6. All mothers have times when we must slay our own selfish desires, some more than others.
This is one of the toughest ones to deal with. But the Lord knows exactly what each of us need, or maybe better said don’t need. Our children are used by the Lord to build our Character into His image. And no it is not easy. Remodeling is never easy. It is hard, dirty, exhausting work but the finished product, a Christ like attitude, is worth it.
If pride is an issue, as if your first child is such an easy baby that you think being a mother is a breeze, then just maybe the Lord will break your pride by providing baby number 2 that cries 24/7 and cannot be made happy. If sleep is valued above other worthy activities, just maybe the Lord will provide you with a baby that doesn’t sleep well. If you treasure a peaceful quite house, then maybe the Lord will provide you with a screamer or a child that talks loudly and non-stop. If you value a slow peaceful stroll, the Lord might provide you with a child that is bouncing off the walls and that you struggle to keep up with. Now true many of those childish behaviors can be trained out of our children but in the process, the Lord is working on us also. Both our children and we are being molded and refashioned into the Image of Christ.
7. The average church actually hinders a child’s development by teaching them that they need to be entertained. Children’s Church and Youth Groups send a very clear message that entertainment is necessary in order to be happy.
Over the many years that I ended up working in church nurseries, Sunday School, VBS and other children’s activities I found that snack time was the most anticipated time. Some children would even ask first off, “What is for snack?” Other children might ask what are we making, or do we get to watch a movie but never once did I have a child ask, “What are we learning about today?”
Then once you get to older children and youth, the fight for the children gets more serious. See once children are old enough to have decided opinions on whether or not to attend church activities everyone must then cater to entertain them or they won’t show up. Compare the attendance to particular events:
~ Ice Skating & Pizza Party with a short 10 minute devotional.
~ Serious Bible study for 1 ½ hours.
Which do you think will have more participate?
But see this same attitude also translates to the home. Children are entertained everywhere and so they come to expect it at home also. If you have a child who is never content to just be home but is always wanting to go somewhere or do something special you have an issue of discontent already developed.
11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. ESV
We should be teaching our children contentment, especially contentment in the areas that aid developing Spiritually. If your child is not content to sit and read a book, how will they ever be content to sit and read the Bible? If your child is always wanting to go, how will they ever learn to sit and listen to the still quite voice of the Lord?
See this post about Sunday School – Already Gone – Ken Ham
8. TV shows depict life for children which may cause dissatisfaction with their own life. Thus children beg for things they have seen, certain clothes, and for constant outside activity. (I have no clue about the real shows today aimed at children and youth, I just remember those of my generation doing so.)
I have no real clue what the children and youth of today are watching beyond the fact that I have seen the t-shirts and posters of their “idols” when shopping. The Hannah Montana t-shirts, school supplies and posters are everywhere. I really don’t understand the Christian parents that allow their daughters to be fascinated with her. Miley – In the News Again expresses some of my thoughts previously. Just recently Miley/Hannah was in the news yet again for her dancing and clothing at the Teen Choice Awards.
But even think about the little children’s programming. At least when I was younger most kids shows were surrounded by TV commercials aimed at children. You know the life like dolls that really ate, the kid sized tractors, and the child’s ice cream maker all designed to encourage your child to want more.
This particular issue has been around for years but it keeps getting worse. Anyone remember the Sears and Roebuck catalog? I remember going to grandmother’s (Maw Maw’s) house and fighting with my sisters over who got to look at it first. Hundreds of pages of things to want; toys, clothes furniture, you name it. That catalog has been encouraging dissatisfaction for decades!
9. Often we have too high of expectations; clean house, clean children, quiet, etc.
There is a certain amount of mess that comes with having children. That is a given. It is hard for anyone to do any meaningful project without incurring some mess. The best woodworker will make a mess in making that beautiful table. The best quilter will make a mess when sewing. The best wedding cake maker will make a mess baking that six layer delicious masterpiece. But they all learn to accept the temporary mess for the finished creation.
Raising children is no different. We are molding and helping create a beautiful masterpiece; an adult who loves and serves the Lord with all their heart, soul and mind and who is in favor with both God and men.
30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” ESV
Luke 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man. ESV
It will be messy at times.
There WILL be a mess:
toys in the floor,
vacations when sickness takes over,
and much more.
But the masterpieces will be well worth the time and effort if we do our very best. They will also be ultimately worth much more than the sum of the parts. A beautiful useful table can be made from a few dollars of wood and much effort but can be valued at hundreds of dollars. A quilt can be made from bits and pieces of scrap (seemingly worthless) pieces of material but can be sold for much money. How much more valuable is the little child that after years of food, housing, medical bills, braces, lessons, and other expenses plus a whole lotta “elbow grease” becomes an adult arrow for the Lord?
10. Often we have too low of expectations; doing things for the children they can do for themselves, not expecting them to help, thinking constant outside activity is necessary, etc.
This goes along with having your children have productive chores. Typically, we as parents don’t have our children start doing things until they are older but even little ones can learn to clean up their toys or fold wash cloths. As children get older and busier, the chores might decrease because they just don’t have time for them. But think about it, as an adult is there a magic fairy that cleans the house and washes the dishes when we are overbooked and too busy to do so? Maybe at your house but not in mine! When I have allowed myself or the family to become so busy that we cannot do the necessary chores then I need to reevaluate. I’m not talking about the occasional going to bed with dirty dishes but the more often than not lack of time for doing regular maintenance such as days of dirty dishes and no clean clothes. What are we teaching our children if we slacken their responsibilities just due to their busyness? Are we not ingraining habits that will last a lifetime?
Another area is the fact that children will not do things just quite the way we like them. You know the dishes that were “washed” but not quite clean. Around here dishes are examined well before using just for that reason. Sometimes it is just easier to do things ourselves but then our children aren’t learning nor will they ever get better if they don’t work at it.