This post is day 23 in this years 31 day writing challenge. The prompt today is WORK. I went well past time on this post, but the topic is important. It’s the future of our children important.
Children don’t just learn to be strong christian adults by happenstance. It is not easy to raise god fearing children in the culture around us today. It takes work. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I have 3 children ages 21-16 whose behavior and character are often complemented. Many parents point to the Proverbs verse “train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it” as a promise to Christian parents. I don’t agree. It is a premise not a promise.
I believe Deuteronomy 6 is a much more valuable perspective. God is the same today, yesterday and forever so it still has validity for us today. I believe it mimics what God does with us. He gives us grace to diligently repeat over and over the things we “should have” already learned. He shows us compassion and slow angered love abounding in mercy and compassion as we walk this Christian life. We can do similar as we teach our children about him.
I like how the New Living Translation puts it:
Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.
I also like the way the ESV begins: Teach them diligently.
- a diligent worker
We are to repeat the words diligently that God has given to us again and again to our children. Again, this isn’t something that just happens. We are to work at teaching them how to love their neighbor as themselves by not allowing them to tattle, or to get others in “trouble.” We teach our children how to have compassion for one another, to be kind and to spur each other on to good works. That’s what we should be doing as adults why would we expect to do differently with our children.
The truth is Shane and I got a wake up call recently. We see behaviors and attitudes in our youngest that we’re not happy with. The truth is, we’ve not been diligent in our training. The truth is our children are our responsibility to train. We are the ones that will ultimately give an answer for the way we raised them. What we did with our three older children, taking into account their individual personalities, worked well so far and I expect our 3 older kids will continue growing in their relationships with their Savior.
As for our sweet Tabby, there are probably some changes in her near future. Probably some changes she won’t like but parenting isn’t a popularity contest and her eternal destiny is worth a little push back. She needs a little more personalized attention and diligent instruction at home and in church. We know from experience that she will probably end up loving and appreciating that specialized attention. She desires to be treated more “grown up” and she will be.
I chose Children of the Heavenly Father for the hymn today. I did not learn it until it was one of the hymns of the month in our Ambleside Online curriculum a few years ago. It is a beautiful and delightful hymn written by a prolific Swedish hymn writer named Caroline V. Sandell-Berg and translated into English by Ernst W. Olson. According to an article I found, their is some discrepancy as to when and why this hymn was written. Many commentaries state that it was written after her father had tragically died by drowning, but other sources say that it was written several years prior to his death. The same article states that it has become the baptismal hymn of choice in the Methodist churches. Below the video are all the verses.
Children of the heav’nly Father
Safely in His bosom gather;
Nestling bird nor star in Heaven
Such a refuge e’er was given.
God His own doth tend and nourish;
In His holy courts they flourish;
From all evil things He spares them;
In His mighty arms He bears them.
Neither life nor death shall ever
From the Lord His children sever;
Unto them His grace He showeth,
And their sorrows all He knoweth.
Though He giveth or He taketh,
God His children ne’er forsaketh;
His the loving purpose solely
To preserve them pure and holy.
Lo, their very hairs He numbers,
And no daily care encumbers
Them that share His ev’ry blessing
And His help in woes distressing.
Praise the Lord in joyful numbers:
Your Protector never slumbers.
At the will of your Defender
Ev’ry foeman must surrender.