This is an area that I have yet to become very consistent in. I desire for my children to grow up in a home where the reading and understanding of God’s word is more important that pretty much everything, school, housework, or whatever other activities we allow them to be involved in, knowing and understanding the Word of God is first.
This past weekend Chris went to a men’s meeting and had a great conversation with our pastor regarding disciplining young children. He was sharing some of his experiences as a new parent and how he came about to teach his children to sit through church (this is one of the things we are working on right now and we are making progress but at the same time it has seemed to us that the kids are just not quite getting it). He shared his belief with Chris that children can be trained to do anything, if you want your children to sit for two hours quietly and not need to play with anything, they can be taught to do that but you need to train them.
This conversation brought on a conversation between Chris and I and we decided that I would start training the children everyday to sit quietly and listen. Here is what I did. This morning I explained to the boys what we are going to be doing everyday, so that they knew what was expected of them and they knew this wasn’t going to be a one time deal. Chris told me yesterday that you can download the Bible online for free! So I did that this morning, I downloaded Genesis so we started there, and got through 6 chapters in a little under a half hour. The boys did great. I decided that I would start at a half hour but they are somewhat used to sitting for a half hour at church (if your toddlers aren’t used to sitting at all you might start with one chapter or five minutes and work your way up). I’m also going to start having them listen to our parts of our pastor’s sermon every day, I want them to know that when they hear his voice it means they need to be quiet. I’m doing this routine right after breakfast cleanup, and after I’ve gotten them dressed for the day so they aren’t still in their jammies (partly because they wouldn’t be wearing their jammies to church and part of my goal is for it to assimilate church).
Here is what I expect from the boys while they are sitting listening: they are to be quiet (if they need to ask me something they need to whisper), they aren’t allowed to play with toys, they are to sit up but can lean on mommy if they want but not lay down on the couch as I wouldn’t necessarily let them lay down at church, they need to stay on their bottoms facing forward(not turning around looking at the people behind them). There is a time and a season for everything, a time to play and a time to work, a time to talk and a time to listen. We feel that if we don’t teach our children how to work or listen at a young age, they wont listen or want to work (naturally) as they get older. So here we go, we are on a journey and I’m excited about this one because I really believe it will work. I’m teaching Guenna to sit through the reading too, which is a little more difficult but not impossible I know.
One thing I am realizing, especially with the more children we have, it takes a disciplined parent to produce disciplined children. This area of consistent discipline is definitely not my strong point. I really want to make that one of my goals this year, to become consistent in my discipline, and disciplined in my life as well, in my cleaning and housekeeping, in loving and nurturing, in my own personal worship of our Creator. I think this routine will help me and the children to become more disciplined, as we hear God’s word together and pray that God’s Spirit will write His word on our hearts.