As I sat and watched my 9 year old daughter draw this beautiful little masterpiece, I began to think about her little heart. It is so tender and open to learn whatever my husband and I teach her. That is a HUGE responsibility. She takes to heart anything we say or do. She follows our example. She trusts us to be honest with her. She expects us to keep promises we make.
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
~ Deuteronomy 6:7
In my devotions the other day I was reading the verse posted above. It really hit me hard. I am accountable to our Lord to teach the scriptures to my children. He says I am to do it with DILIGENCE.
According to the dictionary the word diligence means:
That means I have to aspire each day to train my children with God's Word. From the time we wake up to the time we go to bed, I am to be teaching my children the scriptures. This is a very difficult task. It can be trying at times. Our flesh cries out to be satisfied. When our children are driving us batty, the last thing we think of is going to the Word for help. Our selfish sides want to yell at them and just get them to listen to what we want them to do. The problem with this is we break their spirits when we lash out in anger. Yes, it gets the behavior to stop momentarily, but in the long run they don't learn anything. They just see mom or dad as a bully. Godly discipline is about training the heart. Instructing our children in love as we teach them right from wrong.
You are probably thinking, but my children aren't willing to listen unless I am yelling. I know exactly where you are coming from. I use to think that too, but to be honest, all my screaming never got to the root of the issue. THE HEART! If our children are acting out, there is usually and underlying issue. Perhaps they feel they are not being heard, or they feel you are not giving them what they need. They want our attention and they are willing to do anything to get it, rather it be positive or negative attention. We need to address the heart of the matter. Stop and ask yourself why your children are not willing to obey you. Contemplate why they do not have respect for you. Could it be that we have been so busy with life, that we have not taught these qualities? In Proverbs 22, we are told that folly is bound in the heart of a child. That means it is our job to teach them how to behave. We do this by training their hearts daily. Taking time to teach them what the right responses are. Giving them the tools they need to make the right decisions in life. They just don't know these things naturally. They were born sinners just like you and I. They need our godly instruction and example to help them learn how to behave properly.
I use to wonder why my children would yell at each other or lash out, well...... GUESS WHAT? They learned that behavior from me. When I was angry or upset, I lashed out. They saw these reactions and they thought if mom acted this way, then it was okay. I never thought about this concept in my early parenting years. I would blame anything but me. Now I know better. I know that if my children are displaying improper reactions, they are just doing what they are taught, and believe me our actions speak way louder than our words. They follow our example. That is why we need to spend time in the Word and with our Heavenly Father each day. He will teach us, so we can teach them.
This is a lot to take in isn't it? I remember thinking I would never get it right. I still have days I struggle with the flesh wanting to scream out, but those days are fewer and fewer. I am learning to pray before I react. I am going to the scriptures instead of friends for parenting advice. I am trying hard to be a godly example for my children to follow. I am constantly reminding myself that if God can train me with patience and love, then I can do that for my children. The key is obeying the quiet promptings of the Holy Spirit. To be willing to say no to the flesh and yes to the Spirit.
I will be praying for you as you endeavor to train your children in godly character and ask that you pray for me as well :)
For more information on Diligence: