"…And she smiles at the future." ~Proverbs 31:25

Posts tagged ‘lesson’

Teaching (and being taught by) our daughters

While going through some old paperwork I came across a little piece I’d clipped from a church bulletin some time back. I read it again and thought it worth sharing. (There was no author listed.)

We need to teach our daughters how to distinguish between

a man who flatters her and a man who compliments her,

a man who spends money on her and a man who invests in her,

a man who view her as property and a man who views her properly,

a man who lusts after her and a man who loves her,

a man who believes he is God’s gift to women and a man who remembers woman was God’s gift to man.

Hopefully our girls are seeing this in the way their dads treat their moms, but I appreciated the reminder to actively teach it as well.  And, it’s never too early!

In our house, I often feel my daughters are teaching me way more than I’m teaching them. Here are just a couple of the lessons I learned from my girls this week…

Yesterday, I woke up to this lovely sight:

A girl with a servant's heart

Our sweet Addison brought me breakfast in bed. There was no special occasion—she simply said, “I know you must be really tired from…” and proceeded to list all my current activities. The fact that she notices and appreciates my efforts is enough to warm this mom’s heart, and her attempt to do something for me in return was even more touching.

I learned from Addy that expressing appreciation for what others do makes them feel good, and makes them want to keep doing what they’re doing. I’m going to put out more effort to encourage others this week, especially those who just might be tempted to give up.

Then, there was the lesson I learned from my newly-three-year-old daughter, Remington. Her favorite activity these days is playing teacher. Her “lessons” go on and on and on and on…

Little teacher

But what she doesn’t realize is that our everyday interactions are actually teaching me a lot. This latest lesson came from a conversation we had when she found a bag of items I was planning to return for a refund.

Me: No, Remi, don’t open those. We’re going to take them back to the store.

Remi: But why? Why don’t we just keep them?

Me: Because we got too many. We don’t need them.

Remi: But why do we have to take them back?

Me: Because if we give them back to the store, they’ll give us some money instead.

Remi: But we already HAVE some money. Why do we need more?

Me: Ahem…

This sweet little one’s words have sure stuck with me. What a great reminder that we have enough. No matter what we have, it is enough, and I’m thankful I had the innocence of a little child to point that out to me. I am going to work on being content this week—not just with what I have, but with the situations I find myself in and the work I need to do.

So, here’s my encouragement for you today:

1. Teach your daughters, your sons, and your grandchildren what to look for AND give in relationships.

2. Look for ways to encourage the endeavors of those around you. Make an effort to notice. Let them know you see and appreciate.

3. Be content. Focus on what you already have, and find a way to share it with others.

4. Learn from those around you—even your little ones. They can make you a better person just by watching and listening to them.

Who’s up for the challenge?

Thanks for stopping by!


They’re teaching us

You’ve probably heard me say it before: I’m sure I learn way more from my kids each day than they ever learn from me. And, if you’re a parent, you’ve probably experienced the same. It seems every day I observe something in them that I should be emulating…a sacrificial attitude, the ability to change moods quickly, or the knack for finding joy in the everyday drudgery of life.  I watch them and become motivated to do better.

Recently, however, I experienced a more direct lesson.

Our nine-year-old daughter came to me to let me know she’d made up her first devotional talk. It wasn’t really FOR anyone or anything in particular…she’d just been thinking about it. She had a sparkly little box in her hand, and this is what she said:

“This box reminds me of what Satan tries to do to us. He wants to distract us from what’s really important by showing us things that LOOK really exciting.”

“But, once we get into them, we see that they’re not all we thought they’d be. They’re EMPTY.”

“And sometimes, by the time we realize it, he has TRAPPED us in whatever he’d used to attract us.”

I asked Addy to share those thoughts with the rest of the family that night during our family devotional, and she did. The next day, our two-year-old, who never wants to be left out of anything, said SHE had a lesson, too. She’d found a stack of fun-foam pages and started banging them on the table, saying,

“In the beginning, when it was DARK…

(Flips black page down to show white…)

“God said, ‘Hey! Let’s have LIGHT!”

I’ve always hoped my kids would grow up to teach others what they know. Praise God, it looks like they’ve already started.

Thanks for stopping by!

Teaching beyond the lesson

Our little one had her first promotion today, moving up from the nursery to the 2-year-olds’ Bible class. If I were at all concerned about her making that transition, I needn’t have worried. Ms. Debbie met her at the door and welcomed her in with a big smile. And Ms. Cindy, already seated at the teaching table, looked up and beamed, “Remington! I’ve been waiting for this day for two years!”

What a welcome! Now, I’m not completely delusional…Ms. Cindy loves children and she probably said that to every toddler who darkened the door. But the point is, how could you not be excited to be in a class where you were so warmly welcomed ?

Good teachers present quality instruction. But with great teachers, there’s a whole lot of teaching that goes on outside “the lesson.” I know the 2-year-olds received some excellent Bible teaching once that bell rang, but I also believe Remi had been taught several lessons before she ever made it to her wee, colorful chair:

I am loved.

I am wanted here.

I am in a safe, happy place.

Learning about God will be fun.

(Add in a story, snacks, songs, and stickers, and this was a very happy morning for these newly-promoted toddlers.)

Thinking about this experience reminded me of another special teacher…

We were visiting our dear friends in Kentucky and were excited about worshiping all together Sunday morning, but when we pulled into the parking lot of the church building, Addy started to get nervous. Four years old at the time, she wanted to know where we were and what we were doing.

We explained that we were on our way to worship, just like every Sunday morning, but she became more agitated and cried out, “No, this is the wrong church!” We continued reassuring her that there are places all around the world where the Bible is taught and that we can worship wherever we happen to be and not just while we’re in Texas.

By this point she was in tears. We continued to try to figure out the reason for her distress, and eventually we were able to coax an explanation out of her.  With round, wide eyes and a voice filled with panic, Addy exclaimed, “I CAN’T go to this church! I need to go to OUR church! Mrs. Vickers is WAITING for me. If I’m not there, Mrs. Vickers will MISS ME!”

That was it. Addy wasn’t worried about doctrine, and she wasn’t worried about geography. She simply knew that she had a teacher back home who loved her, was expecting her, and would miss her if she didn’t show up. I want to be that kind of teacher.

I’m pretty sure Mrs. Vickers didn’t have those things in her lesson notes. She just exudes a sweet friendliness that lets her students know she’s glad they came. She shows them a glimpse of what it means to experience God’s love. And even at four years of age, they get it.

I am thankful for these sweet ladies. I am thankful for all those who motivate us to be better teachers and role models.  And I am thankful for those who share their time and energy to help our kids follow the Greatest Teacher who ever walked the earth.

Thanks for stopping by!

Should we be building here?

On our recent camping trip, we strung up a makeshift clothesline to hang out some wet clothes after fishing.  It was only up for a few hours before we needed that rope for something else, and yet when we pulled the clothes down we found this in the pocket of Troy’s shorts:

We’d seen some small birds hanging out near our picnic shelter (I want to say finches, but a bird expert I am not, so who knows?) but we couldn’t believe that they’d chosen a shorts pocket as their building site and had moved in so quickly.

(By the way, I’m going to go out on a limb here–pun intended–and say that the Heath Bar wrappers were already in the pocket before the birds began their nesting. I won’t say how they got there. But they weren’t MY shorts.)

The next day, Troy reached into our 12-pack box of lemonade to grab a few cans for the cooler, and guess what he found inside?

Here’s a closer look:

I know it’s hard to see well because of the ground it’s sitting on, but there was quite an elaborate construction in that unlikely address!

Here’s a picture I haven’t shown you yet, but it was one of the first things we found when we surveyed our campsite, and you need to know about it…

…because when we turned that nest over, we saw it again!

Let me zoom in for you:

Amazing, right? In a way, I wanted to applaud these little birds for their resourcefulness. After all, they used what was available to them and were satisfied with it, and we could all learn a lesson from that. But, it was also sadly apparent that they made some really rotten choices for their construction sites! And I think there’s a lesson for us there, too.

How much of our time, money, and energy do we pour into obtaining and maintaining the perfect home here on earth? We know it won’t last, but we often let it become our focus. We forget about II Corinthians 4:18, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

For those of us who are homemakers, we see our homes as a reflection of ourselves, and rightly so. It’s important to be good stewards of what we’ve been blessed with, and if it’s our job to take care of the house then we should certainly do the best we can with what we have. But what if we took some of the time, money, and energy we spend caring for the HOUSE (cleaning, decorating, shopping, repairing, remodeling, and so on) and put that into making a HOME instead? What if we emphasized loving, laughing, teaching, learning, growing, bonding, encouraging, praying, and serving each other over our houses and the things they contain?  Psalm 127:1 says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it….”

If I’m going to make a home, I want to establish it in the best possible place. I want to be building for eternity.

“For our citizenship is in heaven,

from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” 

Philippians 3:20

Thanks for stopping by!

My words, her mouth

There is no question that we learn from our kids; the funny thing is that it often happens while we THINK that we’re  teaching THEM.

For example…

Last night I picked up a book I’ve been reading to my girls about the travels and travails of a china rabbit.  (I giggled when one requested that I “please read chapter 15,” since she’s only two and has no clue what chapter we’re on…but I said, “OK” and began to read.)

We came to a point in the story where the rabbit begins devising methods to exact revenge on someone who’s mistreated him. I put the book down to ask my nine-year-old daughter what she thought about that.

We talked for a while about what the Bible says about getting revenge.  (Am I a great mom, or what? Answer: “what.” Keep reading.) We continued through several more chapters of the story, and then I kissed the girls good night and left the room.

Fast forward to the very next morning. I’d been volunteering at our homeschool association’s used book sale and had plenty of time to get from there to Addison’s baseball game…or, at least I would have had plenty of time if it hadn’t been my turn to bring snacks and drinks for the team. Even needing to detour to Kroger for the snacks, we still had enough time, but none extra to spend dilly-dallying around. That was one of the reasons I was so annoyed with the driver in front of me, who was sitting still through a green light because she was so busy texting that she forgot all about that driving thing she’d committed to doing. (The other reason? People who text while driving just really annoy me.)

Well, since I couldn’t afford to sit there behind her all day, I switched lanes…voicing my complaints as I did so. I’m ashamed to admit, I even went so far as to say, out loud, “I wonder how SHE likes it,” as I maneuvered  into the lane in front of her and slowed down a little.

Immediately, I heard a sweet, soft, little voice coming  from the seat behind me. “Mommy, don’t get your revenge. Let God take care of that.”

I winced.

It stung.

And I needed to hear it.

I was glad I had taken a moment to teach her that lesson, because it turns out I needed it more than she did, and right away! I was thankful for her gentle reminder, and glad for the chance to make it right.

“Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God,  for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.”   (Romans 12:19)

What have you learned from your children? How have they made you a better person? Let’s be thankful for all those people–big and little–who “keep us on track.”

Thanks for stopping by!

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