A few days ago, I caught my youngest son in the act—not of doing something wrong, but something right. He was picking up not just his room, but his older brother’s and sister’s as well.
“Shhh! Don’t tell! I want to clean up their rooms before they see it’s me,” he said.
I gave him a thumbs-up and tiptoed away, leaving him to smooth bedcovers and generally tidy up all on his own.
As a parent, it’s refreshing and rewarding to experience moments like that, in which we see all that we have taught and modeled for our children finally come to fruition in their lives!
Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.
And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. – Deuteronomy 11:18-19
When my daughter was the age my youngest son is now, she was rabidly anti-chore. Cleaning her room meant piling things in her closet or drawers with no attempt at folding or organizing. And asking her to do anything outside her normal scope of chores, such as pulling weeds or stacking wood, seemed pointless to us as parents. Though she knew better than to talk back or disobey, she would drag her feet and sigh. Pulling one weed might take five minutes, between all the pouting and glaring and procrastinating. She did not believe in the rewards of work.
In all labour there is profit. – Proverbs 14:23a
But today, my daughter’s sweet spirit inspires me. I rarely have to ask her to do her chores or even remind her. She quietly does her appointed tasks and asks for more, particularly when she sees that I am tired or extra busy.
Though my oldest son has always been a willing worker, he was hopelessly forgetful for years. But in recent months, he realized that good intentions left incomplete lead only to mistrust. He determined to train himself to follow through and earn our trust and respect, and that accomplishment has led to both more responsibility and freedom for him.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6
I’m so thankful that our good God follows through on his promises in his perfect time. The hard work of parenting becomes abundantly worthwhile when we see our children becoming more like him, especially in the area of working and serving others.
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. – III John 1:4
Parents and youth ministry leaders, be encouraged! Our efforts are blessed by God and do make an impact on our children. Have you had a similar experience? As always, I’d love to hear from you.