Monday, March 29, 2010

A Look Back at Yahoo 360

This was a post I had done in January of '09 when I was blogging on Yahoo 360. Addie was only 10 months old at the time of the original posting. As I reread it, I could "hear" myself getting fired up. I think the idea that the words we speak over our children can either build them up or tear them down has really stirred my heart. I have added some comments and updates to the post which will be in italics.

I am always hearing, "Oh, your daughter is so good! Just wait until she turns two... or starts walking... or starts talking...or becomes a teenager." (These were generally comments we heard from people in church since we kept Addie with us in the service for most of her first year.) It is never just, "What a good girl your daughter is!" I also hear, "Oh, Addie is so good. That means your next one is going to be a terror." (Also from church members, thank God it was never from family.) People in general seem to have the need to "balance" anything positive they say with something negative. Now I am not saying that Addie is perfect. She is a wonderful girl who loves to have fun, be around her family, and squeal when Daddy puts her on his shoulders and runs around the house. But she is also human. She makes mistakes just like every other 10 month old does- she hasn't reached the age of perfection yet:) I haven't reached the age of perfection for that matter! I guess I don't like the stereotype placed on all children in general- the low expectation of behavior and the complaints of parents when their children do exactly what the parents have expected all along.

I am a firm believer of the verse in Proverbs that says "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." To "train up" means to actually put in time with your child every day to teach them correct behavior and values, and then being consistent about it. Many people think that just by having a Bible on the coffee table and taking their children to church every time the doors are open is training their children. When their children grow up and depart from the Lord they can't understand why. Well, having a Bible on the coffee table is nice, but opening it and reading it to your children and explaining what God's Word says to your children is actually training them. Taking them to church is nice, but if they are not being shown at home the practical application of the Scriptures, your chances of them taking God's Word to heart lessens dramatically.

Addie and I spend much of our day together- except of course when she is napping. We read Bible books together, watch an occasional Veggie Tale, "talk" about everything that I am doing in the house, play with her toys (and put them away together), and sing. In the evenings, when we put her to bed, we say our nightly Bible verse. All during our day, we are looking for opportunities to come up where teaching and training can be done. Sometimes you have to really look hard for those teachable moments. We realize that God has not given the church the responsibility of training our daughter. He has given that responsibility to Brian and me.

As I was thinking about the comments I am hearing on a weekly basis, I got an idea for Addie's room. I had always seen the words that people either paint or apply to their walls, and I had wanted to do something similar. I decided to put up a Bible verse along the border of her ceiling. I used the Cricut machine that I had gotten for Christmas (trying to apply the lesson from Proverbs- from another Yahoo 360 post) to cut out the letters to Matthew 18:10 (thanks for the verse, Sherri!). It says "Take heed that you do not despise these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels are always before the face of My Father who is in heaven." This verse is just a reminder to me and eventually to her (and any other children that will fill that room) that people need to be careful of the unnecessary negative comments that they make. In a sense, those comments despise the little ones that they are made towards, and do not edify or build up their little spirits in any way (not to mention the spirits of their parents who love them).

Edit: We have now reached the Terrific Two's! Yes, children in this age group try testing boundaries, but when Biblically shown what the boundaries are, they comply and this can be a great time for both parent and child.

Addie has had times where she has tried to test the boundaries, but she has learned that the boundaries are firmly in place. When we have to correct behavior, we tell her, "Jesus wants Addie to obey Mommy (or Daddy) the first time without complaining. Not the second time or the third time. The first time." This is a consistent phrase in our correction. In fact on Sunday when I had to say "the phrase" Brian said, "One day she is going to say this to her own children and then say to herself, 'I sound just like my mother!'" When we begin to see a test coming, we say, "The first time," and it usually stops dead in its tracks.

If you have children who are in their twos or still have them to look forward to, don't let anyone put the terrible two's label on your blessings. Words have a great impact. Let those words be words of blessing.

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