Raising adults, not children

The following is an excerpt from the book, Real Life Moments, by J. Mark Fox.

“…but diligence is man’s precious possession.” (Proverbs 12:27)

Several years ago, my older daughter walked into the bedroom to ask an honest question about meal preparation. “Mom,” she began, “What should I use to serenade the chicken?” 

I couldn’t resist. 

I suggested, “Hey, Good lookin’, whatcha got cookin’?” I know, I know, I’m a wise guy. After we had corrected her and pointed out that the word is “marinade,” I went out and sang a few tunes to the bird anyway. I think I softened it up a little, and I also had fun laughing with my daughter, one arm around her as I sang and she chuckled at her mistake. She went on and cooked a delicious meal for the family. 

I remember the time when our oldest son was having some attitude problems when it came to doing work around the house. He was probably 4 years old at the time, and Cindy suggested that he sing while he worked. “It will make the work go by faster, and you might even enjoy it,” she said. And do you know that to this day, Micah whistles or sings while he works? I have heard that the carpenters he works with in the summer have asked him to take singing lessons, but that’s another story. 

Then there was the time I looked out the window and saw Micah teach his brother, Caleb, how to mow the yard. A few years later, Caleb was teaching his brother Luke. Then Luke taught  Jesse, and now Jesse and Judah do it together. One final example: I came home from work one day and my little girl ran to meet me at the door, beaming with pride as she announced, “Dad, I asked Mom a question today about a million times!” I smiled and said, “Susanna, please don’t ask Mom the same question more than once.” One of the other kids chimed in, “No, Dad, she asked Mom if she could help her with anything.” 

Each of these examples is meant to illustrate a desire of my heart to raise adults at our house, not children. Cindy and I want our sons and daughters to grow up with a heart for serving others. 

It has been established clearly that young adults who excel in the workplace are the ones who were trained at home by loving parents who teach a healthy work ethic. Those who stand out in business are most likely those who learned at home how to tackle any task with immediate and cheerful obedience. Those who have an “excellent spirit,” like Daniel of old, will rise to the top. But the most important reason we are training our children to serve is because we want them to follow the lead of the Lord Jesus who said, “For even the son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45). 

David Gergen, who served as an advisor to four U.S. presidents, tells the story of his first year in the Navy, right out of Harvard Law School. He was given the job of walking the admiral’s dog, complete with pooper-scooper. And it was President Harry Truman who said, “It is not important that you have the best job — but that you do the best with the job that you have.” 

Even if that job is just to sing to the chicken!

Prayer: “Lord, help me to be a servant to my family and to teach my children how to serve. Remind me daily that they will follow my lead!”

Action: You may want to set up a reward system for the chore list, in which each child receives payment of some kind for the daily and weekly chores he or she performs with excellence, timeliness and good attitudes.

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About C4FIC

The Council for Family-Integrated Churches exists to promote reverence for the gospel in order to reform the church and restore the home as an embassy of the kingdom of God.
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