Help In The Home - By Jennifer
Updates from home:
Some weeks seem to be filled with more excitement while others are routine. This season is a balance of excitement for Fall and Christmas cheer, and trying to survive Thanksgiving pie orders.
Most of this week can be described with one word……..RAIN. A very welcomed many days of soaking rain. The much-needed rain has revived our dehydrated forest animals, though it's turned our attention at the barn from leaving them plenty of water to keeping everyone's feet dry. Outside of our master bedroom, Kevin built me a private porch to enjoy quiet time away from the hustle of a busy home, but quickly it turned into one of favorite places to leave a little extra cat food and water. After the sun goes down our forest friends eagerly await these treats and most nights I have at least one opossum and one raccoon (affectionately known as trash panda) that come to visit.
The barn has transformed from figuring out water distribution to managing the challenge of keeping mud to a minimum. Our ducks and geese are enjoying the puddles, the chickens are not thrilled, and Miss Fancy, our turkey, continues her curious strut.
Dreary weeks seem to slow down everyone in the house, except for our 16-month-old toddler, John Matthew. Despite feeling unmotivated, I am grateful for my discipline in planning supper in advance, sparing me the need to decide what to cook. Who knew that the most challenging part of marriage would be answering, "What do you want for dinner?" This week’s menu is:
Grilled shrimp, baked potatoes, pineapple
Pizza that a friend blessed us with.
Chicken wings and veggie tray
Breakfast for dinner
I enjoy making elaborate meals but in this season I also welcome simple and quick. Speaking of busy seasons, let me dive into this weeks topic which Is one that is personal as a wife and mother.
Help In The Home
By Jennifer Lanham
Mondays start in our home with early morning alarm clocks, strong coffee, and an enthusiastic rooster declaring the start of a new day. While people often inquire about my ability to accomplish a lot, the reality is that no one can “do it all” without strain. So, my sincere advice to those striving for the impossible is simply, “just don’t.”
Many years ago, my family visited North Side Baptist Church in Weatherford, Texas. Van Houser was the pastor at the time, and he is still one of my most admired pastors today. While the knowledge I gained from his guidance has greatly impacted in my life, one comment changed the way I would parent forever.
“Once a child shows you they are capable of doing something, it now becomes their responsibility.” -Van Houser.
Can you hear the angels singing? This statement liberated me from the burden of shouldering all household responsibilities alone. There were not enough chore sticker charts, or reward systems to make doing chores flow consistently in my house. I wanted true participation and joy from my children when making this house a home as a family. This is a process that will always be changing depending on the needs of the home and the age of the children. Here are three practical tips and one important principle that have helped me in getting my children involved in home responsibilities:
#1) What chores can be delegated that genuinely make a difference in your day?
Let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment. If we don’t feel like what we are doing is making a difference or for a purpose, we are much more likely to not do to it on a regular basis. Chores do teach children responsibility, but in a day and age where responsibility is shrugged of as unimportant, placing more effort into making our children’s contributions to the home feel valuable will make them appreciate the responsibility placed on them greater. Our children are far more capable than what we give them credit for when it comes to making a true difference. Will it be perfect? Most likely not. Will it be one less thing you have to do? Absolutely.
#2. What chores do your children enjoy doing?
One day in all my glory of chore list frustration, I asked my children, “What do you actually enjoy doing around this house?”. While each person may not have gotten the assigned duties they had hoped for, it did take me by surprise. In our home we take the obedience of children very seriously. So, if they are told to do something 99% of the time my children will respond quickly and with zero complaint. They are not perfect, and due to my often slow neglect, chore list would turn into distant memories, and left us with a mom issuing orders without any good organization as to what was happening. My children are much more likely to complete their daily tasks when they were given responsibilities they enjoy doing to begin with.
Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,
#3) Teach your children to love serving others.
Maybe it is because my love language is acts of service, however, I think teaching children to enjoy serving others will benefit them in every area of life whether that be in the workforce, in the church, or in a home with a spouse and children of their own. When your children learn to serve, you will find them doing things without being told. They will see something that needs to be done, and naturally want to do it in order show love and honor to mom, dad, brother, sister and any other family member in the home. This is a skill set I expect in my teenagers and while it is a relief in our home to have natural helpers, it is a joy to my heart when I see them serving others joyfully and without direction.
Just this week I received a new baby gate for my upstairs office door. When I went upstairs the next day, not only did I find the box had been brought up, but my 14 year-old son, Lane, had already installed it as well. To say I had a proud mama moment is an understatement.
How do you teach a child find joy in serving one might ask? By acknowledging their efforts, covering them in gratitude, and show them by example as you and your spouse serve each other joyfully with out grumble or frustration.
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Which leads me into my mama rule:
Do not allow your children see you complain about the responsibilities The Lord has trusted to you. If nothing else in your day is completed, but you served your husband, children, and home with a joyful heart, then, your greatest work has been finished and you can rest easy that night knowing God gave you the strength and ability to make it through another day as a successful godly woman. You see my dear friends, when we quit viewing our husbands and children as the burdens interfering with our check list and personal desires, our joy for them will increase, and the stress to do more will decrease. At the end of it all, what truly matters?
Lord, Thank you for trusting me with souls you created this side of Heaven. Help me show them what it means to love you and serve others. Amen