But, as they get older, they often struggle with the pros and cons of making a decision based on what their parents say is right as opposed to what they want to do.
It’s important to teach our children to make wise choices because it is the right thing to do. Here is an excellent post from Sally Clarkson. It is taken from her summer series of 24 Family Ways. This is #23.
“I used to say to my children over and over again, “Daddy and I cannot make you into great people. You have the power to determine how strong you become by how you exercise your will. We can train you and teach you how to be good and how to be righteous, but you have to decide to obey, and you have to decide that you want to become a person of godly character. God made you such a wonderful child, so I hope you will decide to do your best to become all that you can be. It is in your hands. It is yours to decide to respond, but I am praying and hoping that you will.
When we appeal to our children’s hearts for excellence and choices of good behavior, then we are giving them the will and desire to be excellent for themselves. Their desire comes from within and their motivation is from the heart. But if we train them behaviorally by always forcing them to do what we want them to do because they might get a spanking or some other kind of threatened discipline, their motivation is to avoid spanking or harshness, not to please God or to please their parents by having a good heart and responding in obedience. My desire as a mom is that my children would internalize all the precepts we have taught them over the years. I want them to love God and obey Him because they earnestly love Him and desire to please Him. This foundation will carry them throughout all the decision-making processes they will face for the rest of their lives.”
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I remember the days, and they were numerous, when my children were young, and I was frustrated by all of the interruptions, and the little, seemingly unimportant things I had to do, when I wished I could be doing ‘bigger’ more important things that had eternal value.
Unfortunately, it took me years to understand that the interruptions and little things were really the big things.
“I think I find most help in trying to look at all the interruptions and hindrances to work that one has planned out for oneself as discipline, trials sent by God to help one against getting selfish over one’s work. Then one can feel that perhaps one’s true work – one’s work for God – consists in doing some trifling haphazard thing that has been thrown into one’s day. It is not a waste of time, as one is tempted to think, it is the most important part of the work of the day – the part one can best offer to God. After such a hindrance, do not rush after the planned work, trust that the time to finish it will be given sometime, and keep a quiet heart about it.” Annie Keary 1825 – 1879
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