Train Up A Child

Train Up A Child
April 5, 2015

I am a…MOM.  That would be my definition.  That is my full-time job.

After all, if you don’t stay at home with them, you have to pay someone full-time money to do it.  Along with that position comes so many subtitles, and it is exhausting, overwhelming, mind- numbing, and constantly-shifting HARD work.  It is something we inevitably need a break from.  Relief.  Quiet.  Oh… Oh, wait… where was I?  Where do you get your break?  We all have our kicks, and everyone’s are probably different.  If I told you mine, you would make that scrunchy eyebrow face and wonder how I look so normal most of the time!  Whether it is sleep, Facebook, recipe hunting, crafts (when you gonna make that, anyway?), Pinterest, texting with family, TV, shopping, mowing the lawn, or pressure-washing the house.  See, you’re making that face, aren’t you?  (Pressure-washing is very satisfying, if you must know.)

When my own interests keep me from dealing with issues in my children’s lives, things are out of balance, and everyone in the family suffers.  Did you know that these toddlers I own don’t ever resolve their own conflicts if I just ignore them while I’m on my phone?  It ALWAYS escalates, and by the time I can’t ignore it anymore, I’m annoyed and they are out of control!  What a recipe!  In principle, I would say, of course, that I want my children to grow up and be best friends, but my actions don’t say that at all.  That little habit of just ignoring things- not dealing with things “on the spot”-could be the difference between success and failure.  Are you inclined to ignore things until you can’t anymore?  Did you know that actually just causes more stress and work, because the issue grew while you were ignoring it?  Does your husband come home to a house full of issues he has to navigate through, only to find a bedraggled crabby wife as a prize?

Wait, he has a full-time job!  You expect him to do his job, but are you doing yours?  He would get fired for making a floral wreath for the front door while he was on the clock (but, WOW what a statement piece)!  It is human to indulge ourselves, to let things slide, to do the easy thing- the things we LIKE to do- to ignore problems, to procrastinate planning until it is too late, to be lazy…but these are not marks of a great mom.  A mom who produces a great child works harder than the average mom; she thinks of that child’s potential, and develops it, she teaches them, and she never ignores them.  She sets herself aside and gives everything she’s got to her full-time job.  She doesn’t feel sorry for herself.  She takes the relief she can get for just long enough to relax a little, and then gets right back to her little people.  When they are grown and gone, we will miss these days.  Ask any mom with grown children.  No regrets.  Let’s strive together to be our best for our families. –Malissa Custer

I learned I had to really get to KNOW my children by watching their body language.  One of my children was very stubborn…but silently stubborn.  He knew how to get what he wanted by acting innocent, and this was before he was two years old!  I said, “Put your spoon down,” as I pointed to the spot on the table where in my mind, I intended for him to put it.  But he put it down on the OTHER side of the plate.  Naturally, one would think, “Okay, he put it down,” but then I saw the silent stubbornness, and I realized…he did what HE wanted to do.  He obeyed, but HIS way, which, in reality, is not true obedience.

I learned that raising children involves a whole lot more than just making sure they are fed and clothed for the day. I had to be tuned in to my children, watching all the time for attitudes. For me, having a hobby didn’t exist.  It was training, training, training …. That was my motto!

Raising children is a full-time job! I knew I only had a window of time, and what I gave my children before they left home was the only chance I would have! Every child is different, and I knew it was my responsibility as their mother, to help each child learn to control themselves, and to ultimately see themselves for who they were, so that one day when the Lord spoke to them about  their sin, they would listen because they wouldn’t be accustomed to getting away with covering up their sin.

I found that I could learn a lot about my children by playing games with them. Don’t underestimate your child!  My kids were playing Uno by the time they were two. We adapted the rules to fit each child’s age. We would take out the cards that were too hard and just leave the numbers and/or colors. You can do this with lots of games.  I found, while playing games, that one of my children wanted to win so badly so as to cheat, but act very innocent while doing so.  Another one would get angry and want to quit, if not winning the game; one didn’t even want to play games, and so didn’t even TRY to win. Three kids, three different personalities, but all needed an attitude adjustment! As a mother, I had to keep my focus on the “finished product.”  It would be easy to get irritated, frustrated, and exhausted while trying to mold them, but I knew MY attitude would rub off on them.  It was a full-time job keeping MY attitude right, as I worked to help THEM form right attitudes. Parenting isn’t easy! It takes a lot of self- control and self -denial! –Barb Russell

If you still have children to raise, these personal glimpses, one from a mother who is currently in the demanding child rearing years, and the other from a mother of grown children, can help you refocus and reassess your priorities.  Are you as committed to your responsibilities as you should be?  Where do you need to make some changes?  It takes wisdom to really see what is going on in the life of a child, and after that, much personal discipline and commitment to follow through and DEAL with those things!

Sadly, many mothers have their “maternal instinct” satisfied, and then turn away from those little ones to pursue what MOM likes to do!  God gave you the blessing of being the mother of your children.  If you do not care enough to sacrifice your life for theirs, no one else will.  Investing in your children yields dividends for a lifetime.  You have a “window” of time to make a difference.  Are you making the most of your opportunities…today?  A mother must get inside their little heads and figure out what makes them tick, mold their character and instill spiritual principles from God’s Word.

Oh, for more godly mothers who are content with a “lesser” lifestyle, to give up that second income, to stay home with their children!  Psalm 127:3 teaches us that children are “an heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is His reward.”  Children ARE a great blessing, and we, as mothers, must be determined not to overlook the blessedness of the privilege of raising little ones, as much of a sacrifice as it may be, at times!  Mom, be sure and count your blessings today.  Imagine how empty your life would be without those children, and commit yourself anew, before the Lord, to do YOUR very best for THEIR best!  Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”