or, "You're a full time homemaker? What do you do all day long?"

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Work of Understanding

Buy truth and do not sell it, get wisdom and instruction and understanding. Proverbs 23:23
    Since this blog focuses on my "work" as a full-time homemaker, wife and mother of six kids, I thought I would describe a different kind of work I engage in. This post is not about vegetables, chairs, recipes, or organizing projects. It's focused on understanding the best ways to meet my children's spiritual, emotional, and educational needs. In reality,  this work is more important than feeding them tasty, nutritious food, making our home beautiful, or keeping things picked up and organized. They won't take the food, floral arrangments, or recovered chairs with them as readily as they will take the spiritual truths, character lessons, or relational deposits I am imparting to them. This effort to read, understand, integrate, and communicate to them life lessons IS vitally important to my children's lifetime welfare. So, here we go. Because I am a "book" person, I will be highlighting some books I'm reading through (s-l-o-w-l-y) to gain more understanding and tools to meet these various needs my children have.
     Do I need to say that Scripture is the foundational guide for me and them? It is. That's a given. Beyond that, though, I have tried many different approaches to spiritual and biblical training. I'm so glad I go to a church that provides exceptional biblical instruction not only in the sermons my older kids and I hear, but in  the children's ministry program as well.
     In addition, however, I am going to be taking about an hour every two weeks to go over the book my older girls are reading in their youth group, Growing Up Christian. My next three kids are inovlved in the AWANA program, so I  try to go over the memory verses and bible studies with them on a weekly basis. And Julia gets bible stories from different children's bibles we have. Making this time for different groups of kids on a consistent basis is very challenging for me. My goal is to be consistent in this endeavor.
     As far as their emotional needs, I am going through The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman. I love the concrete, practical approach Dr. Chapman has to understanding how a child best experiences love. I haven't figured out all of their languages yet, but as I'm getting through the book my goal is to have a better idea of how each child receives and gives love. This will give me some insight as to how best keep their "love tank" full. My understanding is that this might come before spiritual instruction. This is the reason: if each child feels genuinely loved and cared for, they will be more open to instruction from mom or dad. Those lessons and words will fall on soft, fertile, tilled soil and produce the fruit of godly charcter and well-adjusted children. So, this book is a primary focus for me right now.
     The other book I'm working through is How to Reach and Teach Children and Teens with Dyslexia.  A couple of my kids seem to need a different approach to learning. This was my training in college and over the years, wonderful research and techniques have been developed to help these "different" learners. I LOVE practical tips, worksheets, lists, etc. I am a very concrete person and thrive on structure. I'm going through all the legislature currently, but will get to the "good" stuff soon. Plus, I might go back to work in the next couple of years and want to be prepared.
     I am believing that these different resources will benefit my children significantly. It's so easy to lose sight of these other areas of parenting when appointments, dishes, laundry, and sheer exhaustion zap my motivation. This simply brings me to the point of desperate prayer often. That is a great place to be!


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