Saturday, November 8, 2008

Parenting by The Book

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. ~Ephesians 3:16-17

If you're like me, you hear your mother's voice in your head. Most moms have phrases that they say a lot during their child-rearing years. My mom would say, "You don't have to want to. You just have to do it." When my cousins would complain that something wasn't fair, my aunt told them, "I'm not trying to be fair."

It's a little frightening to realize that my children will hear my voice in their heads long after I'm gone. Now is my chance to make sure that the words they hear in my voice are lifegiving. That is why I take many of my Mothering Mantras from the Bible. I make sure I'm using the Scripture in context and for its intended purpose, of course. I find it very useful to have "sound bytes" at the ready as I'm going through the day with my children. Every Sunday, I plan to write about a verse or passage that is helping us conform our family to the Biblical standard. This week we've used Phillipians 2:14-15a quite a bit:

Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God

When one of the little arrows in our quiver is given to complaining or trying to get his or her own way by arguing I respond with this verse. If the complaining or arguing continues, I simply repeat the verse. Without getting angry, I simply state the Biblical expectation and wait for them to rise to the standard. It helps if I am completely nonchalant about it so that I don't feed into any over-emotional reactions. At different times, we've talked about how this is God's standard for those who belong to Him. It applies to Mama and Daddy, and it applies to the children of our household. Saying it routinely to the children ingrains it in their thinking. It also makes me much more aware of when my own attitude and behavior don't measure up.


  1. SOOOO good! Keep it coming! I need all the help I can get these days! Question... I tried using "obey first, then we'll talk" today and it seemed to go right over their heads and they just continued to press. They are 2 and 3. I know it will probably take some time, but how long can I expect this reaction from them before they actually "get it?"

  2. Such a great way to install Biblical truths. We use the same approach and it is very effective.

    Can't wait to read more.


  3. My son is only 7 months, but already he can frustrate me! I've been reading your child raising series, and I've tried to put into practice not getting over-emotional when he doesn't sleep, flips over when I'm changing diapers, stuff like that. My goal is to not start raising my voice even a teensy bit, because we want a peaceful home. It starts with me.

  4. I was going to say I loved this post and how wow I need to write scripture out and have it at the ready what a great idea to incorporate into my family and then?

    I read Grethen's comment. Her plan seems easier.

  5. "It helps if I am completely nonchalant about it so that I don't feed into any over-emotional reactions."

    Yup, that would be the place where I fail miserably at diffusing conflict with my daughter.

    Thanks for the encouragement to just keep trying, though. :) I'll get the hang of this motherhood thing one day. Maybe in time for grandkids ....

  6. I love this idea. If you have any other verses that work as daily exhortations, pass them on. This is good stuff.

    (Are you a parenting coach in your other life?)

  7. How do you do this without it sounding canned? I am taking opportunities for training and use scripture in a "Jesus says.." kind of way, but it somehow feels over-religious and weird. ?? Do you think I'm just not used to it yet? I sooo want my kids to know God have Him woven into the fabric of who they are!!