I am posting this picture of my first successfully completed knitted hat! My first one was too wide and too short, but I think this one came out just right for our new little boy due in April. I really enjoy knitting, although I find the finishing part of the hat quite difficult, managing all those double pointed needles. I assume it will get easier though with practice. I'm going to make him a blue hat next. :)
Recently I have been feeling very convicted that I do many things, but not any thing with excellence. Including mothering. Including homeschooling. What I mean by mothering is this. I want to disciple my kids. I want to really teach them God's word and his ways. I want to teach them the Bible. I was reading in Deuteronomy the other day where it says, "These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." (Deut.6:6-8)
After I read this, I thought to myself, I don't do this. I spend a lot of the day disciplining my kids, but not really discipling them. Sure, we read the Bible in the morning, work on memorizing Bible verses, and read a short devotional. This is easy. But having the Word on my heart and in my heart and then teaching it to my kids throughout the day is another matter. It is so easy when the boys are fighting to say firmly and sometimes harshly, "Stop fighting! Both of you sit down in time out". And not at all teach them what God's word says, such as, Matthew 5:9, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God." And then talking to them about how they could have been peacemakers.
So, back to why I'm reading this book. I've had it for years and read it in part many times. Another thing I realized is that I don't read anything instructional throughly. Again, I skim over life, without delving deeply into anything. I want to stop this. So this book talks about your number one priority with your children is to make them wholehearted disciples of Jesus. Then secondly it is to educate their minds to serve Jesus. The author states, "It is far more important that your children become wholehearted disciples of Jesus Christ than it is they become "well educated." A mature disciple of Jesus Christ with the will and skill to learn is much more useful to God's work than a well-educated but immature Christian."
I also have been convicted that I do not homeschool with excellence. I want very much to be taught and discipled on how to mother and homeschool with excellence. This book talks about both! And the homeschooling philosophy that they glean from the most is that of Charlotte Mason. So my goal is to read it, cover to cover, take notes, highlight, underline and make real changes based on what I learn. Changes in my mothering and changes in how I home school.
Here are a few things that I believe God is really teaching me:
*King David wrote a letter to his son, Solomon, because he saw that although God had filled Solomon with supernatural wisdom, his heart was divided. In a worldly sense you would have thought Solomon had it all, great intelligence and wisdom, immense power, worldwide fame and vast wealth. But his father saw what he lacked and wrote to him, "...acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever." (1 Chronicles 28:9) My prayer is that both myself and my children will be wholehearted followers of God.
*Discipleship is so much more than just a list of spiritual goals to accomplish in your children's lives. It is first and foremost an attitude of the heart toward your children. It is seeing them as God wants you to see them-as future servants and leaders for him in the next generation... These are not just children, they are adults and leaders in training."
*"When you verbally discipline your children-whether to confront wrongdoing, or to encourage rightdoing-think about how Jesus would speak to them. He would be gentle, but authoritative; loving, but truthful; gracious, but firm." (I find myself raising my voice far too often with my boys)
*The use of natural consequences and logical consequences. Natural consequences are consequences that fit the circumstance. Logical consequences are consequences that have been predetermined. By using these consequences consistently I will be teaching the boys to take personal responsibility for their behaviors. "It is their choice." This goes right along with the biblical concept of reaping what you sow. (Galatians 6:7,8) I am making an "if-then" chart now that has three columns, one for the offense, one for the corresponding verse that speaks to that offense, and one for the logical consequence to that offense. I hope it will serve to help me not just correct or change my boys behaviors, but to teach them God's ways and inspire them to love and serve him better.
I love this quote:
"Love should be the silver thread that runs through all your conduct. Kindness, gentleness, long-suffering, forbearance, patience, sympathy, a willingness to enter into childish troubles, a readiness to take part in childish joys,-these are the cords by which a child may be led most easily,-these are the clues you must follow if you would find the way to his heart." J.C. Ryle, British minister and author from The Upper Room, 1888
I want so much, when I stand before the throne of God, to give an accounting of my life, to be able, through God's grace and enabling power, to be able to look back on my life, and see that I served God wholeheartedly and raised my boys, wholeheartedly, to love and serve God. I don't want to look back and present to God a life of wishy-washy, luke-warm, so-so mothering. And truly, I can say with John, that I will have no greater joy at the end of my life, then to hear that my children are "walking in the truth". (3 John 1:4)