Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Does God lie?

So, the Bible is pretty clear about children.

They are:
Rewards (Psalm 127:3)
Crowns (Proverbs 17:6)
A Heritage (Psalm 127:3)
Gifts (Genesis 33:5)
Arrows (Psalm 127:4)
Fruit (Genesis 28:3)
Known and Ordained by God (Jeremiah 1:5)
Olive shoots (Psalm 128:3)
Blessings (Genesis 1:28)

While some of these things seems strange to us, if you really think about them they have have a deep and rich meaning. Olive shoots, for example, were very special to the Hebrew people. They would grow into olive trees, which were symbols of Israel itself, and produced life-giving olive oil (which has many symbolic meanings: anointing, gladness, joy, healing, etc).

The question is, why don't I always think my kids are blessings, rewards, gifts, etc? Is God a liar, or have I failed to train them to be blessings.

Recently, we went to the zoo. While we were there, I had some problems with Nathan. He kept wandering off. It is difficult enough to keep an eye on 4 kids (Gabe was sleeping in the sling) without having one of them running off. Finally, I took him aside and said, "Nate, you are old enough to obey Mommy. You should be a blessing and helper to Mommy instead of being a problem." He came to me later and apologized for running off. He was very helpful for the rest of the day.

I think one issue in our society today is that we do not train our children to be helpers and blessings. They spend so much time sitting in desks at school, being shuttled from one activity to another, and doing homework that we feel guilty making them do anything around the house. So we wait on them like servants and then wonder why we feel put out and slavish. Maybe because we are not expecting them to fulfill the role God has made for them.

Philip teaches in his class that when you do good things you feel good about yourself. His students have been taught for years all this psycho babble about self-esteem. That they are inherently worthy of feeling high self esteem. But the kids already know deep down that self-esteem based of false praise is worthless. The best way to truly feel good about yourself is to do something good (and deal with guilt, but that's a whole other post).

There is a family in Arkansas that is expecting their 18th child. They have been featured in several specials on TLC. I have heard so much criticism of this family. People complain that the older children must have no childhood because they have to work hard, or that the younger ones have no individuality or time alone with Mom and Dad. But the children appear very happy. They seem content in knowing what their responsibilities are. Compare that to the dissatisfied smirks and general petulance of most American teens. We have reared them to be tiny dictators instead of helpers and blessings.

The next time you find yourself bemoaning your child's attitude, take a deep breath and ask yourself if you have helped create their sense of entitlement by not training them to be blessings.


Janet said...

Very true. Thanks for the reminder.

Terra said...

Excellent point! Thanks for the reminder. I know I need to keep on it now so that it is easier later! Even two year olds are blessings!

Anonymous said...

I just wanted you to know that this post has stuck with me all week, and I have implemented your thoughts in every action -- and oh what a difference it has already made with me and my kids! Thank you, thank you, thank you for repeating God's words for mommies everywhere to hear.

Tamara said...

Awww, shucks, Elle. I'm glad it was a blessing to you!