It takes only a few minutes to become a parent. And a lifetime to learn how. We tried two styles of parenting, one that failed miserably and one that provided great success. What was the difference?
Following are a few ideas that we have implemented through God’s promptings and guidance. They have provided excellent results!
The First Key:
Is our Lord, Jesus Christ. Knowing the Word, studying it, discussing it when we wake up in the morning, as we walk through the day and before bed at night has been instrumental in our children growing up with that love for God and trust in Him.
Deuteronomy 6:7 NLT Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.
We share our challenges with our kids (within limits) and then glorify God when He helps answer each and every one. What He has done in our lives is a constant conversation each day in this home. They are learning to trust Him, rely on Him and live for Him.
Children have differences in personalities, values, home-role modeling, etc. We do raise each child in a different manner, and this home includes a very strong-willed child! One kids requires more heart to heart talks; another one requires softer discipline; still another requires quick, sharp and tough discipline. Discipline must be countered with lots of love and Godlike principles that support that discipline. We know that parenting is not just eliminating worldly influences from our home and instilling God-based values. It also requires time invested in your child through working, playing, reading, and outings together. Heart to hearts are an amazing way to connect with your child!
Definitely a must! A child loves to be disciplined because they know that you love them. With reasonable boundaries and expectations clear, they have limits that keep them safe. It has never failed to amaze me how well a child behaves after disciplining in love. In love is the only way that produces a positive effect and keeps our kids from having the doors to their hearts closed.
Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
I much prefer dealing with a soft, pliable, teachable heart than one that has been shut to my instruction because I have provoked them to wrath. Anger and shouting just slams that door of communication shut. Yes, patience, a quiet voice and some talking that really reaches the heart does take more time than a quick yell and a smack on the behind. But the results of sowing that extra time in your child reap a harvest of good habits and behavior that will last a lifetime!
For an example of how a discipline moment goes, check out the article “A Discipline Moment.”
The worldly influences I talk about are the ones found in the home. I want a safe haven from the world for my children. A place where they can come home and take a deep breath and relax. All of my children have commented how wonderful it is to be home. They feel peace, safety and love. Laughter abounds and lots of talk about the Lord working in their lives. Their friends (of many denominations and of no denomination) say the same thing. In fact, a while ago I spoke with one of Jared’s LDS friends and this is what she said, “I love coming to your house – it is my favorite place. We have fun playing ping-pong, joking around and hanging out. I can’t wait until Jared gets back and we can hang out at your home again.”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that we do not allow them to go out “into” the world and deal with people who do not share our same values. They do go out, and they go out prepared. Check out how it works in The Safe Zone for more on this!
Does It Really Make a Difference:
Melissa, Christopher and Jared are totally different from each other. They were all raised with Scenario #1, featured in Our Story. My parenting as far as communication, playtime, love, talks, etc. was pretty much the same. I saw Melissa one night and asked her if she would have a different life had she been raised without a TV in the home; listening to only Christian and classical music; good books that include classics, the Bible, and Spiritual books; talks about character, integrity, standing up for what’s right; tools for dealing with worldly influences outside of the home. Her response? “Mom, I think about that all the time. Had you raised me like you did Jared, I would not have made the choices that I did and I would be in a totally different place right now.”
Christopher is free from all addictions now, and everything that he saw changing in our home has influenced him tremendously. He now sees the value of this type of parenting and is slowly incorporating it into his own family.
The Radical Approach:
Children will still make choices. It is their life after all (see Cain and Abel). Anything could happen. However, I also know that their chances will be much better with a Godly home. I’m talking about a home where Jesus Christ would be comfortable living. I know that He would not appreciate the garbage shows on TV or the commercials. He would not feel comfortable around uncontrollable anger where nothing is accomplished. Or parents that discipline in anger without love. Are we perfect? By all means, NO!! We still learn. But we feel very strongly and are passionate about what God has revealed to us and is asking us to do.
The Pattern I Followed:
My brother (a Pastor in Florida) raised his three children this way. Results? Exactly like Jared. The majority of them married their first love; they don’t watch mainstream TV – just old movies; they serve the Lord even though they have secular jobs; they serve missions; they have never smoked, drank, cussed or did drugs; they dress modestly; they all attended Bible College. The best part is that they are full of laughter, love, fun, service and raising awesome children. It took a lot of trial and error for them, and correction. As my brother recently pointed out, they were not perfect, “If memory serves me correctly, they accepted Jesus because they were sinners!”
I remember my son Christopher coming back from a visit there with frustration because many girls in that church wore baggy shirts and loose trousers. He was frustrated because in his lusty 18 year old mind, he could not discern the size and shape of any parts of their bodies!
Women are not sexual objects to us but beautiful daughters of God who deserve respect and honor in action and with eyes. Jared, Erin and Preston feel the same way, too!
The Choice to Homeschool:
Homeschooling – ours is not the normal, run of the mill homeschool that is curriculum driven. It is a Leadership Education following the tradition of George Wythe who mentored Thomas Jefferson among other great leaders. Leadership, discovering God’s mission for your life, learning to ask questions, most importantly – learning how to verify, study out and receive God’s revelation and wisdom about what is read, is stressed in this type of education. This is important as we don’t want leaders who blindly follow just anyone that they have read or heard.
We have also been inpsired by another book, The Well Trained Mind by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer, and have incorporated this type of classical education in the mix with great results. Check out the curriculum and basics of our homeschool.