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Create an Atmosphere of Peace in Your Home (Part 3)

swan-pixabay-public-domainI mentioned in Part 1 of this series that the place to start in developing a peaceful atmosphere in our homes is by making prayer the first priority. In Part 2, I gave some practical tips for enhancing that peace. Let’s look at a few more ways to increase the level of peace in our homes.

Create an atmosphere of peace by playing worship music in the background. Keep the volume low enough so it is not distracting. Choose music which is somewhat serene. You don’t want Johnny and Susie’s adrenaline to kick into overdrive.

Love first, lessons second. Some days, hugs and snuggles are more needed than at other times. Take the time to dish them out. Accomplishing tasks may be temporarily delayed, but in the long run, they will get done more easily, if heart-needs have been met.

Be quick to ask forgiveness when you have not been Christ-like toward your children. You will be an example of humility to them which will last a lifetime. Also take the time to make sure they resolve conflict among themselves. Insist that they ask for and give forgiveness to each other. It takes time, as often they will resist doing this, but it is one of the most important lessons they will ever learn.

Recognize the difference between major and minor incidents. Sin should always be dealt with, but many times we parents tend to freak out about little non-sin things which really don’t matter all that much. They are simply irritations to us, caused by our children’s immaturity. As the saying goes, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

Rejuvenate peace by taking a ten-minute break when things get crazy. You might encourage them to take a timeout to read, play, or run around in the back yard. You will appreciate the break yourself.

When the children’s emotions are tail-spinning, pray with them. When our children were sad, discouraged, or upset, we asked the Holy Spirit together to take back control of their emotions. We taught them to pray for themselves this way, too. It really does change how they feel. Within minutes, we had a turnaround in their outlook. (This works for grownups too!)

Remember that you — not the children — are in control of whether peace reigns or not. Children have a way of quite naturally influencing the emotional atmosphere of the home. If we let this happen, it just frazzles and overwhelms us. We need to make sure we are the ones who set the tone for peace, and then pull the rest of the family back into line, if things start to get out of whack.

Finally, continually cover your family in prayer. As you do, and implement these other tips as well, you will find your home improving in its peacefulness.

Previous: Part 2 

 

Character Building for Families

 

Create an Atmosphere of Peace in Your Home (Part 2)

In our last post, we talked about laying the foundation for peace in our homes through prayer. Without a good foundation, a building will quickly crumble, and it’s the same in our homes. Begin with prayer.

Let’s look at some other elements which will help us in cultivating a peaceful home atmosphere.

Develop a healthy balance between structure and flexibility. Structure helps to provide security and peace. By structure, I mean things like

  • Having an overall plan or set of goals
  • Putting into place a schedule which sees to it that the plan is accomplished
  • A consistent routine, with known expectations
  • House rules of behavior, clearly understood and expected of everyone

When we have these things in place, our children tend to feel more peaceful. Surprises are nice for special occasions, but for day-by-day life, most of us do better when we have a good idea of what is supposed to happen next. God is a God of order, and He has built the need for order into us, because we are made in His image.

But, we should temper our structure with flexibility. Decide ahead of time that if something unusual comes up, which makes sticking with your schedule for the day difficult or impossible, it’s OK. Don’t let it rattle you or your kids. Plan on a few disruptions (even big ones) here and there, and don’t let structure be a god. A schedule should be something you rule, not something that rules you.

Ask God at the beginning of your day to be Lord of your time. If something comes up which might cause a delay in tasks being accomplished, ask Him to help you make up for lost time and catch up on any important work. He created time, and He knows how to help us master it.

Seize teachable moments as they happen. It is more important to stop and talk about questions your children have about the Lord, His ways, and how life is supposed to work, than it is to stay strictly on schedule. Those God-moments where the spiritual light bulb goes on inside of them are of eternal value.

Flowing back and forth between an established routine and dropping that routine for better things is part of living life according to the Spirit. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17), and liberty mixed with orderliness makes life more enjoyable for the whole family — and more peaceful.

Discern between what is essential and what is not. When we first began homeschooling, I thought we had to do everything in the lesson books, or else my children would end up with gaping holes in their education. The truth is, in most of those workbooks, there is a lot of nonessential busywork. Your children don’t have to do all the crosswords and word searches or color all the pictures, especially if such activities are boring to them. These are not so much educational exercises as they are ways to fill out the workbook or keep the children busy so they don’t bother anybody for a while.

I also discovered that there is a lot of unnecessary review work. The program we started out with involved ten workbooks for each subject, and we struggled to get all ten done in a school year. But after the first year, I realized that the last workbook in the series was just review of the other nine … and then in the following school year, the same review was repeated again. So, we learned to skip those final workbooks. Curriculum companies are masters at providing repeat materials. It’s good to review to an extent, but too much is overkill, and it can stress your family out. So increase your peace by cutting out nonessential busywork.

Tidiness enhances peace. Because God has built a desire for order into us, a wreck of a home tends to contribute to chaotic emotions on our insides. It is OK to take some time as part of the school day to clean house and pick up clutter. Call it a “Life Skills” class. You will feel happier, and so will your children.

Next time, we’ll finish up with a few more ideas for how to bring about a greater level of peace to our homes.

Previous: Part 1
Next: Part 3

 

Character Building for Families

Create an Atmosphere of Peace in Your Home

swan-pixabay-public-domainDoes it seem like chaos rules at your house since you started home schooling? Do you spend most days wishing you could reduce the noise and stress levels by dropping the kids off at the nearest public school so that you could enjoy your mom-cave of peace and quiet for a few blissful hours?

While it’s natural that commotion levels will rise in direct proportion to the number of bodies occupying territory under the same roof, there are practical steps you can take to reduce turmoil, preserve your sanity, and create a sense of peace for everyone in your home.

It starts with getting our priorities in order. This means if we get things right spiritually first, a beachhead of peace will be established. Then, with a few tweaks here and there, the rest will fall into place nicely.

According to 1 Corinthians 14:33, “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace ….” Peace is an aspect of Who God is, and since it is part of His nature, it can become part of ours as well. If our home is in a state of upheaval most of the time, something is amiss in our relationship with the Lord, because confusion is not of Him, while peace is.

One of the Holy Spirit’s objectives, as He dwells within us, is to help us continually grow into the likeness of Jesus. In fact, Galatians 5:22, 23 tells us that “the fruit of the Spirit [at work within us] is love, joy, peace, longsuffering [patience], gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness [humility], temperance [self control].” The various aspects of the fruit of the Spirit don’t work separately from each other. In other words, as we depend on the Holy Spirit to help us respond lovingly, gently, with patience and self control, we feel more peaceful, and if we determine to stay peaceful, it will in turn help us be more patient, loving, joyful, etc.

So, how do we go about establishing a beachhead of peace in our own hearts and then the hearts of our children?

Start your day with prayer. Many of us miss how important this is. It’s vital for you, the parent, to have that time alone with the Lord, but it’s equally vital for your children. My book, The Homeschool Guide to Raising Prayer-Filled Kids, is a short and inexpensive step-by-step plan for how to teach your children to pray and get them into the habit of prayer. If you don’t know where to begin, it will really help you.

Start your school day by gathering the family to pray and read the Bible together. (You can count this as Bible class if you want to.) After you have prayed together for a while (not just a quick sentence or two and you’re done), give the older children some time on their own to pray. Use that time to be with the Lord yourself, if you haven’t already taken time for Him.

Spending time with the Lord allows Him to instill in us His character traits, and peace is one of them. As we make the effort to build relationship with Him, something wonderful happens: His Presence fills the atmosphere around us. As we consciously abide with and in Him, we are also filled, refilled, and increasingly filled with the Holy Spirit. In the process, we become like Him.

Ephesians 5:18-20 commands us to “… be filled with the Spirit, speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things to God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The details mentioned here of how to be filled and refilled with the Spirit are all elements of prayer. If we start our day fully focused on the Lord, that flow of communion with the Holy Spirit continues with us throughout the day, so that we keep on carrying His peace and joy into all that we do, say, and think. This is why prayer is so important for both you and your children.

Quite frankly, prayer time is not an extra option. It is the prayerful home that is the peaceful home. If we don’t make the effort to start with prayer, none of the other steps I’ll be listing in the next post are going to help a whole lot. So, let’s begin there.

Next: Part 2

 

The Homeschool Guide To Raising Prayer-Filled Kids

 

New Release — Teach Your Kids to Hear God!

Kids Hear God Cover 425

Now available as an e-book from

 All normal parents want their children to grow up into thriving, responsible adults. But Christian parents have an even more important dream: that their children would be fervent lovers of God throughout their lives. Sure, we can “train them up in the way they should go,” but how do we make sure they continue to burn brightly for Jesus, once they are grown? A key component is teaching our children to know the Lord’s voice personally, so that their ongoing relationship with Him increases in strength as they mature.

Teach Your Kids to Hear God! gives simple explanations to help you and your children recognize the variety of ways God speaks. It also provides many practical tips for how to make listening for the Lord a daily adventure in your family. Although written particularly for homeschooling parents, this short book will work for any Christian parent who is willing to take the time to disciple his or her children into a deeper life in Christ.

 

Bringing Up Royal Sons and Daughters (Part 4)

BullyingIn Part 1 of this series, we talked briefly about teaching our children to live as servant royalty — to use their princely positions to bless and assist people, instead of tyrannizing over them. Sons and daughters of the heavenly King are to live by what James 2:8 calls “the royal law,” to love our neighbors as ourselves.

However, those who are not part of God’s royal family don’t necessarily live by that law, and unfortunately, some of the King’s children have never learned to abide by it, either. All through life, our children will encounter bullies, both in the world and in the church — those controlling folks who try to get their way through manipulation and intimidation. We need to teach them how to navigate their relationships with these people in such a way as not to succumb to the fear of man. Proverbs 29:25 tells us, “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever puts his trust in the Lord shall be safe.”

When we clearly understand that we have full rights as adopted sons and daughters, and that we are “accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6), this knowledge helps to insulate us from giving in to intimidation. Bully the prince or princess? Seriously?

But, we must help our children discover how to walk out their freedom from intimidation in an attitude of calm, wisdom, and grace, rather than reacting to intimidation with behavior similar to the bully’s. While they do not have to submit to being trampled, the Lord’s way is still to maintain kindness. Proverbs 15:1 is as true today as it was when Solomon wrote it: “A soft answer turns away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”

Knowing when to respond firmly with level-headed coolness and when to avoid confrontation altogether takes practice. It also takes staying sensitive to the Lord, so that we know when to speak up and when to let it go. This is one of the very “rubber meets the road” ways that we walk out Romans 8:14, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Our children won’t mature into this overnight, and we need to review the concept with them often, as well as help them walk through situations as they arise. After all, this is difficult for those of us who are adults, too!

Our best example of how to handle intimidation is Jesus. Read with your children the passages in the gospels where Jesus interacts with the religious leaders, and also how the apostles handled the same kinds of situations in Acts 4:1-21 and Acts 5:27-29. Balance those stories with what Jesus said about turning the other cheek and blessing those who abuse us (Matthew 5:38-48).

The main thing to get across to our children is what their inner attitude should be, when encountering intimidators. They can respond gently and graciously, and yet know that they are not under the thumb of someone else. We can teach them to stand tall when others try to humiliate them and not receive those taunts into their hearts. And, we absolutely must remind them to forgive, letting go of offense before it takes root inside. Bullies can make outward difficulties for us, but they cannot really rule us unless we give them that permission in our minds and emotions. Children of the King, who know their family connection, are inwardly free from the dominion of anyone but their Father in heaven.

This concludes the series on bringing up royal sons and daughters. I hope it has provided some ideas for how to help your children realize who they are in Christ, and how to walk out their royal heritage in fullness and fruitfulness.

Sonship in God’s family is such a vast subject. What has God been showing you about it? How do you plan to instill those ideas in your children? I’d love to hear from you!

Previous — Part 3

Character Building for Families

 

Character Building for Families

Bringing Up Royal Sons and Daughters (Part 3)

Crown Free Pixabay imageWe talked in the last two posts about how to instill in our children what it means to be sons and daughters of our Father in heaven — the value they possess because they are part of the royal family, their authority as royalty, the discipline required in order to carry out their royal role well, and how they should use their position to serve and bring blessing to others.

The King’s sons and daughters must also be aware of the privileges which are theirs. If they don’t know what is available to them, how can they put their royal bounty to good use?

Too many Christians live like hopeless, helpless beggars, rather than the royalty they are. They are afraid that God will deny them most of what they ask, to keep them “humble.” Because of poor teaching, many of us have a very sorry notion of what relationship with our Father in heaven is supposed to be like.

We can help the Church break free of the beggar’s mentality by planting biblical truth in our children. They need to know the privileges God delights for them to avail themselves of. He is a generous Father!

The storehouse of royal provision is limitless — “exceedingly abundant above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20)!

The apostle Paul said, “… All things are yours” (1 Corinthians 3:21).

2 Peter 1:3, 4 announces, “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him Who has called us to glory and virtue, whereby are given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature ….”

How very mind-boggling! All means all, but let’s look at a few specific privileges we possess, which we can study together with our children:

1.) Access to the Father at all times:

Hebrews 4:16“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

Ephesians 2:18“For through Him [Jesus] we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.”

Ephesians 3:12“In Whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him.”

2.) Provision for all our material needs:

Philippians 4:19“But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Matthew 6:25-34 — This classic passage assures us that our heavenly Father wants to meet our basic needs, and that there is no need to worry about whether He will take care of us or not.

2 Corinthians 9:6-12 — Verse 8 says, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, so that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.”

One of the names by which God has revealed Himself is Jehovah-Jireh (YHWH-Yireh) (Genesis 22:14) — “The Lord Who provides” or “The Lord Who will see to it.”

3.) Healing:

Isaiah 53:5 “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.”

James 5:14-16“Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he has committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

Mark 16: 17, 18“And these signs shall follow them that believe: in My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”

There are dozens of Bible verses which tell us that God desires to heal us. Here is a link to more of them.

4.) Answers to prayer for all needs:

Romans 8:32“He Who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”

John 15:7“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you shall ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.”

This is just a brief starter listing of the privileges which are ours as sons and daughters of our heavenly Father. I have a page at my website, Encouragement from God’s Word, which lists many more.

Previous — Part 2
Next — Part 4

Character Building for Families

 

Character Building for Families