God loves children and he makes a man and a woman “one” so that they can raise Godly children according to Malachi 2: 15 Children are an inheritance of God and called arrows. Children have a special place in God’s heart and he places the responsibility on the parents (man and woman) to raise godly children – that will be productive adults who give back to society – rather than take away from it. Parents are to raise godly children who are respectful to authority, know God and learn to serve and care for others.
Did you know that children are also called fruit? They are called the “fruit” of the womb. In order for fruit to become sweet fruit – the tree on which the fruit grows must be watered, fertilized and pruned otherwise the fruit will become bitter and fall of the tree. Jesus actually cursed a fig tree because it didn’t have fruit. Part of being fruitful and having godly fruit is for parents to be responsible to partner together to train and grow their children to become good and sweet fruit.
What's your fruit look like?
Fortunately or unfortunately, we as parents produce what we are. If our fruit is angry and bitter, that’s what we’ll produce. If our fruit is lazy and undisciplined – that’s what we’ll produce. If our fruit is shame based - that's what we'll produce. If our fruit has an attitude that ‘others owe me’ then that’s what we’ll produce in our children.
Parent's parenting roles.
A husband and a wife have different roles in parenting children and if each partner does their assigned role, it makes for some sweet fruit.
If moms an ‘at home’ mom, then she’s the one to spend the most hours with her little fruit. It’s her job to provide the main nurturing during those day time hours. When a mom does this - her part - she blesses her husband and provides a platform for him to get vision, clarify vision and run with the vision for his family. If she doesn't - it'll just cloud his vision.
Nurture is a word I love. It means to provide that which is necessary for life and growth. That’s what moms do. They are to nurture.
Unfortunately, many moms didn’t receive that nurture, and they struggle giving what they didn’t receive.
With God all things are possible. He sets up a system called Titus 2 to help moms be nurtured by older moms who are supposed to teach them how to train their children. It’s like the “trainer” training the “trainer.” That system makes cause for NO excuses.
Can you imagine standing before God on That Day and he says, “You weren’t fruitful with the fruit I'd given you. You’re little fruits became bitter because you didn’t nurture them or take care of them properly.” And you say, “Gosh, God . . . but, I didn’t know how. I never was nurtured.”
The Big Buzzer sounds and you’re busted. Regret sets in and you know you can’t give an excuse. You’re still responsible to bear fruit with the fruit God gives you.
On that note – you younger moms – go find an older mom who is willing to Titus 2 You and train you how to train your children - not do your job for you but come along side you as you do your job.
Four elements of NURTURE
What’s involved with NURTURE? Four main elements are woven into a mom who nurtures.
The first one is FOOD. If children aren’t fed (planned, prepared) regular nutritious meals then you’re not nurturing them - nor can you. Little ones have to eat on a regular basis. They get cranky and incorrigible if not nurtured this way. It’s just not fair.
The next nurturing element is SLEEP and QUIET TIMES. Little ones need consistent and regularly scheduled – the same schedule time of sleep. They need to go to bed (with rare exceptions) at the same time every night.
Rooms should have NO stimulus like TV and in my opinion, there should be no light left on IN the room. If night fears are an issue, then try putting a light on in a hallway. Here’s where I can veer off – all of our grand kids used soft and soothing music to fall asleep with. Twila Parris had a great one called Bedtime Lullabies and Prayers. My husband’s music is one that our granddaughter Ivana uses now. We’ve also used fans in the bedrooms to create some white noise for sleep. That’s helped for some of them.
Not only sleep time needs to be established, but also daily nap times and daily quiet times. Quiet times are those scheduled “alone room times.” All my grand kids love their room time. It makes for some creative play – alone. It’s good for kids to learn to share with others and it’s equally good for them to learn how to play and be creative while being alone. A starting place for toddlers could be a good fifteen minutes. Set a timer so they know when the time is up.
TRAINING is the next element of nurturing. Fruit won’t become sweet if left to itself. It must be pruned. If you think of training - don't think of it as the outward behavior - think of it in regards to your little one's heart. You're training their heart - to be obedient, respect authority, learn to care for and serve others and learn to be thankful. We were born with NONE OF THIS. It is a training process - a process of being pruned.
What does a mom prune? One of the first thing a mom prunes are bad attitudes. When a mom gently (not with an angry or volume 3 voice) instructs her little one to do something – the command should be obeyed with a HAPPY attitude - IMMEDIATELY - and ALL THE WAY.
If a little one takes their sweet little time to respond and obey it means they are deciding if what you've just said is to be obeyed. That's a bad attitude. It's not an obedient heart - which is what you're training - remember - you're training heart issues - not outward behavior. Remember the Pharisees? Jesus said they did all the right things on the outside but their hearts were evil.
Kid’s don’t automatically do this. They have to be trained – often, with love and gentleness and all throughout the day. It could take about fifteen times (in a day) of giving an instruction (that won’t be obeyed) with a subsequent consequence before the little rebellious heart gets it and learns to make a choice to receive a better consequence.
Moms - a special note here: don't become overly weary in the constant training of your children. You prune some, you water some and you fertilize some. And, when you see positive responses in your children - smother them with affirmation. Can't give too much of that.
Another thing moms train is how to share with others and how to be responsible. – Training to be responsible looks like cleaning up and picking up toys. If a child gets it out the child puts it back. A good rule is to get out one toy at a time. Too many toys can be a distraction and over stimulating. Think of "play time with toys" as another training opportunity.
Also - more times than not - parental training is caught rather than taught. What you do speaks louder than what you say.
Another realm of responsibility is to teach children to respect other people's personal things. An example of this is when my grand kids come to our home - they know they are to sit on furniture and not stand or jump on it. Teach your little ones to not touch other peoples stuff - it's teaching them respect. Teach them to sit on the sofa - not jump on the sofa.
The value of hard work must be instilled in children in order for them to become sweet fruit. I learned hard work from my grandfather, my dad and my mom. Work hard then play.
I’m a stickler about teaching that to children. If they don’t learn to work hard, they’ll grow up with this stinkin’ spirit of entitlement that so many young people have today. It’s one of the values that’s ruining our country. It’s the “you owe me” spirit and it’s destructive. I'm thankful that our daughters (and their husbands) teach their children the value of hard work.
Another element of training is to teach your children to be thankful. An unthankful kid/adult can't know God. If you don't show or give thanks - then your children won't either. It's almost as if being thankful is a pre-curser to 'feeling' God's love. It does hand in hand.
Train your children to be a joy
On another note of training your children: I’ve told both our girls, “Train your children so it’s a joy for me to be with them.”
There’s nothing worse than being around little ones who are untrained and who don’t know NO means NO. There’s nothing worse than being around kids who constantly whine or throw a temper tantrum and don't listen to your instruction. If you want others moms to help with your kids, train them so it’s a joy and not a burden they end up saying NO to.
The fourth element of nurturing is LOVE. Love must be sandwiched in through everything. LOVE is the bread (of the sandwich) and the other elements are what’s inside the sandwich.
My sweet sister in law recently told me about a book she’s reading where the author says that discipline training without love = rebellion. That’s so true.
Be fruitful - grow sweet fruit
God says that he makes a man and a woman one so that they can produce (bear the fruit) of godly children. I got to thinking about this in regards to the be fruitful and multiply part in the first book of the Bible and the last book of the Bible. They are like book ends. They work together. What good is it if you have a bunch of fruit that's spoiled and what good is it if you have a bunch of fruit that's sweet?
What's cool is that so many books and verses in between the book ends give specific instruction on how to bear and grow good and godly, sweet fruit.
What kind of fruit are you bearing? To answer that - look at your own first.