10.22.2008

Going directly to the Word

I have been convicted recently about showing our children exactly how the Bible instructs us, so that they can begin to grasp that we are following God's word in our obedience rather than just Mom and Dad's. This task has caused me to hesitate somewhat though, as I am not good--in fact, I am downright terrible--at remembering actual scripture references. This is something I am working on currently, but decided that for my children's sake, the best way to teach would be to dive right in (and become really good friends with my Bible's concordance and reference index!)

Today we had a situation where JR disobeyed my instruction. Nothing major, but as a consequence, I made him stop doing his activity entirely. He is a very sensitive child by nature, so, because he wanted to continue so badly, this consequence caused the tears to flow. It was almost lunch time. So I briefly explained his disobedience and the resulting consequence, and then left him alone to calm down while I prepared lunch. It occurred to me what a prime opportunity I had to take him to the Word of God. So, as we sat down to lunch, I grabbed the Bible. I asked him about what he had done wrong, ensured that he understood his actions, and then asked if he understood why I had to discipline him when he disobeyed. He explained to me, "No, mom, obeying is ugly! I can't do that." This statement shocked me and as I delved deeper, I realized that JR had a total misunderstanding and confusion regarding the terms obey and disobey. BTW, these are terms I use regularly, so it had never occurred to me that he didn't understand them. I was so incredibly thankful I had taken the opportunity to talk with him. So after some explaining, defining, and clarifying, I then asked him why he needed to obey. As expected, he answered, "I don't know." I then told him that God gives us instructions that we are to obey. I asked who wrote the Bible, and he answered, "GOD!" So then we went to Exodus 20:12 and Matthew 15:4, and discussed God's instruction that we are to "Honor our mother and father," and the fact that God promises rewards such as a long life if we obey. Then I asked if he understood why I have to discipline if he disobeys. When he didn't seem confident in his answer, we again turned to the Word of God and looked at Proverbs 22:6, "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not turn from it." We discussed the meaning of that verse, and the fact that I have to teach my children, because God instructs me to do so, and I have to obey God. Discipline is how we learn sometimes. I used some examples of disobedient acts he had committed in the past and their resulting consequence, and he quickly seemed to catch on to how he learned through those experiences. We discussed what kind of little boy would treat his parents really ugly. JR replied that an "ugly" boy would. I asked the same about a boy who treats his parents nicely, to which he replied a "nice" boy. We then turned to Proverbs 20:11, "Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right." We discussed different kinds of people and their actions and whether or not they are likely obeying God.

It may have been a little overkill, but it was the first time (I am truly ashamed to confess) that I have approached such a situation in this manner. It really felt good. Furthermore, JR truly seemed to enjoy the conversation, and even seemed to grasp the majority of the concepts we discussed. M was at the table with us the whole time, just listening. I have no idea how much she understood. After our conversation, however, she started her own conversation with JR about good people, bad people, ugly, nice, and spanks, so she obviously picked up a little from it.

Hopefully, as I am getting deeper into the Word myself, as we learn memory verses together, and as I take the kids to the Word for teachable moments, I will quickly get better at it. Some mom's make it seem so easy! Nonetheless, I can't think of a better way to spend a lunch hour, then with my family, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and the Word of God!

1 comment:

Kymberly5 said...

I know I saw "Shepherding a Child's Heart" on your book shelf. Pick it up again -- there are lots of good examples/ideas regarding this philosophy that you are talking about. At all times, we are all worshiping -- the question is, what are we worshiping? God or our own selfish desires? L and I have been talking a lot about being selfish lately, and she seems to understand that that is not what God wants her heart to look like. The book is all about a type of parenting, that, unfortunately, not even most Christian parents embrace. Let's talk about it. Good job. (Another tip -- one we need to do more of -- post index cards with important verses around the house. It will help all of you with memorization.)