In this post, I will attempt to explicate ways to discovering the balance of love and firmness in our homes. My growing desire is for my children and me to share a mutual experience of Christ’s character. Together. Day by day. And, even on those bad days. AND, find joy in the process! 😉
Two Ways and Their End
“There are two ways to deal with children – ways that differ widely in principal and results. Faithfulness and love, united with wisdom and firmness, in accordance with the teachings of God’s word, will bring happiness in this life and in the next. Neglect of duty, injudicious indulgence, failure to restrain or correct the follies of youth, will result in unhappiness and final ruin to the children and disappointment and anguish to the parents,” Child Guidance, p. 258.
Recently the Lord has brought the love chapter, found in 1 Corinthians 13, to my thoughts with increasing regularity. We all know it well or have heard it recited often, but do we cultivate the many synonyms given in our daily experiences and interactions with our families? I know I am found lacking here! So, lets dissect this one:
“If I have… (insert any amazing feat you desire to achieve, any amazing to-do list you desire to conquer, any amazing curriculum or resource you desire to incorporate) …but do not have love, I gain NOTHING.”
This is not to discourage us but to point us to our training manual. If we desire to “gain” in our homeschool, to be victorious over nap time and multiplication tables, and slay those bad attitudes that occasionally rear their ugly heads, we must seek this love Christ offers! Who wants to gain ground for Christ this year in their homes?
“For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain,” Phillipians 1:21.
We have to put our feelings aside and pray when our children walk off the path of obedience. Recently I touted to myself, during a challenging day, “I should NOT have to put up with this?! I should NOT!!” Then, the Lord almost immediately gave me a math problem. 🙂 I’m serious. It was clear as day in my mind.
“Then Peter came to him, and said, ‘Lord how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Til seven times?’ Jesus saith unto him, ‘I say not unto thee, until seven times: but, until 70×7.'”
Ok, so any other parents hear the rebuke there? It doesn’t mean our children offend and disobey and we forever ignore them along with said inappropriate behavior.
“For whom the Lord loveth, He correcteth,” Proverbs 3:12.
It means we learn to be longsuffering with them. That’s where the extra long training has come in for me: “Love suffers long and is kind…is not puffed up.” My heart hurts at the thought of allowing myself to puff up toward my child. I want to draw them in with the love of Christ, not use the offense mechanism of an animal to discourage its prey.
“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child.” My children are children, and so they are immature in many aspects of their speech and understanding. I forget that I once was a child too. I too needed a patient guide to teach me, to shine a light on the path that I might go successfully, that I might understand the joy found through service and obedience to Christ. This is the sum of our longsuffering duty.
“If you seek the Lord and be converted every day: if you will of your own spiritual choice be free and joyous and God: if with gladsome consent of heart to his gracious call you come wearing the yoke of Christ — the yoke of obedience and service — all your murmuring will be stilled, all your difficulties will be removed, all the perplexing problems that now confront you will be solved,” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessings, p. 101.
To be an effective teacher you have to be a doer of things taught, or the lessons you are teaching will be like seeds planted where they could not find deep roots. They will be crowded out or shrivel up in the heat and die. To teach the character of Christ to our children, we must learn to be longsuffering, and that is when the teacher becomes the student and the student a teacher.
Your fellow student-teacher in Christ,