I've been thinking about what it is I want to teach my children and the 2 things that always come back to mind are the 2 greatest commandments; 1. to love God and 2. to love others...
So, I finally received the book, Hints on Child Training: A Book That's Been Helping Parents Like You...for More Than 100 Years by Henry Clay Trumbull, and the first chapter discusses the difference between teaching and training. "Teaching is causing another to know [and] training is causing another to do." As I thought about this distinction, I thought about how it is I am going to train my children the 2 greatest commandments. Of course through time the answers will come through consulting with God by prayer and reading His Word and agreeing with what DearHubby has to say, but I have already thought of some ideas.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says, "These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."
Yesterday, I sat down with DearDaughter1 while DearDaughter2 napped and read a part of Chapter 1 from The Child's Story Bible by Catherine F. Vos. We read about how God made the earth. We also read about how before the beginning of things God was there and that no one made God. "God never had a beginning, and His life will never end." We then read how God is everywhere and how God knows everything. We only got half-way through the first chapter, but I thought what we read was a lot of information for a little 2 year old. There aren't pictures in this story bible so I decided that as we read along, we will draw pictures for it. We colored a picture of the Earth. Then, throughout the day, I kept asking DearDaughter1 several questions from our reading; 1. Where do we live? Earth 2. Who made the Earth? God 3. Did anyone make God? No 4. Where is God? Everywhere 5. What does God know? Everything
Sitting down with my children to read their bible with them is one way I am hoping will teach them about God and one day love God. I believe that if a habit of reading God's Word is instilled in my children now, it will become a part of their daily life and that they cannot live without it like food and water. I also trust in the power of God's Word and I pray that as we do read, my children's heart will be transformed and conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ.
My challenge is applying God's Word in my life so that the words we read will come to life for my children and that they will truly see my love for God.
As far as training my children to love others, I thought I'd start with training them to love their Daddy. I am often disrespectful towards DearHubby when he is home and it is usually in front of the girls. This horrible example finally hit me in the face when I witnessed DearDaughter1 responding to Daddy just as disrespectfully as I was. She could only have learned that response from example and that example came from me. I don't intend to treat DearHubby with disrespect, but I usually say it's because I've had a rough day with the girls or I'm tired or I'm going through PMS. Therefore, I've made it a challenge for myself to put aside all those excuses and to be nice, kind, and respectful to DearHubby when he is home despite how I'm feeling.
I also want my children to learn that Daddy is first priority in this household, even to them. So, this week, I took some time to mow the yard for DearHubby while DearDaughter2 napped. Our yard looked like a jungle, but DearHubby just hasn't had time to mow. I used to mow the yard for him before we had children, but he took back that responsibility when I miscarried and I hadn't mowed since then. DearDaughter1 is now old enough to play on her own and so I told her to stay on the patio while I mowed the lawn for Daddy. God was so kind and it was like He provided a babysitter for me by allowing DearDaughter1 to play by herself so contently and safely. I kept emphasizing that we were doing this for Daddy. DearDaughter1 still didn't quite understand, but I am hoping to implement more examples like this to show DearDaughter1 what helping Daddy looks like and in turn begin her training in loving others.
I was and am struggling with a whining problem from DearDaughter1. I believe the source of whining is selfishness and I am hoping that as we learn about loving God and loving others this whining problem will fade away.
Anyway, God is working in my heart to answer some of the questions I've had about balancing my time between the housework and my children. It's really not a concrete one or a black and white answer and I don't even think the question is between balancing my time between housework and my children. It's a working out of faith and finding joy and peace in ALL that Christ has given. I'm finding that my struggle was more of a spiritual one. My heart was in the wrong place and I was taking a "woe is me" attitude and even complaining to God, telling Him that "I deserved better in this life". God, in a kind and merciful way, is showing me AGAIN, who HE is and what HE has done and how I deserve NOTHING, but He has given me EVERYTHING! Everything is...my sins have been washed away by Christ's death and burial and I can now live eternally in His kingdom because of His resurrection. Thank you Lord for saving my soul!
(I do have to add a disclaimer that life is still hard and I am still struggling...What God is helping me work out is how to persevere in this hard and struggling life with contentment, joy, and peace by His power.)