Well, today is finally Thankful Thursday! Boy, on this little blog as well as on facebook, I've never had so many comments about any one post! I believe that my friend, Ann, is right. All moms need encouragement. When so many of us are choosing to stay home and care for our children, discouragement can so easily set in. We feel the pressure of shaping their values, training them for life, teaching them the basics (homeschooling), and we constantly wonder if we're up to the task. At least, I do.
We also desire for our children to adopt our worldview and choose to live by the standards by which we live. We yearn to see the Lord do a work in their hearts, and yet, we're fearful that we're not doing our part. Or maybe that we're doing too much and not allowing the Lord to work. I have all these fears and more, and I know that many of you do too.
Today's post is going to focus on James. James is my oldest. He is six years old. I'm starting with him because so many of you have younger children and you feel like you're in the trenches and are not seeing many results. Day in and day out you pour your time and energy into your children, and you don't see the fruit yet. I feel like that with my younger children, so this post is for me as well as for everyone else.
To start with, we've been allowing the older two children to watch the Olympics until 9:00 every night. This allows them to stay up for 30 minutes past their bedtime, and they're allowed to eat ice cream! We've chosen not to allow them to watch the commercials though because some of the content is inappropriate. We always mute the TV and engage them in conversation so that their eyes are turned towards us and away from the TV.
The last few days since my husband has been out of town, I've been juggling several tasks at once -- putting Jefferson to bed, grabbing laundry for the next day, cleaning up the kitchen, putting my piles away, etc., and I haven't always been near the TV the entire time. James loves operating gadgets (what man doesn't?), so I've taught him about the mute button and told him to keep his head turned during commercials. He may glance back every once in awhile to check if the Olympics are back on. He is also permitted to tell Evelyn what is expected of her.
Tonight, I was in the room and putting aways some school supplies for the upcoming year. A commercial came on and he pushed mute and began to talk to me. Evelyn (our challenging child!) said, "But that commercial didn't look bad." I told her that it didn't matter. She must obey what I said. Then I added, "Not all parents have this rule, but Mommy and Daddy think that it's best for you." I said that so that James was not shocked when he talked with his friends about the Olympics (or other TV viewing for that matter) and found out that they did not mute commercials and turn their own heads away. James said, "I think the way that you do it is the right way."
Those are the moments that I pray happen more often as he gets older, although I have no guarantee of that. But it is so encouraging to see him embracing our choices and way of life. I also realize that every good gift is from the Lord, and I believe that any work of grace that we see in our children's lives comes from the Lord, and we need to give Him the glory and praise for it.
James has also enjoyed writing letters to people lately. He's written two for his daddy and one for me. Catherine will recognize two of these as they were written at her house! Here they are with their interpretation below!
"Dear Daddy, Thank you that you go to work for getting money. I hope you have a good time. I love you. Goodbye."
"Dear Mommy, Thank you for staying home with us. I am so glad that you could. I love you. Goodbye."
"Dear Daddy, Thank you for going to work. Can I know who the man of the blue car is? I love you. Goodbye."
Seeing him write those notes and knowing that he feels the way he does thrills my heart! Realizing that he understands, at least in some small way, the sacrifices that we're making for him and the love that motivates our choices encourages me to continue with what we're doing. Your children will not do the same things as James, but I encourage you to look for the little things that they say either to you or to friends or relatives that indicate their understanding. Maybe you'll see that they recognize the security that you give to them, or that they embrace your standards or that they have a happiness in living their lives the way that you direct. Isn't the Lord good to allow us to see the fruit of our labors? Isn't He good to work in our children's lives? Isn't He good to take an interest in us at all? I encourage you (as well as myself) to thank the Lord for these tokens of good and ask Him to give you eyes with which to see those tokens.