Jesus' Precious Little Lambs

A Charlotte Mason Christian Home School: Preschool – 2nd Grade :)

The Spiritual Side of Habit Training

on April 5, 2013

“Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth” Psalm 127:4.

Psalm 127:4 makes me think of the role of the parent and the child in habit training. Through habit training, parents have the ability to aim their children while they are young towards the right targets, which will ultimately effect who their children become someday. Matthew Henry comments on Psalm 127:4, “Children who are young, may be directed aright to the mark, God’s glory, and the service of their generation; but when they are gone into the world, they are arrows out of the hand, it is too late to direct them then. But these arrows in the hand too often prove arrows in the heart, a grief to godly parents.”

How do you feel about your aim? Do you feel like your arrows are zig zagging all over unsure of their target? Are you yourself not sure where the target is? Habit training requires much spiritual perception–spiritually speaking, archers must be trained and skilled, and arrows must be sharp, in order for the target to be hit. Your child has a destiny and its up to you to help him or her find it. Do you remember how lost you felt after highschool or college as to what to do with your life? Or feeling like you just didn’t have what it took yet to start fulfilling your dreams? Can we save our own children from the same sad, and all too common, fate upon graduation?? I think we can if we are purposefully aiming our children like arrows: staying in prayer in order to know each child’s target (or prophetic destiny), and learning how to aim them there.

How We Are Aiming Our Arrows

When Noah was 1, I noticed that our prayers were focused on two goals: Noah being helpful and Noah being obedient. So we wrote it down as his Year 1 Goals and included some specific behaviors under each category/goal that we would like to see emerge. We found this practice to be so helpful that we do it every year now. So rather than praying haphazardly about the habits, character traits, and destiny of our children, we continue to develop yearly goals in these areas that we purposefully and consistently pray over and work towards. Most importantly, we select one scripture to pray for each goal. Our goals are founded on the Word of God because only scripture provides the divine supernatural power for change. Praying the Word of God, as opposed to our own words all the time, is very important. I John 5:14-15 tells us that if we pray in accordance with His will, which is His Word, and believe that He is hearing us pray His Word, then we will receive answers and results from our prayers. The Bible is full of people praying this way, by quoting other Scriptures. The word of God is alive and powerful. Words being alive is hard to imagine but it is true. God created the world and the universe by SPEAKING. When we speak the Word of God back to Him, we are praying in agreement with what He has already spoken, thereby releasing His power into our lives. Without this power our prayers and lives are empty, and habit training is frustrating.

Dean and I take each child’s birthday month to reflect on what goals we would love to see them achieve over the next year. We start by looking for areas of need in our children, researching scriptures that apply, selecting our favorites, and then over the next year, we regularly use those scriptures to “speak those things that are not as though they are” (Romans 4:17). We are bringing those qualities that do not yet exist in our children into existence through the creative power of the Word. We make each scripture personal by praying it with the child’s name, “Faith has a happy heart that does good like medicine,” or “Noah can do all things through Christ who strengthens him.” Now that our children are old enough to learn memory verses, we can even have our children open their mouths every day to speak God’s own powerful words over their lives, and together our prayers will avail much!

Standing on Promises of Truth

Dean and I have stood on scriptures for specific needs since we were dating and as a result we have seen God intervene many times. I can share a personal homeschool related example of how powerful the Word of God is to do what is sent to accomplish. Way back in October I taught our Little Lambs about standing on the promises of God. Perhaps you remember this blurb from our October lesson plans?: “October 9th–SHARING Bring a prepared scripture verse promise or two to Circle Time for you and your child to stand on together this month. Make it personal and based on your child’s needs. We will swap all our promises at school, and then faithfully hold each others needs close to our hearts in prayer this entire school year. Involve your child in praying over his or her friends and what they are believing for.”

This was one of the best God ideas of the whole school year!! I can not begin to tell you how instrumental Noah’s promises from last October have been to his development. One promise I chose for Noah was “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” in Philippians 4:13, and we have been praying it and confessing it ever since. Even still today, when a frustrating experience or activity causing feelings of insecurity happens to come up for Noah, rather than letting him bask in feelings of defeat, I suggest that we say his promise out loud with lots of faith.

See, the fact is ever since we started homeschool, Noah’s confidence level has been the biggest obstacle challenging our success. For the entire first year of school, more days than not, my three year old was very difficult to teach because he was whiny, clingy, tearful, frustrated, uncooperative, and having large outbursts of temper. Its not that he didn’t like school, but he was very insecure about it all–especially during Circle when we did Bible and delved into the most important content of the day. At Centers, I almost had to do the work for him as he didn’t even want to try an activity unless he was sitting on my lap and having his hand held through every step. I would get so frustrated because he made it very difficult to teach anything, plus I had a small group of kids attending Little Lambs at the time that I needed to attend to as well. I tried all sorts of things to try to remedy the problem, but nothing made a difference.

So after a year of going on like this, hoping things would get better, but not seeing any change, our October theme rolled around, and the Holy Spirit gave me the idea of sharing scripture promises at school. I was so ready to allow the power of scripture to do what I simply could not. We started confessing Noah’s promise in October, and by November, only one month later, I was elated to see how much things at school were smoothing out. It was like Noah’s fears were dissolving and the confident boy I always knew he could be, was finally emerging. He was becoming calm and peaceful at Circle Time, and happily diving into challenging activities at Center Time. Now days I can hardly believe the confidence struggles we used to have in homeschool because there are no signs of it in my little boy anymore. Praise God!!! The fact was that Noah was a fearful boy, but the truth is, he is a confident boy (in Christ). Chalking up his changes to maturity or experience or coincidence is what some people would do. But I know that I know that change in Noah aligned with our “Standing on the Promises” theme last October, and there was a spiritual breakthrough that definitely happened as we stood on the amazing Word of God.

The wonderful news is that all the children have benefited from their promises. Boy did our Faith need her promise last October: “A happy heart does good like medicine” Proverbs 17:22. What a change we have seen in Faith!! I was just telling someone the other day that the terrible two’s has just not been the case for Faith (she turned two last October). Everyday at nap I pray Tayler’s promise with her, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will counsel you and watch over you” Psalms 32:8, and she is certainly going in the direction of the Lord this year! The truth is becoming the facts as we stand on the Word of God.

Let the Enemy Know You are Serious

The Bible says, Be serious! Be alert! Satan prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Let him know that he may not devour your family up with mounds of bad habits! Be watchful against his snares and attempted assaults against your children. He is called our enemy because he resists all our efforts to obey God and the salvation of our souls. However, the enemy shivers when he hears the Word of God come out of our mouths. Jesus, when He was tempted by the devil in the wilderness, quoted scripture to him in order to defeat him. The Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword according to Hebrews 4:12. It is described as the sword of the Spirit in Ephesians 6:17 where Paul is speaking to us about the armor of God and it’s place in enabling us to be able to fight and stand against the wiles of the devil during times of spiritual warfare.

Don’t allow the enemy to mound and compound problems onto your children year by year by taking the mindset that this is just how things are, or this is just how my child is. Think about the average 18 year old you know and how encumbered they are with a load of bad habits and personal issues, compared to your light and unencumbered preschooler. Satan’s influence being silent and cunning, exerts a stronger grip over our children through the years if parents do not stand on watchful guard, using the Word to fight off every unwanted attitude, habit, and circumstance that creep into their family’s lives. (We can expect our child’s needs to grow as our child grows, and so our list of goals may grow too. Just take a look Noah’s growing list of needs already at age 4 compared to Faith’s at age 2 on the list below). The way satan does his work in parents is by planting the thought that things are the way they are. “My kids just get sick all winter, my daughter just does what she wants to do, my son is just aloof to people he doesn’t know, my daughter just has a bad temper, my son just has a short attention span, my toddler is just uncooperative…….” These are the facts, but they are not the truth. Let the enemy know that you are serious about upholding the truth, whatever God’s Word says, in your family and he will have to back down.

Written Goals

This blog is my recording place of everything near and dear to me, a place for organizing Holy Spirit inspired thoughts so they will not be forgotten or lost, and a place to rejoice over hallmark moments of God’s glory in our lives. I have pulled some personal notes out of my journal to record on this blog for your sake as well as mine, the goals for our children that are near and dear to us. If you know us personally, or if you have it in your heart, we would love if you would consider upholding our children’s goals in prayer this year. If you don’t have written goals, or vision, for your children yet, I encourage you to write something down– writing vision makes it plain so that you may run with it (Habukkuk 2:2). And then please share your goals with us because we would love to agree with you in prayer too!

Faith’s Year 2 Goals

Happy

“A happy heart does good like medicine.” Proverbs 17:22

Calm and Peaceful

“…..agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” 2 Corinthians 13:11

Taught of the Lord

“All your children shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be the prosperity of your children.” Isaiah 54:13

Helpful

“Do good to people who need help.” Proverbs 3:27

Cooperative

“Let them turn away from doing evil and do good; let them seek peace and pursue it.” 1 Peter 3:11

Noah’s Year 4 Goals

Confident

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

Perfect Health

“You shall worship the Lord your God, and I will bless your bread and your water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of you.” Exodus 23:25

Educated

“Youths without blemish, well-favored in appearance and skillful in all wisdom, discernment, and understanding, apt in learning knowledge, competent to stand and serve in the kings palace.” Daniel 1:4

Selfless

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4

Restful Sleep

“….for He gives sleep to His beloved.” Psalms 127:2

Friendly to Everyone

“Beloved let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7

Hungry for God

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6

Freedom from Generational Curses

“For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will our my spirit upon your descendents, and my blessing on your offspring.” Isaiah 44:3

Preach for Christ

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”  Isaiah 52:7

Happy 4th Birthday Tayler!

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Dying Easter Eggs with Vinegar and Food Coloring

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The Best Part Was Swirling the Colors Around in a Colander

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Tye Dye Easter Eggs

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Resurrection Egg Hunt Held Indoors Due to Rain

IMG_9611Symbolic Items Inside Each Egg Help Tell the Easter Story

I was so blessed that Noah had an answer each time we opened an egg and I asked, “What does this item remind you of from the Easter story in the Bible?” Last year he hardly knew what any of the items in the eggs stood for, except the cross. I had been reading/retelling the Easter story over several days prior to our Resurrection Egg hunt, challenging a 4 year old’s comprehension by using my adult Bible. However, his comments during the egg hunt proved he had been listening and comprehending!! I am so excited to realize that the Word of God is sinking into his heart, and to see that all our homeschool and family Bible training efforts are really paying off.

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Tayler Gets the Cross Again! So Special and Reminiscent of Last Years Picture.

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Math: Copy a Design Math Lesson Was a PERFECT Challenge

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Look Its a Little Girl!

Tayler was having some trouble coming up with designs–in fact on Tuesday her design was simply one hexagon with one triangle on top. Look what happened on Thursday, her second attempt! At first it seemed like she was building a design that didn’t seem to have much drawing power, symmetry, repetition, or anything, and then lo and behold, she says, “Its a girl!” I had to think for a second, turn the paper so the red pigtails were on top, and wa-lah! There she was. It was a delightful moment! As copying a design is always harder than building, Tayler presented herself quite a challenge when it came to pasting time. She barely made it through the activity, but Miss Lynn encouraged her to finish in order that the habit of ‘finishing our work’ could be instilled. And here she is 20 minutes later all done– weary, but pleased!

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Handwriting: Noah Succeeded In Giving His b’s and d’s Fat Tummies

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Faith is Ready for Storytime (Our Helper Books are Now Her Favorites)

We have always done “booktime” in between lunch and nap, where the kids read books to themselves for half an hour, and then mommy might meander over to read a little something to someone when she gets the chance. I decided that I really need to work on making more read aloud time during the day and that it was a pity that too many of our wonderful themed books from the library were going unread at times. So I implemented a new routine in the day–storytime! The kids still do some booktime, reading books of their choice independently, as this is an important habit to cultivate. However, now I choose a lovely, well-written book to read to everyone at once during storytime. Everyone comes and lays down with blankets and stuffed animals on the carpet for a long enjoyable literature read aloud. Since my children are about to go off to dreamland, I feel that this is the perfect time of day to implement Charlotte’s admonishment to read “tales of the imagination, scenes laid in other lands and other times, heroic adventures, hairbreadth escapes, delicious fairy tales in which they are never roughly pulled up by the impossible–even where all is impossible, and they know it, and yet believe.” Before we had storytime as part of our schedule, I found that we would go through too many days of rushed, “pick a short one”, child selected lift the flap or count the objects or half finished books before bed without enough daily, intense, real, literature exposure. As you can see, by the third day of our new routine, the kids couldn’t wait for storytime, and even Faith readied herself on the carpet long before I announced “storytime!”

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Noah Transitions From Nap to Quiet Time

This is another one of my favorite recent changes to our daily schedule. I snuck into Noah’s room to snap a picture of him doing his quiet time activities on the first day we transitioned. Noah is now doing independent learning instead of tossing and turning for an hour and a half on his bed like he was previously. With Tayler and Faith constantly around to provide social play, I get concerned that Noah will have enough solitary play time, which is what feeds emergent learning. Emergent learning–initiative, interests, creative solitude and play, original ideas, imagination, reflection, independent momentum– is surprisingly much more important to the maturation and development of a child than social learning. I also see quiet time as an opportunity for independent spiritual growth, and so I try to emphasize to Noah that he is not alone during quiet time, Jesus is right there, and he can talk to him like a friend while he is playing–its him and Jesus time. Quiet time is very refreshing in a homeschool setting as its important for everyone to separate for a time and have some time to ourselves. I love quiet time. The end of afternoon naps does not have to mean the end of mom’s sanity or time of peace. We can schedule regular quiet time into the day no matter how old our children get. Its healthy for everyone!

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