Thursday, July 14, 2011

Someone is watching YOU!

Recently one of my sons lost his money… well actually he put his extra change in his pocket and forgot about it. The only problem with that is that he and his brother share clothes. My other son was surprised after putting on his laundered shorts to find $4.00 in his pocket. Score! Oh, no… I had a parenting dilemma and daddy wasn’t home to help give input. One child clearly found the money. The other wasn’t sure it was his, but did lose the same amount that was found. What would I do? Who should get the money?

I reached out to my Facebook friends for parenting support only to find a variety of opinions. Here are a few of the responses… “you should adopt the rule… finders keepers losers weepers”… “the laundry lady should get the money and count it as a tip”... “the money should be returned to its proper owner”… and lastly “it should be split so nobody fights over it.” There was even one response that said “the money should go to the owner of the home.” Hmmmm I wonder who wrote that (Mr. Davis).

I decided that when daddy got home we would determine the outcome. Later that night the boys went to court with “judge daddy.” They each defended their side and made their claim on the money. In the end, the “judge” decided to award one dollar to each son, one to the cleaning lady, and one to the owner of the home. But the latter two decided to give their winnings to each boy to reward them for all of their hard work doing chores that week. The boys were lectured on the importance of taking care of their money and the lesson was learned (I hope).

Wow… being a parent is hard work! You never know what they are going to throw at you, what questions they will ask, what choices they will make, or what things may come out of their mouths. There is no training for the job of a parent. We learn as we go. Some follow the rule of simply doing what their parents did whether it was good or bad. Others read parenting books to try to figure it all out before hand to do it perfectly. There are even some who never wanted to be parents and don’t even try at all.

I remember thinking when I first got married that I didn’t know when I would ever be “ready” to be a parent. I was afraid that I had to make myself perfect before I could have a child… that way I wouldn’t mess them up. I needed God to fix me first. The only problem with that thinking is that we will NEVER be perfect. God assured me through prayer that I didn’t have to be afraid to be a parent. I didn’t need any prep time. He promised to be available every day as I parented to help me along the way. Wow… what a relief. I’m not in this alone.

What a responsibility we have as a parent to shape the hearts and lives of our children. They watch us and learn. They learn all kinds of things… how to talk, what is acceptable, what we value, how to show love, how to react to stress, and how to live. The best gift you could give your child is becoming the best YOU, you can be. Asking God to become the center of my life was the best decision I could have ever made. He has made all of the difference in my parenting.

God is the best dad you will ever have and His love is unconditional for us. The more we become like God, the better parent we become. We are more able to show God’s love, patience, kindness, self-control, etc… (the fruit of the spirit) as we grow in our relationship with Him. God’s fruit shines through us to our kids as we live for Him daily.

Galatians 5:22-26 says…“But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.” (Msg)

Our children and those we come in contact with catch things from us. One thing they can catch is our view of God. They watch us and learn. They learn how to get to know God through us. They see how to love others, how to forgive, and how to keep God first place in their lives. They learn the importance of church attendance, reading the Bible, praying, and more as they see you model it before them.

My kids are growing so fast. I know once they become teens, time will go by quickly. I know now is the time to get them grounded in God so that they can form good God-habits that will last them a lifetime. Before thirteen hits, I want to be ready. Here are some things I hope they “catch” from us before then…

~I want them to have their “own” relationship with God
(not just a habit or a routine of going to church with mom and dad)

~I want them to “want” to read their Bibles

In order to foster this, I have created a time each day for them to read their Bibles (before bed) so it will become a God-habit for them. They read what they want I just give them the opportunity. When they get older, they can choose their own time.

~We don’t ever let them “skip” church to stay at a friend’s house or do other things… we want to show them that it is important by making it a priority as a family to be there when we can.

~We encourage them to talk to God and ask them to do it often (praying over meals, in the car on the way to different places, and before bed). We also pray with them each night… more like blessings over them.

~We have “family devotions” weekly at the kitchen table. We share about our day, prayer needs, and read out of a book that gives spiritual life lessons for boys. We want to foster an opportunity for them to share their needs with us.

~We lavish them with hugs and kisses… and the words “I love you” are used every day in our home. (We want them to hear and feel our love for them).

I’m sure there are lots more things I can’t remember now, but you get the point. Be an example of God to your kids. Just like when we get a cold, those around us can catch it… let your kids catch God-habits from you.

Proverbs 22:6 says…
“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” (NLT)

Be the best you that YOU can be! Someone is watching you. Let them “catch” all the good in you and reflect it to others. God has amazing things in store for you, choose to let Him join you on this journey and your life will never be the same!

Living to leave a legacy,