WHY behind the rules we have enforced in our home.
- But Principles for life aren’t even the end. There is a motiving factor for behavior even beyond that. It is one we as parents often need to relearn every day…
- Precepts and principles have one job – to teach us about God and His Character.
- The ultimate purpose of God in every precept is to bring people to the knowledge of Himself.
- Don’t murder – Value life – Life comes from God – He IS life.
- Don’t lie – Honesty is the best policy – God IS truth
- Don’t talk back – Respect and listen to people who have authority over you – God is our authority AND His ways are best by far
- Moses said in Ex 33 “Teach me your ways so I may know you.”
Precepts – Boundaries – Right and Wrong = must be learned early
Principles – The “Why’s” in life – the reason behind the rule = help life make sense and show us the best way to live
Person of God – His Character = our ultimate goal
We are not raising kids. We are raising adults. When my children are adults, I want them to know and have the character of God. That starts with obeying His precepts, understanding his principles, and finally embracing his character.
In honor of school starting next week, I thought I’d post something … academic(?).
Molly Jane, who just turned 7, sometimes gets a little too smart for her own good. Not long ago, apparently I had been watching sports longer than she deemed wise. Because all of a sudden she was standing in front of me and holding out the BrainQuest game. I took it, a little confused, and said, “What is this for?” She tossed her beautiful red hair and replied (smugly), “You always say if we watch too much TV it’ll make our brains not very smart.”
I think she was insulting me.
And, in a more profound way, she was loving me. Helping me out. She didn’t want me to have a not very smart brain. And she was willing to take on sports to try to get through to me.
When was the last time you loved someone enough to encourage them to stop wasting time and start doing the right thing? It takes courage, and I’m so glad my Molly Jane has it. Do you?
Here is a look into my week:
Monday – sat outside and watched the kids play and then took them swimming.
Tuesday – went with the family to see UP and then played Bookopoly. Molly whipped us all.
Wednesday – took the kids to the beach. Amy got to stay home and be quiet.
Thursday – played at the park all morning. Went to The Huntington all afternoon.
Friday – probably gonna wash the cars with the kids and then maybe hit the beach again. But it is vacation, so that is subject to change.
I am so grateful for my family, and for a God who knows the value of rest!
They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. In our family, the tooth doesn’t fall far from the mouth. Or at least…not easily. I remember losing teeth. It was horrible. As soon as I had a barely-loose tooth, I would gather an assortment of tools – tweezers, floss, mirrors, paper towels and washcloths, flashlight, nitrous-oxide…okay, no laughing gas. But everything else. Seriously.
Tonight, Nathan had a barely-loose tooth. Not his first, but just like his daddy before him, he knew what he needed to do. After nearly an hour of prying, digging, twisting, and even tweezing, his perseverance paid off. Look at that face!
Looks like I need to go buy some ice cream. How else am I supposed to get change to stuff under his pillow?