Laying a Strong Foundation
Everyone desires a home that is filled with healthy, loving relationships. Indeed, one of the biggest advantages I’ve seen from homeschooling my family has been the lasting relationships that have been built over the years. My kids are each other’s best friends. But getting to this point is easier said than done, right?
What can we, as parents, do to nurture good and loving relationships in our homes? Well, that’s what this series is about. So, let’s start at the beginning.
You may wonder what some of these first points have to do with building loving relationships within your family, but notice I titled this section “Laying a Strong Foundation” That’s because there is some groundwork to be laid- foundational principles and concepts that will help grow godly relationships. A good verse to remember is Psalm 127: 1, “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it:”
So, from the very start- lay a strong foundation.
Your children need to know your love and God’s love, your discipline and God’s discipline. God’s Word needs to be present in your home in order for them to know how to properly love others.
How did we work toward this?
Basic Truths. Basic Rules. Basic Instruction….all stemming from God’s Word.
Children are, the Bible tells us, a blessing from the Lord.
From the very early years, I reminded my children of this very basic truth- that they and their siblings were a blessing and a gift to our family! I wanted to instill that truth into all my children,(even the toddlers!) with the addition of each new brother or sister. Over the years, when we would learn a new baby was coming, we would tell our children that God was sending them a new baby brother or sister and it was a special gift to our family from God. When the baby arrived I would always try to make feeding time for the baby a special time when I would read to the toddler next in line age-wise. Then, instead of resenting the time mom was spending with the baby, they would look forward to it. I would involve them in getting diapers or choosing blankets or outfits to put on their new baby. I would talk in a little voice pretending I was the baby, telling my big brother or sister how happy I was that they were my big brother/sister and how much I loved them. They, of course would verbalize their love for the baby which affected their attitude toward the new one instead of building resentment that mom was so often busy with someone other than them.
Establish Biblical guidelines for behavior in your family. The Bible is the one constant, the light for their path. Learn to use the Bible to redirect misbehavior into learning godly character. This is absolutely important for building good relationships within our families. We are the most willing to “be ourselves” around our family….Isn’t it true that we are more likely to be selfish or jealous or unkind or angry with those in our home than people we only see occasionally? It is our duty to God and to others to learn how to control our selfishness and to seek to meet needs in others. This does not come naturally. I was we helped to establish guidelines for right behavior in our home was to make a Consequence Chart. We wanted our kids to understand they had choices to make, but choices come with consequences. Parents need to guide their children in learning to make wise decisions. I remember Kelley coming to me one day and asking what the consequence was for a particular offense. I told her, and she said, “Oh, I don’t think I’ll do it then.” She was learning to make wise decisions.
Learn to use God’s Word effectively in training your child. We attempted to saturate our child’s mind with Scripture. There were many ways we did this, but one of the most effective was making Bible recordings in which Rick read sections of Scripture to our kids, explaining difficult words and giving example stories to illustrate the truths found in the Word. We then played them for our children at both nap-time and bedtime. As our children drifted off to sleep they were listening to Scripture. We found this served to build within them a godly value system. As they committed portions of Scripture to memory (by not even trying, just hearing) they learned to exchange some of their ungodly thought patterns for God’s thoughts on the matter. As they got older, they found when going through various situations, God’s Word, which never returns void would come back to them, providing them with God’s wisdom when they most needed it.
So, the groundwork is laid. Next time, I’ll talk about family relationships when people are different from each other….