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Does the Victory Lead to Holier Ground?
Posted by Barbara Smith (BWSmith)
This message was originally posted on
Christian Homeschool Fellowship on the Web

One bittersweet morning we look up and are overwhelmed to see our sons or daughters are now taller than we are. Granted, conversations are becoming more interesting, but bedroom doors may be slamming shut in your home as tempers flare. How can we outmaneuver someone who is younger, stronger and bigger than we are? We cannot chase them around the way we did when the backyard was still a big adventure. We cannot simply send a fifteen-year-old who sasses Mom to the corner. We would be foolish to wrap the knuckles of a six-foot two wrestler who reaches for something dangerous.

As our children grow up, suddenly we face battles over issues we never imagined could be sources of contention. Words we swore we would never say to our child, spill out of our mouth; penalties we pledged we would never consider, now seem reasonable. Resistance to our authority may escalate as our child grows. Our resilience, creativity and humor dissipate when we no longer can coral or comfort our headstrong teen. Nevertheless, we battle on. Why?

Becky Wyand, curriculum supervisor for Walkersville Christian Family Schools, knows the battleground. She and her husband have raised two boys and she knows that discipling older children is a challenge. She believes parents must continue to serve as ambassadors for the Lord Jesus Christ. Ambassadors never lose sight of their nation's "vital interests," in the heat of battle; nor should we. As Christ's ambassadors, we must be honest with our children: tactful, but forthright. We are training a new generation of ambassadors, who will go out into the world under His blood. Some "battles" are worth waging!

What IS the Point of Battle?
Convictions are beliefs for which we willingly would die. Pick your battles carefully, therefore. Don't, however, limit your battles only to those you can win. "Does winning the battle over whatever issue with my child only mean I won,' " asks Becky, "or does the victory lead to holier ground?" Because we are training our children to obey authority, we must separate our preferences from our convictions. Is reaching holier ground the point of the battle, or having my way the point of the brouhaha

Adjusting Your Battle Sites
"Holier ground" does not describe the daily territory I occupy! In the campaign to complete assignments and chores, I often lose ground to the Enemy, when God had the perfect line of defense in His word. Becky laments that often parents of older children are too busy to listen and appropriate the wisdom He offers parents of young and old children. God is never silent. Day by day and night by night, He speaks, says Psalm 19, displaying knowledge. From His word He gives parents "a gold mine in His word to dig out of our dilemmas! " He gives the mind of Christ, which Becky declares is exactly what we need to win the battle. Moreover, Becky affirms, along with the psalmist, God is willing to show us our hidden errors and to forgive our faults. Even if our children are "hiding" from us, Psalm 19 says that no one can hide from God.

Further, He can keep each of us from willful sins so they might not rule over us. Becky comforts us by saying the Lord can make the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts pleasing in His sight. She entreats us to pray that God would do all He plans for us, for He is our Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer.

Sticking with the Original Battle Plan
She believes firmly that the point of child training is not simply evaluating which discipline works. The essence of training children is remaining true to the word of God as we parent. "Do what the word say," Becky urges, "and trust God to do what He says He will do." By whatever methods you chose to daily train your children, don't wait until they are adults to teach them holiness. We may by necessity be forced to live "one day at a time," but she warns, that "we must never lose sight of the big picture: We are training men and women who will be useful to God."

Parents of older children must continue with lesson plans for character training, even though they are not so involved in the academics. We must always prepare to teach on "vital issues" every day. Issues such as creation, grace, and holiness are foundational to successful Christian living. Don't assume your children have the whole picture. Never skip over an opportunity to teach growing children about "authority," as laid out in Scripture.

Secure the Battle Plan by Listening and Asking.
The older the child becomes, the more varied our teaching can be. Chore charts and work books soon give way to conversations, adult conversations. Still, Becky counsels, we must never pass up a chance to talk with our children. Stop what you are doing, if necessary, and listen. Encourage your older children to share their discoveries with you as surely as you listened to earlier discoveries. Or, ask for a few minutes of their time to convey word of encouragement, or read snippets from an article. Reading aloud what you find may make a point you want them to know, but downplays any semblance of sermonizing. Keep to the agreed upon time limit, unless they ask for more, Becky advises.

Advance by Prayer
She asks us to pray that God would prepare each child for the plans He has for them, whatever our children's distinctions are. Have we asked God to take away any peculiarity that would make our children unfit to serve God, Becky wonders? Next, she encourages us to pray that the Lord would use our children's talent to produce worthwhile skills.

If you discount the efficacy of prayer, don't! Becky emphasizes the influence of a mother's prayers for her children, over her children, and with her children. Also, remember to pray now for compatible Christian friends and spouses. If you can, let your older children know how you are praying for them, respecting their privacy. Our prayers show our children what we believe about God. Never hold back your petitions! Hold Fast to God as You Release Your Children into His Care When we occupy holy ground, but when the kids no longer fit on our laps, how do we say, "I love you with my whole heart?" With candor, conviction, and comfort:

  1. Always tell them the truth about God . . . "In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling."
    (Exodus 15:11-13)

  2. Always tell them that God will never leave them or forsake them.
    (Psalm 27:10)

  3. Always tell them , that the Lord knew their intelligence and gifts before He placed them in your care; just as He knew your faults and limitations. And He knows the end from the beginning.
    (Rev 21:6)

© Barbara W. Smith 1998, all rights reserved
Please contact Barbara Smith at workbook@toad.net before reprinting any of Barbara's messages. These messages are taken straight from the chfweb.com Message Board and Barbara may want to check them over for publication. Please include, in the body of your message, which message you are interested in reprinting.

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