Christ Centered Character Training Day 5: God’s Word is the Key to My Life

ChristCenteredCharacterKey

I’ve struggled with how to close up this blog series.  It’s been a subject of prayer for me for several weeks.  I had originally intended to share with you another character trait that my family has attempted to address using God’s own word.  With our Child Training Bible and other resources we’ve addressed everything from defiance and disobedience through not listening to selfishness and more.  I can honestly say that my family always sees an improvement in character and behavior each time we tackle a new subject.  Does it always last?  Does it stick as they say?  Not perfectly.  Rarely does behavior go back to level it was but it does go backwards, sometimes quite a bit.  This is a cyclical process for us.  We must revisit old topics regularly.  There are occassions when we seem to go so far back that I find myself convinced that all of my attempts to shape my children’s character was for nothing.  I feel incapable.  I want to give up, yell and scream, and punish everyone.  I feel so incompetent… so ignorant… so unable to fulfill my calling as their mother.

Let me tell you this…. I can strive to be the most amazing, God centered, mother the world has ever seen.  Or I can fail miserably, as I do at times.  However…. God is not reliant on my ability and expertise to bring about his results.

Exodus 4:10-12 reminds us how God used an everyday man, one who sinned just as we all do, to lead a whole nation…

10 Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
11The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
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I worry about my children’s character.  I long to shape their behavior in a way that makes them joyful and a blessing to everyone! I envision them as Godly adults serving the Lord in all areas of their lives. I’ll my best to make this happen in whatever way God leads me.  But I’ll say it again… God is not reliant on my ability and expertise to bring about his results.
I do believe this truth to be true… God’s Word is the Key to My Life.
Many members of the TOS Review Crew are blogging about a variety of topics this week.  Please stop by their blogs.  They’ve chosen some fabulous topics to write about for you.
Brittney @ Mom’s Heart ~ Relaxed Homeschooling
Lisa @ A Rup Life ~ Our Favorite Books
Melissa @ Life Off the Paved Road ~ Fit From Home
Michelle @ Faith, Family, and Fridays ~ Clearing Out the Clutter
Jennifer @ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Educational Apps
Jenni @ Conversaving ~ Homeschool Cooperatives
Lisa @ Home to 4 Kiddos ~ Celebrating Lent
Tawnee @ Adventures in Homeschooling ~ Spring Schooling

April Blog Hop

Christ Centered Character Training Day 4: Fear!

ChristCenteredCharacterTrainingFear

My eyes blearily blink open.  I squint at the clock.  It is all of 4:30 in the morning.  What woke me up?  It takes a moment for the fog to lift before I realize that we have a visitor.  I assume it might be our 3 year old daughter, but then again, she never comes down on her own.  She just stays in her bed screaming her fool head off until we wake up and come see what the commotion is all about (usually she just can’t find her blanket that slipped down).  Nope, it has to be one of the boys.  Sure enough, it is Noah! My oldest son who is all of 8 years old.  It isn’t really like him to make a middle of the night appearance so I know something is up.  The first words out of my mother are…. “Are you going to be sick?”  Can you tell our family has had more than our fair share of after dark attacks by stomach bugs?  No, he tells me meekly.  Then he curls up in bed beside me.

As much as I am truly irritated by the interrupted sleep I wrap my arms around him and rub his back. I say a prayer asking for guidance because my gut tells me there is indeed something up with this guy.  After a few moments in a small whiney voice he begins to tell me me he is afraid.  Afraid of what I ask him.  His answer…. A Fire!  My heart shatters into a million pieces.  I realize that this fear has been at least partially spurred on by one of my own biggest fears!  My fear of fire comes with reason and I’ve had to witness the destruction in my own home more than a couple times in my life.

I knew where this was coming from.  We had recently installed new smoke detectors throughout our home and I had reviewed with my children exactly what they should do if ever we did have a fire.  Not two nights later, while eating dinner, their was an issue at a house just a few doors down.  As we sat and watched 3 or 4 firetrucks, police cars, and a dozen volunteer firefighters invaded our small street.  The culmination of all of these things was laying heavily on my little boy’s mind.  I couldn’t help but be empathetic as I’ve lost plenty of nights sleep worrying over the same thing.

In the wee hours of the morning I couldn’t offer much.  I offered to pray with him for God’s protection.  I reminded him that God is always with us.  Then I held him close.  After a while he traipsed back to his own bed.  In the business of life I  actually put the incident mostly out of my mind.  That is until he reappeared a few nights later in pretty much the same way.  Later that day I knew it was time to see what God had to say about fear.

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After breakfast, and every day for the next few days, I snuggled with my son on the couch as we flipped through the pages of our Bible.  As we often do we read through the scripture, repeating what we read aloud, and breaking down the passages word by word.  What is God saying?  What does He want us to know?  How should we feel after reading this verse?  How can we turn this verse into our own prayer to God that we can turn to whenever we are afraid.?

Deuteronomy 31:6 hit home fast…

6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Psalm 27:1 was another that marked our hearts…

1The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?
My little boy wasn’t convinced after just one day.  We went over these passages, and others, regularly for days.  I prayed with him every night.  We prayed these scripture verses and we prayed for God’s protection as we slept.  Eventually this fear was lifted from my son.  Children being children however we have found other fears in life and we return to these verses whenever need be.
As a Mommy I too have fears.  I have a fear of some catastrophic accident taking one of my children away from me.  Can I say… God’s word helps me deal with my fears too!

 

Many members of the TOS Review Crew are blogging about a variety of topics this week.  Please stop by their blogs.  They’ve chosen some fabulous topics to write about for you.
Brittney @ Mom’s Heart ~ Relaxed Homeschooling
Lisa @ A Rup Life ~ Our Favorite Books
Melissa @ Life Off the Paved Road ~ Fit From Home
Michelle @ Faith, Family, and Fridays ~ Clearing Out the Clutter
Jennifer @ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Educational Apps
Jenni @ Conversaving ~ Homeschool Cooperatives
Lisa @ Home to 4 Kiddos ~ Celebrating Lent
Tawnee @ Adventures in Homeschooling ~ Spring Schooling

April Blog Hop

Christ Centered Character Training Day 3: Complaining!

ChristCenteredCharacterTrainingcomplaining

It’s 5:30pm and we are laying dinner on the table.  My 8 year old comes over and takes one look before turning up his nose and declaring that he doesn’t like it.  Never mind we had it just two weeks ago and he ate well then.  Today, he doesn’t like it!

On the way home from a long day trip exploring some new and cool field trip destination I call to the back of my van… “What was your favorite things today?”  One child declares EVERYTHING!  Another starts listing off the things we happened to miss despite Mommy’s best efforts.  He pouts.

One Thursday morning, after two weeks dotted with nearly nonstop field trips, my six year old asks… “Where are we going today Mommy?”  I exuberantly declare that we are staying HOME for a change, after all we all need rest and down time (especially me).  I get a pout and a foot stomp that staying home is BORING!

All of these instances of complaining are amongst the worse in my book.  They are all about being discontent with the blessings my children have been afforded.  Few things irritate this Mommy more.  My personal knee jerk reaction is to REMOVE all related blessings and let the child feel what it is like to not be blessed at all!  Toss in a some good Mom lectures and we should be good to go, right?  Yeah maybe, but I’d rather shape my children’s character rather than just punish them.

Complaining is a great example of topic to explore during daily Bible study.  For about 2 weeks we spent about ten minutes each and every morning pouring over a related scripture, one per day.  We discussed nearly every word or phrase in each scripture.  I asked them what they thought God meant when he included those words in the Bible.  I brought up times in which they had complained and asked them if they were showing a thankful attitude.  We went over why God would even care about complaining.  We made strategies for teaching ourselves how to curb the complaining.

Philippians 2:14 has become something of a mantra…

14Do everything without grumbling or arguing,

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At the first sign of a complaint I simply had to say… is this grumbling or arguing?  That usually stopped everything right in it’s tracks.

Matthew 12:34 comes up often as well…

34You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

I can say… “Is your heart feeling ungrateful because your mouth is showing me that it is.”  That statement can often make my children stop and think.  I usually see a near instant attitude adjustment.

Of course… a Mommy has to be careful.  My eight year old is quite savvy.  Just the other day I myself was complaining about having to deal with car maintenance issues.  He said to me… Mommy your complaining makes you sound like you aren’t grateful we have a car!

SLAM! Who’s the teacher here? My children or me!  Be forewarned, tackling issues of the heart with God’s word will grow your own character.  Your children will make sure of it!

Are you turning to the Bible more this week to help you shape your children’s character?  Tell me about it!

Many members of the TOS Review Crew are blogging about a variety of topics this week.  Please stop by their blogs.  They’ve chosen some fabulous topics to write about for you.
Brittney @ Mom’s Heart ~ Relaxed Homeschooling
Lisa @ A Rup Life ~ Our Favorite Books
Melissa @ Life Off the Paved Road ~ Fit From Home
Michelle @ Faith, Family, and Fridays ~ Clearing Out the Clutter
Jennifer @ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Educational Apps
Jenni @ Conversaving ~ Homeschool Cooperatives
Lisa @ Home to 4 Kiddos ~ Celebrating Lent
Tawnee @ Adventures in Homeschooling ~ Spring Schooling

April Blog Hop

Christ Centered Character Training Day 2: Fighting!

ChristCenteredCharacterTrainingFighting

It’s a screech! A scream! A thump on the ceiling overhead.  A wail that reminds me of an animal I might only encounter near the ocean and then, the hammering of footsteps down the stairs.  Yep, my kiddos are at it! Fighting again!  Not just quarreling this time but a full on fist fight.  These moments do not bring out the best in this Momma!  Physical fighting is an absolute deal breaker in my home.  There is never a good reason and never a justifiable excuse.  My children know this… VERY WELL!  It takes a breath and a prayer and a PLEASE GOD HELP ME MANAGE THIS shout to the Lord to keep me from loosing my cool (and yet sometimes I fail).  What do I do when my kid’s FIGHT with one another?

My instinct is to start yelling and berating them letting them know just how awful their behavior is. Yet I know in my heart that doing what they’ve just done, giving way to my sinful nature, won’t teach them anything valuable. I want to separate them, punish them, and confine them to a time out for the rest of the day.  Out of sight, out of mind, I don’t want to deal with this!  But how will that solve the issue and grow their character?  We’ll be right back here again tomorrow!

My three children are homeschooled.  They are together 24/7.  My boys even participate in pretty much all of the same activities and classes.  Conflict is likely to erupt and boys being boys, physical fighting is somewhat inevitable.  I have a plan.  One I must follow even though it isn’t easy!  First, they are separated for a while.  Everyone, especially Momma, needs to cool off!  One goes to their bed, another to the couch.

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Then it is time to dig up the Bible and see see what versus we can find that will remind us about God’s stance on fighting.  I’ll be honest… I sometimes get eye rolls and a whine that says… “But we KKKNNOOOWWW what the Bible says.”  Fighting is a topic we have to visit every several months.  My children know very well what God says about fighting.  Not only have we studied the scriptures at times of argument such as these but also during our daily Bible study lessons.

My Child Training Bible is my favorite resource at times like these!  Though I study the Bible daily, finding just the right versus at just the right moment is a struggle.  We open the pages and turn to Psalm 34:14

14 Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
Or 1 Corinthians 13:4-7…
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Then Mommy asks the hard questions…. “Noah, when your brother broke your Lego building… did you turn from evil and do good? Did you seek peace?”  Ezra… “You love your brother right? Were you patient and kind with him when he accidently lost the page in your book?”
And so it goes.  We ask one another for forgiveness.  We pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help us keep our cool next time.  And life moves on.
I do ask myself if any of this really means anything to them, if it sinks in and has any impact.  Sometimes, on the crazier days I doubt that it does. After all, while I truly believe that our time in the word and prayer together curbs the behavior and builds good Godly character at least in the short term how do I know any of this is having a true lasting impact. Then God gives me a little bit of encouragement.  I’ll over hear a little conversation, just a snippet of a few words, between my children.  “Ezra don’t hit me! That’s not how do peace!”  Followed by a sheepish… “I’m sorry.”
It’s a start!  I’ll take it!
Come back all week as I share with you about some of the specific topics we’ve addressed with this method (I’ll be talking about Fighting, Complaining, and Fear among others).  You won’t want to miss it.
If you use the Bible in your home in a similar manner please leave an encouraging story in the comments.  I know all of us Moms could use it!
Many members of the TOS Review Crew are blogging about a variety of topics this week.  Please stop by their blogs.  They’ve chosen some fabulous topics to write about for you.
Brittney @ Mom’s Heart ~ Relaxed Homeschooling
Lisa @ A Rup Life ~ Our Favorite Books
Melissa @ Life Off the Paved Road ~ Fit From Home
Michelle @ Faith, Family, and Fridays ~ Clearing Out the Clutter
Jennifer @ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Educational Apps
Jenni @ Conversaving ~ Homeschool Cooperatives
Lisa @ Home to 4 Kiddos ~ Celebrating Lent
Tawnee @ Adventures in Homeschooling ~ Spring Schooling

April Blog Hop

5 Days of Christ Centered Character Training: Day 1 How We Do It

Happy Monday Bloggy World!  Thank you very much for stopping by today.  I hope you come back all week because I’m going to be writing about a topic I’ve grown very passionate about in recent years…. Christ Centered Character Training.  First let me back up and tell you a bit about how we discipline and train our children so that you can understand where I am coming from on these topics.

ChristCenteredCharacterTraining

My husband and I hold a few things to be sacred in our parenting.  First, we do not hit/swat/spank or inflict any sort of physical pain on our children ever.  In our minds if it isn’t acceptable to for them to do that sort of thing than it isn’t for us either.  Second, we strive not to yell (and yes I do fall short here).  That doesn’t mean we don’t raise a voice when a strong and commanding voice is needed.  But yelling out of frustration is a no no for anyone in our home.  Third, we require obedience upon the first request.  This last one always has and most likely always will be a work in progress… but generally our children do do as they are told the first time they are told.  Four, our goal is that everyone in our home exhibits encouraging Christ like behavior with one another.  Yep, this one two is and likely always will be a work in progress.  And finally fifth, we use the Bible as our guide in everything in life, including parenting and Character Training.

When I sat down to begin this series I asked my children to tell me which training topics they thought I should write about.  This week you’ll find posts on: fighting, complaining, fear, jealousy, and impatience.  I suppose that list gives you a little insight into the issues we most often need to address in our family.

What Does Christ Centered Character Training Look Like?

Whenever an issue such as the once listed above erupts in our home I typically send the children to different spaces to cool off a bit.  After a few minutes I call them back together so that I can from each of them.  Often I know it is time to open up God’s word and review with my children what He says about the issue at hand.  Sometimes I don’t even get the pages open. We’ve used the Bible so much as our source for living that my children can often tell me what it’s going to say before I even get it out.  I’ve discovered in the past couple of years that only addressing a problem behavior in the moment isn’t as effective as I want it to be.  When I notice a pattern of behavior in our home I take the time to discuss it during our morning devotionals.  Together we look up pertinent versus.  We discuss what we think God means with those words and how we can use them the next time we find ourselves in difficult situation.  

How To Prepare

Of course I’m not all that talented at finding the right versus. This takes a bit of thought, prayer and preparation. I like to use the app YouVersion on my Kindle Fire or other sites like ESVBible.org to look up keywords.  An actual Bible Concordance would of course work fabulously!  One of my other favorite resources that I speak of often is the Child Training Bible.  With these resources I can usually compile a list of versus that will help me address the issue at hand.

Then the real work begins.  In our home I know we have to open our time together discussing the word with prayer and often a praise song.  My children will testify, if we do not our hearts are not in the right place and we do not listen well.  Then I read the scriptures (or have my children read them) aloud and dissect each one.  As we go, someone inevitably remembers a time when they didn’t follow God’s word in some way.  I encourage them to share.  As a rule the children aren’t aloud to tattle or remark on when someone ELSE didn’t follow God’s word.  However, Mommy can ask pointed questions to job everyone’s memories.

We’ll follow this pattern for a week or so… choosing one standout verse to memorize.  Then we move on.  Often times we find some mantra… three or four words, that we can use with one another to remind us of what God taught us during our study.  For example, during a time of study about quarreling we found 2nd Timothy 2:23-24

 23Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 
Now, several months later, when I hear a quarrel erupt I just have to ask if this argument would be foolish and stupid to the Lord.  Typically that ends things right there and they strive to find a way to work things out. Almost without fail any pattern of behavior is significantly reduced after just a few days of reading about it in the Word and praying to God to help us work it out.

The Fruits of Our Labor

Sometimes, in the weary moments when behaviors I thought we had addressed come blazing back (because most likely to always do, at least for a time) I ask myself why I bothered putting in the effort.  Then one evening my 6 year old son climbed into my lap.  He looked up at me with his big blue eyes and said… “Thank you Mommy for talking about quarreling this morning.  It helped me all day.”  SOB!  Thank you God for the encouragement.

More to Come!

Come back all week as I share with you about some of the specific topics we’ve addressed with this method (I’ll be talking about Fighting, Complaining, and Fear among others).  You won’t want to miss it.
If you use the Bible in your home in a similar manner please leave an encouraging story in the comments.  I know all of us Moms could use it!
Many members of the TOS Review Crew are blogging about a variety of topics this week.  Please stop by their blogs.  They’ve chosen some fabulous topics to write about for you.
Brittney @ Mom’s Heart ~ Relaxed Homeschooling
Lisa @ A Rup Life ~ Our Favorite Books
Melissa @ Life Off the Paved Road ~ Fit From Home
Michelle @ Faith, Family, and Fridays ~ Clearing Out the Clutter
Jennifer @ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Educational Apps
Jenni @ Conversaving ~ Homeschool Cooperatives
Lisa @ Home to 4 Kiddos ~ Celebrating Lent
Tawnee @ Adventures in Homeschooling ~ Spring Schooling

April Blog Hop

 

 

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