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Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Is it bad that I pay my children to read the Bible?  I give them the money once they’ve read it through.  25c per book.  The oldest, age 14 and 12, have completed it once.  The 2nd time they go through it they have to take notes so that it’s not just speed reading.  (My oldest read it in 3 months straight through, and that’s okay, but I want him to really pay attention next time). 

I do read to the kids but have not been consistent about this.  I know as a kid I was NOT read the bible at home.  I lived with an aunt and uncle for four years, and they read those blue Bible Stories books you see at the doctor’s office, they must have had the set.  When I moved back in with my dad at age 10 I didn’t even get the Bible stories, so my kids definitely are ahead of me at the same age but I want to do more.  They do memorize verses for a bible club, we’ve worked on those together week after week, singing verses in the car and repeating them.  I know I could work more with them.  I just hope they are getting the Word in deep. 

We speak about God often, and when in a discipline situation, we talk about the behavior, if it is wrong or right, and why.  We do use the word “sin” and the child asks the parent or other child for forgiveness and then goes to pray about things with God, confessing sins and asking forgiveness.  When I do something sinful, (like react in great anger or speak to my children in a way that is out of line) I make sure to ask for forgiveness too.

My husband and I pray with the kids daily.  Daily.  Meals, before bed, and at other opportune times.  When we read scripture, we often include prayer.

I know I could do better, I could bring prayer and the Word in more.  I hope I am not neglectful of my duty to really teach my children about Christ, the Father, and the Holy Spirit.  They learn a lot at our church, but I believe it is best for us as parents to teach our children the truth in the Bible.

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The best way to prepare and protect my children from wolves in the church is to do what I need to anyway.  I should be helping them seek Christ.  I should be giving them and understanding and respect for God’s word.  So, what can I do?  No matter what church I attend, or how great the teaching is for children, my husband and I can teach them at home.   It is actually required of us as parents to train them up in the way they should go.

For us, though we’ve been less than consistent, it means reading scripture to them and discussing it or explaining it as we go along.  It means praying with them daily.  It means setting up times in their day to study the bible on their own.  It means using teachable moments to turn their focus on Christ and what is acceptable behavior.  It means asking forgiveness when we’ve wronged them, and modeling grace to them.  It means disciplining but also giving mercy when they really deserve the heat at times.  It means being the kind of parents God wants us to be. 

If there is false teaching in the church, a good sign you’re doing what you are supposed to with your children would be them telling you before you get to point it out to them.  That didn’t happen in our case, but once we did begin to ask what was going on that they were uncomfortable with in church, they were able to give very amazing answers.  They mentioned the use of entertainment rather than teaching, the lack of depth when the bible story time was given, the behavior of preacher’s kids (funny, this one is a long time issue anyway), the mention of things irregular in prayer etc.  Once we started attending a church with expository teaching, our kids were able to say they actually learned more in the last 9 months there than they had at the other church for seven years.  They could point to the hymns, scripture reading in Sunday school, and the inclusion of children in the regular service as examples of why they knew more.  They also stated that sermons in the former church provided memories of the illustrations, jokes, and stories, but they couldn’t seem to remember the biblical messages.  For example, a pastor spoke about transformation in the “Red Zone.”  He did quote scripture, but what my kids recall was that he spoke of touchdowns in the end zone.  This is years later.  They cannot recall anything biblical about that.  Now they know they are reading in John and can recall the events recorded and the reasons they are important.  Big change. 

Best way to protect my children, teach them the bible.  Plain and simple.

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I personally believe, as Christians who would mourn with someone who lost a family member, we should also make sure to remember the littlest of people.   Mothers and fathers of babies who die in the womb,  just before birth, or soon after, are often put through the “just get over it” phase.  The earlier in pregnancy the baby dies, or if there are disabilities such as Down’s syndrome or Trisomy 18, there is often a justification for shortening the mourning period. 

I believe there is a time to mourn, and also that we do feel a deep sadness for the chidlren we do not get to actually meet because God set eternity in our hearts.  Maybe I am making a leap here, and please let me know if this is not a right thought, but I do believe we were not actually meant to be apart in death.  Not actually.  So, it’s a natural state to mourn our losses. 

I personally see grief as a gift.  When I had a baby die in the womb at 16 weeks, something discovered at a regular OB appointment, I mourned deeply.  I decided I would allow myself to mourn.  I spent hours in prayer, and hours letting God hear my anguish.  I spent hours reading scriptures.  My other children were being taken care of by grandparents and their father.  I just had to weep, think, pray, write, and remember.  I wanted to go all the way with mourning.  After all, God had created the child in me and I actually felt I was dishonoring God to not mourn properly.  Now, this was just feelings, not gospel truth.  Though now, I am so glad I did mourn fully. 

What I did want more than anything though was to bury the remains of my child.  I had been pushed into a D&E by my doctor, who was trying to be kind.  I am outspoken, but chose not to ask or speak up.  I do not know what was holding me back, but I didn’t ask for the remains, didn’t ask to be induced.  I later helped get a line written in a law in my state that caused hospitals to be responsible to inform women they can have the remains when being treated for miscarriage or “fetal demise.” 

I know there is a time to let the dead be dead and rejoin the living…but I believe the church should be supportive of those families who have experienced the death of a loved one no matter how small.  A rose on the piano, a card of sympathy, a prayer from a pastor or maybe a women’s group leader, a book of rememberance in the church , something should be done to honor those who have had babies die in pregnancy or shortly after birth.  I do not think this is a mandate, or that a church is less holy for not doing it.  I just think it wouldn’t hurt to do a little bit more.

Of course, there are many women who have never spoken of their miscarriages.  It’s too painful, or they have chosen to keep the secret to themselves.  Others have had abortions and would never speak of it.  If a church acknowleges the losses openly in general, this might help the silent mourners too.

I believe, as a prolife woman, thanking my God for the days I was pregnant with the chidlren I miscarried, and mourning the losses, has honored His creation.  Again, this is just my opinion and not a revelation from God to me. 

If you have had a baby die, I pray for you.  I thank God for the time you had with your baby, no matter how brief, and I pray for your comfort.

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http://downloads1.revivalgodsway.com/15/SID15607.mp3

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I am so sad that my children will struggle to find a healthy church.  I know that we are struggling ourselves, and now I think it will be nearly impossible for our kids when they grow up.  I also feel so sad for them that my husband and I were not trained in theology and Biblical knowledge growing up.  My parents were not Chrsitians, I lived with different family members and then finally settled in with my father and step mom.  I went to whatever church I could get to, mostly on my own.  My husband’s parents are Christians now, but growing up were functionally not so.  He was allowed to stay home from church with his father.  He doesn’t have skills at all in teaching, and so really doesn’t teach much to his children.  Several times I had hoped he would have a night where he taught bible study time, or maybe he’d find a way to challenge the kids by teaching.  Truth is, we’re both doing more for our kids than we got.  However, I think this is not enough.  I do read to my kids often from the Bible directly, have encouraged them to read it on their own.  My oldest has read through the entire Bible I believe twice (he’s 12) from cover to cover.  I bribed him 25c a book.  My 10 year old has read straight through many books of the Bible, and even my 8 year old got to Leviticus on an attempt to read the Bible straight through.  We encourage scripture memory, and take the kids to Awana for now (until something better comes along).  We pray before putting the kids to bed as a family, each one says their own prayer.  We try to model prayer for them, and we pray at meal time.  They know why we left our former church, and the older ones understand it’s doctrine. 

With what we do, I still fear we’re missing the mark with our kids.  We need to teach more.  We also need to figure out who to challenge them to read.  What pastors and authors are not just pop Christian feel good types but actually will help keep my kids on the right path with a focus on Christ?  I need to study up!

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We are seeing signs of stress in our home.  My oldest is not doing well in school.  There’s a lot more whining from the younger ones, a lot of comments about missing friends.  Changing churches is a pain, but better this than what we saw coming…

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