Encouraging parents in their efforts to raise their children to be enthusiastic servants of the Lord.
Author: Thereasa Winnett
Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking. Their daughter Katrina, who has been an integral part of their service adventures, attends Pepperdine University.
When my daughter was little, we went to a lot of those mother/child classes. I used to cringe every time the teacher gave any instructions to the children. My favorite part was always when the teacher would ask the children to sit with their mothers in the circle. My daughter would quickly come and sit beside me as instructed.
The other mothers’ children would continue to run around the room getting into things. Usually there were one or two mothers who felt guilty and began to try and convince their child to come sit beside them. “Oh, don’t make them come get into the circle.” the teacher would say. “They are too young to be expected to obey.” Suddenly all eyes would turn to me and my obedient child. The look was similar to that you would give a suspected child abuser.
If you are like me, the last few weeks have been a blur. Too much rich food, too many late nights, too much running around in circles. Throw in too little exercise, too few vegetables (the kind without cheese and fried onions on them!) and too little sleep and we are all ready for the re-set that New Years resolutions bring.
If you are like most Christians, your list probably includes eating more healthy, exercising more, reading your Bible every day and improving your prayer life. You may have even decided that this is the year you will really focus on being more like Hannah and really dedicate your children to God. You plan to have a family devotional every day, go to every worship service and make an intentional effort to teach your child about God.
Were you ever convinced you were adopted and no one had told you? I know a lot of people do at some point in their childhood. Maybe they saw a movie, read a book or heard a news story about a hidden adoption. Most likely the child either looks or thinks differently from the rest of the family. The fact that she looks or acts differently from the other people in her family makes her doubt her genetic connection to them.
When a child doubts her genetic connection to her family, it is usually a temporary phase of childhood. It doesn’t mean she loves her family any less or that she wants to leave. She is merely questioning her place in the family. Usually some photographs, a few family stories and sometimes a birth certificate will convince the child she really is genetically connected to the rest of the family.
My grandmother died yesterday. She would have been 91 years old in March. As I thought about our years together, I thought of all of the very many gifts she gave me. Not material gifts, for she and my grandpa never had very much money. The gifts she gave me were the very best kind. They are gifts I use regularly and treasure in my heart.
Granny gave me the gift of being raised in a family that loved the Lord. God bless the person who invited her into church one Sunday morning as she stopped to rest with her baby stroller in front of that building. Those people studied the Bible with her and she soon became a Christian. The church family that invited her in would become my church family once the baby in that stroller grew up, married and had me.
Every congregation should have a “Miss” Bettye. If they gave out awards for uber-grandma’s, she would win. Miss Bettye loves the Lord and she will praise Him no matter the circumstances. In fact, she has been fighting cancer for several years now and I have never heard her do anything but praise the Lord.
Miss Bettye also loves everyone unconditionally. You may disappoint her, but you always see forgiveness in her eyes. You also know that she truly believes you can change for the better no matter what you have done.
The other day I had the chance to have a chat with her. We had just finished watching ten of her eleven great-grandchildren in our church’s children’s program. (Her eleventh was watching in the audience.) I know a number of people who have raised all of their children to be faithful Christians. Miss Bettye is one of the few people I have met who has all faithful children and grandchildren and is seeing her great-grandchildren raised in the same church.