The ministry of a mother: part 2, her children

Mothers, I believe, have more influence on the people our children turn out to be than almost anyone else. I have heard and read of so many people who attribute their mothers as being a major factor in shaping who they are today. Here are some quotes to illustrate the point:

I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.
Abraham Lincoln

Men are what their mothers made them.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.
George Washington

Only God Himself fully appreciates the influence of a Christian mother in the molding of character in her children.
Billy Graham

Being a mother who ministers to her children means taking hold of every opportunity to serve them and teach them life lessons that will have eternal value. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the responsibility I have in guiding, teaching and molding my children. But sometimes, I am not overwhelmed; sometimes I forget that everything I do and say is shaping their characters, for better or for worse. In an earlier post I mentioned intentional parenting. This is not a phrase I have read about, but something I use for myself, to describe thinking carefully and purposefully about how to raise my kids. It means analysing the way I talk, teach, discipline, and every other daily thing as I do. It also means thinking about who I want my kids to be, and how to help them become those people.

Knowing the enormous input I have in the lives of my kids and you have in yours, here are some ideas for making our ministry effective:

Daily Bible time

We adopted the term ‘Bible Snuggle Time’ from my aunt’s family. For us, this is a special time where we spread out a blanket and get our Bibles, some paper and colouring pencils together. My husband or I read the kids a story each from their children’s Bible, then they get to quietly draw a picture from what they have learnt while we have a chance read our own Bibles. Sometimes we include other things too, such as prayer, songs and Bible memory verses.

Verse of the day

We have a small whiteboard set up by our dining table. Every day one person from the family gets to choose a Bible verse and write it on the board for us to read and enjoy for the day. Everyone gets a turn, and we find this a wonderful activity for incorporating spiritual growth with home education (reading, grammar, handwriting, spelling, etc!)

Pray, pray, pray

I have a friend who once held his baby niece in his arms and deeply moved said to me, “I imagine as a parent you must be constantly praying for your children.” How convicted I was! There are too many days that go by when I don’t take the spiritual battle seriously enough and fight for my kids in prayer. There are days when I am distracted by everyday happenings, and all I make time to do is a hurried goodnight prayer as I tuck them in and rush off to do the next thing. But in truth, there is nothing greater we can do for our kids than labour in prayer for them daily.

Let your kids see your relationship with God

I once asked two of my friends about what effect it had on them to see their mothers’ regular, personal devotional time. Both told me that it made a very significant impact on their spiritual lives, to the point that it still affects them today. They are also two of the most Godly people I know, who put their passion and talents to use for Christ by working in youth ministry. It is also important to let your kids see your love for God by worshipping and praying sincerely when they are around.

Family nights

Ready for our first family night!

Something I always wanted to do was start up a regular family night, and recently we have finally managed to do it! This is another opportunity for my husband and I to give specific spiritual guidance to our kids. We read from a devotional book, do fun activities, have special snacks (which the kids LOVE to help prepare earlier in the day) and have a time of worship. If you are looking for a good book to give you some ideas and inspiration to start up your own family night, I recommend this book. We went through this book before starting ours, and I feel it has made our night much more effective.

Make use of good quality resources

There are so many great tools out there for use in a Christian home. Here are a few we use regularly that I love:

  • Scripture songs on CD by Steve Green – These songs are straight Scripture put to music, and have helped us learn many verses that both the kids and I can refer back to in everyday conversations.
  • The One Year Children’s Bible – Last year we read through the whole Bible with our kids using this book. It carefully and accurately presents a condensed version of the Bible in easy to understand language.
  • God’s Wisdom for Little Boys and Girls – These are lovely books for use in devotional times. My kids love them, and will sit and read them to themselves, too.
  • His Mighty Warrior and His Little Princess – Again, nice books to include in a devotional time. I love them, but find them to be aimed at a slightly higher age range than my kids – probably more like 6-8. We still use them, though.
  • Veggie Tales and Penguins books and DVDs – Fun cartoons which teach Biblical morals, stories and Proverbs. I find my Prince especially likes the Penguins DVDs, as they are quite adventure orientated.
  • Creation Ministries and Answers in Genesis– You can find a lot of resources here for both kids and adults. There are DVDs and books on all kinds of topics such as dinosaurs and planets which my Prince finds very interesting.

 

Set goals

Part of being intentional means thinking forward to the end goal of your parenting. One way I do this is to write down a list of goals for each child in three main categories.  Here is an example of some goals I wrote down for my Prince:

  • Spiritual goals
  1. Love God wholeheartedly
  2. Love others unconditionally
  3. Love Scripture & and have consistent Bible study life
  4. Have a deep personal prayer life
  5. Have a ‘ministry mindset’, being a light for the Gospel in whatever he does
  •  Character goals
  1. Love others sincerely
  2. Be able to be a strong leader of family & church, and understand that good leadership is loving and servant-hearted
  3. Be humble
  4. Be generous with money, possessions and time
  5. Be self-controlled and self-disciplined
  6. Able to teach
  7. Hospitable
  8. A peacemaker
  9. Pure
  •  Education goals
  1. Be diligent in doing what he needs to, and completing all work to the best of his ability
  2. Have a good level of education, enabling him to have job security and provide for a family and for those in need
  3. Love learning, not feeling afraid of any topic but rather have a ‘can do’ attitude

What a blessing to be mother to these precious kids!

Once I have these written down I review them from time to time and also write specific ways to train him in those areas, according to his current strengths, weaknesses and abilities.

Being a mother is one of the most wonderful ministries I am blessed to be a part of. As you and I seek to bring our children up in the training of the Lord, may He bless our efforts and grow our children into His image.

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