If you have been following our one year plan for Teaching Your Children to Live More Like Jesus, you know I am posting this at the end of the month instead of the beginning. Our family left town for three weeks, school started and we have several older family members in ill health. I felt guilty at first, but realized this gave me an opportunity to encourage you.
Often, we start programs or ideas or Bible studies with the best of intentions. We do really well for awhile and then life sort of explodes on us. Maybe you have one of those weeks when the car and two major appliances break down at once. Perhaps you had to go out of town or sit in the hospital with a loved one. Maybe you were just too tired to move.
As I am writing this, the news is focused on yet another horrific tragedy. When horrible events happen in our world, it is easy to become glued to the television to try and somehow wrap our brains around the terrible thing that has happened. I believe it is especially hard for those who love God to see the results of hate and evil played out in such dramatic and life changing ways. It may even shake our faith on some level.
The hardest part is helping our children deal with the harsh realities of a fallen world. Especially, when at times, we feel like we are barely hanging on ourselves. I think that if we combine the advice often given by psychologists, with scripture and a little common sense, we can follow a few tips to help us and our children process traumatic world events with a godly perspective.
When our daughter was a toddler, she went through what we refer to as her “Trinna do” stage. She was beginning to learn she could actually do some things for herself and the idea was exciting. Suddenly, “Trinna” wanted to do everything. It was interesting to watch as she had some successes and found out in some areas she still needed a little adult help.
I don’t remember if this lasted for a few weeks or a few months, but suddenly our “Trinna do” girl reverted to a “Mommy pick me up” girl. Evidently, this is a pretty common pattern. While I am no expert in early childhood development, my guess is she experienced a bit of what even adults have learned. Always doing everything for yourself can get exhausting. Sometimes (especially as an adult!) you just want to revert back to the stage where someone else handled all of the problems and carried you home when you were tired.
Last week we were watching Dave Ramsey’s town hall meeting about the economy. My daughter has become a fan of his through his homeschool finance curriculum. At one point, he made a comment that fear is actually the opposite of hope.
Or at least that is what I think I heard, because at that point a huge thunderstorm blew in from the west. The kind where you aren’t sure if it will blow a tree through your house or your roof will get struck by lightening first. The one where even your bravest child starts calling for you and her dad. Of course, the electricity also went out just at the point where the weathermen were about to tell us if it were a tornado heading straight for our house and if Dorothy really just blew by our window.
If I am truly trying to parent like Hannah, I will often make decisions that seem strange to other people. As someone who has dedicated my child to God, my priorities should always be making choices that help my child become closer to God. Sometimes making those choices means I ignore or even reject what the world considers important.
I live in a very competitive community. The majority of the parents have college educations and most of the mothers stay at home at least until their children are teenagers. These parents want the best for their children. I have watched many of these parents hold their children back a year in school so they can appear more advanced academically and athletically than other children in their grade. These children have parents who make sure they have lessons in music, sports, foreign languages and even extra academic classes to give them the competitive edge in life. Yet many of these same parents will do almost nothing to make sure their children know God’s words.