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Over the past week, my husband and I have been watching an older PBS documentary series called Carrier. It’s a ten week series aboard the USS Nimitz back in 2001. It is a fascinating look at daily life on a Navy ship during a 6 month cruise through the Persian Gulf. Because of the rough language in it, I cannot recommend the show for children, but watching and listening to these men and women in uniform has pricked my heart in a new way as a parent.
“I joined the Navy to get out.”
To get out of what?
A home of violence.
A home of drugs.
A home of alcohol.
A dead end job.
Death of a parent.
A home of prostitution.
A home of abuse.
What did these men and women want? To become someone. To have a future. Hope.
So what do we do? How should we parent this next generation?
3 Tips for Parenting in 2015
1) Be a Home of Discipline – There is a story in education circles that goes like this: Once there was a group of young children. This group was placed in a large field in the middle of busy streets and told to play. Most of the children hovered right in the middle of the area. Then a fence was put up and it surrounded the field. The children were told to play. They happily played in the field and ran to their heart’s content.
Children long for boundaries given in love. It helps them to feel safe. It helps them to know who is in charge so they do not have to worry. Be a parent that sets boundaries. Be a parent who expects good civil behavior from children. Be a parent who says what she means so you can be seen as a trustworthy, solid adult in a chaotic world.
All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. ~ Hebrews 12:11
2) Be a Home of Service – Do your children see you place others before yourself? Do they see you cooking meals for those in need? Do they work beside you as you volunteer for the less desirable jobs at church, such as putting up tables and chairs? Do they go through their toys periodically to find some to give to those less fortunate? Do they see you tithe on a regular basis?
I truly believe that a family that serves together grows stronger together. Children watch what you do, how you interact with others, and how you respond to your spouse. Dr. Tony Evans says that he desires to “out serve” his wife. What a great mentality!
For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. ~ Galatians 5:13 (NASB)
3) Be a Home of Love – Love is not rainbows and butterflies. Love is not a “feeling.” Love is sacrifice. Love is self-denial. Love is putting one’s life down for a brother. Love is action. Our children know exactly what and who we love. They see it in the priorities we choose. Somehow we have gotten ourselves into a mentality that activities and things are more important than people. We do not mean to think this way, but it’s how we live.
Take a good honest look at your calendar. How much time do you spend with the people in your family? I don’t mean going to ballgames and watching your children. I mean actually being with your children. Do you take your children out on dates? Do you date your spouse? Do you have family nights? Do you eat dinner together?
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; ~ Romans 12:10
I want you to be encouraged. As I evaluate my own parenting faults I can become overwhelmed, frustrated, and at a loss sometimes. Instead, I need to be praising Jesus in those moments. Thank God I am not the parent I was 5 years ago and that I now have a new year to improve!
Keep on keeping on, my friend. Let’s choose one or two changes we need to make in our homes so that we can have a haven between our walls. I do not want my kids to desire to “get out” of my home. I want my kids to desire to go out and serve the Lord and spread their wings knowing they have a solid, safe place they can land whenever they need support.
Anne Marie is the author of the blog Future.Flying.Saucers. Anne Marie has a passion for Bible study and teaching the Word to adults and children. On Wednesday nights you will find her teaching Biblical concepts to Awana clubs at her church. All of her Awana and Bible lessons can be found for FREE on her blog. You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest.