Sunday, January 31, 2010

From Tots to Teens ~ House Rules

Five years ago I saw a similar poster hanging in a friends home. I asked them about it and sure enough it covered pretty much everything. A year later Lexi (our oldest daughter) and I made this poster below and it has been hanging in our kitchen ever since!


If you read my first two posts then you know we take obedience and trusting in our children pretty seriously. If you would like to read a post I wrote over eight months ago on trust – click here. Being able to trust in your children is a big deal. Big enough that God has written about it since the first man and woman! Adam tried to blame Eve for his being swayed to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 3:12). Over and over again examples are shown to us throughout the bible how God views lying. Spend some time in Proverbs to hear directly from God on a lying/deceitful mouth.

Our children learn from an early age to recite the house rules so when they are corrected for not doing them they can’t say they didn’t know. They are simply asked, “what did you do wrong?” Then asked, “how could you have done it differently?” They rarely say, “um I don’t know", “or what are you talking about?” Because they see these rules day in and day out and they hear them being brought up when someone hasn’t followed them. No different than us stepping outside of the rules we know God is asking us to follow. He wants one thing of us – trust and obey Him at all cost. No matter what.

Rule #2 can be abused much more than any other rule in our home. From hitting, taking a toy, not sharing, using words that are not loving to the biggest offense lying! I would rather they slap me across the face than lie to me. I have a feeling God may think the very same thing. He would rather we shake our fists at Him than be foolish enough to believe that we are getting away with anything. Remember there is NO place you can hide that He doesn’t see or a thought you can thank that He doesn’t already know. Humbling and keeps me focused on speaking the truth to God and others. No sense in wasting His time or mine – I lay it right out. I messed up here, here and here – please give me the grace and wisdom to not do that again!

God wants a faithful servant. He wants us to speak in truth and love. God is love. God is truth. God only works in truth and love. Everything we do that is not in love is a sin against a holy, perfect and righteous God. Every time we tell a lie – God says we are telling the person we are lying to that we hate them. Ouch!

A few of our children struggle in this area more than others. It has taken me a long time in prayer to stop allowing their lies to affect how I treat them or parent them. I took their lying personally and got so offended. It would mess me up for the entire day and sometimes more than one. I was ashamed of how hurt I was and how it was effecting our relationship. Slowly God showed me how to teach them to live out rule #2 in our house down to no lying. It is not perfect by far but we have come a LONG way!

We remind them that even when we don't catch them in a lie God always knows the truth and the only way to be set free from the sin they committed is to tell the truth. A painful lesson we want them to learn as young as possible!

"...he who loves his son disciplines him promptly." Proverbs 13:24

"For whom the LORD loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights." Proverbs 3:12

Our children know that if we stop correcting them - they should be concerned...God warns the same thing. If you have stepped so far from Him that you are not even aware of His correction - you are not abiding in Him and His love for you can't be felt. His love is always there - just now you are too far away to realize it and your desire to be put back on the right path is pushed down too deep.


You see it is not enough for your children or you to simply memorize bible verses. They need to be put into action…be doers of My word. How do we show God and Jesus that we love them? By following His commands. Trust and obey. Don’t ask why? Don’t question His asking…simply trust and obey. Boy that is not so easy sometimes and surely hard in certain areas of our lives. For children it can be nearly impossible. This is where we the parents come in to help them out.

I remove all of their excuses – blaming someone else, giving an excuse of why they did something wrong, saying wasn’t me, or maybe when asked if they did something that I know they did. When all of that is stripped away they know I want one thing from them – the truth. God blesses a faithful and honest servant. So do we as their parents. When you tell me the truth even when you know a consequence is coming that might not be fun – you are sure to get praises and often mercy in the level of your consequence. Same with God. He is quick to forgive our transgressions and wipes it all clean – when we confess our sins against Him. We want to teach our children what that looks like and how good it feels to tell the truth (confess their sin). Sometimes I might still be angry with them or even hurt –but they always know no matter what our love for them never goes away!

We teach our children that in order to trust and obey God – they need to know Jesus. They need to understand their complete lack of ability to do this on their own. We teach them how important it is to pray for God’s strength to help them to obey us. We are teaching them now how important it is to trust that He will do what He is asking them to do. Why? Because Jesus who lived a sinless life is living in you now to will and to do His good pleasure and has given you everything you need to do it – even down to being content right where you are! Simply trust and obey!


As we finished up our holiday break and got back to our homeschool schedule God laid it on my heart to teach them the above verses once again…this time how they can truly apply them.

I NEED TO OBEY + I NEED JESUS = I NEED JESUS TO OBEY as I shared earlier this month - you will often find this written on our chalk board as a reminder of their need and mine!

Not too long into my walk with Christ the word all seemed to bounce right off the pages of my bible at me. Over and over again I saw the words all and always. Another thing God takes pretty seriously.

It became a pretty convicting word. I began to ask myself and still do this routinely – “Do I do all things without complaining or disputing? Am I obeying God in all things? Do I rely on Christ for my strength? Do I trust in God with my whole heart and not lean on my own understanding and in all of my ways acknowledge Him? Do I count it all joy? Do I pray without ceasing? How can I expect them to do this very thing if I’m not living it out more before them?”

As you can all guess the answer is, “NO!” God spoke again into my heart, “Jill trust and obey Me. Teach them to trust and obey Me by following you doing this very thing.” Funny how God works – my husband just finished teaching our home fellowship through the book of Philippians the word all is said many times! God is trying to teach me to do and not just all of your ways acknowledge Me.

So it began two days before the start of 2010 a course in trusting and obeying God. I know with us, when God is going to teach us something it is never just a simple lesson – nope not for see we joke “we’re Your dumbest sheep and really need to hear You to get it right.” God takes us seriously – LOL! So lessons have begun left and right in our lives in the last week to trust and obey Him – a lot!

With complete humility and reverence of God I say to all of you – walk in obedience and trust in God with every area of your life. It will be the greatest teacher to your children and they will not only do as you say but desire to do as you do!

Pray with your children to trust and obey God as a family. Pray to trust and obey Him with your school day, with your discipline and for all of your needs. Pray to listen to what God is asking you to do and then have a joyful heart to do it. Pray that you will not be wishy washy in this area and that you will honor God’s call on each of our lives bought with the price of His Son’s blood and do as you are asked because you love Him. Do it and let your light so shine before men so that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Watch how life changes in your home when the focus becomes – we will trust and obey You God no matter what!

Walking in obedience with you all and learning to trust Him more and more each day! All by His grace!


Kim said...

Oh ... the timing of this post could not be better! I cannot wait to get started on our own version of this house rules!
I continue to be so grateful for the wisdom you share!
Love & Blessings from Hong Kong,

Our journey following Christ said...

I love your version of the House Rules!!! I might have to have Katie draw one up for us since she's the only artistic one in the bunch!


Unknown said...

I love rule two.

Debbie Petras said...

Oh Jill, as you know I have no children but believe me ...I learn best as a child. When I taught children's classes in Bible Study Fellowship, I learned so much myself.

I loved this teaching and will share it with my friends who are moms with little ones.

Love you,

TheLab said...

Awesome post, as always! Thank you for these glimpses into a home serving the Lord. Ideas and tips and truths from the Word are always helpful to others trying to raise a Godly family as well!

Beth said...

I just love reading what you have to say!

We have a 5 and 2.5 year old and we are working on obey and listen to Dad and Mom because that is pleasing to the Lord. It is hard!!

I struggle with how to discipline them when they don't listen and obey. I have read different books, attended Christian parenting classes etc, all have been beneficial. However, what I am learning is exactly what you said. I/we must be an example to our children of obeying, trusting and loving God.

Thank you for your example!