Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Teachable Moments

Deuteronomy 6:6-7—And these words that I command to you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 

I have a dear friend who loves to use the term “teachable moments”.  The term originated in my life when I would make a mistake.  I’m the kind of person who internalized and analyzes every mistake I make.  I would let the negativity weigh me down and would dance with depression over one mishap.  However, this friend saw my mental tailspin whenever correction was needed, and he decided to help me change my mindset from mistake to an opportunity to learn; hence, teachable moment.

I have decided to make this phrase one of the mottos in my life.  Being a mom gives me plenty of need for being ready to find teachable moments.  The Scripture above is basically showing us how to do that.  Every day, every part of our day, no matter what we are doing, we should be teaching our children God’s expectations.  This is not limited to parents.  Anyone can apply this to anyone in their lives, because as we know, the world is watching us.  So, truly, we should be looking for teachable moments with everyone in our world.

What does that look like?  In my life, it starts with prayer.  I ask God every morning to make me sensitive to what I am supposed to learn and what I am supposed to share.  I ask Him to speak loudly to my heart when I am wrong and to pull my heart to those who I can help instruct.  In our home, we have ample opportunities to teach.  The television shows we watch, the movies we view, the music we hear are filled with situations and words that can open up great discussion.  We have had seasons where there has been limited time to "sit in your house", but we make the most of those times.  It is so easy to put on Food Network and watching cooking challenges one after another until bedtime sneaks up...and we have done that plenty of times.  What we are trying to incorporate better is moments of real conversation when we do have time together at home.  Setting a time limit for electronics allows for us to be intentional about interacting with the three dimensional world.  I know it can be intimidating to make that time happen--kids can be crazy, spouses can be crabby, and everyone just wants to zone out.  But, I encourage you to figure out a way to have a daily dialogue with your family.  Pinterest in a wonderful resource to find ice-breakers and get-to-talking-games.  One of our favorites is simply the question game.  We start with one person who asks a question, then everyone at the table must answer the question.  The next person asks a question, and so on.  This can be as serious or as silly as you want.  Do not underestimate the power of talking and listening.

"When you walk by the way" my life, I interpret this as driving time.  We spend a lot of time in our cars.  Again, another time where it's easy for the driver to catch up on phone calls or a webcast and for passengers to plug into their devices.  When I am alone driving, I am praying.  That's the time where I know what time I have ahead of me, and I know how much I need to talk and listen to Jesus.  When we are all together, we like to sing and goof around.  I'll go ahead and admit that I am not a person who only listens to Christian music.  My kids are top 40 kind of people, and I do love my 90s music and classic rock.  There are songs that we don't listen to, and I always explain to the kids why we aren't listening to it.  There are songs that we bop along to, but even the tunes that seem harmless often pack some crazy messages.  So, we talk about them.  I am a huge advocate for age-appropriate conversations with children.  I think one of the reasons my children and I have handled the transitions of life well is because we talk.  We talk about things that are hard, sad, happy, confusing, and uncomfortable.  

To give you a little giggle, I'll share with you one story where we tackled an uneasy topic.  We have a Christmas tradition with some close friends where we all go eat dinner at Fuddruckers then go to the Grove Park Inn to look at the gingerbread houses.  When we leave Fuddruckers, the guys take one car, and the girls take the other.  This happened a couple of Christmases ago when every young lady in the car was a tween and on the brink of "changes".  My friend and I were up front, and we could hear the girls whispering.  Cecely was nominated to talk and she said something to the effect of "what's the deal with periods."  HOLY COW!  I am wired to be honest and to the point.  My dear friend is wired to be sweet and optimistic no matter what.  She proceeds to tell the girls about the gift of womanhood and the beauty in how we were created.  She talked about their bodies being prepared to be moms and how wonderful it all was.  Cue me, the realist, who interrupted with a rant about Eve,  and with some facts that weren't beautiful.  It was a hilarious car ride and exchange.  Point being, teachable moments are always present.  Whether silly or serious, TALK!!!  LISTEN!!!  

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