Sunday, February 3, 2008

musings on childtraining

Yesterday I participated in a ladies workshop day at our church. It was dreamed of over the past months, watered with prayer and planning and the day went smoothly due to the help of so many ladies. I was amazed at the transformation that the foyer took with tables, chairs and tablecloths. The many helpers seemed to know their task and with joy cared for the areas they were responsible.

It was a bit of "my baby" as I had expressed desire for practical teaching for our ladies and applicable to their lives. 13 sessions were offered over 3 time slots in a variety of topics. All seemed to be wonderful from the buzz about the rooms. My heart has been Titus 2- training younger women to be keepers at home and loving husbands and children. With that in mind I took on the task of the Child training 101 class.

It was with great faith that I agreed, as I am not a public speaker. 2-3, at the most 5 is my comfort level. I am a listener and wallflower, unless very secure and comfortable. I was happy to have only 8 come to my session.

In preparation I dove into my favorite books and authors, recalling what its like to live in the season of little people constantly about. A neighbor was a sounding board, but I still didn't feel like I had hit the nail on the head. Then I watched Michael Pearl's The Joy of Training DVD ( he does a wonderful job of presenting the balance of discipline and fellowship. He establishes the need for training children and taking control until internal control is developed as well as being joyful in the doing. I was convicted of some shortcomings and began the process of retraining where I had allowed slackness to reign within my household.

Going into the class there felt to be so much to cover to give a good basis of information, but also wanted to leave time for questions to follow. I am not sure how it was all received, but I hope some of the ladies went away with an extended vision of the outcome of present training, with the realization that they can expect obedience and are right to train for obedience. I presented that the rod of correction is available as a tool as one begins training, to reinforce the words spoken and as a consequence for misbehavior/ rebellion once the standard has been established.

Prior to teaching the class I had checked in with the pastor's wife to alert her to my content. She and I dialouged a bit about the acceptance level of the present generation in the use of the rod of correction. I am not sure how all attendees received the encouragement to add it to their parenting tool box. Today as I dialouged with a women in education and childcare providing industry I walked away wondering when had the shift come to our nation on this Biblical tool??

I thought back to some of the teaching I have received under the Truth Project ( Of how the nation changed after 1859 and the publishing of the Origin of the Species. This book preceded a shift in the legal system and the trickle down effect has been great. As I follow the path as I view it soon followed other events and their trickledown effects. The Bible was no longer seen as the basis of our beliefs and legal system. The Bible was taken out of the schools. Generations were raised without the Bible as a basis of their education. The generations have become proud and have rejected God's plan for raising children. In arrogance we dismiss God's principles for our own. We have become "accustom" to children ruling over parents with tantrum throwing, hitting, disrespectful speech among other things.

As I considered the rod of correction that the Bible speaks of I realize how arrogent it is for this generation to dismiss a training technique that were used on most if not all Bible characters, on hundreds of years of children and the fruit showed by continued obedience and honoring of parents through those years before time out was developed. The lack of use is documented where the Bible tells of children who went their own way, of the children that were to be stoned for their rebellion and dishonoring of elders.

What God showed generations as a plan to manage the unrestrained passions, we dismiss as harsh, unneeded, and lacking effectiveness. All the while, we continue on a path of frustration and discontent as our children seem to rule, not obeying simple commands.

Hmmm, I guess they have actually learned some lessons from us- we rebel from God's plan and our kids rebel fro our plans.

So again I ask myself, what do we (I) fear in my lack of trusting the Creators plan? Do I fear the lack of control- not getting to follow my own plan? doing things my own way? Do I fear man- his rejection and ridicule? Do I not trust that the architect of my soul, the creator of my body really, truly does know what He is talking about when he gives instructions on how to train and shape a child's will, so that I might enjoy him fully??

I have considered this week the parallels between my life as a child of God and the life of a my child towards me. Our ever patient Heavenly Father gives his commands and instructions in the Bible and by the rulers over me. If I disobey there are consequences that follow. If I don't pay attention he increases the pain until I submit to his authority and align my will with His own.

For a child the parent gives the commands and instructions by words and training. If disobedience follows consequences follow as well. If the child continues to not obey the pain increases until they choose to submit and align their will under their parents will.

Contrast that to the modern stream of thinking. The parents asks a child what he wants. Or a parent removes consequences in fear of the child experiencing any pain. Or the child doesn't listen to the parent, (this was once called rebellion or domination) and acts as he she /wants and the parent negotiate so the child will do the right thing.

We have come a long way from the day of the parents being parents, children being children and obeying their parents. Of parents knowing that they are to have authority over their children so that all may enjoy one another's company and live together in peace, not truce.

I have not fully processed this, I am chewing on it and thinking about it at this point. I know the success we have experienced as we live in fellowship with our children and hold them to a standard of obedience. It has come from applying a rod of correction at times. Those applications diminished as the understanding of obedience increased. It has not always been easy to apply Biblical principles, to submit my will to my Fathers. Yet the stakes of not doing so seemed higher than the ease of the present moment, so we did it. I believe our children are more settled for having done so.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Teaching Stuff

On Thursdays I teach at a homeschool co-op. It has been an interesting situation in my life.

I arrived in town worn out and "burned out" after several months of "only" parenting , prepping for a move, finding a house and moving with dear husband arriving home two weeks prior to move. By school beginning- which in the south starts way too soon- I was barely coming around to "normal".

Then the phone rang- "?would I teach science?- with others, 2nd and 3rd graders??? Ok, I was willing. Soon I found a room full of kids and I was lead teacher and it was fun- it was wide open to do as I wanted, so we did. We played with magnets, ate green food and drank black juice and took trips outside to see nature close up. As the semester drew to an end I thought about what I was doing and what I really wanted to teach. This was my first time leading a co-op class and it was fun. I was really enjoying the challenge and joy and the kids dive into learning.

Art and creativity was always a passion, my "major" in high school, but hardly visited in college. So I began an art class, well, no make that 2 classes. In my mind I would have the same room as science- oops, room shift and my 9-10 year old boys and girls found themselves in the worlds smallest chairs for real people. We laughed and rolled with it. We painted, colored, drew, made paper mache masks, created clay plates and creatures. The kids dug in with hands and got messy. It was funny to hear the reactions as they were boy and girl classes- segregated. The boys struggled more with the papermache messy hands than the girls. perhaps they had spent more time hands deep in dough in the kitchen???

Yesterday a mom came to me and told me again how much the kids had enjoyed the class. What a blessing to have made memories of joy for her boys. I have heard that others cant wait to be old enough to attend my class-hmmm, not sure I am up for repeats on the art or tooltime ???

Last semester my passion was to help a few guys know how to handle a screwdriver and hammer. I had once hosted a couples baby shower and the guy game was to ID the various tools used for simple father tasks- putting crib together, taking the toothbrush out of the toilet, etc. The clueless dads won the 4 way screwdriver and duct tape.

So the base of "Tool Time" came forth. I wanted the help some guys lose if they were ever to participate in such a game. They built a tool box, a nail box. We then went on to construct a mini wall and add electrical components and drywall it. We spoke about stuff that guys need to know- how to check the oil, tire pressure. How to hang pictures with drywall anchors. It was lots of fun and yet a bit exhausting to haul the stuff to the co-op.

This semester we have moved on to "Guy Stuff". Last week they began with learning how to tie knots. My helpful assistant showed off his knot tying projects and demonstrated several knots. This week some boys brought in new knots that they tied, several have practiced throughout the week.

This week's lesson was "Dress for sucess" where we spoke of clothing - matching, choosing the right thing for the occassion, learning to tie a tie, shoe polishing, ironing, measuring yourself for clothing, packing a suitcase and why we seperate red clothes from white in the washer. All too quickly we ran out of time- no time left to play with the polish or race each other in packing and ironing- bummer, that would have been fun.

It was nice to see that many had dressed up. Those with shirt and tie and jacket were given a 100 grand candy bar for looking like "a million bucks". The ones who showed up with collared shirt/tie brought me joy so they received a Almond Joy, and the few who threw a tie on over their tshirts and sweatshirts came away with a snickers- as we all snickered at them. After they tied their ties they were all rewarded with Butterfingers as they proved that they did not have them. And the class ended with dinner mints, as all well dressed young men should have fresh breath.

And so we begin a semester of classes again. In the early hours this morning a new idea came- Chicken?Man? A class on carcasses and how to cut them up! How is that for guy stuff. the carcass ID part came from my husband as I shared my thoughts at 3am.

The challenge is my 3yr old neighbor GIRL was willing to pickup and "play" with a dead bird- no squimish or problem. Her sister had cleaned and ?? taken the meat from a dove- no problem. Would they be chicken or man? would they conquer a chicken without fuss as a 3 and 5 year old have?

How many young men will know how to deal with a whole chicken? How is this skill applicable? Well, the $$ it can save them in later life is great. As newlyweds a chicken I separated and deboned could supply 2-3 meals, and on our limited income that was huge!

So, we will do cost comparison, learn to ID poultry. Teams will learn to separate the parts- and maybe will go on to teach their moms and sisters as I have found this to be a dying art. If time and tools permit they will get to cook up their chicken breast and I will take home lots of chicken to cook up for future use. And they will learn the importance of clean hands, tools and samonilla poisoning prevention. Hmmm, who would think so much could come from the humble chicken?!

The teaching of "stuff" has brought me great satisfaction. When I originally said OK it was with resignation, and a sense of obligation. Little did I know that my backdoor entry into co-op teaching would bring such joy. It is now fun to consider what practical hands on tasks I can bring to class and impart to willing students. I am never sure how the guys will take the class content, but so far I have not had any drop out so I guess its working.

Faith or Fear- what is happening within??

The Lord is always gentle to nudge us slowly and so he began with a conversation here, a word there. Then I happened upon 1 Peter 3:5-6. The passage was talking about wives, submission, reverence, outward adornment and the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit which is of great worth in God’s sight. It then goes on to say-

For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. “

As I read these verses I thought of how Sara was the wife of one of the patriarchs in the Faith Hall of Fame (Heb11), how she endured so much and waited upon the Lord for answered prayer. She obeyed Abraham twice when he, in fear, claimed her as his sister, not his wife. Both times God protected her. I thought of how she could have given into fear with the uncertainty of the situation her husband’s decision had put her in. Yet God was with her, He saw her position and cared for her. If God is willing and able to protect Sara will He not also care for me?

As I read the last line of these verses I considered the “do what is right”- and realized that in the beginning of the passage it spoke of women who put their trust in God. In so doing it allowed the inward beauty of faith to reflect outwardly. That beauty was a reflection of the honor given to both God and their husbands. It is a beautiful thing to see a woman respond with unity and willingness to God and her husband. As I honor God with trust and then honor the authority over me; my husband glory is given to my Lord.

There is an analogy here, Christ willingly submitted and laid down his life for the will of his father. We don’t hear Jesus griping and complaining and striving to gain his own way, rather he chose to submit and in so doing to glorify the Father. In like manner we as wives have the choice to chose to submit and in so doing bring glory to our husbands and beauty to our lives.

When I consider that Christ is my role model for submission and I see how He chose to lay down his very life willingly I find myself needing to consider my heart attitude. I am challenged to consider what my heart attitude is as I approach my husband and my Lord. Is my attitude one of willing obedience or reluctant acceptance? Do I fight and throw a fit because I can’t have my way? The light of truth shines upon my heart - areas I thought I was doing so well in God in his gentleness illuminates my selfish, sinful attitudes. I begin to face my sin and the reality of my heart.

I have considered what often blocks my willingness to lay down my will for his and it is fear- the “what if’s?” or the “you don’t understand”- all fear related. Recently I have considered my motives when I start to balk at the leadership of my husband and more often than I like to admit I find that the root of my response is in fact either fear or the desire to be in control. Here God labels the motives of my heart. God knows that I, as a woman long to be in control, because I, in my heart trust myself more than Him or my husband, I want to protect myself and care for myself.

The sin of pride continues to beset my life- outwardly I say I need God yet in my heart of hearts all too often I think and act like I can take care of myself better than He can. Yet He reminds us as women that to do what is right is to honor and submit to my husband and not give into fear.

Am I willing to trust in the God who cared for Sara? Am I willing to trust in Him to direct and guide my husband as he leads our family? Am I willing to trust even as Sara did as her husband was passing her off as a sister rather than protecting her like a husband? Oh this is hard to say yes to.

This verse stood out, so much so that I wrote it on my mirror. Daily I am faced with the challenge and reminder of God’s word and daily I am caused to wrestle a bit more with my fear and my faith. I have by no means conquered this area but I am finding the wrestling good exercise for I desire to glorify God with my life. I desire to be a daughter of Sara- putting my hope in God and thereby reflecting His beauty. I desire to honor and respect my husband and allow God to lead our family through Him.

Perhaps you will join me in reflecting on what is going on within as you choose to respond with faith or fear to your God and your husband.