September 12, 2007

Teaching The Important Stuff

Now that my oldest is in middle school (homeschool, that is) I really thought that I’d feel pressured to hit the academics hard this year. I mean, high school is just around the corner and we’ll have all sorts of record keeping and academic requirements to meet in order to graduate. But what I’ve found myself drawn to is not algebra, biology or early American literature. The things that have been impressed on my heart for Elijah this year are making sure his faith becomes his own.

I know the teen years are supposed to be rife with rebellion and division within a home. At least that’s what the world tells us, but I don’t buy into that. I’m sure they will be challenging. I’m sure there will be some tough decisions, disagreements, and tense moments; times where I will question if I’m standing firm in the right areas and whether I’m loosening the reigns at the correct time. But my hope, and I’m sure it is the same for all parents, is that the challenges of the teen years will only serve to build good character in all of us and that on the other end we’ll transition into being friends as well as family. I hope that by the time they are adults, their relationship with God will be mature enough, and I will be humble enough, for us to minister to each other….for it to be a two way street.

So the tools that have come across my path have been these…

A really good book to begin to teach kids how to study the bible for themselves. Done by Kay Arthur, these are a series of several books and I just can’t go on enough about how meaty they are. They are fun, have great illustrations, and a few fun activities in them, but be assured that your kids will be filling their bible study toolboxes with some excellent tools and habits.

This one is a new find that is just amazing. It's funny but has so much great information in it. It deals with peer pressure, dating, (and really backs up our stance about NOT dating in a non-legalistic way) sex, pornography, purity, body changes, living for God, and not following the crowd. I've started assigining a chapter a night for my son to read and then we talk about it. He always comes down to report how great it was. I'll be saving this one for my daughter to read in a few years.

I know these alone aren't going to solidify his own faith. The Holy Spirit and the Word soaking in to his heart will be doing most of the work. But it sure can't hurt to be proactive in theses areas rather than reacting to problems after they've already occured.

Since September is the birthday month for all three of my boys, (our anniversary is nine months earlier and my in-laws refuse to babysit on that night anymore because obviously we are, um....celebrating.) I make sure I have a picture every year with them.

Here's hoping they look just as happy to be standing next to their mom 10 years from now!


jtcosby said...

Your boys are adorable! They look like they would be a blast!! :) What a great picture! Yes, I am awake at 3am...strange but true ;) I do believe it is finally over though...we shall see.

jewlsntexas said...

I LOVE the picture of you with your boys. Precious.

Cindy said...

Oh Gayle, I LOVE that photo! You have such handsome boys! And you as always are gorgeous. I know you're a skincare model in your secret life.

I can't wait to get the Kay Arthur book. I was hoping they'd have them at the conference last weekend, but nope. So I'm heading off to amazon. Thanks for the reminder!

Mallett Family said...

Not sure if I have ever commented on your blog before, but I read it all the time! My daughter will be 13 in November. Both my kids birthdays and our anniversary are in November...My in-laws won't babysit on Valentine's Day anymore! LOL
Anyway, I was homeschooled myself but my children go to public school, regardless of that, I too pray for my kids to have a strong faith in their Saviour. I am excited to see that books and can't wait to check them out. My co-workers keep telling me that my wonderful kids will change and be horrible when they get to be teenagers but I am not buying into that either...I think the more you encourage them to grow, the better they will be.


Rachelle said...

Great picture! You guys look gorgeous.

I love your approach to parenting your kids through adolescence. I'm not there yet, but my thoughts are the same. I just cringe when I hear parents talking about how crappy it will be when their kids are teenagers...especially when their kids are in the room!! It sounds like you've found some good tools and a great attitude.


PS - Three of our children were born within less than a month of each other...Dec. 17, 26 and Jan. 12. Our family now teases us about spring fever. ;-)

carrielouise said...

Great book ideas! And what a sweet picture of your boys. Especially that one with the bow tie. He looks a little naughty in my opinion. I speak only from experience.

Anonymous said...

That is such a great outlook on the teenage years. I feel the same way and will be looking for that Rainey book in a few years. I like the way he thinks about raising kids. I will have 5 teenagers at some point. And I believe through faith that they will be filled with all the challenges, but all the love and relationship building too. Your boys are so cute and handsome. The bow tie is very cool! Happy Birthday to your little men!!
@hsb SeekingJesusnTeachingKids

MommySecrets said...

That Kay Arthur book looks great! Thanks for sharing!

Caroline said...

Love those boys! -- what a great comment -- hoping they'll be so happy in 10 years -- is that not the thing we ALL pray about so much...that our family will continue to be close and happy together?

Rhen (yestheyareallmine) said...

Beautiful boys! They get it from their momma. Have a great evening.

chickadee said...

they are so cute! i think the little one looks just like you. and that's hilarious about your inlaws not babysitting that day. hahaaha.

ConservaChick said...

The bow tie... perfect!

I will put those books in my ever growing Amazon shopping cart asap!
Z** is a middleschooler too! WOW, can you believe it? We actually have middle school aged children (I'm choking on a wheat thin as I write this).
We are going to drive through your town next month on a family field trip to see Mt St Helens. Let's try and get together! ~Karlie

Kathy in WA said...

Great list of books! Thanks for sharing. I think I have the one by Dennis Rainey. I need to pull it off the shelf and get my oldest started on it.

Cute picture!

Duckabush Blog

Anonymous said...

Great photo!!!

I just noticed your library list and would like to replace my books we are reading using the same service online. Are you happy with it?? It looks great!


EE said...

Love the photo!!!

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