Laying a Strong Foundation
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!
In the early years: Lay a Strong Foundation.
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”- because there is some groundwork to be laid, some foundational principles and concepts that will help grow godly relationships. 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. So, first things first:
Children are, the Bible tells us, a blessing from the Lord. 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.
Teach your children that God is omnipresent. In other words, He sees all and is with us all the time! We taught our children the verse, “Thou God seest me” (Gen 16:13) We told them that God was watching them all the time and He was there for them all the time. This not only builds a healthy fear of the Lord. (“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”), but it gives them the comfort of knowing God is there to help them always as well.
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 to instead focus on learning godly character. 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 and we need to be intentional in training them. For instance, to help establish guidelines for right behavior we made up 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. We are making available one of the Consequence Charts we used. It is not inclusive. It just reflects things our kids were struggling with at the time and may serve as a stepping stone to help you establish some guidelines in your family. I remember Kelley coming to me one day and asking what the consequence was for…………. 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 naptime 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