In the last post, we were talking about the ups and downs of parenthood- the good and the bad times, and I mentioned that one of my favorite passages of Scripture is Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. It’s a good reminder that good times and bad times come and go and that we need to be prepared to experience some of each.
In honor of those in the trenches of parenthood and especially those younger than my wife and myself, I’d like to offer some thoughts on this passage as it might apply to parents……
Ecclesiastes 3, verse 1: “To every thing there is a season, and time to every purpose under the heaven.” God connects times with purposes. He doesn’t promise to tell us what the purpose is while we’re in the time, and He may not tell us before we enter Heaven. But remember in the tough seasons, and the peaceful times as well, that God has His purposes. Especially in the season of pressure, use minimal energy trying to discern God’s reasons. (He may not want you to know them yet.) Learn to rest in the fact that your Father never wastes suffering.
Verse 2a: “A time to be born, and a time to die”. You were a newborn yourself and it wasn’t so long ago. The time will come when you will be called away from this planet. Between those two times, there are many seasons. The one you’re in will end and another will begin. Remember that life has a beginning and an end, and let that humble and motivate you. Your children are your bequest to a needy world you’ll be leaving. Verse 2b: “A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.” There are times to sow good seed in the hearts of your children. The time you spend reading his or her favorite Bible story for the umpteenth time isn’t wasted. There is also a time for pulling weeds. Be alert to pluck up unworthy attitudes or false philosophies the enemy tries to sow in your wheat.
When we talk about building loving relationships in our family- it’s not just the relationship between siblings that need nurturing. The relationship between parent and child is so important, as well as easily damaged. It takes careful attention to cultivate it so it will grow.
When we experience problems within the family, our natural tendency is to shove it under the rug, so to speak, and hope it’s just a stage someone is going through and it will go away. Instead, we need to train ourselves to run toward our problems, not away from them.
The way society tends to do things is everyone participates in activities with kids his own age and although a family lives together in the same house, their social spheres are totally separate from one another. I remember this as a child. My sister, who was eight years older than I was, lived in our house, but our paths often never crossed.
One day I asked each of my children why they were glad they were homeschooled. I love what my son Matt said. “I got to really know my family, instead of just meeting up with them in the evening.”
One thing that promotes close relationships within families is to teach your children to appreciate each other’s differences.
In a family, there should be a spirit of cooperation fostered rather than a spirit of competition. God has uniquely shaped each individual within your family as a special part of his creation. We’re not all supposed to be alike or do things at the same time or the same way.
Point out each other’s strengths and tell your children how God created each one of them to fulfill purposes that only they can accomplish. God took precise care in all the specific details of personality, talents, desires, that uniquely make up who each of your children is, and God makes no mistakes. Even in homeschooling, you will find one child learns certain subjects more easily and struggles with something else. This is normal.
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:”
Time to get out and work in the yard and garden and just to be in the warm sunshine after the long winter.
I was trying to evaluate what I need to work on outside when I encountered a valuable object lesson. I have a yellow lab named Mosby.
I couldn’t ask for a better dog. He would NEVER hurt one of my many grand kids (unless he whacked them with his giant tail by mistake). He’s a great dog- protects the family, absolutely loves , quiet in temperament, obedient (usually), but there’s just one thing I don’t suppose I’ll ever break him of…..
That’s a question we asked our kids often during their growing up years.
We made it into a little game that the kids begged to play. It was fun.
You are with a friend and he is about to pick the neighbor’s raspberries without permission. He wants you to join him. What should you do?
You hear of an elderly man at church who is recovering from surgery. You wonder if there are things he might need done around his home. What should you do?
Your baby sister grabbed your Bible and tore out several pages while you were out of the room. What should you do?
We would think of situations of temptation that we were pretty sure our kids would have to deal with in whatever stage of life they were experiencing. Then for family time, we asked our kids, “What would you do if…..”.
Character is so lacking in our culture today. Really, it’s more important to train your children in godly character than in any of the academic subjects. It is, in fact, a solid cornerstone for life. God seems to make a way for those who have learned to intentionally strive to build godly disciplines into their lives. Knowledge alone ‘puffeth’ up. (1 Cor. 8:1) Character, unfortunately, doesn’t just happen. It must be taught and cultivated. Children need to learn practical handles to apply it to situations they face day to day.
For years I have been distributing a handout called Identifying and Dealing with Offenses to moms wherever I speak. It is a list I made from observing the negative character traits in my own 14 kid’s lives. As I would see a problem area crop up, I went to the Scripture to see what the Word had to say about it, and then I made up short answer questions for the kids to use to help dig out the treasures of God’s Word concerning each issue.
Through the years, moms asked me to develop a study to make it easier for them to use, hence—Growing in Wisdom.
These cookies are an excellent activity to make with your children as your family prepares for Easter. We’ve given you a recipe before forResurrection Rolls. This one is similar- Empty Tomb Cookies. I recently made them with 5 of my grandkids! Thanks to Faithful Provisions blog for the fun and excellent idea.
This activity involves making special cookies- where each ingredient and step is a representation of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. Have your Bible with you as you make them! There are passages to read and thoughts to discuss as you make the cookies. It’s really a neat experience.
Do you grow weary of hearing your kids complain or argue with you or their brothers and sisters? How can you control their outbursts of anger? Did you know that God’s Word has a LOT to say about those issues and so many more? In fact, the heart of every problem you encounter with your kids is addressed in the Word, and He gives us the wisdom for knowing how to deal with it.
Consider Ephesians 4:
“So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind….. But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus,that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
We learn here 3 commands :
We are to lay aside or PUT OFF the old self. Romans 6 tells us that our old life has been buried with Christ and we are now dead to sin. However, we must present our bodies to God as instruments of righteousness. “But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices” \
We are to be RENEWED IN OUR MINDS – We renew our minds by memorizing and meditating on Scripture, by learning what God’s Word says and acting upon it daily. Joshua 1:8 tells us “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”We are promised success if we meditate on God’s Word.
We are to PUT ON our new self. Colossians 3 tells us “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity” We are to actively strive to cultivate these qualities in our life. The Holy Spirit is there to guide and help us.