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Expecting Change - Issue 174
November 05, 2010
Hi there! ....

This week I talked to a mum’s group that gather in my home about our children’s temperaments. Temperaments, love languages, learning styles etc are all tools that we can use to help us understand our children. The goal though isn’t just in understanding but rather to take this knowledge and use it to help our children succeed in every area of life. If we use this knowledge as an excuse for being rude, lazy or selfish (or any other ‘negative’ behaviour) we are missing the point. God’s moral standards are there for all – regardless of unique bents – the journey to those things or the expression of them may well look different child to child, or family to family; indeed they will look different but we must remember that God’s commands are for all men – regardless of your quirks. So I encourage you to ask yourself – have you been making excuses for your kids and then lowering the standard? (I find myself doing this) We need to keep our eyes on God’s Word, and draw our children towards living by the words written there.

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Expecting Change

When my children do something wrong I expect them to acknowledge that they’ve done wrong, apologise for it, ask for forgiveness, and change. The first three steps are within their ability – their choice, the last though is upto God. It is God’s work in their heart that will enable change to take place in their life. Our children are no different than us when it comes to sin – we sin, and yet of ourselves we cannot stop sinning. It is only through the power of Jesus, resident in the Holy Spirit that enables us to walk in God’s ways.

Therefore, dealing with sin issues in our children’s lives has to include God otherwise we are just training our children to be good people. They have to learn that the things we are concerned about, the things we are correcting them for are things that are outside of God’s desire for them. (We have to check with ourselves that this is our standard for expectations and correction!) Therefore, if the children have stepped outside of God’s desire for them it is between them and God.

I believe that before our children have a personal relationship with Jesus that we stand there showing them God’s ways. God tells us to teach our children His ways – His ways include being kind, loving, putting others first. His ways include confessing our sin, and asking for forgiveness (1 John 1:9). Once our children have recognised Jesus as their saviour, they need to do this (confess and repent) for themselves, they may need us to help them, prompt them, encourage them, but ultimately they need to respond to God about their own heart issues.

The things that stop this from happening are:

  1. We don’t recognise our children as being able to do this (maybe we haven’t taught them or maybe it is time for us to step back and let them have a personal relationship with their God.)
  2. We like to deal with it ourselves and we do this by a lecture (it feeds our sense of control, that we are ‘doing’ something about our children. Bottom line is though if it is a sin issue in their life it is really God’s role to ‘do something’!)

So as my children do the wrong thing – according to God’s Word – they may speak harshly, they may nag (lack grace), they may hold a grudge, or do something selfishly – I need to encourage them to go to God and get their hearts right as well as to get things right with the person they have hurt. True, there may need to be a consequence to help them see what is in their heart – but ultimately they have to deal with it between God and themselves. We need to step aside and let God.

So if the sense of “I’ve gotta do something” takes hold of our heart we can do 3 things:

  1. Take a break – tell our child you have to go and pray about it. (If you find yourself in lecture mode – stop, even mid-sentence, and go and pray – get your own heart right.)
  2. Come back and tell them to go and pray about it and get it right with God themselves. If they are not old enough to do this, do it with them, showing them how to get their hearts right before the Lord. (confess and repent)
  3. to teach our children to now go and walk in God’s grace, to accept his forgiveness and to worship him in all that they do. This will bring about lasting heart change because Jesus is involved.

Do our children know how to talk to him, do they know that he is with them wherever they go and that this should affect the choices they make - what they see, hear, touch and do? It is only when Jesus reigns in their heart that they will want to change. It is only when they communicate with Jesus daily, moment by moment, that his love will begin to shine through in their daily actions. This makes me think that we should focus more on teaching our children to walk with Jesus, in his presence moment by moment, instead of just bringing Jesus into the equation when they do something wrong.

I am reminded that Jesus’ commandment to us – the greatest commandment – was ‘to love [him] with all our heart, soul and strength and to love others…’ Sometimes I think we get it around the wrong way and teach our kids to do the right thing – instead of simply loving Jesus with all they’ve got.

With Jesus involved in their lives – change will happen!

Have you ever visited my blog?

Daily Opportunities Teach Writing The key to writing lessons in our house is that our children write from subject matter they are already learning.

A Connection between Narrations and Thinking A narration is more than a retell it is an important part of the learning process.

Reading Books isn’ t all it’s cracked up to be There is more to learning that just reading a book.

Internet Reading Links to different things I’ve been reading over the last week; things that have encouraged, inspired or simply interested me.

Discovering the Heart, Mind and Soul of Christmas This workshop style e-book helps you decide how to celebrate Christmas with your family and keep Christ as the center of all that you do.

Blending Life with Lessons e-book - Does your everyday life challenge your homeschool ideas? This is my journey as I discover that it is possible to disciple my children in today's busy lifestyle.

Heart Focus Parenting book/e-book - A heart focused parent will keep their attention on their child's heart for God, instead of on external behaviours.

My Sitemap is a quick reference to all you will find on Lifestyle-Homeschool. I encourage you to have a browse around!

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Until next week

Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!

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