Karissa wrote in with a great question: In a recent post you talked about “picking one thing” and being consistent about it in the discipline of a toddler. I guess my question is: How? There are multiple little issues of obedience that are clear to my 19-month-old, but I also want to be consistent about tantrum throwing. So what do I do about those other issues? Do I overlook her disobedience or lead her away from the “no touch” object? What do I do about those other obedience issues? Thanks for your input!
Great question, Karissa, and I think you’ve got the right idea. We most effectively train our children when we focus on one or two areas at a time. But very young children disobey in a myriad of ways! So how can we focus on one thing without losing ground in other areas?
I’m sure many moms have more wisdom than me, but here are a few ideas I’ve found helpful: If temper tantrums are your “one thing” then consider ways to minimize other sources of temptation. If your daughter always heads for her favorite “no touch” item in the living room, maybe remove it for a time. If your son cries when you drive by the local park, then try taking another route home. If your child is eyeing another child’s toy dump truck, distract him with some blocks. Eliminating predictable areas of temptation can help you focus most consistently on the most important things.
If our child sins in ways we can’t ignore, seek to deal with it appropriately and move on. So if our child grabs a toy we need to help him return it, telling him as we do that it is wrong to grab. Or if she won’t come right away we may need to go get her and remind her to always come to mommy right away. These are important areas to deal with and should be our “one thing” sooner rather than later, but in the meantime it may help deal quickly with these issues and move on.
This requires patience. For example, we may find our child’s whining irksome, but if we have already decided that tantrums are a more urgent issue, we may need to bite our lip, smile, and model cheerfulness for the time being. In conclusion, it might help to think ahead about your day: Where can I distract my child from temptation? Where can I overlook or redirect? And where do I need to focus all of my discipline and training?
Finally, as we’ve said all along, don’t grow weary in doing good. Your consistency in one area will produce fruit in many areas in your child’s life.
A late night fireworks adventure to make up for a rained out July 4th.
God uses words to tell us about beauty and we must use words to tell our children about beauty (Deut. 6:6-9, Prov. 31, Eph. 6:1-4).
We need to tell our children of the beauty of God. Let’s talk to them in simple terms about the beauty of God’s character. Even a small child can begin to learn about the beauty of God’s sovereignty over the planets and the seasons and the seas, the beauty of his wisdom in directing our lives, and the beauty of his goodness in the daily blessings we receive.
Even more important than telling our daughters how beautiful we think they are is telling them how beautiful God is.
Sure, it can be helpful to counteract the degrading messages about women in our culture with biblical teaching about the dignity and beauty of every human being as made in the image of God, but most of all, we want to direct our daughter’s attention outward toward God’s beauty.
In fact, an overemphasis on our daughters’ outward appearance—no matter how affirming—can reinforce their sinful tendencies to vanity and self-focus.
More than confidence or security in their own beauty, we want our daughters to be enthralled with God’s beauty. When our daughters are captivated by the gospel, they will find freedom and confidence that will rise above all insecurities.
Secondly, we should talk to our children about the beauty that is pleasing to God—the hidden beauty of the heart (1 Pet. 3:3-6). Let’s tell them about the importance of putting their hope in God, like the holy women of the past.
And point out examples of true beauty. Go on true beauty hunts! Teach them to be keen spotters of true beauty in Scripture, in literature, and in the godly women they know.
As we talk often of true beauty, we will be shaping our daughters’ aspirations and our sons’ opinions of beauty.
Up Next: Talking to Our Children About Beauty, Pt. 2
Teaching Our Kids About Beauty
Hope you capture lots of memories this weekend!
Janelle for the girltalkers.
I imagine it was a scene much like this one during dinner prep much like I was trying to do here where the term “underfoot” was born.
Q: I love having people over and find it a joy to serve and bless our family and friends. However, my husband doesn’t seem to be on the same boat when it comes to hospitality. In fact, he would prefer that we not have people over and spend time just us as a family. I know my first and foremost responsibility is to honor God by being submissive to my husband but how can I also serve in hospitality?
A: I so respect this woman’s desire to glorify God and honor her husband. Biblical submission doesn’t mean we throw up our hands and say: “oh well, my husband doesn’t want to show hospitality, I guess that’s that!” No, we must humbly, graciously, persevere in order bring about godly change in our home. If you find yourself in a similar situation, here are a few ideas to prayerfully consider in light of God’s Word: Pray. The hearts of husbands are in God’s hands. We must ask Him to give our husband a biblical conviction and desire to show hospitality (Pr. 21:1).
Ask. We must not rush to judgment as to why our husband is hesitant about hospitality, but ask him and be sure we understand. Maybe our idea of hospitality is different from his in terms of time, frequency, number of guests, menu, etc. Or maybe he has legitimate concerns that are behind his reluctance (rest, family time, budget, etc.). Maybe fear of man or laziness are temptations that keep him from practicing hospitality: He may find it difficult to talk to other people, or maybe he doesn’t prefer lots of children messing up the home, or perhaps he thinks hospitality is too much work. He might simply be ignorant of the Scriptural commands and blessings of hospitality. So start by asking, not assuming or judging (James 4:11).
Help. In each of these scenarios we need to respond with wisdom born of love and humility. Let’s consider: As my husband’s helper, how can I make it easy for him to show hospitality? Maybe we need to be willing to practice hospitality in a way that is different than we’re used to, but serves our husband. If he prefers a small dinner instead of a big party, or would like to schedule hospitality instead of being spontaneous, let’s consider how we can adapt to him. If our husband has legitimate concerns for our family’s well being, we should take them seriously. Maybe we need to work within a certain budget, or schedule non-negotiable family times, or come up with a better plan for preparation. If we think fear or laziness is behind our husband’s hesitation, let’s think of ways we can come alongside and encourage him to grow. Maybe we can create questions to help him engage others in conversation or assure him that we’ll take full responsibility for prep and clean up. Or maybe we can ask if he’d be willing to read and study the topic of hospitality together. Hospitality Commands by Alexander Strauch is a great place to start (Gen. 2:18).
Wait. If we’ve already encouraged and even appealed to our husband on this matter, but he is still resistant, it may be the time to wait. But this is a busy kind of waiting. We must actively guard against self-righteousness and bitterness. Let’s look for ways to encourage him and focus on God’s grace at work in his life. Let’s not withhold affection. And above all, we should continue to pray that the Holy Spirit would work in his heart. In the meantime, we can look for ways to practice hospitality that are agreeable to our husband such as having people over while he is at work or hanging out with friends at other locations. And wait expectantly—God is always at work! (Ps. 37:3-7a)
Trust. Ask God for wisdom to discern the time for another appeal. Maybe you can ask your husband if he is willing to meet with a godly couple in your church to talk about hospitality. But if he is still resistant after all these efforts, you must rest in God’s sovereignty. He has ordained these circumstances and He is working through them for you and your husband’s good (Rom 8:28). We hope these simple suggestions are helpful. But our ultimate hope is in the fact that the Wonderful Counselor is eager to help you. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go” he promises. “I will counsel you with my eye upon you” (Ps. 38:8).
~From the archives
Happy 6 months Summer Hope!
“Hope itself is like a star—not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity, and only to be discovered in the night of adversity.”
Last week we asked the question: How do we raise our children in this world of beauty gone bad?
First, we must show our children what true, biblical beauty looks like: “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Peter 3:3-4).
Example is essential. We must not merely point at beauty like a distant mountain peak, we must dwell with our children as a vibrant model of the beauty which is precious in God’s sight.
Humanly speaking, no one will make a deeper impression on children than a truly beautiful mother. And yet we often underestimate the effect of our example.
Ask yourself: What am I teaching my children about beauty through my actions, words, priorities, and life?
Sadly, our children will absorb our self-absorption; they will vainly follow our vanity. If we are consumed with what others think about how we look, our daughters will learn that self-focus is the way to fulfillment. If we spend exorbitant time and money on our appearance, we are teaching our sons to prize physical beauty above all.
But if we faithfully seek to adorn ourselves with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, we will be a beautiful example to our children. If we spend our days gazing at the beauty of God, beholding him in his temple (Ps. 27:4), we will show our daughters how to find true joy and satisfaction. If we devote our lives to serving others (1 Tim. 2:9-10), we will encourage our sons to love and respect people and to look for a wife who fears the Lord (Prov. 31:30).
Oh, but you say, I fall so short. Yes, so do we all. This is cause for repentance, not resignation. The gospel offers forgiveness for our failures and makes true and lasting change possible.
None of us will ever be a perfect example of biblical beauty to our children, but as we grow in godliness, we will make a beautiful imprint on our children’s lives.
This one from Michelle is adorable. Have a happy weekend, friends! Nicole for Carolyn, Kristin, and Janelle
My mother had come for a visit when my daughter was about three years old. My mother has a gluten allergy so she tends to have a unique and separate meal from the rest of the family. My daughter, of course, greatly intrigued by Grandma’s meal asked for a bite. “Mmmmm, Grandma!” she exclaimed of the spoonful of plain yogurt, “Looks like ice cream, tastes like lunch.”