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Choose your Battles - Issue 176
November 19, 2010
Hi there! ....

This week has been a mix of visiting with friends (old and new), lessons on perimeter, Samson, Dependability, and Rivers. We’ve had time to sew, cook, mow the lawn, play the piano, clean and tidy. The kids had fun at youth group and Josh went to his first political party AGM. We’ve dealt with attitudes and wrong choices and we’ve had hugs and moments of silliness and laughter. I hope you can look back over your week and instead of seeing all the things you didn’t do – see all the things you did do together.

Live life with your kids!

If you are an Australian reader I would appreciate you reading this special request.

Choosing your Battles

One of the things you learn as a parent is to choose your battles but sometimes I think this concept becomes our very excuse. We won’t choose this battle today. We won’t choose this battle either. Well, when will you choose the battle – it has to be fought eventually and the longer you leave it the bigger the ‘enemy’ becomes. Now by enemy I don’t mean the child I mean the issue in the child’s heart – and it grows each time it has a victory. For whenever a heart issue has the opportunity to express itself without being corrected it grows. These heart issues are things like: a desire to choose for himself, a desire to be right, a desire to for his needs to be met first, a desire to be in control and boss of his own life. Do you see those things in your children? Are you choosing to take them on?

Lately I’ve been reminded that life is all about choices. And that applies to us as parents as well. When our child shows such selfishness what will our choice be? Will we let it go (under the guise of fighting it another day) or will we take it on? Just as we teach our children, there are consequences for our choices – when we make the right choices, positive consequences (the Bible calls these blessings), and when we make the wrong choices, negative consequences (the Bible calls these curses – which is the removal of blessings).

What are the blessings of obeying God’s word as a parent?

  • Children rise up and call you blessed
  • Children walk in the way
  • But… bottom line is that God will reward us in heaven for being faithful with the task He has given us – I don’t know what that reward will be, but I know God is faithful to his promise and he has promised a reward to the faithful.

The reason why making these good and right choices is so hard for us as a parent is we are struggling with our own selfishness too. We don’t want to be inconvenienced, we don’t want to be embarrassed, we don’t want take the time – simply put - we don’t want to!! And yet – we need to. We should never be too busy or occupied to train our children’s hearts – that needs to be our number one focus.

We are currently studying Dependability which means to carry out what we said we would do even when it is hard or as Character First puts it – even if it means unexpected sacrifice. Sometimes we have to change our plans, we have to be inconvenienced or embarrassed if we are going to carry out our tasks as a parent. Are we dependable parents – can our children rely on us to set the standard, to live by it and to help them live by it?

Fighting heart battles isn’t just about instructing (or giving punishments or consequences) it is about the end product – a changed heart. If that is not what we work towards, then we are just going through motions of being a parent. The one thing we as parents do not have control over is our child’s heart. We cannot make it change. It is their choice. Think about it – can anyone make you change your heart? No, the Holy Spirit will be at work on your heart, prompting, guiding, instructing, encouraging but it is your choice to listen, it is your choice to follow through. God has given us this choice. It is the same for our children. As a parent our role is to set the scene so to speak, to give them opportunity to know what God’s word says (as the standard for their behaviour), to give them time to reflect on their behaviour, to understand the choices at hand and to help them hear the promptings of the Holy Spirit. It is of course also our responsibility to guide them through the consequences of their choices so they will make better choices next time. But we cannot change their heart for them.

Now this all being said there are seasons in a child’s life where every action seems to need parental correction and guidance. If we were to take on every battle we would exhaust ourselves and end up being inconsistent and losing anyway so that isn’t a good battle strategy. We do need to choose our battles – don’t get me wrong – the thing is though – are we? Many good ideas – such as choosing our battles – can be over used and in doing so becomes a weakness.

We need to know ahead of time what are the major issues/concerns in our child’s life and how are we going to train them in that area. There will be time enough, we don’t have to fight everything today, but we do need to be working on something. This is what choosing your battles is about – not avoiding heart issues, but rather knowing the important ones and being very specific in helping your children grow in that area.

Let me encourage you this weekend to take time and consider what is the major heart issues for each of your children. Then think how you are going to teach and train in those areas. These are your battles – choose them daily!

(You can read more about heart issues in my Heart Focus Parent ebook/book)

Have you ever visited my blog?

Lesson Prep – Though I keep lesson prep to a minimum these days I do have a plan when I teach my children.

Life after FIAR – Five in a Row has had such a big impact on our homeschool journey and even though we no longer use it – it is still having it’s impact.

Why I use chore rosters – Chore rosters are there for more reasons that just getting the chores done – they help teach character issues.

Internet Reading – links to some of the things that I’ve found helpful or encouraging this past week.

Guest Post over at Homeschoolblogger Company Porch: Vocab of Geography – finding a way to teach geography in and around our regular days.

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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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!
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