Saturday, February 11, 2012
How to Have a H.E.A.R.T.
Chapter 4 in Rachael Carmen's book titled "How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. for Your Kids" is called Release Them to God. I have to tell you that I really enjoyed this chapter. If you would like to participate discussing this wonderful book, just click on the link to go to Amanda Pelser's blog.
This chapter discusses the fact that our children are not ours...they are Gods. I've never thought this concept to be terrifying. In fact, I am so so grateful that my children belong to God because they are all so perfect and beautiful. I am undeserving of owning something so precious. When we give our children back to God, there is a constant internal driving force in parents to present Him with the most beautiful gift...the perfect souls of our own children. Our parental responsibilities are enhanced by the wings of grace to be constantly directed toward the goodness of the Lord. We become totally immersed in God's love for us and have the greatest desire to please and honor Him with children who are aware that their purpose in life is to know, love, and serve Him.
When we present our children with the truth of God's Word and the nurturing community of the Church Christ founded, our desires don't only strive for happiness for our children...but also take into account all the beautiful gifts the Holy Spirit bestows on those who love the Lord. All the virtues come into play with joy for the Lord being one of the blessings bestowed at an early age. As our children grow, God puts each virtue to be practiced at the proper time into the dynamics of family life. The Holy Spirit sends graces needed for the wisdom to discuss and/or portray beneficial developments for strong characters in the midst of praying, helping eachother, studying, and completing daily tasks and assignments. Eventually, even warnings about vices and sinful traits are presented as things to fight, avoid, and/or conquer. The entire family "rids itself of selfish dreams and attempts to" desire God's power and authority under the obedience of his loving discipline and open to His mercy and generosity.
My children are too precious for me to keep them to myself or to only be obedient to my own dreams for them. It is good that we train and discipline them while they are young so that they grow in academic and spiritual maturity to go out into the world and evangelize. Letting go of my children expanded my dreams for them because they were set free into a respected Christian community that reflected the same principles and values instilled in them during their homeschooling years. It was a perfect match for them. The hard part for me was trusting peers and strangers I had never met.
I trusted my kids and I trusted God but I tend to unnecessarily worry that some individual might try to hurt or take advantage of my children because I have PTSD. In the entire five years my oldest sons attended their Catholic high school, there were only two incidents that inflamed my illness. One time, a fellow student disclosed that he was bisexual to my son. It bothered me that he was revealing this information. I'm glad my son told me about it. I was able to warn him that he may be looking for a friend that is too close for comfort. He knew the right thing to do and steered clear of danger. My other son and a friend were cornered walking home from school one day. The strangers were going to jump them and take their wallets. The friend got away and threatened the strangers with a call to the police on his cell. They panicked and ran away. The Lord was with them that day too. The rest of the time at this wonderful school helped propell them into manhood and blessed them with wholesome academics and awesome friends. In fact, we were on cloud nine when my oldest was the Salutatorian. Homeschooling all those years (up until ninth grade) were very good for them.
Rachael spoke of the Bible story of Hannah and Samuel when she took seriously her promise to fulfill her vow with God by presenting him to Eli to be raised for the Lord. It was never about Hannah. As a mother, I've had to remind myself that 'it isn't about me.' While I was busy with three younger children at home, my husband was the one involved with most of my older sons activities and schedules. It is almost as if we were going in separate directions. We were sacrificing for them though. I had to understand that I would have less interaction and conversations with my older sons and less involvement in community and outside activities because the school was an hour away. This was difficult to accept but in the end...was well worth any bit of pain I endured. My older sons have showed me that faith and family were still priorities in their busier lives. It just took time to fully be revealed to me. I had to trust my husband who took my older sons under his wings now.
One of my favorite quotes in this chapter is, "These parents valued Christ-like character over mere head knowledge, recognizing that high standardized scores without character and integrity are largely worthless." This is so important. In the early years, we were blessed with the time and opportunity to get into many deep discussions about life with our children. As they grow, our children were discussing life less and finances and schedules more while my husband and I became first hand witnesses to their strong Christian virtues. We couldn't have been more pleased. So you want to be observant of what your older children show you, especially in the friends they choose and if they still ask permission while they are living under your roof. Do they still join you for family prayer when they are home and do they continue to honor the sabbath? Therefore, be aware of changes in discussions and developments in witnessing righteous actions.
Rachael gives good advice when she says, "you have entered an intense battle zone -- the front lines you might say" when your kids are released to the world. If your children have the Lord at the center of their lives, they'll be able to withstand an attack from the enemy. My sons experienced a difficult situation where they were accused of something that they had no part in. Just like the Lord, they were silent in their persecution but were unable to argue there innocense because of the power of their accusers. It was the hardest thing I've ever experienced. Nevertheless, the following year proof of their innocense was revealed and they were rightly compensated. It is a crazy world and there are many that target virtuous Christians, mainly out of jealousy. So beware.
In all things, keep that eternal perspective and the Lord will continue to bless your efforts.