Okay! I know that right off the bat that the title of this post will rankle some people. I understand. I think it would do the same to me UNLESS I read through the article.
So, please hear me out.
If you have spent any time reading The End in Mind, listening to me speak, or are familiar with Artios Academies, then you know that I have spent a great deal of my life talking about nurturing and teaching to the heart of our children. That has NOT changed. We are charged, as parents, to reach their hearts with the knowledge and wisdom of an almighty God. The word heart is mentioned over 900 times in Scripture and refers to the seat of our emotions, affections, desires. It is the center of who we really are. Teaching to the heart, nurturing our child includes teaching our children who God is and who they are.
Synonyms for nurture include:
However, in our desire to nurture our children, (protect our children per se) I have noticed that we often neglect some very important areas.
Stress and Time Management
How often do we try to protect out children from every relational hurt, consequence, stress, and responsibility. We love our kids and we don’t want them to experience things that we believe will hurt them or make them uncomfortable. We are indeed the gatekeepers for our children. But, as they get older they must have the space and room to learn to deal with relationships, consequences, stress and time management, and responsibility. We have the opportunity to lead and nurture them in all of these areas.
When we step in front of them instead of leading them through relational issues….
When we run ahead of them to be sure that a poor decision or poor work ethic doesn’t contain consequences….
When we let them drop out of an activity, an assignment, or a responsibility every time they say it is hard, …
When we don’t expect them to keep up with their responsibilities both inside and outside the home
…we have stopped nurturing and begun neglecting very important areas critical to their development.
Sometimes it may seem easier to let these areas slide. It may seem like other areas are more important. It may seem like we are helping our child when we “let them off the hook.” However, if letting these areas slide is a habit, we are neglecting our duty and crippling our children in important life skills and character. Developing these characteristics in your child doesn’t require you to become an unfeeling ogre. However, it does require you to be as consistent as is humanly possible. It does require evaluating our decisions, our reactions and responses, and our motives. It requires knowing your priorities, your desired “end-result” for your children, and then, taking the steps necessary to teach these critical areas.
The Bible is full of examples in these areas of character development. Jesus illustrated these qualities in many of the parables and Solomon spoke of them throughout the book of Proverbs. Next time we feel tempted to neglect one of these nurturing areas, let’s look to our faithful Father who is continually sanctifying his children and take a quick peek at Hebrews 12.
I’m on the other side of homeschooling now. My boys are all grown up, but I remember how hard it was to be consistent, but I am grateful that God is more than enough. My prayer for you is that God will give you a vision for your children in these areas and the courage to faithfully and completely nurture your precious ones.