Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Child Training of the Heart

We pulled into the carport, and I barely had the van in park when from the back seat I hear, "I didn't bring anything into the van, so I'm not helping carry anything inside....except my jacket."

Surprisingly it didn't infuriate me - but my first thought was - when the baby comes and I have more stuff to carry inside, I will need his help.  

I carried the HUGE library bag and two big bags of groceries by myself.  Sounds like the Little Red Hen, doesn't it?  The deeper issue that troubles me is the fact that my son is typically this unwilling to help

However, I was able to convince him to carry in two very large commentaries for Daddy, that we'd borrowed from a friend.

Once the groceries were put away, I quickly emailed the above scenario to my husband.

Why? you ask.

Just a few days prior, we were given godly advice from more experienced parents, David and Tamara Sims.  Our small group is discussing the book, Gospel-Powered Parenting.  In the introduction of the book the author points to the crucial role the of father's faith. The advice given from the Sims was so helpful to me in the above scenario. 

David and Tamara talked about the fact that Mom spends more time with the children than with Dad, yet Dad has a powerful influence.  (This is not diminishing the mother's role by any stretch.)  David talked about his wife's ability to discern heart matters of her children, especially because she spent so much time with the children.  Tamara said, "I can say the same thing twenty times but David can say it once and the kids respond differently."

The advice given to our group was for the wife to take notes, if you will, of a child's unwanted behavior and report this to her husband.  He would, in turn pray about how to turn the child's heart toward righteousness, looking for opportunities for the child's growth in action as well as discussion - pointing the child to the Scriptures.  

This is not to say that a mother cannot directly correct a child.  I do PLENTY of correction and training during the day.  Sometimes a child just responds differently to dad.

The email to my husband concluded:

So - all this is my attempt to help discern for you that YOUR son needs help being helpful.  Pray about opportunities.  :)

During bedtime prayers, I overheard Hubby praying with and for Mr. Intensity to desire to be helpful, that he would think of others' needs as more important than his own.

This morning my husband sent me the below email:

Just so you know, I had a talk with him this morning before I left.

He was saying he was too tired to even pull the inserts out of my tennis shoes when I asked for his help [for Hubby to put them in his work shoes.].  Yet he turned and efficiently applied karate chops to the door.  I called his lack of energy into question.

I talked to him about what it means to be a follower of Jesus - to not just think of your own needs but also the needs of others.  Then I asked him if he would go to the grocery this week for us and get all the groceries and bring them home for us all by himself.  

He laughed.  

"But what if I was serious?"  

He stopped laughing.  "But there's no way I could do that!"  

"So do you think you would want some help?"  

"You bet."

"Can you imagine that Mom might like some help bringing in groceries from the car to the house?"  We talked more about what it means to be a follower of Jesus - about loving others.  

I didn't mention communion, but I want these kind of conversations to help shine light on the issue of why we don't let him take communion yet.  I didn't mention it because I don't want to use it as a spiritual stick - nor do I want him to act good just to get a cup of juice.  I told him I'm praying for his heart, that he would truly desire to help others because it pleases God.

Just one small conversation, but he really seemed to be listening.  Maybe you'll have opportunities to touch on the ideas again sometime today.

I was able to relay some of this to to Tamara today, to encourage her that her words and life experience had meant so much to me.  She added, "Julie, you want to train your son to be helpful - not just for the sake of being selfless, but you are also training him to be a godly man, husband and father."

It was as if she was exhorting me to keep my eyes on the bigger picture: adulthood.  


Jen Arnold said...

Thank you for this Julie! I think the Holy Spirit inspired me to read this today. You have provided some helpful insight and perspective on a situation we are currently dealing with.


The Eberle Family said...

I also want to thank you for posting this....I so needed this. Sometimes I feel like I must be doing something terribly wrong for the kids to not "respect" me as much as Scott. Scott and I have heard this before about checking in with dad at the end of the day with a report card of sorts on behaviors of the day and then he talks individually with them as the evening goes on. It has been good....but I would still love for them to respond to me as they do Scott!! :)

Julie said...

thank you thank you thank you thank you. You are such a rock star! I am thankful (can you tell...lol) that you shared this. What a blessing!


Related Posts with Thumbnails