Have you ever hesitated going to that get-together because you thought about how your kids would act?
Have you ever chosen NOT to serve in a ministry because you thought your kids would just get in the way?
Have you ever had to leave somewhere at a certain time because your kids have a bedtime and don't do well past 8pm?
I don't believe most people even realize saying, "I can't do that! I have kids!" is a pretty lame excuse. I think people genuinely think they can't do something simply because their kids prohibit them from doing so.
Well, I am here to share with you that you CAN do things with kids.
Whether it's ministry, staying out late at a friends house, going grocery shopping, or going to doctor appointments.
We fortunately got to live what we preach twice this week and I would like to share with you how much of a blessing raising your children this way can be!
Alex's work had a fancy Christmas Party. I mean Golf Course Club House, everyone leaves with at least $100 worth of gifts (some with over a $1000) kind of fancy! Fancy dresses, gourmet meals, open tab bar... not a place you would bring your kids to. We obviously found a sitter for our older kids (we do use discretion here people!), but since I'm nursing my 6 month old, I wanted to bring him along. I thought nothing of it since we've brought all of our currently 5 children along with us everywhere since they were babies.
Aryeh sits through church with us and we have endeavored to train him to not be a very needy baby. Some babies are more needy then others, but we believe this behavior can still be worked on by the parent.
Anyways, there were several mothers of young children sitting at our table. None of which brought there babies (which I don't fault them one bit! I love time away from my babies with just my hubby - I was simply nursing and didn't want to have him away from me that long). Aryeh was the only baby in the room of a few hundred people. I heard some comments like, "I would NEVER take my daughter out! She's just too rebellious! If she doesn't get what she wants, she trows a tantrum. I wouldn't even try taking her out."
And, although Aryeh had a few moments of fussiness, some ladies got to study my husband and I intently. They watched me feed Aryeh with his portable food sleeve and quietly tuck him away in his car seat under the table so he could fall asleep. They watched Alex and I trade off with him so that he could eat or I could eat. They got to see the joy that can be in parenting together as a team and as a mom. I hope and pray they were encouraged, and from proceeding conversations my husband told me they were! Praise the Lord!
Another situation we encountered this week was a ministry event.
We LOVE SERVING WITH OUR CHILDREN!!!!
We stayed late after a ministry event to help tear down and clean up. Since my kids have been doing this since they were literally 6-8 weeks old, they just naturally knew what to do! This just BLESSED MY HEART - AND MY SOCKS - AND MY HAT RIGHT OFF!
They grabbed brooms, mops, rags, and vacuums and just went to town. I never asked them to help, they just saw a need and met it! The location was cleaned in less then an hour! My son was instructed to either help or remain seated in an area where he wouldn't be in the way. He chose to sit down and stayed out of the way and played with his uncle until the clean up was done!
There are very practical things we do with our kids that you can practice also!
(1) We look at almost EVERY opportunity as a training opportunity: That trip to the grocery store? TRAINING OPPORTUNITY! That person that calls you to go fix their broken furnace on one of the coldest days of the year? TRAINING OPPORTUNITY! That ministry event that no one really stays around afterwards to help clean up? TRAINING OPPORTUNITY! What about just helping with tear down after church Sunday? TRAINING OPPORTUNITY! Routine doctors appointment or an eye exam? TRAINING OPPORTUNITY! That spur-of-the-moment "let's go to so&so's house and play Apples to Apples until 1 in the morning occurrence? TRAINING OPPORTUNITY! Change your perspective and go into situations as training opportunities!!
(2) We train at home for problem scenarios: Little one not sitting quietly at church? Set up that same situation at home (chair, one toy, and a bible teaching in the background) and practice every day of the week (expecting the same behavior you would want at church) and try again next week! Throwing Tantrums at the store when they don't get what they want? Practice telling them "No" at home and train them in the correct response. Doesn't want to help serve at a ministry event? Continue to teach a servant heart and a good work ethic with a good attitude at home during daily chores.
(3) Create codes and terms that all the kids are trained to respond to:
"All Hands On Deck!" - All the kids grab the cart in their designated spots, youngest kids closest to me. Then I can do a head count, squeeze through a busy isle, or keep a kid from impending doom!
"Deputies!" - All kids drop WHATEVER they're doing and RUN to me as fast as they can. This is a quick way to get everyone's attention, protect the kids from danger, and practice immediate obedience. And who else is yelling, "Deputies!" when you're in a busy mall?!?
"Do we need to go to the bathroom?" - Code word for you're in trouble!
We have several more, but you get the idea. :)
* Immediate obedience - coming when called, helping a friend clean up without needing a reminder
* Thorough obedience - hold onto the cart and don't let go unless I give you permission
* Cheerful obedience - manners, pleasant behavior, correct responses
* Applying our memory verses - sharing the gospel, putting other's before ourselves, praising God for the groceries He's provided ect.
*Reading, writing, math, listening, self-control skills
* Being able to sleep wherever mom and dad put you down (or at least lay quietly) - All Ages
I have mentioned training in "Quiet time" several times before. This is great place to start with toddlers!
Those kids that have a harder time and are a lot more loud and whiney (oh, I know those ones), they will take more training at home, and more discipline. I have one child that is the queen of tantrums! The fits have become much less the older she's gotten, but she is known for her tantrums! This doesn't mean we're bad parents (and neither are you), UNLESS those tantrums go UNCORRECTED!
Our kids won't ever be perfect.
But we can train them in righteousness never lowering the bar.
We can lead them into maturity.
Remember: If you wouldn't want that behavior from a grown, mature adult, why would you allow it in your 3-year old?!?
Child Training has got to be the most rewarding, exhausting, exhilarating, time-consuming part of our lives as mothers.
There is truly no greater joy! :)
AND we have JOB SECURITY PEOPLE!
Our kids will ALWAYS NEED TRAINING ;)
I still need training!!!
It can be fun as we pray and ask the Lord for guidance.
As we craft scenarios to assist our children in their understanding and in self-control.
As we discuss consequences that point our children to real-life consequences if they continue in certain behavior.
As we get glimpses of the maturity that is being grounded in their lives (like when they just naturally know it's time to serve, grab a broom and a dust pan!)
I really do believe the Bible that when we train our child in the way they should go, they will not depart from it.
Leave me in the comments below an awesome situation you've been through where you saw the maturity the Lord's worked into your little one's heart.
What does your family do that's unique?
I'd LOVE to hear from you!