One of the most popular verses concerning children is from Proverbs 22:6...
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
I have always hoped the verse is true. As parents we diligently remind our children to keep elbows off the table, napkins in laps, put things back, make their beds, pick up their socks, and on and on and on... When does it stick? At what point will they remember? I am not sure of the date it will occur, sometimes earlier and sometimes later, but at some point each of our sons has started to do these little things on their own, although some never make their beds!
Our four sons learned responsibility for feeding dogs, rinsing dishes, unloading the dishwasher, folding towels and helping in the yard. Monetary allowance was given, although small, because we desired to teach them to contribute because it was the right thing to do, not expecting payment for every action. If everyone helped a little with the chores, then we were all free to do something fun. A little amount of money was given which allowed them to learn to save and have the freedom to make modest purchases.
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh ; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:13-14 NIV
As our boys have become men, they now open car doors and pick up things that were dropped for ladies or seniors. Two of our sons started a program called Seniors Serving Seniors as a way of blessing older neighbors by doing their yard work. Our community has a high number of senior citizens and our sons saw the opportunity to cut and weed-eat their grass while doing our own. In order to avoid taking their cash, the boys explained they "needed the volunteer hours." Our neighbors happily signed the form that the yard was completed, win-win! I love watching these life lessons come out in my children as they serve others.
I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. 1 Timothy 1:5 NIV
This lesson of a child living out the life of service taught by the parent played out the other day as a blessing to my son on the football field. In a previous post, Untied Shoes, I shared how one of the football coaches blesses my son each week by tying his cleats before a game. On one such occasion, the coach was not able to attend the out of town game. She expressed her regret that she would not be able to tie the shoes. I assured her, he was cable of tying them himself. After the game, I spoke with our son and mentioned how the coach could not attend. He said it was okay, because her son, a freshman on the team, had tied them for her! No one asked him to do it, he simply did what his mother had demonstrated. Sweet servant, faithful parent, precious mother, your son has watched you lovingly serve, encourage and bless others. Your sincere faith in the Lord Jesus Christ lives in your son, he is following in your footsteps!
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on 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. Deuteronomy 6:4-7 NIV
Parenting can be exhausting. We never know if they are evening listening to us. We teach, remind and demonstrate a life walked in faith, we cannot make them follow, but if we do not give up God will multiply our efforts to produce an abundant crop for Himself. The best part is...we have a front row seat to the LORD's work in the lives of our children!
Like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown. Mark 4:20 NIV
Faithful Abba Father, in Your holiness, You demonstrated absolute love for us by sending Your one and only Son, to give us an example of a life dedicated to the One True God of the Universe, Melek haOlam. His perfect life encourages us to keep walking in faith, even when we do not understand, believe it matters or find ourselves completely exhausted from the fight. Please strengthen me to persevere. Continue to grow my faith; my heart knows, but sometimes my head forgets. Take hold of our children that they may be passionately in love with You; intense in their purpose to express to the world around them the lessons You have taught. In the holy name of Yeshua ha Mashiach, Jesus Christ, Amen.