Sunday, March 14, 2010

On Child Training

We've been watching a child training DVD series in church and it's got us thinking a lot about how we raised our children, what we would do different, what we'd do again if we had little ones, etc.  It's been interesting hearing our children tell us what they think about the way we've raised them.  Anyway, I thought I'd share my thoughts on things I would do again if I could do it all over again. And yes, they are just my opinions and you can take them for what they're worth - after all, you will never find someone you 100% agree with!  I might also come across like we did everything right - wrong, we made lots of mistakes.
  1. We would love them so much!  Need I say more?!!  More praise for a job well done or good character would be a great thing too.
  2. We would continue to discipline them with first time obedience as the standard. We did pretty good with this with the older children but let it slide a little with the younger ones.  We did a lot of training at home so they knew what to expect when going out which helped some. 
  3. We would continue to make whatever sacrifices we had to to do what was best for them.  We have always tried to have the mentality that if need be, we would move to guard their hearts for God.  Sometimes sacrifices came in time, sometimes in money when they needed some good books, or needed to go to a good conference we thought would benefit their walk with God.  It might mean letting them go for a summer so they can serve with CYIA which is really hard here on the farm where everybody carries part of the load.  It might mean spending small fortunes to let them compete in Bible Memory whether with the Bible Bee or ACE international conventions.
  4. We would continue to teach them to work hard.  A man must be a hard worker if he is to be a success in the working world especially when times are hard.  A woman must be a hard worker to help her husband, keep house, and raise children.  A wise lady once said, when a job needs to be done, always look for the youngest child that is capable of carrying it out rather than always choose the older child.  I would do this more.  One practical thing I would do again is train each child on a job in the house.  Have them do that job over and over and over for maybe months till they can clean the living room with no help - even under couches, dust and vacuum!  Sometimes I would hide a new video or book in a place they didn't like to clean, like behind the garbage can.  If they did a good job they found the reward, if not, oh well.  By the time Naomi was 10 the children could clean the house in about 15 minutes!  With a little help of course.  But it worked great and I would definately do this again.  Even the youngest cleaned the stairs or lined up boots in the entry.  For a few years it never stayed clean long but it didn't take too many years to start to really reap the benefits.  I started doing this one day after seeing a high school girl told to sweep the floor.  It was awful!!  I decided that a child should be able to "clean the kitchen", or "clean the bathroom", when told and have it cleaned just how I like it done. 
  5. We would try our best to protect them.  When our children were little, and till they were about 12, they had strict yard boundaries.  From this spot to this spot, and not a step further.  I think that has been really helpful today as the children now tell us where they are going to be whenever they leave the house.  We would protect them from bad influences till we felt they were ready to handle the pressure from peers.  We would protect them from questionable movies, books, etc. This is sometimes a touchy subject but I don't think it hurts to protect a child "too much".  I've only seen a couple of children in my life that I thought would benefit from more time with other children.  Eventually as they get older you can give them more and more room.  Start tight when they're young and then loosen the strings rather than be free when they're young and try to tighten them as they get older - not an easy thing to do.
  6. We would continue to homeschool them!  This might be considered a sacrifice but well worth it.  And on this line, our goal was to have the children get to a point where they can work on their own, read fluently on their own, and master the materials.  If school needs to be suspended to work on spiritual issues, then suspend it if we must.
  7. We would read more, have more tea parties, play more as a family and do more soulwinning
  8. We would always have those "town clothes" ready for going out in public to be a good testimony.  I sometimes cringe when I see a dirty child up town and wonder if they are being cared for.  I would try to always have them in clean "town" clothes with faces washed and hair fixed.  Now I know this seems silly to some but it was / is a big deal to me.  I would really hate to have someone see my sons filthy and wonder if we care about them, or see my daughters grungy looking and think they would never make their girls wear dresses if they're going to look like that.  For years a grandma would give us Christmas money to buy the children gifts and we always used it to buy their "town clothes".  Even on a small budget a child can look clean and neat.  On the farm, that's a different story!!  Filthy we may look!!!
  9. We would continue to teach them the better way to get to the marriage altar - through betrothal or courtship, or whatever you want to call it.  We started when the children were very young and we would do that again. 
  10. This one will step on a lot of toes - but we sit in the front of our church so I really have no names in mind, honestly - we would not let our children walk out during a service except in a really emergency.  Somehow I think we have lost a lot of the respect of the whole worship experience in church.  The church meaning the building of course.  This is where we go to hear God's Word read, a message from God's Word, and a place where hearts are challenged.  If there's anyplace reverence should be showed, it should be in church.  Sometimes you can actually feel God's presence and I don't want my children walking out to get a drink, use the bathroom or whatever when in God's presence.  Does that make sense?  I know God is everywhere but I can't help but think we need to reverence his presence in church. Someone could be under conviction about getting saved, or under conviction about a serious decision.  If at all possible, I'd hate to halt that conviction with a distraction.  When our children were really young we sat closer to the back and if they did have to go to the bathroom or whatever, we always went with them.  Somehow if mom goes along, they don't have to go as bad!
  11. We would continue to give our children their "Christmas talk".  I'm sure they'll laugh when they read this!!  This talk we have every Christmas includes, smiling when you get a gift, look at the name first, open it carefully, say something nice in a cheerful tone even if you hate it or have six of them already as part of your thank you on the spot, and never say "Is this all I get?".  I think everyone loves grateful children!! 
Now, our children aren't all raised yet and married, so maybe in a few years I'll have to revise this list!  Hopefully I didn't step too hard on any toes!  I'm the kind of person that feels really, really, awful if I offend anyone so I hope I didn't do that either.  I just felt a need to put this all down on "paper" and who knows, when Arthur reads it he may want to add his list as well!!  I also want to thank our children for being the wonderful children they are!  Thank you for putting up with our mistakes and blunders in child training!  We love you all very, very much!!!


  1. I love this!!!
    I agree with so much of it, I do feel though, that I have fainled in the chore department! I was doing chores very early on, at least fro kindergarten I took part in the rotation of scrubbing the bathroom, dusting the living room and even DOING THE DISHEs (dun, dun, dun!).
    My oldest is mid kindergarten now and I do have daily chores for her and the younger ones but they are no where near as intense as my chires were at their ages!
    And even now I feel like I need to love more.
    I try to keep tight strings but my oldest is very unwilling to be tied down. She wants to take the adveture and be so independant!
    And lastly, I agree with staying through the service and also I used to wonder what peole woudl think if my kids were grungy in public. Now I just live it up. We run errands and whilst at Lowe's their playing will get quite a bit of dirt on their cheeks from the dust, I on the other hand am so glad to be willing to let them get dirty. I used to be a bit uptight and dirty was not allwed. Clothes get torn, wrn through and stained but I learned to let them enjoy the popsickle freely, eat the chocolate (at the table) and be okay with washing them up later . . . mostly because I discovered the power of Spray & wash!!!!
    Love this post!!!!!

  2. Ahhhhhhh, I love this. Thank you for taking the time to do this post. My very favorite child training advice is always from parents who have done it and then look back and tell us what they did right and what they would do differently.
    It is amazing how many parents can not do this. Sometimes, I have seen parents who seemed like their children should have turned out well (I do not mean to be harsh and I know each child has a choice) but sometimes, as a mom you just wonder where did they make a mistake so that we can guard an area.
    I love the humility in this. I love the many things you would do again.
    I REALLY NEED to do tea parties etc... with my oldest daughter.
    I love your "town clothes" post. We have town clothes here too. My barefoot farm children with hay in the hair, and mud... need town clothes. They like changing and looking fresh too and I think it teaches a level of respect.
    About church - I am so thankful to have a church body that ENCOURAGES families to sit in the service with little ones. It is AMAZING how quickly they see and learn from other children too. My two year old sits "kiet" in church just like the other children but if she sqealed a bit no one would turn around and look at her because we are all either training or have been in training with our little ones.
    God bless you and it is lovely to see the sweet fruit in your children.

  3. I loved your post! It reminded me of homeschooling and all the happy memories. I think I'll take your idea and do one on my blog, if you don't mind. I look back and thank the Lord that our kids have turned out well, serving the Lord and really never gave us a bit of trouble. It wasn't because we did everything right. I shudder to think of some of the stuff we could have done better. Your comments on staying seated in church are so true!!! I am a pastor's wife and me and both kids are on the worship team. Worship is from the heart, but serious business. The lack of respect for this time even among adults can be shocking. We see everything from our view up on the "stage." If folks knew what our perspective looked like, they'd be more careful to be attentive. I was always concerned about the impression we gave off as well since we homeschooled and lived in the center of town not far from the public school. I knew the typical view of homeschoolers and it went something like this: "frumpy, ill-clad, disorganized,etc." I didn't want that reputation. We often had people comment that they thought we were one of the only families they knew who took homeschooling seriously. Of course, they didn't know many! Thank the Lord for whatever good we could have done, it was all His grace! Thanks for a lovely post!

  4. Yes, I love how in our church babies can make noise too and everyone loves having the children there enough to overlook baby and child sounds. I did think of one more thing I would like to add.

    If I could do it again, I would try my very hardest not to compare one child to another child - something the Bible even warns against. It seems like everyone has a sweet child, unhappy child, wild child, smart child or whatever and its so easy to say, "Oh, they're the grumpy one." or whatever. I wish I had never done this kind of thing. I'm so glad God works on our behalf even when we make mistakes and we all know that we have lots of blind spots we'll never know we had maybe till it's too late, if ever. I'm so thankful when a child ultimately sees what God has done for them, gets saved, and has a desire to please Him. That's the most important ingredient in having children turn out!


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