August 14, 2009
Bringing Out the Best in Our Children
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”
Hebrews 10:24 (NIV)
I threw up my hands in despair, and sighed with a dramatic and disgusted exhale of breath. At that moment, all five of my children were the focus of my frustration. I was tired of correcting the same behaviors, the same tones of voices, and the same irresponsibility from the same children. It had not been a good day, and I told them so –individually and collectively – in not-so-nice terms.
The lecture ended and they all went their own way, as upset and annoyed as me. Instead of changing their behaviors and attitudes, the negativity went underground. We were like a simmering pot, ready to blow its lid. My angry response only exacerbated the problem, not helped it. What I wanted was for them to get along, speak kindly to each other and do their chores respectfully. What I got was more of the same.
As I returned to my own chores, I realized how ineffective my tirade had been in achieving my true goals. While I got them to stop bickering momentarily, I hadn’t really made an impact on their hearts. In fact, I’d done more harm than good by not modeling gentle and respectful words. The rest of the day confirmed the truth: I’d not brought out the best in my children. I just stamped down the bad for a while.
My children are not so different from me. I know how I feel when someone speaks in an angry tone to me. It certainly doesn’t spur me on to show kindness to them. In fact, I tend to take my frustration out on someone else. That’s just what happened in my family that day. We had a domino effect of irritation.
In Hebrews 10, verse 24, the Bible encourages us to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” In my experience personally and with my children, showing love and good deeds spurs others on to show more love and good deeds. The Bible also tells us that we reap in greater measure than what we sow (Hosea 8:7). Which means love multiplies more love, and kindness multiplies more kindness.
As a mom, I have an opportunity to bring out the best in my children. But it consistently means I have to bring out the best in me. I can’t model impatient behavior and expect my kids to learn patience. I can’t model a self-focused lifestyle and expect my kids to learn how to serve others. Nor can I model an ultra-busy schedule and expect my kids to find time for God in theirs. Spurring my children on to greater love and good deeds means they need to learn it by watching and listening to me.
Dear Lord, thank You for calling me to be the mother of my children. I confess that at times I fall far short of where I want to be in this area of my life. I know I can’t do this high calling of motherhood without Your Spirit within me. Help me to submit my selfish will to Your perfect way. Thank You for loving me and seeing my potential to grow and change. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Visit Glynnis’s blog
She's Gonna Blow! Real Help For Dealing With Mom Anger by Julie Ann Barnhill
The Bathtub is Overflowing but I Feel Drained by Lysa TerKeurst
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Identify one area of your personality that hinders you from spurring others on to love and/or good deeds. Commit to submitting that area of your life to God for the next seven days.
Think about how someone has spurred you on to love in greater measure. How did they do that?
What are some ways your family can do “good deeds” for those around you? Make a list together and commit to doing one or two a month.
Romans 12:10, “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (TNIV)
Galatians 6:8, “The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” (NIV)
© 2009 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Friday, 14 August 2009.