...these are some of the things I'm working on right now (all taken from Don't Make Me Count to Three):
We (as parents) are to help them (our children) obey God by requiring them to obey Mom and Dad. If we fail to require obedience from our children, we become a stumbling block for them. Luke 17:2 explains that it would be better for us to drown in the sea with a millstone around our necks than to cause a child to stumble. We are robbing our children of the blessings that God intends for them when we fail to require obedience. Ephesians 6:1-3 says, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 'Honor your father and your mother' - which is the first commandment with a promise - 'that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.'"
Addie here: I love that this passage shows that our child's disobedience isn't our fault. Sin and folly are bound up in the heart of a child. Sinning comes very naturally to them - they do not need to be taught it. However, failing to require obedience...that's all on me, the mother.
You can't expect to teach them how to apply a biblical principle and then expect them to automatically have it. Just like many things, it takes practice. You may think that it sounds like a lot of time and work, and you are absolutely right! Training our children is a process. Keep on sowing and remember the law of the harvest. You will reap what you sow.
I am reminded not to frustrate Blake by having unreasonable expectations of him. Patience is something I am working on in myself, though I actually caught myself praying "Dear God, I know that I asked for patience, but, well, can you hurry it up?" I stopped when I realized what I was saying and laughed out loud, then thanked God for being wiser than I. Also, I made a mental note to be more careful what I pray for.
J. C. Ryles says, "Train with this thought continually before your eyes: The soul of your child is the first thing to be considered. In every step that you take about them, in every plan and scheme and arrangement that concerns them, do not leave out that mighty question, 'How will this affect their souls?'" Our ultimate goal in everything should be to point them to Christ.
Ultimate goal - what a great way to put it. My goal thus far has been teaching Blake to be pleasant to be around, which doesn't cut it when it comes to eternal matters.
Now don't expect your five-year-old to rise up and call you blessed. It's probably not going to happen. But be patient: you reap what you sow, you reap later than you sow, and you reap more than you sow.
I'm pretty sure this is true, if my gardening is any indicator...which means that this law of the harvest is dear to my heart.
There are so many other great teachings in this book - which is why I'm rereading it and making note of the new areas in which Blake and I get to spend lots of time (arguing with me, whining, general manipulation). I love how practical it is, and how the author continually encourages readers to search out the truths from Scripture for themselves. I'm getting there. Until then, I have crib notes so I don't forget what to say when I'm helping Blake put off sin and put on the right heart response.
Lord have mercy. What a job...and I appreciate my folks (my mother in particular) more than ever. Guess I'm looking at a harvest about twenty-five years after the planting...which does foster patience, I GUESS.