Do You Dream Big?

Do you dream of being used mightily for God? Maybe you want to reach a lot of men for the Lord? Maybe you would like to reach a nation for Christ?

God has just the right way to prepare you! Surrender to be fully used where He has you right now in your family. Reach those God has given you. Pour out your life into your family. They are your training ground for the future, and they are your credentials for being used of God. Then you will be ready for the next work.

“If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly” (Titus 1:6).


Study, Apply, and Be Measured

Do you intend to feed and clothe your children for all of their lives? (I’m assuming the answer is obvious.) Then are we preparing them to excel in life?

Part of living in our society involves our performance and having our knowledge measured. We take a test to qualify for a driver’s license. There are exams for vocational credentials. Most jobs involve a yearly performance evaluation, and our pay typically increases in proportion to how well we performed. The ability to study, apply what we have learned, and then be measured is an important part of adult life.

One way we can help prepare homeschooled children for this aspect of life is by giving them tests, grades, and quarterly report cards. A necessary skill in life is being able to prepare and sit for exams calmly. Can your children study for tests, handle the pressure, and do well on them?

Are they able to receive constructive personal feedback? You might consider the benefits of giving them loving, gentle feedback on how they are doing in other areas regarding character and spiritual growth, too.

Life has many tests. Evaluations and grades are good. Do we do our homeschooled children a grave disservice by not having them take tests? I believe so.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

Watch this.


A Low Spot in the Pavement

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Have you observed the life-cycle of a low spot in the pavement? (Okay, maybe your first thought is, why would anyone do such a thing?) Water will puddle in it, and during the winter months it will freeze. The asphalt will weaken over time due to the water’s freezing in the tiny cracks and then expanding them into larger ones. Cars driving over the weakened asphalt will eventually dislodge pieces of it. As car tires pound the enlarging hole, a pothole results from the sub-surface material’s being displaced.

Potholes, which usually begin by a poor subsurface foundation, yield expensive front-end damage to cars.

Similarly, families do not generally lose their children overnight. It begins with a weak foundation, a family not centered on Jesus Christ. It takes time and then an accumulation of easy bad decisions that weaken. No daily family Bible time. No personal Bible time. Bad influences are allowed in. Not walking in the Spirit but walking according to the desires of the flesh. All the while Satan is at work exploiting weaknesses. Satan is always busy tearing down, but we must be busy building up.

“And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High….” (Daniel 7:25)


I Want To Improve

Complacency is rampant today and is usually accompanied by false security. It is a little like Dad’s resting peacefully on the couch in his sock feet . . . while the house is on fire.

A question for each of us to answer is: “Am I hungry (okay, if not hungry, willing) to grow and improve in life, or am I comfortable with ‘who’ I am?” Don’t we all have room for improvement in some areas?

If you haven’t evaluated yourself and asked your wife to evaluate you since last week’s Seriously, here’s a simple form that will help. (Frankly, if you have not done this, that might be a pretty good indicator that you are complacent.)

Next, pick no more than three areas to begin to work on to get those numbers moving up. (I should have suggested just three last week, for if we have too many goals we will likely not achieve any of them.)

Nothing is going to happen or improve unless we start working, and we must start now. Mañana, mañana (tomorrow, tomorrow) seldom gets things done, and the fire trucks won’t arrive in time if we are content to lie around on the couch relaxing a little longer. There is such satisfaction when we are growing and making things happen. I delight when I am improving in needed areas (and so does Teri :)).

Having daily family Bible time should be at the top of the list if that isn’t happening. Then focus on two other areas that you and your wife agree are the most desired areas for improvement.

The process is simple: First, we get specific by choosing what to work on, and second, we begin. Commit to starting right now—today, immediately—because “tomorrow” usually doesn’t come.

“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” (Colossians 3:17)


Are They Fighting? – Part 1

I expect any family that has more than one child has faced sibling squabbles. We want our children to grow up to be best friends, but when there is negativism between them as children we might wonder whether it’s possible. I wrote a series of articles on this subject a while ago.

Perhaps those sibling squabbles have moved from words to being physical. Here is what a mom recently wrote us: “I read your articles about siblings. You said you did not allow hitting, pushing, etc. What did you do when it happened, and how do you prevent it???”

Scripture Applies to Children Fighting

As we were raising our children, to prevent them from being physically—or even verbally—unkind to each other, we talked about the things the Lord would want from them in their interactions with each other. We discussed verses like this one: “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).

From that verse, we could cover sharing toys, not taking something a sibling is playing with, speaking sweetly to each other, and never hurting a brother or sister. We could also move into what reaction the child should have if a sibling did something unkind to him. I would encourage the children not to physically react but rather to be kind and to forgive.

The Golden Rule

Quite often, we would talk to the children about this verse: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12). I asked them to think before they acted, considering how they would feel if a sibling did to them what they were planning to do to the sibling. Sadly, we had one child who took this verse and misapplied it by saying, “Since you did this to me, I will do it to you.” Of course, we then talked about how that was not what the verse was teaching nor what the Lord Jesus would want.

Siblings in Unity

We liked and used the verse, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1) We told our children that not only does it please God when they are kind to each other, but it also is good and pleasant for the whole family. We explained that they would be much happier when they were getting along throughout the day. Squabbles and fighting are simply not much fun. We also let them know that it was what Mommy and Daddy wanted for them and for our family. We discussed the special relationships that they had with each other and how they wanted to build those relationships rather than tear them down.

Family Bible Time

Family Bible time was a perfect opportunity to teach our children that God’s ways for their behavior were loving kindness, gentleness, and giving, not fighting, hitting, pushing, pinching, or biting. Our little children could understand those concepts pretty early, even if they weren’t very good at applying them. We knew that the repetition of God’s truths to their hearts would reap a harvest. We liked discussing positive behavior in light of the Bible at family Bible time because at that moment no one was in trouble for doing something they shouldn’t do, no one was tattling on a sibling, and no one was making excuses for what they did. It was neutral turf and generated open spirits.

Children Role-Playing the Right Way

To prevent the physical aggression between the children, we also role-played a negative situation that had just occurred. I would recreate what happened and then ask the children what they could have done that would have been more loving. Sometimes they said they had no idea, but usually they were aware that their response had not been a good one. We might even practice redoing the event two or three times in the positive way.

Schedules Keep Children Productively Occupied

The final thing we did to prevent the physical aggression between brothers and sisters that is typical in little children was to utilize a daily schedule. The schedule brought order to the day. With that order came productive activities for the children. When they were doing their chores, there was less opportunity for problems between the children. When there were creative activities on the schedule, or older siblings scheduled to play with them, the bickering and fighting subsided. The more the little children were left to their own means, the more they seemed to do what they shouldn’t do.

In the end, we were all much happier when we were using our schedule, and that is what I hear from many moms when they get their schedules up and running. They usually want the schedule because they need the productivity it brings to their days. However, they are amazed at the peace in the home, including between the children, that ensues when they simply utilize a schedule.

Preventing Sibling Fighting Takes Time

Undergirding all of the things we tried in order to prevent our children from hurting each other was prayer—for them, and for us as we taught and worked with them.

Obviously, to pray for your children, to teach them loving behavior, to share applicable Scripture with them and discuss it, to have family Bible time, and to role-play appropriate responses, takes time. That is another reason why a schedule is so beneficial in preventing physical aggression between children.

I encourage young moms to be willing to invest the necessary time into working with their children, to help them away from lashing out physically at their siblings when they are unhappy and to direct them to kind responses. I know I could have done a better job at that when my children were little, but even with what I was able to give they tell us today how happy they are for the way we raised them. As they watch siblings involved in hitting, pushing, pinching, or biting, they turn to Steve and me to say, “I am so glad you didn’t let us grow up doing that!”

In the next two Mom’s Corners we will first look at consequences for the wrong behavior, and then what must happen in Mom’s heart to help children toward the positive and away from the negative.

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“Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband” (Ephesians 5:33).

“That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children” (Titus 2:4).