February 17, 2006

Lord Teach Us to Parent

This poem is from a friend of mine who wrote it this week. My friend's name is Heather, too... although at her request, I am leaving her last name off of the blog. I hope you enjoy this poem as much as I did. I let my husband read it, too. My hope is that we find the time to be parents before our time is up.

"Lord Teach Us to Parent" by Heather P.

Mommy doesn't have any time to play.
The dishes and laundry all get in the way.
Sweeping and mopping, dusting and scrubbing...
So she puts off tomorrow what she should do today.
There never seems to be enough time to go outside and play.
The telephone rings, another hour goes by...
"Play with us Mommy!" her little ones cry.
Menu plans, lessons plans, too many places to be...
Yet at the end of the day she sits before her T.V.
She yearns for a time with nothing to do
but listen to her children as they whisper "I love you."

Daddy doesn't have any time to play.
Phone calls and emails all get in the way.
Driving and calling, coming and going...
So he puts off for tomorrow what he should do today.
There never seems to be enough time to go outside and play.
A meeting at the office, another hour goes by...
"Play with us Daddy!" his little ones cry.
Work plans, church plans, too many places to be...
Yet at the end of the day he sits before his T.V.
He yearns for a time with nothing to do
but listen to his children whisper "I love you."

She is so talented, is she not? She is a gifted mother with a heart for the Lord and her children. I have told her eldest a few times that he is lucky to have a mom like her. Her eldest son just smiled at me (as if he knew that already).

I am reading three things right now in-between chores, lesson plans, school work, play dates, cooking, etc. The books/pamphlets I am reading are:

Each of these books has quite a bit to say about the roles of children and parents that have been inspirational to me. In light of the recent holiday (Valentines), I thought I would remind us of a love that may have not been celebrated enough this week... the love of a parent for a child.

Here below are some excerpts from the books I am reading that I have found delightful. I hope you enjoy them as well:

"The home-life should also be made bright and full of sunshine. The courtesy of the true home is not stiff and formal but sincere, simple and natural. Children need an atmosphere of gladness. Law should not make its restraints hang like chains upon them. Sternness and coldness should have no plane in home-life or in family government. No child can ever grow up into its richest and best development in a home which is gloomy and unhappy. No more do plants need sunshine and air than children need joy and gladness. Unhappiness stunts them, so that their sweetest graces never come out." - J.R. Miller (Home-Making)

Proverbs 17:22 - "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine..."

"I have listened to the longest-faced women trying to assure me that they do indeed have the joy of the Lord, and I sat there wondering where in the world they were hiding it. The last part of the verse above says, "but a broken spirit drieth the bones." How are your bones doing? I mean your bones. The Bible is far more literal than you may think. A broken spirit and dry bones result from not having a merry heart. A merry heart is very good medicine. It is a love potion." - Debi Pearl (Created to be His Helpmeet)

I wonder if she knew that my bones in my neck have been hurting for more than two weeks? Maybe I should brush up on my Joy verses after all?! Forget all the ibuprofen! One of the suggestions she gives is to SMILE. And here is a great one that would certainly make my kids a lot happier:

"During the day, sing and play and dance as you work around the house. Your children will be delighted as you dance around the house with the broom or mop, and this lighthearted mood (visible joy is the only joy children understand) will be an encouragement to your children. The lightness of your soul will help put you in a good frame of mind for your husband when he comes home. If you have reason to be hurt or discouraged and yet you sing with thanksgiving, this is a true sacrifice of worship to God." - Debi Pearl (Created to be His Helpmeet)

"And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing" - Psalms 107:22

My bookmark for the above book is a little pink slip of Hello Kitty paper that has the words "i Love u so much mommy!" written in fat red crayola marker. My daughter has a habit of leaving love notes for me all over the place. Sometimes I even get upset with her for wasting so much paper... but this is her offering of love to me, and should never be discouraged. Her other favorite thing is to help me clean without my asking (sometimes her cleaning creates a worse mess than there was before) because she knows that I like to have help around the house. She is very intuitive and looks into others' hearts to find how she can bless them. I could learn many lessons from Morgan.... if I put down the lesson planner and dish scrubber long enough to spend some quality time searching out what makes HER happy for a change.

"It is vital to remember that your children are interpreting their childhood through their perception of what you're doing to them. They will carry these perceptions with them all of their life. You only get one shot at making memories with your children. So if you are overly harsh, demanding, and over-controlling, you'll win the battle but you'll loose their hearts. Their hearts will grow far from you. To keep yourself balanced, ask yourself, "When they grow up, will they choose to move far away from me because I've been so tight on them that they'll have to move away just to even function, or will they want to hang around me forever, because I'm the most affirming, loving person they have ever found to relate to?

There's a payday coming for our parenting. It's a sobering thought. It's not meant to paralyze us but to SEASON what it is that we're doing with our children now.

Remember that you're creating lifetime memories for your children. Your discipline fits into that picture. It's important to cross that will, yes, but it's also important to bond, to tie those heartstrings to you, to repeatedly tell your children how much you love them. You can never do too much of this!" - Renee Ellison (No Monkey Business)

Renee has such a way with words and people. I have been so inspired by the things I have bought of hers and by her awesome homeschool convention sessions. If you can't see her talk in person (which I highly recommend), you should order the tape from your local convention. She is a wiry little older lady with long, grey hair and a fullness of life and spirit like you have never seen! Her husband travels with her and they are a joy to meet.

For homeschool moms, her advice is even more precious:

"Planning your children's activities may involve some preparation on your part, either the night before or early in the morning, but you'll find that the more you prepare, the smoother your day will run.

Children get into trouble when they have nothing to do. You can just count on it. Mothers who take a shower or go run errands without first assigning activities, academics, or chores to do are setting their children up for deviant behavior and failure. "Idleness is the devil's playground." Children need something to do. To continually take things away from small children (because they are causing trouble with those objects) but not substitute something else more constructive to play with is not fair to a child. Their world of play is like your world of work. They problem-solve, experiment and role-play. They are not just going to sit and twiddle their thumbs. Letting a child use up a whole roll of clear plastic tape in the back seat of a car on a long trip, for example, might be bothersome to you, but it can't be that much trouble, and it gives the child something to DO. Re-evaluate: is the child's activity causing real trouble or is it just inconvenient to you. Say yes to all you can." - Renee Ellison (No Monkey Business)

So, with those wonderful words of wisdom in mind, and a call from the Lord for our hearts to be toward our children and for us to raise up godly offspring in love... maybe we all should buy our kids some scotch tape and sit on the floor while they tie us up in it! Ha!

Have a happy Valentines week... and remember to love those babies while you can.

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Sprittibee said...

I can't take credit for this one. I started out doing my devotional this morning and read a few things... and then to kill time on the blog (because I couldn't think of anything else interesting to post), I thought I would just quote my friend's poem. Well... I guess the Holy Spirit took over from there. Sometimes I read these posts and wonder if it was really ME who wrote them. Strange feeling. Great God we serve. ;)

Henry Cate said...

I enjoyed your post.

Your friend's poem reminded me of a song Harry Chapin use to sing. The opening verse goes:

"My child arrived just the other day,
He came to the world in the usual way.
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay.
He learned to walk while I was away.
And he was talking 'fore I knew it, and as he grew,
He'd say, "I'm gonna be like you, dad.
You know I'm gonna be like you."

The rest of the words are at:


I think about the song fairly often. It is a hard thing balancing all the conflicting duties of a parent. In general it is best to err on the side of spending time with our children.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what powerful words for me today! I am struggling with some of these issues right now and this is God's perfect time for me to read your blog. Thanks for sharing with us Heather. I do appreciate it. Sue in FL

Sprittibee said...

Henry - Yes, I remember that song. Very good lyrics! I agree that it is better to spend more than less time with your kids. I needed to come in here and be reminded today! Glad you and Sue responded.

Sue - Thanks for your comment. I needed the advice myself today! It is sunny and pretty outside and I may just take the kids out to enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much. I really needed to read this tonight. I couldn't sleep and got on the net to find something to help. I am a mom of 4 and homeschooling the first one (she is 5). We just moved and it has been a rough month. We are getting there but I need to be better for my kids. Thanks for what you are doing here. It is really wonderful!

Sprittibee said...

You are most welcome. Remember to give yourself lots of time to recover after a move! Believe me - I know this very well. We've moved about 20 times in 13 years of marraige!



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