Generation Cedar

If you took a survey, among modern, Christian parents and asked, “What is the main goal of parenting?”, what would you hear?

There is only one right answer, according to Scripture:

“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deut. 6:6-9

“...bring them up in the nurture (discipline) and admonition (instruction) of the Lord.” Eph. 6:4

We are so distracted. We pour our time and money into providing our children (and ourselves) with all sorts of entertainment, luxuries, opportunities–which in and of themselves aren’t bad things, they just aren’t things that matter much in God’s economy. Meanwhile, we neglect our one responsibility: to intentionally, diligently, daily instruct our children in the things of God, making disciples out of them. I am guilty of failing to be intentional.

Disciples.

THAT’S our job. That is why God gave us children. And we miss that because we forget the purpose of children. They are His heritage to us. What does that mean? A gift, given to steward with particular instructions, so that the next generation will be multiplied and grown in effectiveness for the Kingdom of God.

If we could get that, remember that and parent like we understood that, the whole world would be turned upside down!

Intentional parenting: to train our children, in the ordinary daily moments, with the specific teaching from Scripture that guides their understanding of right and wrong, wisdom and foolishness.

Jesus did it with his earthly children. Not in a formal class setting, but in a Deuteronomy lifestyle–walking alongside them all day, every day.

So when our children do something wrong, it’s not enough to say, “Stop it!” That teaches them nothing except my own desires for them to behave a certain way. I need to consider the law of God they are breaking, and remind them of that, and that reminds them of their constant need of a Savior.

“Is that a wise thing to do?”

“Are you esteeming others better than yourself?”

“Is that book ‘true, honest,  just, pure’….?”

“What does the Bible say about that?”

“The Bible says…..”

Jesus constantly referred back to Scripture as He taught, answered questions and challenged His disciples to see everything through the lens of truth.

Let us be reminded of the eternal things of parenting, and not be so distracted by the “hay and stubble” that we fail to do the one thing for which He gave us children: make disciples for His Kingdom.

 

15 Responses

  1. It would be so nice to have a clearer picture of how this is done on a regular basis! It can be so easy to get focused on externals of doing… In the course of the day, when food needs preparing, messes MUST be cleaned up, diapers need changing, plans for tomorrow solidified, reading/math/spelling reviewed…books read….and the list is sooo endless….that it can be easy to only deal with what is visible…and as long as everyone’s behavior “toes the line” we conveniently ignore what’s going on in each little heart and mind–or even what’s going on in our own…my DH told me several months ago “the process is the purpose”…and my practical nature rebells at the slow, painstaking mindset this is… when I slow down and remember this, things often go well…I’m more patient, they seem to accept correction better and so on… must keep turning to the Savior for every need…

  2. This post was so encouraging…along with the first comment posted. They actually compliment each other. “The process is the purpose…” I need to hear this too.
    I have a question…I have a house full of children, toddler and baby. I try to sit us down to do some reading together, writing and math in a way that is enjoyable, but I don’t get to it every day. Is my nine year old going to suffer in learning and am I being a bad mom if he isn’t getting the “Schooling” daily that I think he’s supposed to have? I feel the same as the mom above, who feels like the demands of home are over-riding the academic parts, and demand so much of my energy that I struggle to slow down to make sure their hearts are being cared for as well as the academic side being met as well. Not sure how to formulate my question or how to communicate my thoughts. Just feel like a failure a lot of days, and worry that what I’m doing for them isn’t sufficient. I read about the time and energy moms are putting into homeschooling and I just don’t seem to get a clear picture either of what it really should look like in my own home, in real time… hope this makes some sort of sense. 🙂

    1. It does! It absolutely makes sense! We are so good at beating ourselves up with the “not good enough” stick, when really, if we’re being faithful and doing what is given us to do to the best of our abilities and NOT comparing ourselves with others, then we’re doing a great job. Even the academics are externals. If we can give them tools to work with, they’ll be able to use those tools to achieve great things, quite apart from our efforts to make those things happen.

      My husband tells our 11 year old that everything we’re doing here is “training for reigning” in eternity. And let’s not forget that Jesus said, “Whatever you have done unto the least of these, you have done unto Me.” I’m absolutely sure he meant diapers and lunches and clean sheets along with the things he listed.

      Slow and steady wins the race!!

    2. Kristi,

      All of us fell like we’re falling short…a lot. That’s natural and human and I think Annie did a good job of giving some perspective about our work…she is so right.

      Also, as the comment Erica made, when learning becomes more of a mindset of a “lifestyle” (have you read my book, Think Outside the Classroom?) it can be so freeing and greatly reduce the stress of comparison and feeling inadequate.

      Do what God has given you, to the best of your ability, give yourself lots of grace, and He will fill in the gaps.

  3. I found myself floundering not too long ago. My DH had been commuting to work (1 hr one way) since we had moved and it lengthened MY time of parenting alone while trying to accomplish the day-to-day stuff along with their educational learning. In my state the children are required to do 920 hours a year for school – home or public. After much prayer and discussing I finally had one of those light bulb moments.

    Since the kids were very little I have surrounded them with games, toys, etc that would help them learn. I made sure that even while they were “just” playing that there was some educational aspect being touched upon. Then I tried including curriculum that they needed (or so I thought) in order to accomplish the goals of all they were supposed to be learning. This was based on what their age counterparts were learning in school. Well, when my light bulb went off I realized that they are KIDS and everything that is around them is something that can (and do) learn from. So I decided that instead of doing a 6-8 hours “school day” that we were going to be more relaxed in our educational approach. I chose to do year-round learning instead of the typical school year of only 9 months. I did the math and for a year if we do “school” for only 3 hours a day that we will fulfill the state’s requirements in only 307 days! That gives us an additional 58 days. I have been able to relax more…and it has actually opened even MORE doors for us!

    Since we only dedicate 3 hours each day to actual learning – the other time is spent doing family activities that while more fun, are still opportunities for them to learn. It has given me a chance to do more Bible studies. It has given me a chance to spend my own time with God and reading my Bible. It is helping me to be more intentional in my interactions with all 5 (6 if step son is here) of the kids. Plus, having almost 2 months of extra time, which we do still use for learning activities – we can work together more as a family to see the goals met for not only their education, but also house work, working on our family business, and still leaves time for relaxing!

    I do still have to focus on being intentional…I admit I am horrible at memorizing Bible verses. But now I am able to spend more time with the kids in looking up Bible verses that go along with things we are doing (even when the kids misbehave). I have started working with the kids to memorize Bible verses so that we all can imprint God’s words on our hearts. Life is more relaxed for us all – and more focused on God now than it was even a few months ago.

    Now we’re working on minimizing the “things” surrounding us to try and really clean things out so we don’t feel like we have so very much to distract us and clog up our lives.

    1. Erica,

      We came to this same epiphany a long time ago and do year-round “school”. Only I don’t even like calling it school; my desire is for my children to always be learning, regardless of the day or hour or year. So really, as you pointed out, with this mentality, our children get far more “hours” than the state requires. When you really start to dissect the way the system operates and consider the lifestyle of learning, there is no comparison. This has been my passion to pass on to homeschooling parents….you can do WAY more when you just understand what a real education is.

      1. I dislike labeling it “school” as well – I just end up jumping back & forth between the public education “speak” and home schooling. You wouldn’t imagine the paperwork they want just to prove your child is learning to their “grade level”.

        I tried to slide a few of my own words in one time and got blasted…I call it “directed learning” when we’re doing written work or intentional learning activities & “subconscious learning” when they are learning through play time activities like Legos and baby dolls and I only talked about their “educational level” in math or reading- my school district hated that!

        And if you think about it – I don’t care how darn old you are…you are still learning! I know I learn new things everyday. Our children do too. Wouldn’t matter if I encouraged it or not. I think the day I realized that years ago was the day I realized that I COULD educate my own children far better than someone that doesn’t even know them as a person. I’ve caught the bug & now I’m telling people that they can do it too – just give it a chance.

      1. Makes things go just sooo much smoother! I don’t feel rushed anymore. I use to always hate when I had that “list” of stuff that just had to be done in the day. I couldn’t understand it. I thought it shouldn’t be this hard. Funniest thing is I’ve never been good at math! That math problem was a gem though! 😉

  4. This is a really great reminder. We all need to take a little evaluation from time-to-time to check that we are still on track and haven’t gotten distracted by the things of this world or allowed unnecessary things to take away from family discipleship!

    Thanks, Kelly!

  5. Funny, I guess sometimes we just need to remind each other of Truth. Thanks for always doing that, Kelly! I am always quick to say just these things to other moms, but I rarely give myself this sort of “permission.” Even though we are done with “school”, we’ll still have devotion time, Bible study, personal reading, mom reading aloud historical fiction, piano practice, cooking/baking, easy experiments. And your children will also get to learn about caring for a new baby! Can you update a bit on how you are feeling so we can be praying?

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