March 11, 2008
Lead so Your Children Will Follow
Michelle Weber, She Speaks Graduate
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children, instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4 (NIV)
I get so excited when I see examples of God’s Word at work in my life, don’t you? Just the other night I experienced the wisdom of today’s verse. In this scripture, the word “bring” is so brilliantly chosen. The dictionary defines “bring” as meaning “to lead, to accompany, to convey.”
In order to “bring” my children up in the training and instruction of the Lord, I must first be within His training and instruction myself, striving to live His word out in front of them. Our children will reject lessons if we merely preach “at” them, so we must seek to set the examples through our very own actions, leading the way and then “bringing” them along with us.
Recently, as everyone was just sitting down at the dinner table, the whining began. “I really need a new cell phone”, “I hate my freckles”, “When can I redo my room?”, “Mom we really need to go to the mall”. I was not in the mood to hear “I need ...”, “I want...”, “When can I...” or “I hate...” How dare they start this sacred time of our day with these petty self-centered complaints and requests? Did I mention they were 11 and 13 year-old girls?
Rather than letting my frustration get ahead of me and begin the familiar lecture on needs vs. wants, and how we need to appreciate what we have, I quickly changed the tone of the conversation and shared what a great day I’d had. It was nothing special or out of the ordinary. In fact, it was quite ordinary. I shared how thankful I was for each of the very ordinary things or events in my day. Hoping to “bring” them along with me, I handed the proverbial ball to my daughters and asked them to tell me about some things in their day for which they were thankful.
Some thought was required at first, but soon they were on a roll. They began rattling off things such as: “I’m thankful for the rain this afternoon,” “I’m thankful mom came and jumped on the trampoline with us today,” “I’m thankful Haley came over today,” “I’m thankful for Bella and that she didn’t run through the invisible fence today,” “I’m thankful everyone worked hard at practice today,” and, “I’m thankful Emily didn’t get hurt today at practice.” Now we were getting somewhere! Through their thankful hearts, they had been “brought” into a loving relationship with God and with each other.
We each revisited our ordinary day with a new perspective. We each shared how our lives had been sprinkled with God’s protection and blessings. We all looked back at a day that could have been easily forgotten and turned it into something special. There was no lecture, no hurt feelings, no exasperated children (or parents), just a great ending to a great day for which we were sure to thank God.
Heavenly Father, I am so thankful for Your instructions on raising strong and Godly children. I am also thankful for the example Your Son is to me as I strive to emulate Him in raising children who glorify You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Family Enrichment Toolkit, Bring the Fruit of the Spirit into your heart and home, and strengthen family relationships as you raise virtuous, confident children.
What Happens When Women Walk in Faith, by Lysa TerKeurst
Tonight at dinner ask your family to share even the tiniest things in their day that they’re thankful for. Continue this conversation on a regular basis. Soon, rather than just remembering when asked, they’ll recognize God’s blessings as they’re experiencing them. Now that’s living in God’s presence!
What attitudes and actions can I change in myself so that I can become a better example to those around me?
How can I bring my family to the dinner table more?
Do I notice God’s blessings throughout my day, starting with my children’s sweet faces as I wake them up in the morning?
Galatians 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (NIV)
Ephesians 5:1-2 “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (NIV)
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Tuesday, 11 March 2008.