Saturday, April 28, 2012

Predictable Or Normal?

I have been studying my Sunday school lesson the past few days. We are learning about the phases of corruption in the heart of teens. It is scary to know the spiritual attacks on our children are a constant war. Battle after battle, Satan wants nothing more than distance between our families and God. The lure of sin is always attractive in the beginning. What seems harmless will slowly adapt the spiritual lives of our kids. Over time, what once was clearly wrong becomes more and more acceptable. I am beginning to really understand the importance of foundation.

My children are young and we are not fighting the teen battle yet. I know how I'm raising my kids today will have a direct impact on the teen years. As a former soldier, I often find myself making military comparisons with daily life. Why do we have the strongest national defense in the world? One reason is how our troops train. They are prepared and equipped for battle. We wouldn't parachute our service members behind enemy lines with a water gun. In a sense, that's what we are doing with our kids when we offer them no spiritual foundation. When they are not taught to consistently pray and hide Gods word in their heart we fail. One of the best things we can do for our kids is prepare them for battle. The battle is a sure thing. It is dangerously foolish to think otherwise. Failing to act is failure.

We parents often fall in the trap that it's just a "phase". We accept their increasing bad attitudes, anger, and bitterness as acceptable. I have learned this week that no Christian, of any age, should remain in a miserable state for a long period of time. This is a warning sign to parents. The physical signs on the face and actions of our children is direct evidence of a serious internal, spiritual problem-a problem that needs our attention. These so called "phases" are not normal for a believer, yet they are predictable. We should expect these problems and then deal with the issues. I am learning this daily. The world tells us they will grow out of the disobedience and disrespect. The world's view is much different than the absolute truth of what the Bible teaches us what our family should be. It is becoming increasingly more difficult to see Christ-likeness in society. More than ever we need to work hard to seek truth from our creator. It is not normal for families to live in the same house and rarely spend time in the same room. It is not normal for our kids to listen to music or watch TV that is not God-honoring. It is not normal for our kids to dress in a way that is not modest. It is not normal for my sons and daughters to disrespect me. It is not normal to miss church. These are all worldly acceptable and even predictable, but to the Christian parent should never be accepted as normal.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Making It Count

One of the best things about homeschooling is you can make your own schedule. Your not confined to the time requirements of the county school system. You can teach math at 8:00 PM at the dining room table. You can teach about Jesus and pray in class. More and more I am grateful that we are able to teach our kids at home.

Unfortunately, we have not been able to fully take advantage of this freedom lately. We have 2 foster children and one is required to attend public school. Prayerfully, we will soon adopt these beautiful kids and return to what is "normal" for our family. Our normal is way different than many other families version.

One thing we generally do is take our vacation while other kids are still in school. It is so nice to enjoy the pleasure of smaller crowds. This year we had to vacation during our counties spring break. Although it is not completely ideal, any vacation is a good one. This one has definitely been a great time. We spent our week at The Smoky Mountain Christian Village in Pigeon Forge, TN. It has been wonderful to relax in an alcohol-free environment with like minded believers. I think we will be back next year for sure and I would definitely recommend to others.

The other night after the kids were asleep I sat and thought about the day. I thought about how important it was to make these times really count. I realized the quality of our time is far more important than the quantity of places we visit. We parents look at vacation week as a checklist. We want to get the most for our money and for our children to have as many experiences as we can cram into the week. The funny thing is our kids mostly enjoyed the low key events that were free, like sitting around together each night before bed watching "Little House On The Prairie". They found more excitement looking for turtles in the pond and swimming than visiting Dollywood.

I learned a lot this trip. I learned it is about the relationships more than anything. Just like with Christ. Christians need to comply with obedience, but there is so much more to it. It is about the personal relationship. The same is true with our children. They need the discipline and need all that goes with that. They especially need us, all of us. Not the leftovers and not just on vacation. We need to have our children's heart individually. I hope to make every day count, because we don't get these days back. We have the opportunity to make life long memories and influence how our kids will value their children.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

We Fail When They Don't

Spring is in the air. It is such a beautiful time of year. Everybody seems to be spending more time outdoors. There is nothing like the smell of freshly cut grass and hot dogs cooking on the grill. The kids can begin to burn up all the stored energy from a long winter. It's symbolic of a new beginning or a rebirth. God allows us to see so much of his beautiful creation this time of year.

The warm weather ushers in Spring sports. Our children are kicking soccer balls and hitting baseballs. Teamwork is being taught. I can remember playing Teeball as a young boy and how exciting it was to have a uniform and play an organized sport. In the past few years I enjoyed seeing some of my children play soccer.

Youth sports have changed a lot since I was little. It seems some parents are obsessed with their kids winning. You often see the worst in parents on the sideline in how they treat officials, their kids, and other parents. Our kids will learn more from our example than our verbal instruction. In an effort to calm parents, and protect the feelings of kids, some leagues no longer keep score. I find this to be a shame. It is easy to be a winner, but how will our children know how to deal with loss if they never experience it? In a world where all must be fair, they are being short-changed in the long run. How will children be able to one day deal with not receiving a promotion or being rejected in a relationship? It is our job as parents to prepare our kids for adulthood and not some make believe world where they always win? In the end, we fail our children when we don't allow them to fail.