Chapters 16 Childhood: Training Objectives
Monday night is bath night for our 2 year old, Julia. She goes on the potty first then hops in the tub, and enjoys lathering up with soap and "going swimming". John came home during tonight's bath time and took Bubbs (my Marky, almost 11 mos. now) for me so I could concentrate on Julia. After washing her hair, rinsing her off, drying her, and wrapping her up like a tortilla in her duck towel, we went to her room to put on her new Cinderella pjs (a new favorite show we watch quite often these days).
As I brushed her hair and got her dressed I thought to myself, when did she become a person? When did she start speaking in sentences and having an opinion? When did she start asking me for a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast, and a chance to kiss her brother good night? This parenthood thing has really been a roller coaster of events...and sometimes I just zone out and wonder, can I freeze her in time right now? Two years old has been my favorite and I just don't want her to grow up and not need us anymore. I know that sounds crazy, but just yesterday I brought her home from the hospital wrapped in a blanket, she was helpless and a newborn, she needed us, she didn't talk, she didn't use the potty. And now she is a little person with ideas for her day (C'mon guys lets blow bubbles!) and ideas for a good snack (Yogup!!! (that's yogurt for those of you who don't understand Juliaese!)
And John will go on and on about how beautiful she gets each day...when she walked out of her room all dressed and clean she asked, "Where's Daddy?" "Show him Cinderella!" she wanted to show her dad her new cinderella pjs and honestly, she just loves to hear him say, "Julia you look so beautiful!!!" If you are a parent aren't there times when your little one talks to you and answers your questions and you are just in awe, and you and your hubby just mouth "How did she get so big? How did she get so smart? How did she get so beautiful?"
As parents, we are truly blessed to have these "little people" in our homes. They change us for the better. They teach us lessons about our own sinful hearts and our own shortcomings. But they don't stay small, they grow, they learn, they mimic and copy, and our job as good parents is to teach them God's word, shepherd their hearts, and help them build character. "Your child's character must be developed in several areas. You want your child to learn dependability, honesty, kindness, consideration, helpfulness, diligence, loyalty, humility, self-control, moral purity, and a host of other character qualities." Sounds like a daunting task right? Remember, with God ALL things are possible!
Childhood is a time from ages 5-12 when your child begins school and puberty. "The child is developing a growing independence of choice and personality." Even if your child is home-schooled, there will be times when your child will be confronted with experiences that you as parents won't be able to witness or help out with at the time. They are growing independence (which can be super scary for us moms!) Since we can't be with them at all times then they need to know what to do in situations that we may not be able to anticipate. They need biblical wisdom! This is the time when their conscience is developing. "His conscience must develop as the reasoning factor of the soul so that he will know what to do even when you are not there."
As parents we move on from disciplining defiant behavior to dealing with wrong behavior. Obedience is a start but let's say "selfishness isn't defiant, but it is wrong." So they haven't left the circle of blessing, but the ugliness of their sinful behavior has to be addressed.
Tedd Tripp gives an example of coming home to find his wife doing a billion tasks that the children could have helped out with but instead they were all playing a game together. They weren't being rebellious, but he was unhappy with their lack of concern for mom. Why hadn't anyone offered to help her? Tedd Tripp says, "If you never address character, you will never get beyond bare obedience." This isn't the time to make more rules for your kids to follow, this is the time to address character issues of "self-love, indifference to the needs of others, etc."
I don't know about you but I don't want to raise kids who just "keep the rules" but have smug, self-righteous, critical, attitudes. Remember the Pharisees? Rules can be easy to follow, but working on character, and asking God to change your heart, and seeing our hearts for what they really are and our need for Christ, is a lot deeper and harder.
Tonight I'm just thanking God for my kids. I'm thanking Him for this class which is teaching me a lot! I'm thanking Him for a husband who is my team mate and partner in all of this, because parenthood is hard work and you need a good team player helping you! I'm thanking God for the blood of Christ and how it has power to cleanse us and change us. I'm praying that we as parents, all of us, can really do a job well done in raising our kids. I have yet to meet a parent that doesn't want to do a good job.
I'm also thanking God for my daughter Julia who is growing so fast. Lord, help me to appreciate all these moments I have with her and just the ability to be able to be home with her every day. I feel very very blessed to be a stay at home mom.