Raising kids is hard work! It’s mentally, physically and spiritually draining. As a parent we are in a constant state of learning and experimenting what to do and what NOT to do. We can read all kinds of books, go to seminars, get advice from someone who’s been there, and while that might help it’s still all touch and go right? I have lots of things that I want for my kids but I think there are 3 that are most important to me. They will need to be nourished for growth but that’s what us parents are for! No one said it was easy, and a good parent knows that and tries and tries and tries. Hopefully this can help you with your kids, and if you have advice or stories please share!!
I have 3 beautiful children, and they are fun (at times). Many times though it’s not fun at all. It’s, “STOP KICKING THE DOG” OR “QUIT LICKING YOUR BROTHER” OR “HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I TOLD YOU _________?”and another “GET YOUR CLOTHES ON”. I’m sure we all have little sayings that come out almost daily. One day I finally said, I’ve got to change something, I’ve got to put positive things into my kids life, not just ordering and punishing all day. The best thing I did, besides digging into my Bible, was to get the book from Joe Mcgee. It’s called, “God knows how to raise your kids even when you don’t” and this book has so many things to offer I highly recommend it!! The link is below if you are interested!
So here are my top 3 things I want for my kids.
#1 To know the Lord
My most important goal is that they are saved and are going to heaven. On another level though I want them to not just be in church or pray or love God because its what we want them to do, or because it’s believed to be “right”. I want them to make their own independent decisions, and with that I want them to know God personally. Many christian adults go their entire life being saved, going to church and not really knowing God on a deeper more personal level. It’s what our entire lives are built around, without God even the smallest decisions can seem like huge mountains to climb. Every time they have a struggle, big or little, I want their immediate response to go to God for guidance. How as parents can we help our kids with this?
As we know kids learn by seeing and doing. Heck, I learn by seeing and doing. So anytime my husband and I have a problem we pray about it out loud with our kids. Not only that, we ask them to pray for those things for us and with us. Since praying is a normalcy in our house they are more than eager to pray. Don’t ever make fun of how they pray, it’s a serious matter to them and the more confidence they build as a child praying, the easier it will come when they are grown. Here is an example of what our kids pray about:
There is also some random items thrown in each time also, but we want them to pray for anything and everything because there is nothing to big or small that God doesn’t care about! I’ve also noticed something else with our middle son. Anytime something hurts on me or my husband, we might say “oh my head hurts” or “man my back hurts”, if he hears it he’ll come over to us, put his hand on us and ask God to heal us. It’s a short prayer,then he smiles gives us a kiss and off he goes. In his mind it’s done, God is our good doctor and if he’s prayed for it, he knows God will heal us. If only we could have that faith!!!
Matthew 19:14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
#2 To know their gift
Everyone is born with a purpose, no one was an accident in God’s eyes. Each one of us has a unique gift that we can do to make us money as well as make us happy. This is what lots of people are searching for their entire life. They work at a job they hate and go to work miserable. I definitely don’t want that for my kids! I want them to know before leaving our home what they want to do in life, and I want to help them develop that! I don’t want them to waste time and money trying to figure it out and going down a road of debt that really leads to no where.
There are things we can spot when our children are young that we know they are good at. For example, our oldest son, when he was just learning to talk his first word was daddy (like many babies), but it was his second word that is special. Of course as his mother, I wanted it to be mommy, not even close. It was tractor, yes, tractor. At the ripe ole age of about 8 months old he said tractor, and he has been tractor crazy ever since. I didn’t push tractors in front of him, and I can promise you I wasn’t trying to get him to say tractor, I wanted him to say mommy! BUT, that wasn’t what happened and I’m happy because the word tractor perfectly describes our now 5 year old little boy. He now can tell you what brand each different color of tractor is, what size many of them are, like the John Deere’s 4250, 4010, 4020, 3010, 7700, and the list goes on. He knows many of these because he’s around them and he literally studies them. To say that he is infatuated with farm equipment would be an understatement.
Now this could be something that Kyle and I see as cute and fun for a little boy, but it’s really something way bigger. It’s his gift, I don’t know what this might grow into has he gets older, but I have no doubt he will be doing something with farming equipment. It’s part of who he is and something that comes completely natural to him and God knows what He has made our son for and that’s what matters!
I could give you other examples but it might take all day. ; ) Look at your kids, what do they like? What interests them? If you don’t know, ask them (if they are old enough). Spend some time doing what they love, and put those things in front of them. Help them learn more about it. Sometimes that means doing things out of our own comfort zone, and learning also! I grew up on a farm and I can promise you I’ve learned more about tractors and farming equipment in the last five years than my entire life. In our house we have books, movies, pictures, catalogs, magazines, toys, and anything else about tractors and equipment. This isn’t just for his pleasure, this is helping his mind grow. Of course anytime daddy, grandpa or a friend is on a tractor, or working on equipment he’s in the middle of it and learning too.
Do whatever you can to strengthen and guide them with their gift. You might learn a lot in the process! It’s also a great way to make memories with your kids!
Ephesians 1:17-19 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.
#3 To be a servant and a giver
Many might take this wrong, and that’s okay. There are a many times in the bible people didn’t like what Jesus said or did. It’s counter intuitive to our human nature and we immediately want to reactive against it. Just because it’s hard, or goes against our society/culture doesn’t mean it’s not the RIGHT thing to do.
Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.
I feel if they learn to serve others and be a giver at a young age it’s something that will not only bless others, but it will greatly bless them. Nothing is better for me than to give something to someone in need. Honestly, I enjoy giving even if that person doesn’t need anything, it’s just in the act of giving that I enjoy. There are so many scriptures in the bible talking about giving and being a servant. Why is that? Maybe because God knew how hard it would be for people to lay down their own desires or interests and focus on what someone else wants. He even put it in the 10 commandments, Love your neighbor as yourself. Easier said than done though right? It’s not easy loving someone that isn’t very lovable. So for me to make this a priority for my children while they are little is huge. When they are adults and in the real world I pray its something that comes easy for them.
Whats the best way to teach this? As I said early we learn by doing. Children will do what they see us do. So if we are givers and servants its easier for them to be. This might come easy or hard for you as a parent, but I strongly encourage you to make it a priority. As a stay at home mom I can come up with all the excuses in the book to NOT do this like, “I don’t want to load all the kids up to go somewhere” or “We really don’t have the money to make an extra batch of cookies for the neighbor”. I mean really? How lame is that, and no matter how easy or hard it is we can always come up with an excuse. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, or costly. Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest difference.
One thing I enjoy doing is giving away eggs. We have plenty and I know many people around me enjoy farm fresh eggs. It’s a great and easy way for us to bless our neighbors. If you don’t have the money to buy something, look around your house. Is there something that is in good condition you know someone would want or need? Each of my three children have boxes and boxes of clothes that no longer fit them. Now, I will say I have sold a lot of clothes, but just as many as I’ve sold I have given away also. Many of the clothes we have were from friends and family that gave them to us and it was always a HUGE blessing! I enjoyed receiving those clothes in a time when we really needed them. How much more of a blessing it is to give them to a family that needs them also!
Being a servant doesn’t mean just being a rug to everyone around you. You can be a strong independent person and still be a servant. Our kids see us serve each other. Maybe doing things we don’t always want to do, but we do it out of love for the other person. It can be as simple as getting in the floor and helping your kids pick up their toys after you’ve just asked them to pick up their mess. Helping your spouse with dinner or cleaning up after dinner. Helping a stranger take their groceries to the car. Babysitting for a friend for free just so they can have a night out. These are just a few examples of small things we can do for those around us, and they will have a huge impact on our children.
Would you rather have a boss that is hands on working right beside you or one that is just ordering you around but has no clue of the job your actually doing? The best leaders are the ones that are respected by those around them and that respect is earned through serving!
Serving may be simply pulling your brother in a wagon and doing so with a joyful heart.
1 Corinthians 10:24 Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor.
– The Clucky Hen