Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Teaching Her Some Life Lessons Early On

Teaching my daughter has been a topic that has run through this blog from the beginning.  It is something I learned to do from my teacher (my mother) and it is something that I have found to be of great importance in the mothering of my daughter.

The basis of these lessons might be a movie we watch together or as a family, an incident we observe in the store, an act or behavior that Addie displays while we are alone or with company, or a God given reminder to me.  None of these lessons are planned in advance, but the lessons linger in her memory and heart for a very long time.

One lesson that I have taught her (originally unbeknownce to Brian) occurred because of the fact that her recent favorite movie has been the "Mommy and Daddy Movie" (our wedding video).  While watching the video she asked me if she would get married.  Rather than make a huge to do about the fact the she (a three year old) even asked the question or making her feel silly for bringing up the subject (remember, if we want our children to feel free to talk to us about everything, we need to respond in an open manner now while they are small), I simply said, "Yes, one day you will get married.  But the boy you marry has to love Jesus.  And Daddy has to like the boy.  If Daddy does not like the boy, you cannot marry him.  But if Daddy likes the boy, then you can marry him."  Can you imagine Brian surprise when Addie went to him several days later and said, "I'm going to get married.  If you don't like the boy, I can't marry him. If you like the boy, I can marry him."  The look I got from him was priceless! It was one of those "Boy-do-I-wish-I-had-my-camera-in-hand-right-now" moments.

Life lessons that are taught early and often and impressed in the heart have a much greater chance of sticking and remaining than life lessons that are taught as the actual subject comes up. Setting up the guidlelines of dating and marriage (oh, let's not even think about that yet!) when the age approaches has a chance of being met with arguements and resistence, especially if her heart has already gotten involved.

And when a child has a strong will and personality (like my awesome little girl does), it is best to use those personality traits to our advantage. Teaching those lessons early and often (and keeping her in constant prayer) will only strengthen her resolve and conviction over time and they will become ingrained in her heart.

Look for those teaching moments.  Be aware of when they surface.  Use God's Word as your standard for teaching.  Take the time to talk.  These moments are fleeting.  They come and go all too soon.  The dishes can wait.  The dusting will have to be done again next week.  The laundry basket will refill before you blink again.  But that question they asked, the comment they made, the moment for teaching a lasting lesson sometimes will never be seen again. 

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