Category Archives: Child Training

Is The Season

Even though our children are now adults, memories are still fresh of sick children during the winter months. Life with little ones can be difficult enough normally, but when you add illness, it gets more challenging. Homeschooling moms carry a full plate of responsibilities. Illness simply adds to it. Here are some thoughts about this. 

Thank God. “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). As you give thanks, God will use your example to help your children learn gratitude even in difficult situations. You could pray with your sick children not only asking the Lord to heal them but also thanking Him for the opportunity the illness gives for your child to learn to accept the hardship of not feeling well, to be thankful for good health, and to be patient.

Help your wife. Take alternate nights in getting up to care for the children. Make the dinner meal while she rests. Pick up household chores your wife might normally do but can’t while caring for sick children. Take time off of work to care for her and the children if she is really sick. 

Another consideration is when you have illness in your family, don’t take the sick ones to church. If you don’t like your children sick, why “wish” it on another family that you are called to love. “… Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself” (Luke 10:27). 

Junk or Jesus

We drove through several neighborhoods listening to Twelve Voices of Christmas. It was very disappointing—not what we were listening to—but what we saw. The lights were technologically well done, in fact even a work of art, but instead of anything Christ-honoring (or even neutral), disco-dancing Santa Clauses were everywhere. If Santa was the focus of your Christmas, you would have loved it. However, I’m hoping that wasn’t true for any of you. 

We see the slide of our society further and further away from Christianity even evidenced in Christmas decorations. That should spur us on in our call as fathers. “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). There is no guarantee our children will be saved, but we must do everything we can to facilitate that. 

Brothers, we must surround our children with the truth of God’s Word and they have to see it lived out in our lives. “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9).

Soul Nutrition

The Word

How would you fare if you were taken hostage or in prison without a Bible? The recent Christian Aid Ministries hostages in Haiti, held for two months, had no Bible. Darlene Deibler Rose, American missionary POW in New Guinea during WW2, had no Bible during the 6 weeks she was being interrogated while imprisoned on death row. To draw comfort and strength from the Word, these all had to rely on Scripture they had memorized. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16).

What about when you lie awake in the night and can’t sleep? Do you have Scripture in your mind that you recite mentally and think about? “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalms 1:2).

Do you have verses you can immediately pull up when you face a tough situation, are fearful, or want to respond in anger? At those moments, it isn’t always possible to run and get a Bible. “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalms 119:11). 

The Excuses

Perhaps we relegate Scripture memory to our children, while we make excuses concerning it for ourselves. We might say, “I can’t memorize!” I remember hearing Jim Berg address the “I can’t memorize Scripture” excuse in one of his Quieting a Noisy Soul sessions. He said to his audience, “What is your phone number? What about your address? You all can memorize!” Our other excuse goes like this, “I am too busy. I just don’t have time.” We make time, however, for what is a priority in our lives and important to us.

The Plan

There is a simple way to begin memorizing Scripture. Pick a verse to memorize. Write it on a notecard or two (to keep different places) so that you can reference it easily. Take just five minutes a day to work on it. It takes me seven minutes a day to blow dry my hair. That is a good time for me to memorize Scripture.

Read the verse out loud several times. Then close your eyes and try to say it without looking. When you get stuck, look at your card. The next day, try to say your verse without looking at the card first. Usually, I can not do that the second day because I can’t remember the first word. So I check the card, get the first couple of words, and see if I can say any more of the verse. If not, I do what I did the day before. Usually it takes me several days before I can start the verse myself, but it does come. Practice it anytime you can through out the day. Even better use it when applicable in your daily life.

Once you have one verse down, keep reviewing it, and start on another one. It might be the next verse in a chapter or passage or from a completely different place. If it is a continuation verse, work on it like you did the first verse, while reviewing the first verse. When you have the second verse down, say them together when you work on them.

If you need an idea of verses to start your memorizing plan, consider these:

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Rejoice evermore. 
17 Pray without ceasing. 
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

The first two verses are extremely short, and the combination is a joyful, peaceful, and powerful way to walk through each day.

Start Now

Could I encourage you to set excuses aside and start memorizing Scripture? Think of the potential value in your life. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). This is the beginning of a new year. Make it the beginning of a new habit as well. Start with just one verse – one that will be helpful to you on a daily basis. Work on it until you know it and then use, use, use it so that you don’t forget it. Move on from there.

Straddling The Fence

Being double-minded is a curse. Besides being uncomfortable, it sets a horrible example for the children and makes it impossible for a wife to follow. “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word” (1 Kings 18:21). (A modern-day example would be to substitute “the world” for “Baal.”)

Often a man thinks he can cherry-pick what he likes from both the world and the Lord, when in fact it doesn’t work that way. Neither a man’s wife nor his children and most importantly, His Lord are pleased. “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16).

It begins with a choice. Choose to follow one, and put away the other. “Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD” (Joshua 24:14).

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15

Put away double-mindedness. Be strong in the Lord, my Brothers. 

Not a Good thing

I wonder how many well-meaning parents are possibly harming, with potentially eternal consequences, their children every week when they take them to church (don’t stop reading now)? Have you noticed them? They bring their children to church (a good thing), but then during the service, the children do every imaginable quiet (mostly) thing, except listen to the message. Instead of teaching their children to sit still and listen to the preaching, so as to obey God’s Word, the children are “taught” how to ignore God’s Word—not on purpose—but isn’t that is the result? While the children occupy themselves, they become skilled at deflecting God’s holy Word from their minds and hearts while they are occupied with “more important” things.

Many times we read where Jesus instructs he that “hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (Matt 11:15, 13:9, 13:43, Mark 4:9, 4:23, 7:16, Luke 8:8 and 14:35). That would mean open your mind to what is coming into your ears. It is an intentional, learned process to train the mind to concentrate with the goal of understanding so as to ultimately obey what is coming into the ears.

We listen intently because God’s Word is priceless and not to be treated like background music that is played in a store where we are shopping.“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

What to Do When Siblings Squabble?

Is there anything more common or more annoying than siblings squabbling? We have only come across one family, with two children, whose children say they never fought with each other. For most of us, that bickering between our children was a daily battle. We moms then ended up involved, refereeing the battle, giving admonishment and instruction, and often handing out consequences. 

Don’t moms love this verse? “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalms 133:1). That was the desire of my heart for my children, but it was not the natural reality of their lives. So we worked toward that goal. 

A Consequence for Sibling Squabbles

One consequence we instituted as our children grew beyond preschool age was to assign the fighting children extra chore work that they were to do together. This removed them from the context of playing, which was when many of the squabbles developed as each tried to get what they wanted. Extra team chores took them into another realm where in order to complete the task they had to work together. 

Benefits of the Consequence

We found this consequence helpful for many reasons. First it gave me a set consequence that was easy to implement. That was a huge benefit since when I didn’t know what consequence to use, I did one of 3 things. I either ignored it, gave a consequence too big or too small, or lectured. Those were all frustrations and disappointments to me because they weren’t effective, and then I was more likely to react negatively to the children. When I knew exactly how to deal with a problem, I was able to maintain that meek and quiet spirit that my heart yearned for in those child raising years. 

Extra work together as a consequence for bickering benefitted the family because necessary chores was accomplished. The children who were troublemakers, because of their consequence, then freed up others from needing to do that work. 

We often assigned dinner clean up to children who weren’t getting along. Generally dinner cleanup jobs were given to anyone who was not on the meal preparation team. When clean up was used as a consequence for the bickering children, then the children who got along well were released from their normal meal clean up chores. That seemed to make the consequence doubly effective since we ended up rewarding good behavior in the process of disciplining the bad. 

This consequence forced the children receiving it to be a team. The more they continued to oppose each other, the longer the task took to accomplish. It really didn’t matter to me how long it took them to do the chore, but it did matter to them. Through experience they soon learned how much more efficient it was to work together rather than against each other.  We liked the natural consequences built into this discipline.

Our Go-To Consequence for Sibling Bickering

I am not saying that you don’t share Scripture with your children, help them learn how loving sibling relationships look and work, and teach them to see their wrong and ask forgiveness. That is all an important part of it, too. But for the practical aspect of a consequence for sibling bickering, this one was a go-to for Steve and me. 

Now our children are grown, and two brothers in particular share memories of all the numerous dinner clean ups they did together. It was certainly a work in progress for them that wasn’t accomplished with the first, second, or even tenth consequence. I love to see them now as not just loving siblings, but brothers in Christ who love and serve their wives and children. And you know what? They are really good in the kitchen!

IT’s a Joy

I greatly appreciated how Teri never complained about changing baby’s diapers. It sure wasn’t my favorite task! Over the years, that sweet wife of mine easily changed a minimum of 5,000 diapers per child. Considering eight children, she likely changed well over 40,000 diapers! The same cheerful attitude was exhibited while fixing over 50,000 meals (47 years of marriage) for our family. 

What about us? Do we cheerfully fulfill our God-given responsibilities? Do we see them as acts of obedience to Almighty God? We are to cheerfully obey whether we are providing for the family, doing house and car upkeep, discipling the children, or leading the family spiritually. 

“And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king” (1 Samuel 15:22-23). 

Never Underestimate

Moses threw his staff down before Pharaoh, and it became a serpent (Exodus 7:10). If I was watching, I would have been impressed. Pharaoh wasn’t. He called in his magicians, and “they also did in like manner with their enchantments” (Exodus 7:11b). God could have prevented their magicians from doing the same, but He didn’t. 

Could it be that in addition to using it to harden Pharaoh’s heart, God wanted Moses to expect in the future the dark side to attempt to hinder God’s work in lives? We aren’t to fear it, but we should anticipate it and be in prayer about. 

Are you expecting your children to automatically receive Christ and live for Him just because they are living in your home? Being active in church is not enough either. 

Is Jesus the love of your life, your purpose in life, and your joy in life? Do you love His Word, and are you in it every day, personally and leading your family in Bible time because of that love? Your children must see His power/life at work in you. 

Live for Him my brothers with all your heart.  Be purposeful in discipling your children, Satan wants them.

“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).  

Prayer for Current Events

Let’s continue on last week’s theme of responding to the wickedness in current events. We want to pray for those who are suffering, and we want to teach our children to pray too. 

Scripture is our guide and example in this. Notice when the man horrifically cut his concubine into twelve pieces (Judges 20:6), Scripture did not provide pictures or gory descriptions. That is why if you have a TV, this is a great time to put it out for the trash. Photos and details imprint on the brain, striking fear in hearts that just a statement of fact about a situation requiring for prayer shouldn’t (IE. Christians are being severely persecuted and desperately need our prayers). We don’t need details to pray effectively. 

When we hear something, we personalize what we hear. Next time someone tells you of a dentist appointment with painful work that was done on their teeth, notice how you run your tongue over your teeth. The more details, the more we picture that happening to us. How easy for a child who hasn’t grown in real love for Christ, or maybe not even saved to think, “I’m never going to be a Christian if that is what might happen to me.” 

God didn’t lead Israel to Canaan through the land of the Philistines because they weren’t mature enough to handle what they would face even though it was much shorter (Exodus 13:17). We need to be careful what goes into our children’s minds. 

Brothers, our suffering brothers and sisters need our prayers. Pray appropriately and with your family. “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). 

Our Own Enemy

When things go wrong, people want to blame someone. As an example, just a few hours ago I heard a casual acquaintance blame God for something. The reality is that usually we, ourselves, are to blame by making bad choices that lead to painful consequences. 

We can avoid much grief for our families if we will read and heed God’s Word. 

“Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left” (Joshua 23:6).

“Be ye therefore very courageous” – Brothers be resolute, unwavering in your commitment to follow Christ. This isn’t about a mere preference.

“to keep” – Retain, treasure and mediate on His Word. 

“and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses,” – Praise God we have more than just the law of Moses. We have it all. Read, my Brothers. Love it, and live it. 

“that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left” – Be narrow-minded when it comes to His Word. Inhale the Word, exhale in obedience. 

Brothers, know the Word, live it, and then there will be no reason to blame anyone. It doesn’t mean things will always be without difficulties, but there is peace in following the Savior. (Continued)