If you’re like me, you can think of a million things you’d like to have time to do. Worthwhile things, too. I’d like to learn to play a musical instrument, be more involved in politics, be more active in my church, and read a lot of good books. (Some of which have been on my shelf for years). Many times, I’ve thought how I could improve myself if I only had time. But God reminds me that He is improving me through the very common responsibilities that I think are keeping me from my chosen pursuits.
God knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows what challenges, responsibilities and opportunities to bring into our lives as He builds a life curriculum for each of us. It is when we kick against the pricks and are constantly looking for something else more fulfilling that we miss fulfillment. I used to think that I was wasting my potential by not being in a full-time ministerial position. These days, I’m coming to see that there’s no more important ministry than the stewardship of little lives. We moms and dads hold the keys to future generations. We mustn’t get bogged down in the daily grind and forget to smell the roses, on one hand, and revel in the prospect of future achievement on the other.
There will be different seasons in the lives of our children, we’ve found. There was a time when we were living in our little yellow house in Concord and had two, then three, then four little boys. I was young and eager, wanting to get into full-time ministry work and leaving no stone unturned looking for God’s big opportunity for me. I was eager to get into the Lord’s work and out of painting. My wife stuck close to her home and children while my eyes were on the ends of the earth.
This series of posts is excerpted from the book, Yes, They’re All Ours and were written by Rick Boyer in 1996…..
If anybody ever invents a time machine, I want the first one off the assembly line. I’ll have a thousand things I want to do. I’ll explore history and find out what really happened on a number of occasions. I’ll return to my childhood and try to make peace with some of the painful things that happened to me and revisit the happy times at Granddad’s farm with my cousins. But the very first thing I’d do, is go back to when my children were little.
Oh, what I’d give to see my big boys small again. I used to get bored sometimes with pulling them in the wagon or pushing them on the swings, but I’d give a lot to be able to do it again. I don’t think I’d ever tire of it. To carry them on my shoulders again; to tickle them ‘til they screamed. To have nobody around who knew that Dad wasn’t perfect, that is, except Mom. To be able to hug and kiss my boys without embarrassing them.
First, let’s look at what God says love will look like:
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does notact unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.Love never fails;
What might that look like on a daily basis?
Here are 12 practical ways we can communicate love to our children- whether they be toddlers or teens:
Question:How do you get your children to have interests? Mine just want to play video games all the time.
Answer: First of all, you really need to limit the time you allow your kids to use video games. It’s just too habit forming and it’s been proven to stunt creativity. If they just aren’t allowed much time to do it, they will begin to develop other interests.
Get some interesting reading material to have on hand. Plant good books around the house where your kids will easily find them and see if they will pick one up on their own. (sometimes kids are more apt to try something if they feel it was their idea!). Take them to the library and encourage them to explore topics that interest them and meet your approval. If your child doesn’t love to read, give him access to great audiobooks that will take him to new worlds, meet new people, introduce new ideas and concepts. So many of the great thinkers and inventors in American history were avid readers. (such as Benjamin Franklin!) It’s no coincidence!
In my homeschooling journey of 37 years, I learned a LOT and changed the way I approached education as well. When I started out, I had a pretty traditional approach to education and never questioned that what was in the book was what my child needed to know.
Here are some conclusions I came to and things I would have done differently from the start had I known.
Don’t feel like I have to teach everything that is in the book or finish every book.
Don’t be afraid to scrap a book mid-year and try something else. Some books that worked well for most of my kids, just frustrated others. What works well for one doesn’t necessarily work well for the next child. Kids just learn differently. If you’re rolling along and find something included in the book that you don’t think your child will ever need, feel free to skip over it. Or if you’re in mid-year and the book you’ve chosen just isn’t working, try another. It’s okay. It’s not only okay, it’s the wise thing to do.(Here are 5 tips for choosing curriculum)
Don’t assume that a government school course of study is best for my child
I just automatically thought that government schools had studied kids and knew what was best to teach each child at each level/age. That just isn’t true! You know your child so intensely. Don’t be afraid to follow your instinct, or better yet, God’s leading for each individual child.
Don’t hold my child to standards of “where they’re supposed to be” or hold them back because they are learning too quickly
Here are some fun resources you can use to teach your kids about the truth of the resurrection:
Easter Sticker Book-A delightful sticker book retelling the Easter story! The Easter Sticker Book sensitively depicts the story of Easter, from Palm Sunday through to the good news of Jesus’ resurrection, with clear and simple text and bright colorful stickers. Featuring sixty reusable stickers, children interact with the Easter story by searching for the correct stickers to complete each illustration.
A classic bestseller presented in a new size with fresh, bright illustrations. Here is the story of Easter told in about 200 words that are simple enough for a toddler to hear. From Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem through the crucifixion and the Resurrection, the Easter story is presented in its most traditional form. Vibrant illustrations paired with classic text bridge the connection between the biblical story and today’s Easter celebration. This book is unsurpassed as an introduction to the significance of Easter. Ages 2-5.
How can you instill the practice of studying God’s Word into your children? Well, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. But, let me share with you what we did with our own children….
From the time our children were babes in the bassinet, we played Bible audios for them at sleep times. It would be a comfort to them and help them to settle down to turn on their Bible CD’s. Pretty early on, Rick recorded audios for them and explained difficult words and meanings to them which was actually teaching them how to meditate on God’s Word. This also served to show the kids that God’s Word was practical and interesting to listen to.
We read Bible stories to our little people and had a Friday night Bible quiz each week asking questions from our reading during the week. We would reward them for answering questions, and it encouraged them to be attentive during reading times- to want to “pay attention on purpose.”
Now here is an idea for Christmas gifts that will give MANY hours of creative play all year long!
Dress-up has been one of our kids’ very favorite pastimes. We always rewarded our kids for Scripture memory, and a couple of them chose costumes for Bible memory rewards. It’s a great way to role play being useful adults. Melissa and Doug offers a wide assortment to choose from, and we used many of these.
We also like historical costumes. It was not uncommon to hear our kids playing “Washington Crossing the Delaware” or “Sgt. York at the Battle of the Argonne”.
On Thanksgiving, the kids would always dress up, some as Indians and some as Pilgrims. They’d act out the first Thanksgiving.