I would like to share with you a little process we have been on that I have found has been so worth the effort.
A few weeks ago I became aware of an attitude of laziness that had seemed to overtake our chore time. One morning I woke earlier than normal and decided to do some preparation to deal with this behaviour.
With the help of “For Instruction in Righteousness” (published by Doorpost) I studied Laziness. This book is written as a topical reference guide for parents as they use the Bible in their instruction. The Table of Contents list a long list of “sins” so you can quickly go to the area that you want to work on.
In the first section there is recorded a list of what God says/commands about this particular sin. Pam Forster presents the scripture and then gives practical application discovered through a lifetime of experience. She presents the scripture pertaining to this sin, and records her understanding, helps and observations. This allows for thinking parents to apply scripture as they see it applicable.
As I read through the scriptures and notes that Pam Forster has written I took notes myself of the ones that spoke to me and to our situation. The action of taking notes made me think more personally and helped me retain the information. This was very worthwhile the time as previous times I had picked this book up I had limited success with changing behaviour and I believe that was because the scriptures, and their intent was not in my heart, it was head knowledge. Studying God’s Word seriously, in order to instruct from it, means God’s Word needs to be in my heart before I can instil it into the children’s.
I worked in this manner through the various sections i.e. “What happens, or should happen, to the lazy person”, “Blessings of diligence”, and other headings that help with “devotional living” type instruction. All the while taking notes to what was applicable to our family.
At the end of my study time I had a list of scriptures, applications, thoughts and comments I could make to the children.
I spent some time in prayer over this list and was able to summarise these notes to 4 issues of laziness as I saw being practiced in my family. (There were many others but I wanted it to be applicable to what I saw going on around me) I took these four issues and corresponding bible verses and consequences and made a chart. Since I was correcting a negative behaviour that was already established in our house I focused on the “negative” consequences. I have, on the backburner, some “positive consequences” (Blessings) ready to shower on the children once they start to apply all that we have been talking about.
This whole process took me 1.5 hours. Around the breakfast table that morning I shared my bible study with the children. We read the four scriptures and talked about their meanings. I showed them the chart and explained the consequences.
The benefits of doing this has been
· I have had the word of God in my heart and on the tip of my tongue and therefore have been more consistent.
· The children who can read have been able to remind themselves and each other of the scriptures. (Interestingly when they encourage each other they quote the scripture not the threat of consequence and this has been a blessing to me.)
· The children who can’t read are being encouraged and trained from several angles – there is my consistency which is helping them, there is the older children’s grasp of the importance of diligence and their encouragement and there are the pictures on the chart which they identify as sin/consequences.
· I am about a week off of having a Blessing Shower! as my children are becoming more diligent in their tasks – not only the ones I give them but the ones that they see needing to be done.
Since this time we have used the same method of study and application in the areas of defiance and teasing. Training our children’s heart, getting them to turn aside from their sin nature, is a constant and demanding task. I find having a resource that helps me use my Bible so very valuable. It keeps me focussed and reminds me of the importance for both myself and my children, of having Gods Word written on our hearts.