Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Train Them Up...

Parenting is not for the faint of heart, the weak of spirit, or the exhausted of energy.  Parenting is a full-time job with absolutely no vacation days.  Parenting is challenging, especially in the world and time we live in.  Temptation, negativity, heartache, and pain are around every corner waiting to consume our children.  Our children our being assaulted with messages of what they should look like, what they should listen to, what is "cool", how to talk, and the list goes on.  Parents are rearing children in a world of self-indulgence, selfishness and self-promotion.  To be a parent in this climate is difficult to say the least.

My undergraduate degree is in Sociology.  I always enjoyed studying the behavior patterns of people.  I like to watch relationships.  I enjoy trying to understand why people do the things they do...especially relationally.  One of my favorite theorists while I was in school was Albert Bandura.  He projected the Social Learning Theory which basically teaches the importance of modeling for children.  “Most human behavior is learned observationally through modeling: from observing others, one forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed, and on later occasions this coded information serves as a guide for action" (Bandura).  This theory tells us that we learn from others...we see behaviors, monitor the outcome of those behaviors, and decide if we want to make decisions to act on those same behaviors.  I have worked with children since I was a teenager, and I am a huge advocate of the importance of modeling positive behavior for children.  In parenting, this is essential whether you like it or not.  No matter what kind of parent you are, your children are watching you, listening to you, and eventually will act like you. 

The Bible also gives us parents the challenge to lead our children.  "Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it" Proverbs 22:6.  When I read the word "train", I instantly think of the military.  I think of the months and years of training our service men and women have to prepare them for their missions and for battle.  That is what we are instructed to do.  We need to prepare our children for the battles of this world.  We need to equip them with tools necessary for them not just to survive, but to thrive in this world filled with darkness.  We need to teach them how to guard their hearts, minds, and words.  We need to pour so much love into them that it spills out of them and into others.  We need to teach them how to be His light in the darkness.

I was very blessed to be brought up in a home that was filled with love.  I have been extremely blessed to have had a Mama, Daddy, and Dad who have modeled for me how to be a Christian.  I remember the first time I went to a funeral...I believe I was around 6 or 7.  My parents took my siblings and me.  We sat in the church, we walked through the receiving line, we showed our respect to the family.  After the service is what I remember more vividly.  I remember my Mama preparing covered dishes and serving them to the family.  I remember my Daddy walking around and talking to and loving on the family members. I was brought up in a home where people mattered, where sharing God's love with any and everyone was a daily thing.  I was brought up making hospital visits, singing in nursing homes, opening our home to those who were hurting, crying with others as they suffered, celebrating together when victories happened.  Even as an adult, my Mama and Dad continue to model for me how a parent after God's heart should live.  What is great about being an adult child is the different level I can serve with my parents.  And, thankfully, my parents are helping me to instill these same methods in rearing my children.  Cecely and Titus have been trained to minister.  They are comfortable in nursing home rooms, in hospitals, and even in hospice.  I have worked hard to model for them the importance of showing God's love to others...even when it's difficult and uncomfortable.  I can do that because it was modeled for me.  

Funnily enough, the same goes with daily tasks like housework.  I am definitely a bit of a disciplinarian...not a bit...I am the tough parent.  My Mama and Grandmama taught me how to take care of a house when I was in elementary school.  As I grew older, my responsibilities became harder.  I am so glad my Mama and Grandmama taught be how to keep house and to cook.  They were training me to be able to manage my own home some day.  Now, I do the same with Cecely and Titus.  They have a list of responsibilities that they need to complete on a daily basis.  I want them to be able to take care of their own home when they grow up.  Saturday afternoons are typically our cleaning day...I have little bursts of pride as I watch Cecely and Titus do their chores.  I chuckle when I see them try to take the same short cuts I used to try.  And, I do my best to patiently show them the correct way to take on a task.  

Being a parent is by far my favorite, my most frustrating, my most exciting, and my most exhausting role in life right now.  I am encouraged by the wonderful parents I have in my life who are fighting the same battles to raise their children under Christ's guidance in a world that fights hard against us.  I struggle with worry over my children.  I am learning how to let go of anxiety and to embrace the peace that only God can give...that is HARD!  I am taking the command the Lord has given me to "train" them up very seriously.  I want to raise 2 children after God's own heart.  

My heart was absolutely full yesterday as I heard of my children's visits with my Dad to the hospital bound people at his church.  I love to see them reach out to other children.  I feel blessed to see them love on others.  Cecely has expressed an interest to go on a  mission trip when she's older.  I cried when she told me that.  I have had the desire on my heart since I was 6 years old to go...I have not had the opportunity to do so yet, but I am excited at the prospect of taking the foreign mission field by storm with my children one day.  Right now, in this season, we will work together on the mission field where God has placed us. 

I am so grateful to be a Mama.  I absolutely do not deserve the blessing of Cecely and Titus that God has given me.  I am a mess, I am broken, I make a million mistakes a minute.  But, I am encouraged by those God has placed in my life and by the words He has passed on through Scripture to help me be the best parent I can be.  Train them up, my friends!

No comments:

Post a Comment