“Jeannie, what would you tell your 30 year old self?”
One of the questions in our parent survey was this, “If you could share advice with your 30ish year old self, what would it be?” I loved this insightful question! Here are my half-dozen do-overs, although I could have made it a baker’s dozen!
- Perspective– keep the daily routines and challenges in perspective. There were days when our children were young that I wondered if my life would ever change; I had lost perspective and became dissatisfied. Rather than longing for a time down the road, I needed to travel the road that God had designed for me this very day, that very minute. Some of your hardest times will become your most memorable and meaningful and will result in deep, spiritual growth as you depend on the Holy Spirit for guidance. Keep a long-term perspective; even better, keep an eternal one!
- While we said end-of-day prayers, I believe our family would have benefitted from instituting a daily family worship time. It could have included hymns or songs, Bible reading or a devotional book and prayer, choosing to memorize the 23rd Psalm and The Lord’s Prayer as a family, for example. We understood that it was not the Christian preschool, Christian school, or the church’s responsibility to teach our children about God and His ways.
- I believe we could have talked more about our faith as Scriptures says, “You shall teach them diligently to sons and shall talk of them as you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:7). Thank God aloud (not only at prayer-time) and comment on His daily involvement in the simplest of things. Model your faith in deed and word.
- Keep your Bible in the kitchen and let your children see you reading it often. Don’t save your devotional times for when your children are in bed. Even reading a verse aloud while fixing dinner is a great idea and one I wished I had done. Having one of your Bibles strategically placed on the counter or table is the key to follow-through.
- Be consistence with first time obedience no matter how tired you are. Use the word discipline; it says this in Webster’s: “It is training that produces a specific type or pattern of behavior – especially training that produces moral or mental improvement.” Proverbs 13:24 says, “…Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.” Ask God for wisdom and strength to not grow weary in training, correcting, and disciplining. While there are days when it feels like all you do is discipline, look upon it as an opportunity to point your child toward the Gospel. Tell him/her how God sent Jesus to save us from our sin. Pointing your children to their need for Jesus and praying for their salvation is the greatest work you will ever do!
- Avoid comparing yourself or your children with others. I allowed myself to fall into this trap many times. Have a grateful heart for how God has made you and for how He has made your husband and your children. Give your family to God. Live life with open arms to receive and open hands to let go. Remember– pics on FB (this wasn’t a thing back in the day), are posed and polished. There is only ONE perfect life, the life of Jesus, our Savior. Ask God for contentment for the life He has given you and thank Him for it.