We have Netflix because we got rid of cable. I thought it would be a good way to get educational videos to show the kids and it has been! We haven't gotten any just movie's for us yet... The latest thing that I got is actually a program called "Your child from 6 to 12" by author John Drescher. I almost went into our account and canceled it (confession...thinking it would be boring) but I forgot to and so we got it on Friday. We decided just to go ahead and put it in right away (since it was going to be boring) so we could return it quickly and get something else. Well,
God had other plans.
It has brought great conviction to me on many important things and we are only half way through it! Here are some of the things I learned:
Your child, age 6 to 12, is at a very special age. As parents we tend to think that this is the easy time and we can let up. After all, the really hard stage is babyhood, toddler hood, and the preschool age and then eventually the teen years. But our children during this "easy" stage are absorbing and growing and learning so much! Here are some of the things I jotted down:
This is the last time to hold and cuddle our children.
Child needs love even when they mess up/sin/disobey.
Time = Love, don't say your too busy for them. You have this to do or that to do...there will always, always, always be "things" to do!!! Your child won't always, always, always be a child!
Spend time with them now-they will want to spend time with you later (ie during the teen years)
This is a time filled with lots of questions, they estimate 500,000 questions are asked during this time. These questions are a great opportunity to impart our values to our kids. Our answers will inevitably reflect our values and beliefs. Our children will unknowingly and effortlessly absorb our beliefs!
Don't criticize the church at home! (he said that a major reason of children growing up and leaving the church is because they heard it criticized constantly growing up!)
BEDTIME-so important! (this was a big conviction point for me because I usually let Steve put the my older boys to bed---I put down the baby. Even if I have the baby already down I let Steve put the older boys to bed. I just want a "break". I am missing out! Bedtime is a special time, to talk, to snuggle, to read, to bond! I realize that I am being so selfish---and in my selfishness I am missing out on the blessing of those few minutes before bed) (now of course I'm not thinking I'm going to start putting them to bed every night now, but a few nights a week I think will be good!) I guess Steve and I both kind of see that time as who "has to do it" rather than a blessing. I know God is refining me and this part of my flesh, my sinfulness, will be refined as well and one day I will gladly and happily see my kids through the day, from the time they get up to the time they lay their heads on the pillow.
This evening in fact, I had forgotten about this new conviction, and when Steve asked me if I would put the boys to bed I begrudgingly said "yes". I wanted "my time" but then I remembered my conviction and realized I wanted to spend that time with them!
Micah is sick so I enjoyed taking him upstairs and brushing his teeth (he usually brushes his teeth on his own but I think every once in a while a parent needs to do it to make sure they are getting good and clean!) and putting on his antibiotic cream (he has some sort of bacterial infection around his mouth) and shea butter on his terribly cracked and chapped lips. We read
for the first time. It was a charming story. I loved the illustrations! I read to the boys on my bed. I put Micah in my lap. A few pages in Andrew asked me if we could do "half and half". He meant that he wanted to get in my lap half-way through the story. He's so cute. I love these times with them.
After the story was over Micah told me he was "too weak to walk" and asked if I could carry him. So I carried him on my back to the bathroom so he could potty before going to bed and when I walked out in the hall Andrew wanted to get on my back. So I carried him to his bed. Then I laid down and cuddled with him and he asked for an "imagination story". I told them a quick story that I just made up a few months ago and they have consistently asked for them again. I don't think I do a good job at all but they seem to like them!
Micah came in and crawled in bed with Andrew. He would love to sleep with Andrew every night but Andrew doesn't like it. So we said prayers and then I sang to them. Then Andrew crawled in the top bunk to sleep because he didn't want to sleep with Micah and Micah was already mostly asleep and he is so sick I didn't want to move him.
So it took me about 45 minutes to put them bed. That is one of the reasons I don't like putting them to bed. I can't do it quickly because everything they ask me I tend to say "yes" to. I am such a sucker for my kids. I hate disappointing them.
Anyway, not sure why I typed out their bedtime routine, but back to what I learned from the DVD!
This is the last great time to read to our children.
Reading different things is a great way to instill our values and morality in our children.
Cry when I read---this is good! (I usually hold back my tears, I'll have to stop reading, and once I pull it together I'll keep going. From now I'm going to let'em flow!)
Need to talk about sex before they turn 12.
Good time to talk about different vocations for the child. Take them to colleges, or universities they might go to. Get them thinking about the future. He said that most preachers will say they felt called to the ministry at the age of 11. Lots of missionaries began to feel called after their parents read them a story of a missionary. Missionary biographies are really good to read to the kids and kids really like them at this age.
I think another great thing would be to introduce our children and provide them with time with missionaries, veterinarians, doctors, lawyers, preachers, all different kinds of people in all different walks of life. A great way to do this is to have people over for dinner! We love to do this and we need to do it more. We usually don't talk much about our dinner guests vocations, but this would be a good thing to start doing. And letting the kids ask them questions...
Our feelings will have more of an impact on our kids then our words.
Rules are really important and that tight structure for ages 0-5. For ages 6-12, modeling is more important. Kids will imitate you at this stage!
There is a great need for encouragement at this age. They want to please you!
The famous painter, Benjamin West tells the story of how he became a painter. His mother had left him home with his baby sister and he painted a picture of her while she was gone. When she came back he was afraid he would be in trouble because he had used her supplies/colors, so he held the picture behind his back. She came over and asked to see it. When she saw it she said that is your sister---and she gave him a kiss. He said, "My mothers kiss made me a painter."
Here is one of his paintings:
Incredible isn't it!
Praise is very important!!!
They have a great need for belonging.
They love adventure---great time to camp, fish, swim, go on trips!
So I was freshly encouraged of the importance of this time. I realized that I have really stopped paying as much attention to Micah (he is turning 7 in a month) because truly he has gotten so easy. But I don't want to miss out on the blessing of knowing Micah and enjoying every year I have with him while he is still a boy. These years will be gone in the blink of an eye and I won't be able to go back!