Many years ago when I was a young mom, I had a conversation with my next door neighbor. My neighbor was telling me that she had 8 children and that she raised them to be good, honest, respectable, hard-working and polite. She told me that she never had to raise her voice to get her children to do what she needed them to do. I was in awe because I was struggling to raise my kids without raising my voice. I confessed to her that I often yelled at my children to get them to obey my commands. She said to me, “Yes, I can hear you all the time”.
I was so ashamed. I wanted to crawl in the corner and disappear. But God wouldn’t let me be done in by shame. He caused my heart to quicken with conviction and erased my feelings of condemnation. It was then that I asked Him to teach me how to parent my children and specifically how to train them to listen to my voice the first time I spoke. I knew this was a spiritual issue for me and my children. I knew if they wouldn’t obey my voice, they weren’t going to listen to and obey God’s voice.
Part 5 of “14 Ways a Wise Woman Builds Her House” focuses on training children in the way they should go. I am not saying that fathers have no role in training their children. In fact, Gill’s Exposition says it this way: “Train up a child in the way he should go … As Abraham trained up his children, and those born in his house, in the way of the Lord, in the paths of justice and judgment; which are the ways in which they should go, and which will be to their profit and advantage.” But since I am addressing the wise woman, I will focus on her role. Additionally, Matthew Henry’s Commentary states it this way: “Train children, not in the way they would go, that of their corrupt hearts, but in the way they should go; in which, if you love them, you would have them go.”
Yes, we should teach them the ways of God at an early age, but what other specific areas should the wise woman focus her time and attention as she raises her children? Here are 5 practical areas to focus on:
1. Manners–It used to be that children were taught how to say “Yes”, “No”, “Please”, “Thank you”, “Excuse me”, etc. There is such a lack of manners nowadays that puzzles me. Children are commenting in adult conversations and are rude to older people. Children need to be taught to mind their manners.
2. Obedience–Teach children to obey your commands the first time they hear them. Counting to five (in my opinion) teaches children to ignore you the first 4 times you command something. We should not have to raise our voices or count to 5 before our children take us seriously. As wise women, we should teach immediate obedience because it provides safety for our children and helps them to obey God’s commands, too.
3. Responsibility–Mothers are not servants but teachers. We are to give our children responsibilities and teach them how to handle it. Stewardship over what they are given or use are good areas to take responsibility for.
4. Kindness–Teach children to be kind to one another. Some of the roughest places on earth for children are in their own homes. Sibling fights, name calling and outright mean spirits are left to run rampant in our homes. Teaching children to be kind and helping them identify with the very nature of God is a wise thing.
5. Raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord–Parents have the primary charge to introduce their children to Christ Jesus and raise them in righteousness. It is not up to the church to do it. The church should reinforce what you are teaching and modeling at home. Go over the lessons they bring home from church, pray with them, give them opportunities to see spiritual lessons in the seemingly mundane, hold them accountable for the choices they make, etc. As a wise woman who builds her house, live out Deuteronomy 6:7-9. This is mentoring in its truest form.
Dear wise woman, do you find purpose in raising Godly arrows? See Psalm 127:4-5. You’ve been entrusted with a sacred responsibility. Embrace it, nurture it and sharpen your arrows to penetrate this dark and dying world.
• Read Deuteronomy 6:7-9. Note every way we are challenged to engage spiritually with our children.
• What specific ways do you need to focus on as you train your children in the way they should go?
+Through the Looking Glass: Ask God to give you wisdom, patience, and courage to ‘train your child(ren) up in the way they should go, then do it.