Picking Your Battles

Have you ever seen or been asked the question; “If your son/daughter grew up and married someone just like you/your spouse, would you be pleased?”

I read this as a quote recently and truly pondered the question.

For me, I know that I am harder on myself than I should be at times but I may also be too lenient at times as well. However, I am so thankful that I care a lot about the impact that I have on my children lives that I can see both my weaknesses and my successes. My husband and I openly talk to our children about many topics, some of which a 7 and 10 year old cannot fully comprehend just yet. We know, however, that we are preparing them for when that day may come that they are faced with something ‘new’, that they will, prayerfully, have a solid ground to stand on.

On the other hand, we can’t just be all talk when it comes to characteristics that we are trying to teach them as well. We have to realize that we have little eyes watching everything we do and listening to everything we say. We have to be more aware of our examples.

I have gone between an early morning devotional and a later at night devotional for my quiet time – both of which are without children around. We have ‘children’s’ devotions together but my children rarely see me reading the Bible for my private study. I have had to re-evaluate this as wiser women have advised. One suggested a few years ago that if you have a toddler, have them in their booster with a toy or a snack and have your Bible study time then. Another idea I have begun is having my study prepared for me in the morning/evening before they go to sleep and discuss what I will be doing. Private study is very important in our spiritual growth and I want my children to have a natural learned habit of doing this.

Just as much as we cannot expect our children to know how to handle situations if we are not the first to speak to them about them, we, also, cannot expect our children to know how to read, study the Bible, and pray without guiding them. And we surely can’t expect them to ‘do as I say and not as I do’ and grow into mature and responsible Christian adults without us first setting the example.

This time is so short. I am reminded of this often by others, though I can see it for myself.  The opportunities for discipline and structure are right now. It only gets harder the older they get. Truly!

A t.v. show or a movie solving a problem in a small amount of time isn’t reality. A couple of sermons at church a week are not going to take the place of our teaching as parents.

We need to be actively teaching our children how to handle their emotions. How to communicate. How to take the next step in responsibility. How to control their attitudes. How to put forth an effort. How to be grateful. How to be a good citizen. How to be the Christian they need to be as an adult.

Especially in the world we live in today. 

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This isn’t always easy for me. I don’t want to speak for my spouse but I would venture to say he would agree and say the same. We constantly feel like we are not doing enough to instill guidance and discipline in our children. We feel the strain and pull of the world when it comes to ‘picking our battles.’

Christian parents, please pick those battles!  Pick them up one by one and deal with them. Intentionally, lovingly, whole-heartedly – pick them! 

I remember when our little girl was younger and went through a stage when she didn’t want to potty train anymore. She was barely two. As new parents, we saw the cues early on and jumped in full force thinking she would be totally potty trained in just a few days.  We were heavily encouraged by a big influence at the time and truly just didn’t know any better. Our plan back fired big time and we were frustrated. Did you know that potty training generally is between 3-4 years old? Our barely two year old was not ready and we pushed her and ourselves to emotions and heartache that we should have never experienced. Why am I sharing this?

I am trying to make a point that not every battle is worth picking and these tiny battles that I would categorize as minute phases in life that grow within age/maturity/brain growth are not the battles. If your child loves to wear tacky clothes, maybe I wouldn’t fight that battle every day. If they are not ready to potty train – let it be until another time. Those aren’t the long lasting ones I am trying to highlight.

What I am saying is that the bigger things that you are going to have a problem with later in life – don’t let those go. Pick those battles now so that they are not as hard later. Our little girl knows the length of shorts that she is and will always be allowed to wear and none other will ever do while she is under our roof. Does she try to push those boundaries a little each year? Yes, but every year, the pleading is momentarily and eventually – that will fade as well. There are ground rules, behavioral rules, situational rules, etc. that are worth setting at a young age. Our kids realize that they cannot have electronics at certain times. No t.v. in the room. A set bedtime. Chores. Church is a must. They realize that manners are to held. They already understand the topic of sex to a degree. They recognize bad words/music. And they also understand that there are consequences to their actions.

Again, it isn’t always easy, but it is worth it in the end. Their soul is worth every effort you tirelessly give.

Hang in their momma! Remind yourself that they are worth it and that this time is short. Pray for your children future and for their future spouse.

One day you will be proud of the young adult you raised. The honest and hard-working employee/owner in a business. The spouse and parent of a strong family. The Christian leader. The voting citizen of our country.

That gives us the energy now to persevere, for this time is so short!

Here is a really great list of Bible verses that talk to us about raising children. https://www.unshakeablejoy.com/15-bible-verses-about-raising-children/

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