Last week, I shared how a little nagging in my spirit concerning my family prompted me to ask God for some answers to the questions, “What needs to change?” “What am I missing?” My kids were 7-17. I had just graduated my oldest child, but I had a long way to go in our homeschooling journey. I sensed some things needed to be different, and that the focus of change needed to be me. God’s answer to my question? He wanted me to keep the H.E.A.R.T. in homeschooling (for the first two points, you can visit last week’s blog post, part one). Here are the other three things God was teaching me:
A – God wants me to ACCEPT my children. My observation that my kids were really different from me in many ways was awkward for me at times to acknowledge in a gracious, faith-filled way. Jesse wanted to play drums in a bad way and lost interest in basketball; I thought he was good at basketball. Most of my kids don’t like classical music like me (even though we played classical music most mornings during their independent schoolwork time); they prefer other styles. Megan decided our family fashion needed updating, for herself AND for her sisters. Practically overnight jumpers disappeared!
I admit, at first I felt either a bit sad or offended observing the differences in my kids. God was kind to show me, however, that He is the One who made them. He has given each one of them the interests and natural abilities they possess. Once we realize we can trust God for the way He’s made our kids, we can encourage and help our children develop the gifts and passions He’s given them, even get excited about them.
When Jesse arrived home with his first drum set he bought at age 17, I ran out to welcome him, even encouraging him to practice (just not after 10pm at night!) And today he’s an outstanding, self-taught drummer who I truly love to hear play for his church worship team. As for Megan’s passion for fashion? I took her shopping for new clothes and makeup and jewelry to encourage her in her desire to get with the times. She really does have a great sense of style! A great resource to help you discover your kids’ natural abilities and interests is Don and Katie Fortune’s Discover Your Children’s Gifts.
R – God REACHING the hearts of my children should be my number one priority. My greatest desire is for each one of my children to have an authentic, passionate relationship with Christ, and to live their lives with abandon for Him and for His glory. Working through some of the ways my children are different than me, nevertheless revealed I had a tendency to place a disproportionate emphasis on their outward performance. Focusing more on the externals of what I could see in their behavior, and not enough on the motivation of their hearts, it was all too easy for me to think that if they were acting obediently, their heart must be in the right place.
Working to reach the hearts of my kids was for me then, and still is the hardest part of parenting! It means I need to listen more and judge less, not give in to fear when problems with outward behavior do arise, and ask questions when I’m tempted to assume.
Jesus is the best example for us, as parents, in how to walk with our children in a way that helps us reach their hearts – He opened up His own heart to His disciples, He shepherded them in prayer and with gentle truth, He walked alongside them, and He laid down His life for them. He can give us grace to do the same.
T – Teach them the TRUTH. When I started homeschooling my kids, I showed them how to read and write, instructed them God how to do math, and taught them a lot of other subjects. We read the Bible together as a family, too, yet God wanted me to realize that the best thing I can ever give my children is the truth of His Word.
II Timothy 3:16 powerfully reminds me that,
“ALL Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.”
We are uniquely positioned to give our children His Words, and present them with a view of the world around us that is accurate, based on the truth of the Bible.
My late husband took this seriously and was an excellent Bible teacher in our home. Since his death in 2009, I’m aware I should have done more to actively teach God’s Word to my youngest son, even though I’m not the spiritual head of my home. Unfortunately, I’m no Bible scholar, and I regret my lack of confidence to teach him further than I did. While I’m thankful for how my girls actively look to God’s Word to guide their lives, I’m in a season of prayer that God will give my boy—about to turn the corner into manhood—a hunger and thirst to know His Word well.
If you do only one thing consistently well, do this. Give your children the truth of the Scriptures while you can, mom; all the world’s knowledge can’t compare with this priceless gift!
Photo Credit: Graphic design by Charity Klicka