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Start as you want to Continue - Live life with your kids - Issue 078
November 07, 2008
Hi there! ....

This week:

We have had an interesting week, with a balance between book work and opportunities that have taken us away from our desks. One of the highlights for this week was listening to the childrenís final speeches (we have been doing a public speaking course throughout the year with the older homeschoolers). This speech assignment was an apologetics speech Ė defending an issue of their faith. It was like sitting through 7 mini sermons! They all did very well. We were very encouraged to see the scope of this opportunity and intend to keep this type of assignment (apologetics) happening next year.

Next year!! Yes, I am starting now to plan towards the subjects that we will incorporate for next year. Not a lot changes in our homeschooling from year to year but I do review each area of our childrenís education. (See our Discipleship Scope and Sequence) I donít want our family holiday to be taken up with planning so Iím starting now and hope most of it will be done by Christmas.

Live life with your kids!

Be a Deliberate Parent
Start as you want to Continue

Consistency is the most offered advice given to parents. I am sure you have been challenged with the need to be consistent many times yourself. But when we talk of consistency we tend to be talking about the details of parenting; to be consistent with first time obedience, to be consistent with bedtimes or how and when we correct our children and so forth. These are the details of parenting.

I am reminded of a parable Jesus told about the man who built his house upon the sand and when the rains came it washed away. Compared to the man who built his house upon the rock Ė it stood strong in times of trouble. Is your house, your family, built on God and His principles?

When a builder builds a house, he lays the foundation which then affects the shape, the size, the purpose, of the building. He doesnít lay the foundation and then build a different shape house, following different plans, no, he had a vision of the house, he lay the foundation and he kept on going towards that vision. This follows true with our family as well. We need to have a vision for our family, lay the foundation and build true to that foundation.

Some questions for you to ponder:

  • Is there a consistency between the big picture and the details of parenting?
  • Are the decisions, the actions you take today true to the foundation that you have laid?
  • Are you doing the things today that will develop the fruit in your children that you want to see in years to come?
As we make daily decisions we need to be aware that the things we allow our children to do today create an appetite in them. Are we creating healthy appetites that will empower them or appetites that will control them in years to come?

There are four areas of life that I have seen how important it is to start off as you want to continue. Iím going to share my thoughts about these four areas, not to establish a rule that you should establish in your family, but rather to share aspects of our family that you may begin to think through other areas that face your family. The thing that needs to be remembered, even as you read these examples, is the question Ė

Are the things that I do today
leading to and supportive of
the things that I want tomorrow

Our Day
It is so important to wake up on the right side of the bed. I remember my mum waking us up with this ultra-cheery voice. On the one hand it grated and yet on the other hand it set the tone for our family mornings. We were to be cheery and well mannered towards each other. We can set the tone for the whole day by how we greet our children and how our children greet us. Starting our day, as we want to continue, is a key in many areas of parenting. Another example would be our routine. It is much harder to pull in the boundaries and stick to a routine after a morning of wafting. But, if we start our day with purpose, we will be more likely to continue with purpose.

Giving instruction
When we act on that first whinge of the day, when we respond to that first bad attitude or wrong choice first thing in the morning, we set the standard for the day. You are telling your children, those things are not acceptable. Often that is the only reminder children need, but if they continue throughout the day, you have drawn the line; they know that you will deal with it. The hardest thing about dealing with the first hint of attitude is that it means being on top of our game ourselves first thing in the morning. We need to be up and ready for them, so that we can begin our training right from the start of the day.

Issues of Modesty
If we want our children to choose modest clothes as teenagers, we need to give them modest clothes as toddlers. For example I donít want my teenager daughter wearing a bikini (this is a family decision) therefore she never wore a bikini as a toddler. A bikini on a toddler maybe cute, and yet we are creating an appetite for a particular style of clothing that we donít want to continue in years to come. Creating an appetite for modesty is beyond just the clothes we allow our children to wear Ė we need to consider many aspects of our life and the things we allow our children (boys and girls) to do and the affects on their long term standard of modesty. We need to start as we want to continue (or finish!)

The area of Entertainment
Yes, we need to start out with a standard of movies, books, music and computer games etc that are consistent with our family values but there is another issue to consider as well if we are to start as we wish to continue. We need to ensure that we have set boundaries around our children, when they are young, that builds in them the attitude that we want them to have about their recreational life. Some of the boundaries we have set around our children are

  • they have to ask for permission to close their bedroom door
  • they have to ask if they want to spend time by themselves
  • they have to ask to play a music cd on the family stereo
  • they donít have a cd player in their bedroom

None of these things are wrong, and yet, I could see each one of these areas to potentially create in my children, in their teen years in particular, a desire for independence, moodiness, and an unawareness of otherís needs. The truth is, that most times our children ask for these things they are given an affirmative, it isnít about restricting them but rather teaching them our family standard of availability and consideration.

In all these areas of life, and many more Iím sure, we need to have our eyes, not just on the physical or practical issues that face us every day but rather have our eyes on our childrenís hearts. What are we allowing to take root there? Will that help them or hinder them to be the person God has created them to be? This takes parenting to a different level. It is not just about allowing or not allowing our children to do things. It is about knowing the foundation on which we want to build our lives, knowing where we want to go and being focused enough to keep our actions today purposeful for the results tomorrow.

Are the things that I do today
leading to and supportive of
the things that I want tomorrow

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Until next week

Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!

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About Live Life with your kids Newsletter I know homeschool mums are busy with lots to read, so I have divided my newsletter into four sections and you will receive one section a week; short but regular newsletters!
  • Be a Deliberate Parent Ė Encouragement to continue in purposeful and intentional parenting.
  • Family Life is a Resource for Education Ė Spotlights on a particular aspect of family life so we can see the natural opportunities available to us in educating our children.
  • Character Education Ė Each month we focus on a different character trait Ė The newsletter will include application for Mums, as well as seeing character training opportunities in everyday life.
  • A Homeschool Thought Ė Discussing homeschool issues

The newsletter will also keep you updated with all additions to Lifestyle-Homeschool

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