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
Now that my youngest are all teens, I can look back and see that 3 things that I did, seemed to help them transition nicely into teens and young adults. I would highly recommend them…
I take no credit, other than taking the time to do the first recommendation…
1. PRAY for your children. On purpose. Be intentional about it. The minute my children were born, my husband and I dedicated them to God and started what would become daily prayer. Most of my heavy duty prayer time occurred in the wee, early hours of the day when I was nursing a baby. But, now that my children are older, I try to pray for each child throughout the day. I pray Ps. 91, and Eph. 1: 16-23 and 3:14-20 over them, and any special needs that they have.
The teen years have their moments. Part of the reason is that they are teens. A larger part is that they are figuring out who they are and what they believe. I accepted Jesus into my heart when I was an adult. Coming from a Jewish home, I knew nothing about Christianity and assumed that if a child became a Christian at an early age, he would never waver and his life would be pretty close to perfect. I didn’t realize that each child has to claim their faith as their own, and not because we, their parents, said so. That process was a little disconcerting for me. But, each of our children remain true to God, and are growing in their faith. Prayer is powerful and effective.
I understand that children aren’t puppets. We have all been created with free will. I also understand that not all teens seemingly remain true to their faith, despite the prayers of their parents. There was never a time that Jesus said to quit praying, no matter what we see or don’t see. Our prayers are never wasted and they never expire. In the two parables in which Jesus talks about prayer, His point is to persevere…no matter what.
2.Teach your children to learn how to be a friend, and start with their siblings. I figured that if I could teach my children how to get along with each other, they could use the same skills with people of all ages outside of our home. I bought books to read to them about how to be a friend. We read and memorized verses from the Bible about love and forgiveness, and we practiced how to deal with difficult people and/or difficult situations. Visiting people in nursing homes and hospitals, and volunteering as a family in our church nursery and Sunday School classes also helped.
When the children became tweens and teens, they were more comfortable in new and potentially awkward situations and with ‘new’ people because they had learned some necessary skills when they were younger.
Some of my favorite resources were purchased from a company called Doorposts.
3. Affirm each of your children EVERY day. I have already posted about the power of positive words and words of affirmation. My goal was not to create prideful, conceited children. My goal was to look at each of my children as God views them, precious but flawed and in need of a Savior, and encourage them when I saw them exhibit a godly trait. If I saw a child being diligent I praised him, and explained why. Positive reinforcement goes a LONG WAY in shaping and developing the heart and spirit of a child.
I would LOVE to read how you raised YOUR 5 – 10 year old!
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