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[ Podcast published 8-30-2020 on Spreaker.com ]
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- PARENTING YOUR CHILDREN -
I would like to address the challenging life-long choice "I" ( or "YOU" ) made in bringing children into our lives.
I say life-long because that kind of a choice is one you make that influences your children as long as you live and even after you die.
My wife Mary and I looked forward to having children after we were married and even before we got married. That is a decision you have to make before you take any action mentally or physically!
I could state it simply by asking you ... if you like to eat meat products. If you are like some vegetarians, you might say, never! So would you look forward to a love relationship with a dedicated meat lover who vows to never become a vegetarian?
Or suppose you, or you and your future mate don't want children. Why would take the responsibility of bringing them into your life accidently??? This would only make for you and for your loved one, a life-long burden and debilitating nightmare for children who resent their parents. It could also be a curse for the break down in the relationship of the parents!
What are the options of having a child you don't want? If you believe in God, you know He hates abortion. Are there other options? Yes, you could put that child up for adoption by people who want children and for some reason can't have them.
But here is another real scenario. What if one of you leaves this relationship because of the children or what if one of you dies? This is what happened to me!
Mary and I both love our children but she died of breast cancer 15 years into our marriage. I was left to raise our four boys; ages 5, 9, 11, and 13. I did what God helped me to do and what Mary expected me to do and set off trying to prepare these children to take care of themselves. I didn't know how long I would live and I didn't have anyone that would take care of them if I died.
Let me say something that seems obvious, but it misses some people completely. Children are not pets. Yet some people treat their children like pets. 'They're cute, they're funny, they sit when I tell them to sit, they come when I call them, and they even roll over when I give them a hand gestures.'
But you don't find too many, pet owners saying after they've had their pets for some years, 'Why can't my dog read?' 'Why can't my cat do a math problem?'
But it's different when people have had their children for some years and they say the same things about them! Why can't they read? Why don't they know how much change they will receive after buying something? How come they don't know how to prepare a meal for themselves? How come they can't operate a washing machine and know how to wash their clothes?
It's because you didn't take the time to make sure that they were taught. You didn't spend the extra time to teach them!
So the first thing I did was to put a chart of the jobs we needed to do to take care of ourselves on the refrigerator. We had magnetic heads that were moved every two days to a new job. The topics were laundry; cooking; vacuum and cleaning; and a the most hated job, cleaning the bathrooms.
I must admit we had some failures but we got past them like someone who was doing laundry decided to wash his red shirt with our underwear. We all wore pink underwear for a while.
As time went on, we got skillful, and faster at doing these chores and I told them. "If you learn to do these things, you will be able to take care of yourselves when you get older and not have to rely on someone else making dinner, washing your clothes or keeping your house clean. And if you ever get married, you'll be able to help your wife.
As they got a little older and wanted to know why they couldn't get some things they wanted at the store, I had them sit down in the dinning room and took all the bills and put them on the table. I showed them how much money we had and asked them to figure out how to spend the money. After they saw how much was left over for food, they understood how close we were at not having any money to spend.
They learned how to keep a budget and learned that the government takes payroll taxes out of every pay check. A surprise to most who start earning a living!
I have to say this whole educating our children on how to live daily lives is almost, if not more important, than what we learn in school. Of course we need a good balance between book learning and life learning.
What does this have to do with the bible? It all started after Mary died and I had been teaching a home study bible class from our church, to children of a certain grade level as others in our church were doing. My eldest son came home one day and told me that the person teaching his class had said that stories like Jonah and big fish ( Jonah and the whale ) were fairy tales!
I was upset to think I was teaching children that the bible is true and someone else was teaching my son, it was a lie! I went to the pastor and asked if he believed that the story of Jonah was true.
He looked a little puzzled and said, 'Well, you know the bible has these stories to help us increase our faith.'
I said 'Yes, that is true. But do you believe that story of Jonah happened?'
He said, 'Well, it could of happened but there is a lot about the bible we don't know yet.'
I said, 'Then that makes Jesus a liar!'
And he said 'What do you mean?'
I said, 'Jesus believed the story of Jonah and said, "In the same way that Jonah spent three days and nights in the big fish, so will the Son of Man spend three days and nights in the depths of the Earth ".'
I won't comment on his reaction or silence, but this reading is found in Matthew, Chapter 12: Verse 40. Let me say here; There are many people who think the stories of the bible like 'Jonah and the Whale' and 'Noah's Ark' were glorified fairy tales, but Jesus believed that those people and events did happen.
The outcome of all of this brought home a point that changed my life and the way I was raising my children. As far as the important things that they needed to learn, I would rather they learn it from me than someone else.
We moved shortly after that because the landlord sold the house we were renting but she had another one we could move to in another county. From that time, I taught my own children about the bible. We used to have Sunday breakfast and pass around the comics and read our favorites out loud and then I would teach them something from the bible. This is where I began to put together what is now my Storyline Of The Bible series. That was in 1981.
I taught each one of them that they had a special talent or gift that God gave them that could bring them much joy in their life. And whatever they decided to work at in their life, they should make sure they LOVE doing it, because they were going to be doing it a long time!
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