(As presented at the WCG Conference in 2005)
2. Favor: friendly or favorable regard, approval or support. How do we help our children find favor with man and with God? As we teach our children what things are approved of God we also teach them something that is dear to God’s heart, that we love one another. We have to teach them that loving someone has nothing to do with the person being your best friend or if they are even nice to you. It’s about making the choice to be concerned about others and their needs. Now this one is very hard, even for a lot of us adults to handle. We love those that love us and treat us well. But we find it very difficult to love those that would mistreat us or misuse us but when we learn to do it ourselves and model it for our children, we show them how to find approval in the things they do. God will also open the hearts of others to support your efforts when you are doing as he wills. I believe the favor comes when we are willing to make total sacrifices of ourselves. This is where we have to work at trying to show our children about sacrifices. Are you willing to help others or are you looking out only for yourself? Can you give up some of your time for someone else’s needs, even if it means missing something that’s important to you? If we don’t show this before our kids they won’t get it. I know people who won’t give someone a ride home because it’s two blocks past where they want to go. So how does that same person turn around and tell his or her child you need to be willing to help someone else? Watch that what you say is what you do. We have to make sure our words link up with our actions. Do your children see you make sacrifices of your time with out complaining about having to “always” be the one that does this or that? Do your children see you complaining about time you are giving to the church? Do you give your children the impression by your actions that the church is a hindrance? If you were why would they want to be bothered? Do your children see you making the effort to make it to Sunday service or mid week service with a cheerful, anticipating attitude? Or do they see it as something you half-heartedly do? You know God loves a cheerful giver, even if that giving is of our time. So are our words linked with God in this area? If it’s not then we need to make the change so our children learn this lesson by what we “do” because we are “doers” of the word.
I had to look deeper and find the facts. The fact is muscle is heavier than fat. It looked one way but when I understood the complete picture I understood better that I was making progress. It was the same with the children of Israel. When then went around the wall of Jericho seven times don’t you think by the time they came to the last day, they had a pretty good idea about what that wall looked like? I bet they knew were the holes were, were the caulking was coming out, where any imperfections were. By the time they got around that wall the seventh time it didn’t look so intimidating. When we examine the situation and understand what we are facing it becomes less intimidating because we begin to see where the work needs to be done and we have a clearer picture. When we get discouraged sometimes we have to look at the complete picture and see that we have actually made progress.
So we set in place the “Phone policy”. We set the ground rules on what happens if she abuses the privilege and what happens when she follows. You know what, that makes things so much easier. One we don’t have to go back and forth and she knows what will happen if she abuses the rules. We don’t have to listen to the excuses on why she can’t get her friends to stop sending her text messages. When she loses her phone for a month, I bet you she’ll get them to stop with no problem. See they’ll have their phones but she won’t. We set that in place for everything. We call it the “Family Bible”. We are to represent to our children what true authority looks like. See God has authority. He gives us the guidelines to follow. Some times we understand and sometimes we don’t. We can go to him and seek his wisdom on why we should do things his way. But even if we go away and still don’t fully understand, we still have the same rules. God doesn’t change the rules because we are not willing to understand them or follow them. If we disobey we will have to face the consequences of that disobedience. Yes God is willing to forgive us but that doesn’t take away the consequences. I believe this helps everyone within the family understand their roles and how to accomplish these tasks. If for instant you have a child that refuses to get up in the morning for school, why are you fighting with them? You have to let that child know if they are late for school they will have to deal with the consequences of being late. Even help them to understand that a little better. I heard this from someone and I love it, write a note to their teacher and say “Tommy or whatever your child’s name is has absolutely no reason for being late today. Feel free to do whatever you do to children that are tardy. Thank you, Tommy’s mom.” How many times do you think that kid will be late? So put into place those things that will help your children understand the expected behavior. Also make sure they understand the benefits as well as the consequences of their actions. Isn’t that what God does for us. He tells us in his word what the benefits are and what the consequences are. And when you have to feel what a few of the consequences are, I believe you will quickly change you mind about being disobedient. And let me tell you, it has cut down on my yelling. I don’t need to yell because it is all written down and posted on the refrigerator for all to see. If you forget, go back and read the covenant. Everyone from the youngest to the oldest signed it. I have a young lady staying with me she even signed it. As for my household and I, we will serve the Lord. Now I don’t have a copy for everyone of the Family Bible, but if you would like a copy to give you some ideas for your family or to see how I set it up, you can e-mail me and put in the subject line – Convention raising healthy families. Then I will gladly send you a copy (If you are interested today, you too can e-mail me for the copy of the Family Bible).
If you missed the last week, look under The Week in Review on April 27, 2008.