If you’ve been following the study of The Ministry of Motherhood, the next lesson was giving children the gift of faith.
First we talked about cultivating a sense of eternity in our children. Within Christianity, there are different understandings of heaven and the nuts and bolts of eternity. Whatever our precise beliefs, the important thing is to understand it starts NOW. Songs like “I’ll fly away” can make us think the goal is heaven and this earth has no hope. But the Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven begins when we embrace faith. Here. Now. We participate in spreading it here on earth. The kingdom is like a mustard seed. I learned in the book, Jesus for President, a story of mustard seeds. Mustard grows like kudzu. Jews who liked tidy gardens would not permit mustard to grow with their plants. It doesn’t grow very large but it grows fast and spreads. It infiltrates. This kingdom of God begins with frightening smallness and spreads like a weed.
One result from teaching on eternity is that it gives kids the gift of holding things loosely. This is such a challenging lesson. We all, children especially, want to hold things tightly. How can we teach them? We brainstormed ideas like using every moment of sacrifice (no matter how small) to demonstrate storing treasures in Heaven.
When our own things are broken or destroyed (which will always happen when kids are around), we can place love and security higher than the lost thing. What else?
Second, we talked about faith in God. The basic gift we all want to give to our children. Most importantly, we want to have children who really believe “God knows what he’s doing.” That there is something larger and more purposeful at work. We discussed times in our lives when we did not see the purpose until later. Hebrews 11:6 says without faith it is impossible to please God. Why?
So how to give this gift? Well, how does God give us faith? He allows us to face obstacles and challenges. And he proves faithful to us through these. As we see him meeting our needs and walking with us, we begin to trust more and more.
We show our children faith by example. Teaching faith takes time. We must be attached parents. We give them a secure foundation but we don’t rescue them from every problem. Instead, we pray with them, use stories of faith.
Ephesians 2:8 (for it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift from God): What does faith have to do with salvation? How can we teach that God’s love is a free gift—no strings attached when so much in life is conditional?
Next we discussed faith in God’s word. Psalm 119:105 (your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path)…what gives guidance? We can make the Bible a natural part of family life. We listed ways we can incorporate the bible into our daily lives? Deut 6:6-7 (these commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down, and when you get up.) We also talked about appropriate story bibles for young children. I haven’t found one that I like yet–they seem to teach more about a conditional God. Some of the moms like one. I think they said it was this one.
Finally, we talked about faith in the Spirit. One of my favorite verses is “we have the mind of Christ.” When I’m struggling with indecision, I say this verse. Just as we talked last week about being connected to the source…we have access to divine, creative wisdom. I know the times I live in my own strength. I can say all day long that I will not lose it. But if I don’t plug into the source and use the tools the mind of Christ gives, then my resolve won’t last.
What are your warning signs when you are not connected to the source? What can help you regain your emotional balance?
We can’t be the spirit for our children. They have to connect on their own.
Our Grace-based discipline tool for the week was the five steps:
1) State your request and offer a reason.
2) Restate your request—get down on her level, touch, eye contact
3) Offer help—“I see you’re having a tough time. Can you _____ or do you need my help?
4) Help—You’re not _________ Let me help you. (help is just help. Not punishment or shaming or negative in anyway. Does not include a lecture).
5) Rarely needed—Bear Hug for the child who loses it (squat behind child, wrap arms, speak gently in her ear that you’re helping to stop her and you will let go when she can stop herself.)