Category Archives: Child Training

If Only …

We dads have many responsibilities that require our time. Too often, however, we let important needs such as discipling our children, spending time with our wife, and leading family Bible time get crowded out by less important, though seemingly more urgent, tasks. We soothe our conscience by telling ourselves, “If only I had more time….”

My own dad was full of “if only’s.” He is gone now, and I am left with memories that would have been much happier and much better if only he had made other choices.

What sort of memories are we leaving our children? Yesterday is past, but tomorrow is a new day. Put off the old “if only’s” and put on the new “I will’s.” Then may we be men of action.

“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:14).

Steve

Rotten Fruit

Near us there is a small apple orchard that received no care for years—no pruning, no tilling, and no fertilizing. Ripe apples simply fell to the ground and rotted. Finally a new owner came in and has spent weeks pruning and restoring the orchard. This year or next should produce a beautiful harvest.

Think of your family as your orchard and your children as fruit. If you have neglected your “orchard,” it isn’t going to improve until you spend great amounts of time on it. “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit” (John 15:2).

If you have been lax in your responsibilities to disciple your children, the important point is to begin the restoration. Begin today to prune and till. It will be a more difficult job than if you had been faithful all along, but resolve today to be responsible with what God has given you.

Daily family Bible time, talking, praying, and worshipping together are necessary for discipling our children. Though we will not see the fruit of the new orchard owner’s labor for at least one or two seasons, the owner has done the right thing. Will you do the right thing with your orchard? May we be found faithful and may our orchards bear fruit well-pleasing to our Lord.

Steve

Someone Has To Do It!

Recently I met some young adults who work on their family farms after school and on Saturdays. They were delightful: good attitudes; highly motivated; great workers. Happy! They were a joy to work alongside of. They loved the Lord Jesus. They respected their parents. Overall, they were great “kids.” One of them exclaimed periodically throughout the day, “I love being outside and working like this.”

Even the farm owner’s sons were working hard. I complimented one of them on his cheerful attitude because he could have chosen to do other things. He looked at me, smiled, and said, “Someone has to do it.” That is so true about much of the work in life. Someone has to earn money for the family’s needs. Someone has to perform maintenance on the house and car. Someone has to clean the house. Someone has to mow the yard. Someone has to school, disciple, and feed the children. Someone has to wash and fold the clothes. The list of opportunities to work for the family goes on and on.

“And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it” (Genesis 2:15). “Dress” in the Hebrew means “to serve or work.” Man was put on this earth to serve and work. What is our attitude regarding work? So many people have disabilities and cannot work. Would we want to trade places with them?

What a blessing it is when we choose to embrace what needs to be done with a cheerful, grateful spirit and teach our children to do the same. “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).

Steve

Just Imagine

Just imagine how you would feel walking into your son’s debt-free home for the first time? Most parents don’t know what it feels like to have their own home without a mortgage—much less how it feels for their children to truly own a home, debt-free, even before they are married. What a blessing it would be for your son to start out life without the burden of a 20- or 30-year mortgage.

Learn how you can help him.

It is attainable.

Start early.

See how.

Buying a House Debt-Free: Equipping Your Son.

Will you?

Steve

The Best Hobby

What’s your hobby? Years ago, mine was flying small private airplanes. I loved it. Most hobbies are expensive—in time and money. They tend to take us away from our family and consume money that we could likely spend better elsewhere. Here’s a tip: Whatever your hobby might be, I can save you money. I have found the best hobby of all—and the good news is that it doesn’t cost you anything but your time. I guarantee that it will give you far greater satisfaction than your current hobby. Would you consider taking up this one hobby and putting all others aside?

Here it is… Make your family your hobby, your passion, your joy, and your delight! Next to the Lord, may your family be what you think about and are excited to spend your time “on.” Picture your children grown, living for the Lord Jesus, and successful in life. What sort of hobby could rival those rewards? A perfect golf swing? An exhilaratingly view from 10,000 feet? A terrific collection of [fill in the blank]?

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 1:4).

Steve

Wow! A Ten Pounder!

Dad, how many children have you birthed? How much did the last one weigh? Scripture refers to childbirth as the greatest pain one can bear. So if we men are so tough, why aren’t we the ones having the babies? (OK, I know the answer.) But think about it: What pain have we dads endured for our children? Our wives carried each baby for nine months and then birthed it. “We have heard the fame thereof: our hands wax feeble: anguish hath taken hold of us, and pain, as of a woman in travail” (Jeremiah 6:24).

We are commanded to disciple our children. “And, ye fathers, … bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Have we agonized over our children? Do we spend time with them, talk with them, and pray earnestly for them?

Jesus suffered on the cross for us and our children. Our wives have suffered in childbirth for each of our children. What price have we paid, what suffering have we endured, as we disciple our children? Think about how Jesus demonstrated His love for us and then ask yourself: How have I demonstrated a love for my family that cost me something?

Steve

The Difficult Child – Part 1

“I just stopped school to come in here to write you. I don’t know what to do, and I am at this awful place with one of my children that a mom definitely doesn’t want to be. I have five boys ranging in age from nine months to nine years. Four of my children are sweet, obedient, in love with the Lord, wanting to sing praises to Him, and wanting to please my husband and me. Then there is my six year old. He is the most difficult child, and I don’t know what to do with him. I have had him memorize Scriptures on obedience. He has more Scriptures memorized than I do—he is really smart. But he is a huge handful. He has no control over his emotions and will strike out at anyone who crosses him.

“Recently he has started back talking me. I’ll tell him to do something, and that is followed by whines and reasons why he doesn’t want to obey. My other kids would NEVER do this. At first I was shocked and talked to him about his attitude and his need to obey me. Then I tried consequences and talked more. He isn’t responding. I love him so much and don’t want to be around him—all at the same time. Am I a terrible mom?”
In Christ,
A struggling mom

This mom’s problem is typical in many homes regarding at least one of their children. Regularly I read or hear a description of a child like this from someone. Immediately, I think of one of our children. When this child introduces himself at our music session, he says, “Hello, my name is John. I am nineteen, and I play the banjo. I wasn’t what you would call a model child growing up. As a matter of fact, because of how difficult I was, I think my mom was able to write that book, Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit. I expect if I had been put into a public school, they would have labeled me with a learning disability. However, the reality was that I was simply lazy.”

John has now graduated from our homeschool, and the message I want to share with this mom, and others like her, is a message of hope and encouragement. Today John isn’t what he was when he was a little boy. He is a winsome, young man whom every one seems to love. He invested his out-of-school time for two years building our house with his brother and dad— a project he and his brother volunteered to do. He learned to study as a result of his homeschooling years and has been tackling some difficult after-graduation study assignments of his own choosing as he prepares for a vocation in construction and also to obtain his commercial driver’s license.

I have graduated five children from homeschool, but John was the first to say to me, “Mom, for my graduation I want to take you out to eat at the nicest restaurant you can think of to go to.” He then spent the evening telling me of his gratitude for my investment in his homeschooling. John read and approved these articles because his heart is to help other families who might be facing some of the same issues that our family faced with John.

I am delighted that I can share such good news about this son with you. As John was growing up, every year we saw improvement in his attitudes and behavior. At nine, he wasn’t like he was at six. At twelve, he had made great progress from when he was nine. It got better for him day by day. “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). Perhaps what we did with John and where he is today will be an encouragement to you and give you some ideas for your situation.

John caused Steve and me to pray more. “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6). There is something about increased need that drives us to a greater frequency and fervency of prayer. We knew that we were dependent on the Lord’s working in this child’s life for his growth and maturity both emotional and spiritual.

Steve and I found that we had to encourage ourselves greatly about our difficult child. We knew the importance of loving and accepting him, but his behavior caused us to sometimes have negative feelings toward him. He could be unkind to his siblings, plus he regularly had bad attitudes toward us. As Steve and I talked about and prayed for John, we would remind each other of what this son needed and what the Lord would have us do. Seeing that we were both struggling helped us realize that our feelings were normal even though they weren’t ones we wanted to allow to fester. “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5).

We discovered we needed to deal with John very quietly and in a matter of fact manner. “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). Because of the ongoing nature of the problems, it was extremely easy to have an irritated tone in our voices almost before the first word was out. We knew that anger, impatience, and frustration were not the vehicles to loving our son and helping him. Therefore, his behavior was our training ground as well—a training ground for our own growth in self-control.

In families, it is common to have a child who struggles more with his behavior than the other children. Steve and I know how easy it is for parents to become discouraged over this child. However, we also have seen the Lord work through the years of our child’s life, achieving incredible changes that have been almost unbelievable considering his early childhood behavior. What we did with and for John were things that were valuable for all our children. Therefore, we know that our parenting improved because of John. May we encourage those of you with a difficult child to continue doing what you need to do. Love this child abundantly even when he is not loveable. Look for ways to help him grow and mature. Pray for this child, knowing that the Lord is as interested in him overcoming wrong behavior as you are. Next month we will continue with more of what we did in parenting John and what we learned.