Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Life Lessons from Biblical Parents: Adam and Eve

Today's lesson is based on Genesis 4 and what we can learn about Adam and Eve as parents through their sons Cain and Abel.

God gives us children. The first thing that jumped out at me was that Eve said, "I have gotten a man child with the help of the Lord." God is the one who gives us the children we have. It is important that we remember that we are, in a sense, borrowing them from Him. This will help us in our attitude towards them and sense of responsibility to God while bringing them up. They are not ours. They are His. He has entrusted them to us to care, nurture, and teach.

Don't only do something for your oldest and not for your others. Eve made a beautiful statement after the birth of Cain, but none is recorded after the birth of Abel. Lets face it. Our firstborn is very special. They are the ones who first gave us the title of parent. We learn about ourselves and what childhood development is because of them. Now I only have one, but when the next one comes along, I need to really work on making sure that everything I did for Addie, I do for the next one...or two. I need to take as many pictures, treat each milestone as a monumental event, spend time alone with that one, and make him/her feel like the special gift that we have made Addie feel like. My mother was very good about this. She never wanted one of us to feel more loved than the other. Even until the week before she passed away, she was still serving Faye and I simultaneously so neither of us would feel that Mom was showing a preference to one over the other (we even told her that we were definitely way past that stage, but she still insisted on making sure we knew we were both loved the same.)

Don't make each child follow the same plan. "And Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground." I'm sure Cain and Abel had different personalities (their attitudes towards the Lord in the verses following show that) which means they had different strengths and work preferences. Cain dealt with plants, and Abel with sheep. I'm sure that Adam and Eve noticed which son would be better suited for which job. Cain may have been a thinker, somewhat to himself, and may not have dealt with others well (ya think?). Abel may have been patient (you would need to be when dealing with sheep) and may have had a sensitive heart towards the Lord. Either way, Abel was not expected to be a tiller of the ground because his older brother was. We need to recognize the strengths of each child and provide ways for them to develop the strengths that God has given them.

Have your children share in the household chores/work. I don't know how old Cain and Abel were, but it seems that they were helping with the household jobs. It is so important for children to see themselves as part of a household team and not just a bench warmer. There are always jobs that children, no matter what age, can do around the house. Last night, I had Addie help me set the table. I gave her each plate one at a time (I used real dishes!). She named each person and put the plate at the spot where that person usually sits. I then handed her four napkins, and she did the same thing. We followed the same process for the forks. Did it matter that the forks and napkins were not perfectly placed? Absolutely not! She did a great job for just being able to see over the table. I left everything as is, and that is how we sat down to eat. You could see the pride just beaming on her face. Other chores that Addie is able to do are putting her toys away before bed, handing me clothes pins, and putting her dirty clothes in the hamper. If the first children could help with the chores, so can ours.

On a completely different note (I'm sure you know how my mind works by now), did you ever wonder:
  • how did Eve feel during her first pregnancy? Did she wonder what was going on?
  • who helped Eve deliver her children? There were no OBs around.
  • how did they manage to have children without doctors, hospitals, or health insurance? You mean it is possible!
  • how did Eve feel as she watched her children go through the stages of development that she completely skipped?
  • How did Eve know what to do with her children when they got a cold, scraped knee, or broken arm? She couldn't go back to "My mom used to..."
  • how did Eve feel when Abel died? Did she reflect back to that bite of fruit in the garden, the punishment God said would happen, and regret the day? Was the pain of losing a child greater for her since she knew her actions and direct act of disobedience led to her son's death and the loss of her first born?

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