My dear mother who is seventy-seven years old this year has been teaching first and second grade Sunday school for thirty years at the same church. I, too, teach Sunday school to elementary aged children. She often comments to me about the Sunday school curriculum and has concerns over the use of the Bible and scripture reading by the children. We make a point of opening the word of God and reading it word for word from the scriptures instead of just using the handouts provided. We also make sure that the kids that can read participate in reading the word out loud. She has expressed to me on so many occasions and I know it and believe with all my heart that the Sunday school stories alone, without the word of God, are not enough to give to the children.
The word of God is the only thing that will change hearts and minds. One of the most powerful scriptures that express the greatness of God’s word and its great impact on our lives is Hebrews 4:12. “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (NAS) Another great scripture concerning the word of God is John 17:17. “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” (NAS) This was part of the prayer that Jesus prayed for his disciples before he died on the cross, not only was it for his disciples then but for us now. The truth of God’s word will set our hearts free from the worries and stresses of the world. “…and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:32 (NAS)
There is nothing more grounding, more life giving, more strengthening than the living word of God. He spoke the world into being – just through His words. His written word has the power to move mountains and strengthen hearts. When you teach the word of God to the little children you are giving them power over the darkness of this world. You are giving them the living word of our precious Father and His Son Jesus Christ. There is not a greater gift that you can give to a child or anyone for that matter. Sunday school may be the only access that some children have to the Bible and having the privilege of reading it and memorizing it.
Memorizing scripture is so very important for any age believer but it is so very important to get the scriptures engrained into the minds and hearts of the little ones so that they will have it for their whole lives. The word says, “Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14 (NIV) The word of God after implanted in their minds will come to them when their lives come to a cross road and they need to choose between God’s way or the world’s way. Or perhaps when they need encouragement, even in grade school and up through the school years children go through so many changes and situations arise where the word of God will remind them that He is with them and they need not be afraid.
My own mother taught both of my children Psalms 27 when they were just starting to talk. They both had half of it memorized by the time they were three or four and what a powerful Psalms it is. I cannot even tell you how many times this has helped both of my children through some hard times. Even when they are not consciously thinking about the Lord or His word He still reminds them because these scriptures are forever in their hearts and minds from an early age. Here is Psalm 27 from the New International Version Bible.
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked advance against me
to devour me,
it is my enemies and my foes
who will stumble and fall.
3 Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident.
4 One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.
5 For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.
6 Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the Lord.
7 Hear my voice when I call, Lord;
be merciful to me and answer me.
8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
Your face, Lord, I will seek.
9 Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
God my Savior.
10 Though my father and mother forsake me,
the Lord will receive me.
11 Teach me your way, Lord;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.
12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
spouting malicious accusations.
13 I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.
There are so many more scriptures that my mom and I have taught to my children over the years and I can promise you that the results are always victorious in God’s word. My daughter has pushed herself beyond her introversion to do so many things for the glory of God, in her studies, in her career, and in her personal life. My son was drawn in by the world in his teens and has made some very bad decisions and yet the Lord has been dealing with him through His word and reminding my son of His great love for Him by the scriptures that were burned into his heart. God’s word never fails. Isaiah 55:10-11 from the New International Version of the Bible says:
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
As you read these verses you can see how powerful the word of God is and how very important it is and what a life giving gift you are giving the children that you are teaching in Sunday school or when teaching them to your own precious children. There is no better gift, nothing more powerful that you can give a child to hold onto than the living, breathing, active word of our wonderful Lord and Savior. Listen to what John 1:1-5 says about our marvelous God and His Son Jesus Christ.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
God came down and became flesh to save us because He knew that on our own we could not keep His commandments. It is only by His great grace and His death on the cross and shedding of His blood that we are able to be saved. He gave us His word in written form to reveal to us His saving grace, to encourage us, and to sustain us in this world because He knew it would not be easy. There is no greater gift that you can give another individual than His word and when you give it to a child you are giving them life in abundance and salvation for their very souls.
Stephanie has many years of experience as a nanny. She has always loved children and has continuously been involved in childcare activities. Currently she is one of the writers for houstonnanny.com. If you want to get in touch with her, you can email her at stephanie. Houstonnanny @ gmail. com.
Name: Aaron Hammond
Profession: Young Man
Years in Business: About 12
Family Info: #7 of 8 Kids
Hobbies: Loves his goat and chickens! Great with younger brother Micah. Amazing at many forms of electronics and gadgetry.
Activities of Interest: Legos, Video Games, Mine Craft, anything with Video. Turns out Aaron is an avid reader and learner. This guy is a great thinker as well–formulates great core questions.
Burning desire: To be an awesome actor.
Something no one knows about me: The man is a terrific help around a frequently chaotic home. Aaron has really shown his quality in so many areas—Scouting, Animal Husbandry, and just being a key part of the family with a great attitude and heart. Aaron has a tender heart toward God and people—a rare combo!
Keys to Success: Total, absolute creativity—-Is able to move on after blowing up
In honor of Father’s Day and fathers everywhere….
www.becomeabetterfather.com is sponsoring our 5TH Annual Father’s Day Writing Contest.
We want to know our readers opinions of what it takes to be a AWESOME father.
We value your opinion and would love to hear from you and what you think makes a great dad.
The question we pose is:
” MY DAD IS AWESOME BECAUSE__________________.”
Here are the official rules…
- Write about what you think an AWESOME father is (A poem,essay, or other writing form) LIMIT 300-500 WORDS and simply email to us!
- Email your entry to firstname.lastname@example.org
- You must have your entry posted by midnight, Pacific Standard Time, June 30th, 2013.
- July 1st, 2013, the lovely Mrs. Hammond will pick a winner based on what she think rocks!
- The winner receives a free full one-hour consultation with Scott Hammond, an Every Day Book, a full-featured blog post on www.becomeabetterfather and much more!
- We will post an entry on this blog in July 2013, containing links to the winning entry…… so you will get a free link out of the deal.
- You will win an autographed copy of the Every Day Dad: the Guide to Becoming a Better Father!!
- You will feel good about your life and mission….
That’s it and good luck! The question remains: “MY DAD IS AWESOME BECAUSE…..”
Scott Hammond FO-9
Father of Nine
Name: Micah Hammond
Years in Business: About 9
Family Info: Large
Hobbies: Construction of amazing contraptions from duct tape, cardboard, and other household items
Activities of Interest: Legos, Video Games, Mine Craft, anything with Video
Burning desire: To become King/Ruler/Emperor
Something no one knows about me: Has an amazing tender heart
Keys to Success: Total, absolute creativity—-Is able to move on after blowing up
As Christian parents we always need to be reminded that our kids are God given and that they really do not belong to us. The Lord in his divine sovereignty knows what He is doing when He gives us our children. He has everything already planned for all of us from before we are born. Sometimes as life is going on around us we begin to think that these are our children, this is our life, and we forget that the Lord is in control and not us.
I have a twenty year old son that has spent the last several years living on the fringes of right and wrong. I know now that my precious Lord Jesus has been protecting him and answering my prayers. Sometimes if we can not see the work He is doing we think He is not answering. He tells us over and over in His word (Matthew 7:7; John 14:13-14; 1 John 3:22 are just a few) that if we ask anything in His name He will do it but do we really believe it?
I was overwhelmed recently with His great compassion, tender-mercies, and loving-kindness towards me by revealing a little of what He is doing in my son’s life. My son came in one evening with a revelation, something our Lord had revealed to him. He said, “Mom, do you know what the Lord told me tonight as I was driving? He told me that I did not belong to you and I did not belong to myself either.
He told me I was His.” Oh wow. And I had been wondering what the Lord was doing in my son’s life, correction, not my son, HIS son. For the last several years I have been extremely fearful. I mean the kind of fear where you feel like you just cannot breathe. Terrified is more like it. I frankly did not know how I was going to keep living this way without losing my mind. I was praying but I was not trusting. I was at that place where I could not do it any more; you know the place; it is the place where Jesus is waiting. I began to cry out not only for my son but for my own sin. I had to confess the sin of fear which in all truth is unbelief. I came to the realization that I did not trust Him when I was praying and asking for my son to be rescued out of the darkness of the world and into His glorious light. I did not truly believe He was going to do what I was asking or why would I be terrified? I was not praising Him for answering my prayers. He revealed to me my unbelief and like the father in Mark 9 in verses 23-24 I cried out “I do believe; help my unbelief.” And then Jesus told me; “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” John 14:27 (NAS)
I keep thinking of the story of Peter walking out on the water to the Lord; and what happened when Peter took his eyes off of Jesus? He sank. He was full of fear and cried out to Jesus. Immediately Jesus took him by the hand and to safety. The Lord has been teaching me to “fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 (NAS) I still have times when that panicked feeling hits but within just a short time I remember and turn to my Savior and I ask for Him to be faith through me, peace through me, hope through me, and I start quoting His promises from the word. “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 (NAS) We must stay in the word of God daily.
Since God spoke the world into being that should reveal to us just how powerful His word is. We need to memorize His word and speak His word when situations arise. The only weapon we need is His word and His promises; “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 (NAS)
I was listening to a godly, biblical pastor just the other day and the Lord revealed something to my heart through Him. He said that we could either live being crushed beneath life and its burdens, heartaches, and fears or we could build a bridge to go above it. The bridge boiled down to two verses in the Bible that give us all the hope we need to keep our eyes on the Lord. I don’t know about you but I love when things get narrowed down for me. I know it is my wonderful Lord just revealing Himself to me more clearly. The two verses that the pastor gave were: “The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all. Psalm 103:19 (NAS) and “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NAS). Do you see what those two verses say? The first verse says that God is sovereign and the definition of sovereign is to possess supreme or ultimate power. He has power over everything and everyone and He is in control of everything. The second verse says that He is causing (defined as: The producer of an effect, result, or consequence. b. The one, such as a person, event, or condition, that is responsible for an action or result.) all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and who He has called.
If we truly believe in Him and in His word then why should we ever be afraid? He understands that we are just flesh and blood and we get afraid but He also makes a way of escape through Him. Nothing is going to happen by chance and everything that happens is working towards our good. Now I know that is very difficult to believe when bad things are happening in our lives. He loves us so much that He sent His only Son to die for us. “For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NAS) If you look back on your life you will see that the only time you actually grow in the Spirit is during trials. He loves us so much and He wants us to be fully equipped in Him to live this life we are living in the flesh. As I was telling you earlier, I was gripped and overwhelmed by such great fear I could not bear it. He was loving me through it and trying to get me to realize that it not need be so. He wants to take on those burdens for us and He wanted me to know that He can and will do it for me. “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NAS) And He actually wants us to “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4 (NAS) He wants us to be strong and full of joy, peace, and hope.
He does not want His children to suffer from sin, He wants us to turn to Him and He will do it for us. If we are walking in the flesh this is impossible, but if we are in Him and walking in the Spirit, everything is possible. I wanted to share what I am learning with others because I am so thankful that my wonderful Lord and Savior is lifting me up out of the darkness that I have been walking in. I want to share so that others can find victory in Jesus and in His word. I did not realize I was walking in unbelief, I thought it was normal to grieve over the sins of a child. I was praying but I was not trusting. He loves me so much and He has lifted the heavy burdens off of my heart. If you are grieving over a child, a marriage, an illness, or any heavy burden please cry out to our awesome God who is waiting to help you. He just wants your entire attention so that He can reveal more of His love to you. I pray that this will reach even one who is suffering as I was and that our Lord will give you the victory. “The Lord bless you, and keep you: the Lord make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26
Author Bio Nancy Parker is a regular contributor to www.enannysource.com and she loves to write about wide range of subjects like health, Parenting, Child Care, Babysitting, nanny background check tips etc. You can reach her @ nancy.parker015 @ gmail.com
For every man who has ever been scolded by his wife for encouraging a child to “run faster” or “swing higher” or “try harder,” or who has been admonished for teaching them to make mouth, hand or armpit fart noises, I salute you.
Mothers are excellent at nurturing children. Fathers are good at riling them up before bedtime and testing their physical limits. We show kids how to cannonball into swimming pools, skateboard down steep hills and jump BMX bikes over poorly constructed plywood platforms.
We also instruct them in the fine art of belching, breaking wind, turning random objects into guns and lightsabers, toilet “pee-sword fighting,” and other uncouth behavior. We have to do this. It’s our job.
Moms and dads have different parenting styles. Moms comfort kids when they’re feeling down. They encourage them to discuss their problems. Dads teach them to look for a solution and move on. We wrestle our kids to the floor and tickle them and until they forget what they were depressed about. Moms express their disapproval with a tsk-tsk sound and accuse us of acting like children.
We take that as a compliment.
For decades it was assumed that the mother-child relationship was the most important one in a kid’s life. Within the last several decades, however, psychologists have realized just how much fathers matter. Raising kids is about balance. Moms are great caretakers. Dads have a more relaxed attitude toward parenting. Together, they form the perfect unit. When a child comes home crying with a scraped elbow, mom will console them with tender words. Dad will distract them by saying “Just walk it off” or “That’ll feel better once it stops hurting.”
If someone gets stuck on a homework problem, it’s usually mom who offers assistance. Dad will glance around the edge of his newspaper and shout “For God’s sake, give it another try.” When there’s a tantrum, mothers do their best to reason with a child. Fathers correct the problem with a stern glare and a threat to “jerk a knot in somebody’s tail.”
Fathers serve another important purpose. They give kids a realistic look into the male world. Girls learn from their dads how men should act toward women. Boys learn how to control their anger and deal with their masculinity in positive ways.
Kids learn lots of other cool stuff from their fathers, like not to bully or be bullied, and how to maintain a healthy balance between timidity and aggression. Dads roughhouse with their children in order to show them that kicking, scratching and biting are wrong. Kids learn self-control when a father says “Now, enough is enough,” and “Take that noise down a notch.”
In other words, moms protect children and dads give them self-confidence. We throw our kids into the air amid shouts of “Not so high.” We bounce them on the bed and mothers cry “Someone’s going to get hurt doing that.” Men know that cuts and scrapes are part of life. Women know to stock up on the bandages and antibiotic cream. Either of these parenting styles by themselves might spell disaster. Together, they keep kids safe while increasing their self-reliance.
One of my favorite confidence building moments as a father took place when my three-year-old son, Tyler, was learning to ride his bike. The training wheels were off, his helmet was on and he was ready to face the big challenge … . Well, almost.
”Dad,” he called out nervously, “Do I have to do this?”
”Of course you do,” I replied. “This is the only day of the year zombies allow three-year-olds to ride their bikes without training wheels. I saw it on the news.”
”But I’m scared,” he said.
”Just keep your wits about you and stay balanced.”
Tyler tightened the chin strap on his helmet and sighed. “Okay, I guess I’m ready.”
I gave him a push and he was off. A few yards down the street his bike hit the curb. Tyler fell to the pavement and scraped his knee.
”Dad, I hurt myself,” he cried.
”Naw, you’re just shedding worn skin” I said, applying a Band-Aid to the wound. “Keep it up. You’re doing great.”
And so it continued. There were a few more crashes that afternoon, and several more Band-Aids, but Tyler hung in there. At one point his mother stepped outside and shouted, “Don’t you think he’s had enough for one day?”
”We can’t give up now,” I hollered back. “He’s almost got it.”
On the next try Tyler kept his balance for a second or two longer. Then he was on his way, wobbling down the street on two wheels. I can still call up that old memory as if it was yesterday. It was every father’s Hallmark moment.
”You did great, son,” I told him when he pulled to a stop. “Now, let’s head inside. Your mom needs a hug.”
Tim Martin resides in McKinleyville.
Walk Your Talk with Your Kids—Living with Spiritual Authenticity
Train a child in the way they should go….“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it”– Proverbs 22:6, King Solomon of Israel.
This is a great concept, promise, principle, and protocol for fathers. “Training up” has the idea of a parent graciously investing in a child whatever wisdom, love, nurturing, and discipline is needed for him to become fully committed to God. It presupposes parental emotional and spiritual maturity.
“In the way that he should go” is to do the training according to the unique personality, gifts, and aspirations of the child. The idea here is to, equip, resource, and be a catalyst for your child’s gifts, skills, and natural abilities. We must study our kids and know just what their strengths and weaknesses are.
The converse is to help the child avoid whatever natural tendencies she might have that would prevent total commitment to God. For example: a weak will, a lack of discipline, a susceptibility to depression, etc… Knowing where our kids are prone to weakness will help us to help them avoid the pitfalls of poor decision-making, lack of character, immaturity and more. This is as important as knowing their strengths and gifts and facilitating those.
The promise is that proper development with great parenting ensures the child will stay committed to God and love people… the two basics of the 10 Commandments. May we stay focused, diligent and intentional in this key role!
Tools of Effective Legacy: Grace. How Do We Use Our Authority?
When I talk about fathering, I think of how God the Father deals with me. And then I realize His kindness, patience, and love and see how short I fall as I deal with others.
God doesn’t always use a stick to beat us when we make mistakes, so why are we as fathers so quick to apply the stick of punishment to those around us, especially our kids? It’s okay to be angry, and it’s okay to not like injustice, disobedience, immaturity, and some of the zany things kids do in their selfishness.
But what gives you and me the right when we are tired and frustrated to dole out law in the spirit of anger? Our Lord never modeled that type of authoritarianism. He did everything in love, including correction, chastisement, teaching, and encouragement.
You and I as men need to re-learn authority. We need to not get caught up in the disciplinarian model and playing the heavy, which is so common in our society. We need to learn the authority of Jesus, based in love, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, and self-control.
We need to re-learn the father heart of God, and how that applies to our leadership and authority over those for whom we have responsibility. We must be intentional and incremental in learning this model, as it will transform our parenting, and indeed, our lives. So, the next time you’re faced with someone’s shortcomings, or your own, for that matter, what’s going to be different?
Will it be grace or law? Which have you been given more of?
Grace versus law- means that we translate His heart to those around us in how we use our words, authority and actions. How can we successfully use godly authority in a way that shows His heart and love and kindness?
How do you personally dole out correction and discipline? Do the following mark your approach?
• Cussing and swearing
• Yelling and raising your voice
• Withholding your favor in some way
• Silent treatment
• Launching out in anger
• Physical violence
• Verbal violence
How do these mirror the Father Heart of God (see Appendix B.), and how he’s treated you? Does God do any of the above as He has occasion to correct and admonish you? In your walk with God, has He ever treated you with anything but kindness, love in the heart of a father? The answer is God corrects and chastens us in great love and patience and kindness. His encouraging and teaching Spirit reminds me that the kindness of God leads me to repentance… every time.
We get caught up in stress and with our authority; we often default to become the great disciplinarians. We get hard, mean, and even cruel—often with those we love the most.
This is wrong, and an incorrect application of authority. We do need to have courageous conversations, and even dole out consequences as needed, but if our default is dictatorial we’ve missed the mark in the Jesus example.
The authority that Jesus wielded can be learned, applied and given freely, but we need to be intentional…. How will you discipline, correct, and encourage someone who is under your authority the next time? Will you default to a baser form of handling authority, or will you be intentional and model the kindness and encouragement of Jesus Christ? Next time, what will be different?
I stumbled upon this beautifully written article by accident and was so moved from the opening that I
could not tear myself away. I could not stop crying and have now started again as I write this.
There are many very powerful and true statements. As the Dad of nine awesome children, I think the words shared here are very important, for both dads and moms! Sometimes we all have not so great days and life gets in the way of us doing the things we should.
I’m at a loss for words, but (in the best way I know how) I just wanted to let you know how much it has
touched me. Children are a gift, children are ALL beautiful, and all children deserve to be children and
feel loved, and wanted and respected at all times. Read and enjoy and change for the best!
Dads. Stop breaking your children. Please.
I feel a need to write this post after what I witnessed at Costco yesterday. Forgive me for another post written in desperation and anger. Please read all the way to the end. I know it’s long, but this is something that needs to be said. It’s something that needs to be heard. It’s something that needs to be shared.
As Noah and I stood in line to make a return, I watched as a little boy (he couldn’t have been older than six) looked up at his dad and asked very timidly if they could buy some ice cream when they were done. The father glared him down, and through clenched teeth, growled at the boy to “leave him alone and be quiet”. The boy quickly cowered to the wall where he stood motionless and hurt for some time.A
The line slowly progressed and the child eventually shuffled back to his father as he quietly hummed a childish tune, seemingly having forgotten the anger his father had just shown. The father again turned and scolded the boy for making too much noise. The boy again shrunk back and cowered against the wall, wilted.
Feel free to add to the hundreds of comments below or shoot me an email today: email@example.com.
True Story: Bob’s 7 Steps to a Legacy
You could put all of my father’s worldly possessions in his Chevy celebrity, yet he left us incredible riches. He taught and modeled a love for life, God, and people that will transmit for generations. He was not a flashy man, yet his life was compelling, and his heritage rich with meaning.
Here are some tools that my father Bob used to leave his legacy and heritage–
- Time… Togetherness, investment in quality relationships with intentional, time spent together.
- Communication…Talking, telling stories, laughing, and sharing life together, while communicating.
- Love for and Appreciation of Beauty… Noticing life intentionally: the flowers, people, gardens, plants, trees, birds, animals, and the natural world.
- Love for People… Appreciation and thankfulness for those in our lives. Expressions of love through, hugs, focused attention, eye contact encouragement, and appropriate touch.
- Love for God… Actively having a love affair with our Creator, based in a worshipful heart disposition. Living in intentional expression in: church community, the Fellowship, the study of truth, prayer, using our gifts, and living a life of love for God and people.
- Having fun… Being present, in the moment and spontaneous. Making time for what’s really important. Being able to stop and smell the flowers, taste the ice cream, and generally enjoy the simple things. “The best things in life are not things at all.”
- Being a Lifelong Learner… Possessing a hunger and thirst for truth, knowledge, wisdom, understanding, and a compelling education. Truly being a student of life, with the intent of discovering your strengths and gifts and making application to make your world a better place.
10 Ideas for Leaving an Eternal Legacyby Mary May Larmoyeux
Arlene Kirk’s voice hesitated and tears welled up in her eyes as she showed me her family quilt. Pointing to the middle of it, she read about her parents: “Cecil (1908-1997) and Mildred (1908-1991) Rawlings; June 23, 1925.” They were married for 65 years.
After Cecil and Mildred’s deaths, Arlene and her four brothers and two sisters wanted to do something to honor their legacy. So they decided to make a family quilt to display at family reunions. A 10-inch quilting block was given to each of the Rawlings’ children and grandchildren—to decorate with their personal memories.
“If we were going to hold onto all that Mother and Daddy built, we had to pass it on … or we would have lost it,” Arlene says. “We would have lost our family history… of morals and belief in God.”
A small, gold cross is pinned to one of the quilt blocks. “Faith was important to them,” Arlene says.
Today, Cecil and Mildred Rawlings’ legacy lives on. As I looked at the quilt honoring them, I couldn’t help but wonder, “What legacy will my husband, Jim, and I leave? If our children and grandchildren decide to represent our lives with a patchwork of memories someday, which ones will they choose? How will we be remembered?”
Here are 10 ideas to help us consider our legacies:
1. Remember that you were created for a purpose.
To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing
–1 Peter 3:8-9
2. Absorb the fact that time is short. You are just passing through this world.
You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away
3. At the beginning of each week, write down one or two things that matter to not only you, but also to God. Examples: Spending time with God, having a strong marriage, understanding each of your children.
Then, jot down one or two ways you can show these things truly matter to you. Example: Get up 30 minutes earlier each day to read the Bible; have a date night; plan how you will have individual time with each child this week and then implement your plan.
But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves
4. Decide whom you will serve—God or man. Sit down with your spouse (if you are married) and discuss what is seen, heard, and done in your house. Does it really please the Lord?
” … Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve … as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”
5. Cultivate a legacy of gratitude. You may want to have a blank journal and ask family members to write one or more blessings in it every day.
” … keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving”
6. Encourage your children to pray along with you when making tough decisions, interceding for others, or asking for material provisions. As they see God answer prayers, they will learn to look to Him when they are in need.
“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you”
7. Take time to write or record (audiotape or videotape) your spiritual journey—your childhood memories about faith, your salvation experience, what lessons God has taught you, etc.
“Remember the days of old, consider the years of all generations. Ask your father, and he will inform you, your elders, and they will tell you”
8. Allow your children to sacrifice for a greater need. Perhaps eat meatless meals once a week and give the money to a local food pantry.
And walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma
9. Look for everyday teaching opportunities. For example, if the cashier gives you too much money back after a transaction, return it and explain why to your child: “God says not to take what’s not your own.”
“These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up”
10. Create an atmosphere of understanding. Welcome your children’s questions about faith and family.