Passing On Spiritual TruthMay 9, 2006
Today on the broadcast, various moms talk about the privilege and responsibility of passing on spiritual truths to their children.
Today on the broadcast, various moms talk about the privilege and responsibility of passing on spiritual truths to their children.
Passing On Spiritual Truth
Elisabeth: Start by teaching your children very simply how to pray.
Ann: I tend to pray all the time when I'm in the car, because I'm in the car a lot. So when I was in the car with them, even when they were babies in their carseats, I'd just pray and thank God for the day.
Barbara: The most important thing I can do is make sure I am in The Word on a daily basis and their dad in The Word on a daily basis.
Woman: There are so many fun little songs and, actually, music tapes that they can memorize Scripture with.
Vonette: When you're wrong, tell them you're wrong. They know you're wrong in the first place. But admit that you're wrong; that you made a mistake. Mommy doesn't always make every decision the right one.
Ann: I think the most important thing that I would share is that, first of all, it has to be coming from your own walk; that if you are spending time with God and He is your passion, and He is your life, then those things that you learn, you're going to want to instill into your own kids, and to just be a learner.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, May 9th. Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. And today you're invited to join us as we offer insight from moms about being a godly mom. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Tuesday edition. I think most of our listeners have heard us mention at one time or another the second chapter of Titus, which talks about the need for older men to pass along truth to younger men, and the need for older women to pass along truth to younger women, and I think there are a lot of younger women who are hungry for that truth to be passed along to them. They would love the opportunity to sit with a group of godly women and hear them offer solid advice on being a mom and on being a wife, and that's kind of what we had in mind for today's program.
Dennis: Yes, we talked with a dozen moms who are experts in everyday life with kids; moms who are now grandparents who have raised their kids, all the way to moms who are hammering it out every day. And we're going to get a chance to help moms parent on purpose this summer; really connect with your kids spiritually and set some spiritual goals for your children that when you look back over the summer you can say you know what? This was a good summer not merely to take the kids swimming or to go fishing or to have friends over to spend the night or to go camping and have a vacation, but this was really a summer where we took the free time, and we captured some moments, spiritually speaking, where we really were able to teach our children some great spiritual principles.
Bob: The reason we're focusing on moms is not because dads can check out during the summer, right?
Dennis: Absolutely not, in fact, if dads are listening, certainly, all these truths are ways that men can jump in with their kids, and they need to be involved. In fact, that's a great idea for another broadcast, Bob. Let's address that someday.
But what we want to do today is we want to talk about the importance of Scripture and teaching Scripture to your kids. We want to talk about how you can teach your kids how to pray. And then I want to ask these older women to do a little mentoring here today on the broadcast, and so what I'd like to do is just enter into a mentoring relationship on the broadcast with a dozen women who are instructing younger women as to how they can raise their children in this culture.
You know, we had the privilege of interacting with a number of these older women who have earned a platform for really sharing the great job they are doing in being a wife and a mom in this generation. These are women of excellence who really are making a difference in children's lives.
Bob: Many of the women we talked to are women who either speak now or have spoken at our Weekend to Remember conferences – women like Karen Loritts, Darcy Kimmel, Mary Jensen, Cindy Householder, Joy Downs, Ann Wilson, Linda Weber, and Barbara Rosberg, and we had a chance to talk to Vonette Bright who is, of course, the widow of Dr. Bill Bright, the founder and late president of Campus Crusade for Christ, and we talked with Elisabeth Elliott, who many of our listeners will know as an author and speaker over the least 50 years.
And one of the things all of these women emphasized as we talked to them was the need for moms to pass on the truth of Scripture to their children – to their sons and their daughters; to place a premium on that kind of biblical training and instruction. That's one of the things that Linda Weber emphasized with us as we spoke with her.
Linda: This portion of Scripture in Deuteronomy is my favorite – there in chapter 6 where it says, you know, you're supposed to talk about God's principles when you're walking, when you're sitting, when you're laying down, when you're rising up, and you're supposed to bind them as frontals upon you, and so we just felt like talking about what God was like when you're in the car, when you're doing dishes, when you're fixing dinner, when you're just around the house when you're anywhere. And it became a way of life for the kids.
Bob: What Linda had to share with us was paralleled by one of our other Weekend to Remember conference speakers, Darcy Kimmel.
Darcy: We thought God's Word was very important, and so, first of all, they have to see us honoring God's Word in our own life. So we've made it a point to read the Bible every morning, and lots of times our kids catch us doing that. So that has been a good reminder to them that it's important in our life, and we want it to be important in theirs.
I've also taught them to memorize Scripture from the time they were two, two and a half years old, because they're so good at mimicking little songs or just little rhymes, and so they've all started memorizing Scripture then, and now we have the opportunity to have them enrolled in the AWANA program at our church. So I think teaching them the Scriptures is real important, and it's amazing when those verses come in handy to them.
Bob: Barbara Rosberg is another woman who places a high value on passing on biblical truth to our children.
Barbara: The most important thing I can do is make sure I am in The Word on a daily basis and their dad is in The Word on a daily basis.
Bob: Mary Jensen, who has spoken at our Weekend to Remember conferences in the past sees a connection between passing on the truth of Scripture to your children and teaching them to appreciate art.
Mary: The key to Scripture for us – this is my view after all these years, is that you really give a child what they can take as – kind of like my view on art museums – you want your children to appreciate fine art, but you don't take them to an art museum for three hours. You take them for 15 minutes. And I think the same is true with Scripture. You take them where their interest lies, and you take them as long as their attention span holds, and you just do it bit by bit by bit.
Bob: Vonette Bright spoke to us about making sure that, as parents, we're not only helping our children hide God's Word in their hearts but we're also helping them understand how God's Word applies to everyday life.
Vonette: I would get a children's application Bible as soon as they were able to understand and read the Scriptures, and then that little life application from a children's point of view, I think, is excellent. To read Bible stories to them, to make the Bible really real, to help them understand the biblical perspective of how this story applies in being kind and being – honoring a parent and saying thank you and helping other people feel comfortable and being kind to animals – whatever – but making that application at the stage where they are and letting them know that God loves them; the Mommy and Daddy love them; and they're wanted children and to give them everything possible to give them the security of truth. When you're wrong, tell them you're wrong. They know you're wrong in the first place. But admit that you're wrong; that you made a mistake. Mommy doesn't always make every decision the right one, and I think that's very helpful.
Bob: In addition to the spiritual discipline of being in God's Word with your children, one of the other spiritual disciplines that ought to be a part of a believer's life is prayer. And that's something we need to have our children understand and help them experience talking to God in prayer. Ann Wilson, who speaks at FamilyLife's Weekend to Remember conferences, says her children have grown up in a home where prayer has simply been a part of the flow of life.
Ann: I tend to pray all the time when I'm in the car, because I'm in the car a lot. So when I was in the car with them, even when they were babies in their carseats, I'd just pray and thank God for the day and pray about things going on that day and things in my life; pray for them; and that has stuck with us through all these years – through the nine years, and now it's really fun because when I'm on the way to school with them we pray. Everywhere we go – it's kind of fasten the seatbelt, and we just pray about issues, and it's not that I'm always making them listen and be quiet to my prayers, because a lot of it's just me praying, but they pretty much stay in tune with that whole thing, and we pray about issues of the day.
Bob: A lot of the moms with whom we spoke emphasized the need they had when they were in the thick of mothering to have an older woman helping them in the process – to have a mentor in their lives. That was something that author and speaker Cynthia Heald spoke to us about.
Cynthia: I would encourage her to, first of all, find a godly older woman that she could talk to and get counsel from to guide her through this. It doesn't have to be someone that's right there in the church. In fact, I was talking with a group of women this past weekend and encouraged them that I have an older woman – even as old as I am – that lives in another state, and I call her. This doesn't have to be someone that's just right there in your own city. If there is someone you know that you respect in their walk with God, and they have raised their children or have older children, I would not hesitate to call an older woman periodically – "This is what I'm doing, can you think of anything else I need to be doing," or "What all did you do?" I think we need to tap in on that resource as young moms.
And I would just be sure of my own walk with God. I know – I had three children in three years, so what I'm saying to young moms, I've been there. I just had a time that I tried to have some times where I could sit before the Lord and have my own time with Him, because if I don't abide in Him apart from Him, I can do nothing, and I know young moms – "I don't have time, the children are up at the first crack of the Bible" and everything else, but I just guarded that time – five or 10 minutes in my own life so that I would at least have my time with God in order to give to my children. I had to have something from the Lord myself in order to share and to give and to have the guidance I needed to raise my children – to love them, to discipline them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Bob: Darcy Kimmel is a mother of four children who talked with us about redeeming the time as a mom.
Darcy: I would say that there are three very ripe opportunities during every child's day that a parent should try to seize – the first one being those first few moments when they get up. They are just still very vulnerable then, very open to a section. We have two lapsitters and two older children that still kind of lay in bed until we come and get them, but whether they're on your lap or next to you in the morning, I think you need to project God's presence into their day; that He'll be protecting them; that He will be with them. Pray for their activities during that day. If they have a history exam or if they're going to encounter someone that they've had a problem with on the playground, make sure that they know that God is going to be with them, and it gives them a good feeling about their day, a security.
Then the other bookend at the other end of the day is that bedtime, that special time when you're winding things down, and you're putting them to bed, you might be singing some of those songs to them – "Jesus Loves Me," or "Oh, How He Loves You and Me." Those are the two we've always sung to our children. And you're praying with them and maybe you're recalling how God has answered some of those morning prayers that you had that morning, or just putting a spiritual perspective on their day, you're reflecting on it, and they can go to bed just assured that God was with them that day.
Then I think the third very ripe opportunity in any family's day is dinnertime, and I know we talk about that, but I just see, as our children get older, how important that is and how hard it is to maintain a dinner hour. It doesn't always happen, but if you can fight for every dinner hour you can possibly get together, that is such a good teaching time. The kids are talkative, they have to be there, it's kind of a fun time because I don't know of any child that doesn't really like to eat, and it's a time where we talk about their day and talk about how things went, and they get to share their victories and some of the challenges, and we do the same, and we teach spiritual truth that way – maybe talk about something we had read in the Bible that morning that might give them some insight.
So I would say to really try to seize those three opportunities during every day.
Bob: Anyone who has ever heard author and speaker Elisabeth Elliott will not be surprised at the counsel she offered young moms.
Elisabeth: Start by teaching your children very simply how to pray, and you start with thanksgiving – teach your children to say "Thank you, God, for my new skates," my supper, my nice bed, you know, just all the ordinary, simple things. Thank God for those things. Then, intercession, which is "Bless my brother Stephen and my friend Joe" and, you know, praying for other people. Confession – "I'm sorry, God," and teach the child to say he's sorry not only to God but to the person that he has offended.
So teach your children to pray, teach them to sing hymns, teach them the Bible – those are the three basics. But then, to me, it's every bit as important to be reminding the child of God when they're outside playing, looking at the flowers, the birds, the sky, the stars at night, take the child outside, show him the stars, talk about God, talk about the moon, about how the sun comes up every morning and thank God for things like that. Talk about giving your work, your schoolwork, your homework, your chores, your sweeping the front walk or the porch – all of those things are meant to be offerings to God. Then let them understand that they're not just sweeping the dining room for Mama but for God.
Bob: Cindy Householder, who speaks at the Weekend to Remember conferences for FamilyLife talked with us about the need for moms to just be real.
Cindy: That speaks volumes, I think, to them, when you are teaching them about truth, and when you are teaching them about humility and compassion, and they see it acting itself out in your life, in your being authentic with your struggles, too – good things and bad things. They don't need to see you and your husband with your deepest struggles, but they do need to know, I think, that you are real.
Bob: One other piece of advice we got from Ann Wilson is that a mom cannot be pouring water into her children if she's trying to draw life from an empty well.
Ann Wilson: I think the most important thing that I would share is that, first of all, it has to be coming from your own walk; that if you are spending time with God – and with young kids I know it's hard to find consistent time, but if you can just capture moments out of your day to spend with Him, and He is your passion, and He is your life, then those things that you learn, you're going to want to instill into your own kids, to ask other moms what they have done, to observe other parents who seem to be doing things right, to read books, to get into bookstores and buy some of the great literature and the tapes and the audio and video things that are out. There's so much at hand. And to just be a learner in your own walk with God and others and just having a heart for your kids and putting the time into them.
Bob: And, finally, Joy Downs, who speaks at our FamilyLife Weekend to Remember conferences brought moms back to reality with her thoughts.
Joy: I think I would say what I say to myself everyday is that I'm never going to do it all right. You will never do it all right. There will always be things that you will say, "I wish I would have read to them more," "I wish I would have sung some more," "I wish I would have had one more thing, you know, spiritually to give them." But God is bigger than we are, and if we pray and just really desire for the Lord to work in their lives, we have to trust their lives with Him. I know enough godly people where their children have strayed in some form or another, but I think that we need to just be aware that they are God's children first, and that we can do as much as we can, but we need to pray for them.
Bob: You know, that is all great advice from some great moms, and I think one of the reasons that it rings so true is because I've had an opportunity at FamilyLife marriage conferences or in other settings to get to know some of these ladies and to know that there is a life that backs up what they're talking about.
Dennis: Yes, and you also are married to a mom who is in the thick of raising five kids, and you know that your wife, like mine, has needs of having some older women from time to time come alongside and encouraging and kind of pointing in perhaps some fresh directions.
And I guess if I wanted to come out of today's broadcast with a real clear action point for today's moms, find a mentor. Find someone, as a mom, that you can relate to who can help you through those trouble spots, where you don't have all the answers. I don't know of anybody who feels competent to handle all the circumstances that are thrown at young moms today. I've watched moms share their need to be connected with someone who has been there.
I also watched Barbara spend the better part of a year with a half-a-dozen young moms here at FamilyLife where she mentored them, and I know one of the main points she shared with these young moms was to have some time as a young mom where you could think critically about your life, your job description as a mom in raising your children, about your husband and meeting his needs – but some time to pull back out of the battle and to really evaluate – "Am I being effective as a mom?" And to be stimulated unto good deeds – that's what Hebrews says ''Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds," and a mentor can do that.
We are really, I think, suffering today, Bob, because of the mobility of our culture. We're separated from our family, from the aunts and uncles that mentored our parents when they were raising us, and I think we need to establish some relationships that give us courage in the heat of battle.
Bob: And it's not that there's not desire on the part of women either to be mentored or – I think even to mentor. I think there are women who are willing to sit down with younger women. Many of them may feel inadequate, but there's a willingness, there's a desire there to see this connection happen.
One of the books that we've come across over the years that we think is excellent on this subject is Susan Hunt's book, "Spiritual Mothering." It helps women understand the whole mentoring process and how, together, you can pour your lives into one another and grow in godliness in the process.
I want to encourage our listeners – if you'd like to find a way to start one of these mentoring relationships, either to be mentored or to be a mentor, get a copy of the book, "Spiritual Mothering." Go to our website, FamilyLife.com, click the "Go" button in the center of the screen, and that will take you right to a page where you can get more information about how to get a copy of the book, "Spiritual Mothering" from Susan Hunt.
You'll also see information about a book called "Biblical Womanhood in the Home." This is a collection of essays from people like Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Carolyn Mahaney, Bonnie Wilson, Barbara Hughes, and others talking about being God's woman in the home. In fact, this would be a great book for women to go through, either in a small group setting or in a mentoring relationship, and we have it in our FamilyLife Resource Center as well.
If you're interested in getting both of these books, we can send along at no additional cost the CD audio that includes the comments you heard from the mentors we had on today's program. Again, all the information is on our website at FamilyLife.com. Or you can call 1-800-358-6329. That's 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY, and someone on our team can let you know how you can have these resources sent out to you.
You know, we've been hearing this month from some listeners who we haven't heard from before, which is exciting for us here at FamilyLife. These are listeners who have been regular listeners to FamilyLife Today but who have never contacted us to make a donation. But when they heard this month about the opportunity to see their donation doubled because of the matching gift challenge that has been provided by some friends of our ministry, this month each donation we receive is going to be matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis up to a grand total of $350,000, and we are hoping we can take full advantage of that matching gift opportunity. In order to do that, we need to hear from as many of our listeners as possible. You can donate online at FamilyLife.com, or you can call 1-800-FLTODAY to make a donation, and we appreciate you giving it some prayerful consideration. We do hope to hear from you.
Well, tomorrow we want to continue with some one-on-one mentoring for moms – Donna Otto is going to be here to join us, and we're going to spend some time talking about how a mom can find her purpose as a mom. I hope you can find your way to the radio tomorrow and hope you'll be able to join us.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We'll see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.
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