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!
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.
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!
So I’m a big “Three Amigos” fan. (Who isn’t?) But for some reason this one scene really grabbed hold of me the other day. (No, I wasn’t watching it. It just popped into my brain.) It is the scene towards the end, when El Guapo is coming to attack the village of Santa Poco and the Amigos have to encourage the people to stand up and fight for themselves. Here is the dialogue…
Ned Nederlander: This is not a town of weaklings! You can use your strengths against El Guapo. Now, what is it that this town really does well?
Townspeople: Hmmm. Hmmm? Ummm. [long pause]
Mama Sanchez: We can sew!
Dusty Bottoms: There you go, you can … sew.
Ned Nederlander: Ah.
Dusty Bottoms: If only we had known this sooner.
If you know the movie at all, you remember that the next scenes consist of the villagers frantically sewing together dozens of Amigo costumes. (“Sew, very old one. Sew like the wind!”) SPOILER ALERT: because the village banded together to do what they do well, they defeated the evil El Guapo. Simply by doing what they do well – sewing. (It feels silly to have to type that.)
But here’s what got me thinking – what does my family do really well? What is something that, if just the 5 people in my family got together and put our energy into, we could make a difference in this world? For the people of Santa Poco in the Three Amigos, it was sewing, which doesn’t sound like it would make much difference – but it did.
Maybe for my family it is reading. My kids and wife all love to read…and I know how. What if we decided to work together to tutor other kids? Maybe kids or families who are struggling to learn English? Or found a retirement community and went and read to people whose eyes have failed? Could that make a difference?
Or maybe it is something completely different. But here’s the bottom line – we need to be doing something. We ALL need to be doing something. So how about you? As Ned Nederlander puts it, “What is it that your family does really well” that you could use (or have used) in a creative way to make a difference in the world? Let me hear your thoughts…