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It is my belief that in order to live life with a purpose, we must do it with intention.  I often hear, I didn’t do it on purpose, I didn’t mean for that to happen, I didn’t mean to forget.  Not that I don’t mess things up or forget things; I do!  However, I try to be intentional about remembering things, intentional about reading my Bible, being a good wife, praying, raising our boys, and more.

One day, many months ago, I was leaving the child care area at church with my three boys, a diaper bag, my Bible, keys, phone, and about 10 pieces of paper from their church activities some of which were dripping paint.  I always take the stairs, it’s healthy plus I don’t have to worry about carrying everything and keeping Kyson from pushing buttons in the elevator. Why the put the emergency call button is on the bottom row, closest for little ones to reach is beyond my understanding.  Anyway, Carter and Maddox are begging to PLEASE take the elevator.  I hesitantly said yes.  As we are standing at the elevator, a sweet Godly woman walks up and says something to the effect of all of these “men of valor”.  I smiled and said thanks or something.  I continued on juggling papers and Kyson and finding my keys, etc.  When we finally reached the van and all the boys were buckled in I sat there and thought about that comment.

I thought, are we raising men of valor?  What is valor exactly?  I looked it up…

val·or

noun
boldness or determination in facing great danger, especially in battle; heroic courage; bravery: a medal for valor.

 Hmmm….will my boys be bold or show determination when facing great danger?  I then thought, what characteristics do we need to build up in our boys so that they will grow up to be men of valor?  A strong relationship with Christ, integrity, confidence, independence.  I decided since they were only 3 and 5 (I wasn’t really thinking of applying this to Kyson at the time) that I would start with that list.   So, first things first, a strong relationship with God.  I was reading through the Chronological Bible last year, as I am this year, and I thought…..I don’t really read the Bible to my boys.  I decided to be intentional about doing that more often. I was amazed at how they listened and how much knowledge they retained. Two examples, we started doing an allowance with the boys last year, they get “Jesus money” and turn in it at church every week.  They also get “share money” where they give to a need or a cause or something.  One week at church a flyer was sent home about sending extra money with the kids to help build a playground for the children at our church’s orphanage in Haiti.  The boys got all of their share money to turned in, as Carter was counting his money he said “Mom, I wish I had more money to help build the kids a playground.” I responded to him that was all we had and that God can do a lot with a little.  He says “Yeah, I know, just like the lady in the Bible who gave the least money and God said she gave the most because she gave all she had”.  I was blown away, not only that he remembered the story, but that he was able to apply it to our lives and his situation.  Then, last fall we drove by the TN School for the Blind.  I decided to make it a teachable moment and talk to the boys about people who are blind.  When I finish, Carter says “Why don’t they just rub that stuff on their eyes”.  I responded “What?”.  He says, “you know mom like in the Bible when the man was blind and Jesus spit on the ground and made mud stuff and rubbed it on his eyes and he could see”.  Wow, again his application, although Jesus isn’t presently here to do that and he didn’t see why they couldn’t just rub stuff on their eyes and wash it out, I was still amazed with what God has been doing through our reading!

Next we needed to work on instilling integrity, confidence and independence.  I prayed over how we should do that as parents.  I prayed for God to open opportunities to help us teach these things to the boys.  A few days later, the elevator at church again. Big boys want to ride, I say no we are taking the stairs, we get into the van and buckled in and I almost could have heard God say….You want them to have integrity, confidence and independence yet they cannot ride the elevator up one flight in a safe environment?  Wow!  So, I prayed that the boys would make good decisions and that they would be safe. I spent the next Saturday preparing the boys for riding the elevator alone.  I talked to them about being independent and going in and only pushing the one button to do up or down, I talked to them about how I was trusting them to do the right thing and come straight down the elevator and straight to me.  I told them that since I could not see them they would have to be honest and be boys of integrity.  Oh, how their self-confidence grew from the moment they stepped on that elevator with no adult.  I ran down the stairs to be there when they got out.  They were both beaming from ear to ear.  This has since become a bit of a tradition, but it has not lost its luster.  We continually talk about those big character words and making good choices, even when we think no one is watching.

So, I write this partially to say that before you judge what someone is doing as a parent…consider that maybe they are being intentional about their decision. 

What things do you do with your boys to raise them as men of valor, or to intentionally instill good qualities and characteristics in them? I am constantly reminding myself to parent with the love, grace, mercy and forgiveness that God parents us with.  Constantly because I forget and mess up daily.  Of course we all do, we are not perfect and we all fall short of the glory of God. I am also continually reminding myself to parent with Josh to please God, not other moms or friends or family.  What freedom we experience when we try to please God and not every other person in our lives.  It is a blessing!  Please know, I still respect and covet the caring advice and comments from fellow moms.