If you want to raise children and have them grow up to keep in the right path, then God must be the one you run to.
You see, when my first, and the next and the next child appeared in my life, followed by two more adopted teenagers, in the beginning of this new adventure, I had no clue what parenting standards to use or what child rearing books to read. Decisions such as, was it better to use cloth diapers or disposable, breast or bottle feed, pacifier or no pacifier, baby sling or stroller, let them cry for a while before you pick them up or pick them up as soon as they begin to cry, flooded my once peaceful world. I imagine most parents start out in this fashion and with every new child, parenting skills improve unless of course, you are a professional child raiser executive, then taking a babe from cradle to college is a breeze as you plan your mission statement, goals and expectations for every child and creatively post your achievements in your wonderful, well-organized blog page and have each year fully outlined and planned in spreadsheets and your daily organizer. (Yeah, I’m green with jealousy!)
Children are a blessing and I believe the work God expects from parents is found in the Bible book called Luke in chapter ten, verse 27.
“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.”
Oh, so, how does one love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength and all your mind when the only thing on your mind is how to change a dirty diaper, how to keep waking up (and stay awake) every time the baby wakes up and cries, and as the children get older, how to encourage them to keep their rooms clean, how to be polite and most important, how to ignite their love for God.
A wise writer, Lawrence Lovasik, wrote in his book, The Hidden Power of Kindness, how to “love the Lord.” He said,
“The standard for the love of God is giving all. It reaches into the very depths of the powers of your soul.”
Following the advice of Mr. Lovasik, having been blessed with these children only meant I had to show my love of God by giving all to raise up these children. With that said, and speaking only from my experience, having successfully raised two children from cradle to college, giving all did NOT mean spoiling the children. For example, meeting the needs of an infant seemed to make sense to me so I discarded the “let them cry to sleep” theory and practiced meeting the infant needs no matter how tiring. Using the baby sling, breastfeeding and cloth diapers during the infant years was my way of giving my all, naturally at least.
As they got older, giving my all no longer were so much meeting their physical needs but more as a guidance counselor. My parents taught me the value of honest, productive work and I passed it on to the children who eagerly anticipated going out to earn a few $’s starting with my oldest at 15. Now having turned 22, my oldest son has joined the Army Reserves and attends college as well. My second oldest daughter, started her work at 16, to play piano for the Sunday worship at a church in our small town. Today, she still works for this church and plans to become a piano teacher. All those years of piano lessons turned into something God could use.
Other parenting tips I learned from observing other families. One family decided when the children no longer could keep their room clean and organized that indicated a cut back in purchases because usually the problem was having way too much clothing and way too much toys, gadgets and ahem, gaming stuff. It takes hard work to curb spending when it comes to your children. You want to make sure they have everything and not want for anything. However, I think it is good to want sometimes.
Some people will not agree with me on this one but I have stuck to this policy and it works. Cell phones are a privilege in our household. Life use to exist before cell phones. How did we take care of emergencies before cell phones? All my children buy and keep up their own cell phones. And this policy also extends to their first car. If they want to drive their own car, they must learn to save and buy their car with cash. (I’m such a mean Mommy.) But you know what? The money they earn from their after school/weekend jobs are not frivolously spent but they are learning to save money to buy something in cash instead of learning to borrow on credit and live in debt.
Well, this was a long story on my reflections from a parent who has committed to love God the best way possible. And yes, I run to HIM often…
How are ways you show your love for God?
Photo Credits: Flickr and Wikipedia
Inspiration: Book by Lawrence Lovasik– The Hidden Power of Kindness