Tag: children

OJT Parenting

Skills for two of the most important roles in life are developed after we have already entered the relationship. On-the-job training is the norm for both marriage and parenting.

Some of us had good examples of parenting modeled before us. Others had terrible models. I had a mixture. When I became a parent, I found the overwhelming responsibility overridden by pure joy.

How many of us felt we could not measure up to the standards set by our parents – we were never good enough at music, art or sports? Do negative comments keep popping up in your mind? That is preventable in your relationship with your own children. Don’t say anything untrue, but every positive action can prompt a compliment from you. “I really enjoyed hearing you practice the piano,” is better than “You played that piece perfectly.”

US_Navy_090722-N-8467N-006_Culinary_Specialist_1st_Class_Joseph_Appold_hugs_his_1-year-old_son_Kameron_upon_the_return_of_the_Virginia-class_attack_submarine_USS_New_Hampshire_(SSN_778)_to_Submarine_Base_New_LondonRaising children is a bit like growing an orchid. One expert said growing an orchid requires experience, education and to be preventive in respect to problems. In raising children, add a great deal of nurturing, time and love.

As a Christian, I tried to find guidelines given in scripture. These are some of the ideas that came out of that study.

Life is tough. Children need someone to lean on, to count on. Children need to learn how to handle difficulties while at home. It prepares them to handle the challenges of the outside world.

Although you should be the primary teacher in your child’s life, many others are also training him: teachers, neighbors, people at church. Some reinforce your training. Some do not. It is easy for a child to be confused. Lead by example and your child will see the difference. If you tell your child not to lie, but you lie, he will not trust you nor will you be able to adequately comfort him when he encounters trials in his life. It is important that you let your child know you also need God and His comfort – you are a sinner and you also need His guidance.

Accept your child for who he is. His personality may be the opposite of yours. God gave your child his personality, his temperament. Your job is to help him build his character. He needs to know you respect him.

A child who knows he is loved and accepted will be able to take the discipline necessary to mold his character. Reinforcing positive behavior often prevents the need for discipline. If he makes his bed (even if it is not as you would have done), take note of it. Don’t remake the bed. If he is careful to watch after a sibling, say something about it. Praise goes a long way with a child.

The Bible is life’s operating manual and a parenting guidebook. Humans are tri-dimensional: physical, mental, spiritual. Some parents make sure their children are nourished physically, send them to school to get education, but leave the spiritual until they can make the decision for themselves. God makes it clear He expects parents to be in charge of their spiritual development. There is no greater calling.

Each generation can make known Your faithfulness to the next (Isaiah 38:19). Children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward (Psalm 127:3).

Playtime, Love and You

Being a grandmother brings back memories of time spent with my own sons when they were preschoolers. Then, as now, time was more plentiful than money; however, being forced to be creative in our playtime was, and still is, a good thing. Especially with an unfavorable economic situation, parents and grandparents are sharing tips that have worked for them as they help their children enjoy life without spending much money.

Children love to work with their hands. Give a child time to play in a sand pile with old margarine tubs, kitchen utensils (sifters, spoons, etc.) and he can create anything – forts, farms, trains, churches, or just plain mud pies.

When my children were small, unless we had to go somewhere, I didn’t worry about them getting dirty. On nice warm days, they could water the dirt and have extra fun with mud. This kind of play is not only fun; it also develops small muscle coordination and imagination. Playing outside makes them more aware of all the good things God has created for them to enjoy.

Just as children love to play in dirt and sand, they enjoy play dough or clay. I found homemade play dough lasted much longer than the purchased kind. They simply used cookie cutters and plastic items with the play dough.

A lot of throw away items hold charm for a child: old clothes, bits of wood (with no splinters), old wooden spools, spray can tops, plastic bottles (not pill bottles), and boxes of all sizes. Uses are limited only to the imagination of the child. Children love to create something of their own. One of my grandsons is especially good at making something out of practically nothing.  I am always looking forward to seeing what he has created.

Most important of all is time a parent or grandparent spends playing with his child. What a child wants and needs is the love and companionship of his parents. I am so proud of my sons and their wives as they are taking advantage of every minute they have with their young children, recognizing that time with them is precious.

Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged; parents are the pride of their children (Proverbs 17:6 NLT).

Becoming Like Children

My three grandsons are very blessed. Their godly raising is a joyful priority for their dads and moms (my sons and their wives). It is truly a delight to watch them grow and develop under the security and safety of their loving environments.

DSC01573Do you remember the carefree feeling of being a child? Unfortunately, some of you may not have had that kind of childhood so that memory is not available to you, but others may have been part of a caring family where memories of growing up actually make one wonder “when did I get to be so serious?” and “when did life get to be so hard?”

God’s word is full of references to the fact that as a believer, He is our Father.  He is the creator of everything and everyone, but He is Father to those who trust in his Son, Jesus Christ.  Jesus refers to Himself as our brother and prays to “our Father.”  Our Father is trustworthy, loving and provides a safety net for the inevitable trials of this life. Jesus said we should have faith like a little child.  Many of us have forgotten what that is like, but it might be helpful if we remind ourselves that we are children in God’s eyes.

How does a young child, who knows he is loved by his father, spend his day?

  • He has a natural sense of belonging.  He stays close to his mother and father in strange situations, making sure they are close at hand.  As long as he can see his parent, he knows he is safe.
  • He trusts his parents.  If his dad says, “Jump. I will catch you,” the child believes his father will catch him, he jumps and often the first jump is followed by “More, daddy, I want to jump some more.”
  • He doesn’t worry about tomorrow. He is intent upon enjoying today.
  • If he wants to know something, he asks his father or mother.  He trusts that they will have the answer.
  • When he has a need, he goes to his parent.  “Mom, I’m hungry.”  “Dad, fix my bike.”
  • When he is tired, he takes a nap.
  • When he has a hurt or needs comfort, he seeks out his mom or dad.
  • At the end of the day, most children want their parents to stay by their side until they fall asleep.

Robert Fulghum’s bestseller All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten may have been so popular because sometimes we adults need to 405222_4705692559391_1206575027_102736429_732991019_nrealize that we are the ones that made our lives so complicated.  Is it possible to return to the simplicity of childhood and trust God for everything just as a child trusts his parents?  The Bible seems to indicate that this is the very thing we must do.

Take a look at the statements about the child above and compare his relationship to his parents and your relationship with God your Father.

  • Through Christ, you belong to God’s forever family.  God is your Father and there is never a time when He is not by your side.
  • You can trust your Father.  He will never let you down.
  • He tells you not to worry about tomorrow.  Leave tomorrow to Him.  He will take care of you tomorrow just as He has today.
  • He also makes it clear in His Word that if you want to know something, ask Him.  He has the answer. He promises wisdom and guidance to those who trust Him.
  • He will provide your every need.  He takes care of the sparrows, and He will take care of you.
  • God instructs us to rest in Him.  Basically, faith in God is relaxing and believing that He will do all He says He will do.  A biography of Oswald Chambers, Abandoned to God: The Life Story of the Author of ‘My Utmost for His Highest’ gives an instance where Chambers is quoted as saying, “Trust God and do the next thing.”  He then proceeded to take a nap.
  • Our Father is the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-7).  No situation is a surprise to Him.  He has the ability to comfort you in any trial you may face. Often the comfort that He gives to you then enables you to have the resources to comfort someone else in a similar situation at a later time.
  • God is always with you. Remember that He is with you in the morning when you awake, at night when you got to bed and because He never slumbers, He is watching over you as you sleep.

“unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3 NKJV).

©Stephanie B. Blake

June 2010

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