Category Archives: Christian parenting

When Serving Family Is Hard …

Years ago, I heard the story of a young woman who felt frustrated and frazzled with the endless needs of her small children. One day, while helping her children into their snowsuits, boots, and mittens for the umpteenth time, the Lord asked her to imagine that she was doing these things  for the Christ Child. It changed everything for her. From that point on, every time she buttoned small coats or wiped a tiny nose, she found joy in the task by picturing herself doing it for Jesus.

It was one of those stories that inspired me, and I filed it away in my memory, pulling it out from time to time as needed. Several years after that, I came across a homeschooling article where the author applied Romans 15:1 to caring for our young children:

“We then who are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak and not to please ourselves.”

Again, it was a thought to be stored up for another day. Eventually its time came. While caring for our newborn daughter, exhausted and not well physically, I was feeling pretty sorry for myself. At that low point, the Lord brought Romans 15:1 back to my remembrance, along with how the author of the article had applied it. “Not to please ourselves.” With the admonishment came new resolve to throw off dejection and dedicate myself to doing this for the Lord with joy.

Throughout life, there will always be someone we must patiently bear with and serve — someone who can’t do life well without us. We never get past this. When our children are grown, they will still need us, but in different ways. For some of us, it becomes our elderly parents who require a lot of care. This has been the story for my husband and me for a few years now. It could be a neighbor who can’t manage on her own, or another mom who just needs a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on. It may mean we have to set aside preferences and plans we had cherished for ourselves, so that we can “take up our cross” (Matthew 16:24) and “die daily” (1 Corinthians 15:31).

Jesus commented in John 15:13, “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” We are called to this, just as He was. Whether we serve on an overseas mission field, or in very ordinary, humble ways, pouring out our lives for others is the most precious of all offerings we can give to the Lord. He sees, He knows, and He will honor us for it, if doing it stems from our devotion to Him.

Colossians 3:23, 24 reminds us, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for you serve the Lord Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 further encourages us that if we will faithfully persevere, “…Your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

There is a wonderful bonus attached to serving others as unto the Lord: as we do it for Him, we will also find ourselves loving to do it for the people we help. What was once a chore becomes a happiness. God is amazingly good at working these changes in our hearts!

So, keep the perspective of Who you are ultimately doing this for. Your children are your opportunity to serve the Lord. Your spouse is, too. As you keep Jesus before your eyes, you will find strength and joy in the journey.

homeschool Bible character studies

 

Character Building for Families,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

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Creating a Habit of Thankfulness … and National Family Week

teaching thankfulnessKerry Beck’s blog, How to Homeschool My Child, is focusing on the Thanksgiving theme this month, and I am one of the guest bloggers there.

My post, Create a Habit of Thankfulness in Your Children, offers simple, practical ways you can develop gratitude as a lasting character quality in your children. I hope you will go on over to Kerry’s blog and take a look.

And while you’re there, why not check out the other posts?

And …

 

 

To celebrate National Family Week (Thanksgiving week, November 18-24),  Character Building for Families, Volumes 1 & 2 will be on sale.

SALE DATES:
Now through Cyber Monday, 11-26-18.

Regular price (U. S.) for either Volume 1 or 2 is $16.00.
Sale price: $13.00. This includes free Media Mail shipping. (Priority Mail is available at additional cost.)  International orders will also receive a discount.

homeschool character training

 

This will be our final sale for 2018, so please don’t miss it!

 

Happy Thanksgiving! ~ Lee Ann

 

What If I Fail?

homeschooling encouragementIt’s the fear of most new homeschool parents. It’s also the fear of many who have been homeschooling for a while. What if I don’t do this homeschool thing perfectly? Forget something I should have covered? Don’t adequately prepare my kids for life? Totally mess them up?

The fear becomes greatest when things aren’t humming along smoothly.

Let’s put the fear of failing our kids in perspective. What if  you sent them off to public or private school?

  • They still would not be taught perfectly.
  • Some subjects would not be covered completely. Some would be missed entirely.
  • Your children still would not be prepared for every detail of life.
  • Your children would be taught some things — many things — which you would not be happy with.
  • Some other teacher or school experience could still mess them up.

God wants you and your children to succeed. He is your backup, your source of wisdom, your problem-fixer, your prompter when something needs to be remembered or changed. He is on your side, and He’s watching over you and your children. It’s all part of His grace. If we’re honest with ourselves, we realize we are incapable of doing this homeschool parenting thing without Him anyway!

Of course, we do have some responsibility. That’s just the way the Christian life works, isn’t it?

  • We must persevere. Giving up can’t be on our list of options.
  • We should try to stay relatively consistent. (No, you won’t do this one 100% right. Nobody does.)
  • We need to call upon the Lord frequently for grace and help in time of need. When we do, He eagerly supplies, sometimes amazingly so.
  • Prayer for (and with) your children is the most important ingredient for success.

One of my favorite passages for the times I feel woefully incapable of doing well is 2 Corinthians 3:4-6: “And this is the trust we have through Christ toward God: it is not that we are sufficient in ourselves to think anything of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God, Who also has made us able ministers ….” It works for whatever areas of life we feel lacking in, including homeschooling or parenting in general.

God’s grace covers our inadequacies — and our children’s. He brings completeness where we are incomplete. He fills in our gouges and cracks. He is a Father to them and to you, and He will not let you fail.

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

If you need support from other homeschool mothers, perhaps our Facebook group, Older Homeschool Moms Helping Younger Homeschool Moms would be a source of encouragement to you. You can ask questions and share your struggles, and other moms will be there for you with their advice and prayers.

 

Character Building for Families,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

The Ultimate Stress-Busting Strategy for Homeschool Moms

woman prayingA few days ago, during my regular course of Bible reading, I was struck by these verses:

But so much more there went abroad a fame of [Jesus], and great multitudes came together to hear and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. And He withdrew Himself into the wilderness and prayed. Luke 5:15, 16

“He withdrew Himself and prayed.” Jesus was increasingly gaining in fame. The word was out that when this man prayed for people, they were healed. They were set free of demons. Of course the crowds came!

Jesus could have looked at the vast number of people with heartbreaking needs, groaned with compassion over them, and said, “Father, I know I should spend time with You. I want to, really I do, but the needs are so great. I must minister to them.”

He didn’t do it. Jesus, the most compassionate man who ever lived, stepped away from it all for a time to pray. He knew where His source of strength lay — in time communing with His heavenly Father.

Many times, we get so busy with the urgent things that we justify neglecting prayer. We grow lax about absorbing the Lord’s Presence through reading His Word. We don’t recognize that the anxiety (even panic!) we are experiencing about all that needs doing is a direct result of not spending time with Him.

We have to take care of the children, clean the house, cook the meals, and keep the appointments. In some cases, there are extended family members to care for — an elderly parent, for instance. The larger the family, the harder it is to keep from drowning in all that must be done. For those who homeschool, there is an additional layer of stress because of all the time teaching our children requires. And in our day, many homeschool moms are also trying to add to the family income through an online business or blog. Where does it all end, besides in a nervous breakdown?

Jesus lived with more stress overload than any of us have even begun to approach. He had more demands placed on Him than we can imagine. Yet He stayed peaceful through it all. Why? Because He put His time with God above all else.

Prayer is a lot like tithing. When we tithe (give ten percent of our income to the Lord), something supernatural happens with our finances. We step into God’s economy. Because we are putting Christ and His kingdom first, our remaining dollars stretch farther. Unexpected money comes in when we need it most. The car and the appliances last longer without needing repairs.

The principle for prayer is the same. When we spend time with the Lord, making Him first, our days run more smoothly. We enter God’s time economy, where we get so much more accomplished than we otherwise would have, without knowing quite how that happened. He “orders our steps” (Psalm 37:23) as we “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” and “all these things are added unto us” (Matthew 6:33).

If you are tired and weary, and panic is rising inside, or if you are feeling depressed because you just can’t keep up, perhaps the answer is to take a deep breath and step aside from it all into prayer.

The Lord spoke to me about this principle during a time of great stress in my own life. He reminded me that when I fasten my attention upon Him, He becomes my sanctuary, my place of safety. And then He said, “You just need to know that as you behold Me, the stress will fall off.”

I did just that, focusing my thinking upon Him instead of all the things I had to do. Within minutes, His peace settled in. Life suddenly didn’t seem nearly as daunting as it had just moments before.

God has a knack for making those huge, daunting mountains seem smaller. He will help you to set priorities — to know what is important and what should fall by the wayside. It comes by placing Him foremost on the schedule.

I know it doesn’t sound logical, if you’re already so pressed for time, to use up still more time on prayer. God’s ways are often not logical, and yet, without us knowing how, they work.

Give it a try — and keep trying persistently. If it worked for Jesus, it will work for us, too.

homeschool character training study

 

Character Building for Families, by Lee Ann Rubsam

Tips for Building Godly Character in Children

character building for childrenIn my last post, I talked about the two components of teaching good character traits to our children:

  1. Modeling by example
  2. Using a character curriculum or topic-based Bible study as a framework of instruction.

Choosing a character curriculum

There are many to choose from these days, but here are some things to watch for:

1. Make sure the curriculum focuses on heart change, rather than only behavior modification.

Deuteronomy 6:5, 6 tells us, “And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you this day, shall be in your heart.”

Teaching character to our children from a purely logical, what’s-in-it-for-them perspective will not bear good fruit, long-term. If we somehow implant in them the idea that exhibiting good character is about expediency — experiencing success, being rewarded for good behavior and suffering consequences for bad behavior, we only end up stroking their flesh.

  • If you learn to be kind, you will get along better with people and in the workplace.
  • Integrity is an important stepping stone to success.
  • People will think well of you if you do x, y, and z. If you do otherwise, you won’t be liked / won’t be promoted / will ruin your reputation.

While those things are true in a general sense, taking the high road of good character will sometimes lead us into suffering. We must prepare our children to do what is right even if that means enduring negative outcomes.

Teaching our children only to modify their outward behavior cultivates a mentality of doing the right thing so as not to get caught in unpleasant consequences. It can lead to legalism, because it dwells on our works and ability to do well in our own strength.

Character curriculum which focuses on the heart, on the other hand, will emphasize inner attitudes and leaning on Jesus for help to do what is right.

  • How will Jesus feel if I do this or that? Will it make Him sad or happy?
  • What would Jesus do in my situation? Why?
  • If I do or say this, will I hurt someone else?

Character education aimed at the heart will lead to greater desire for relationship with Jesus and a yearning to be like Him, simply because He is worthy. If we can get to our children’s heart attitudes, the outward behavior will follow along.

2. The curriculum should be Bible-centered.

Several of the popular character programs available are focused on logic and behavior modification — because they do not have Jesus as their beginning reason. Why would we, as Christian parents, even consider teaching our children character from a secular worldview? Yet, some do, because of rave reviews or an economical price.

Try to find materials which fit well with your beliefs. However, no program is perfect for all families. It is likely that even with the best of them you will need to make some adjustments. Choose materials which center on Jesus and are doctrinally sound. Your denomination may even have the resources you need.

3. Free is not always best.

I know money can be tight, but don’t let the temptation to choose “free” keep your children from a great character education.

With character education, once is not enough.

Just like with other things we teach our children, building strong character means we will need to repeat the instruction to reinforce it. That could mean using more than one character curriculum through the years, or reviewing and repeating the one you have. I recommend that people go through our curriculum, Character Building for Families, more than once — because we all tend to forget things we have learned, and God focuses our attention on one aspect the first time and a different point the next.

You are in this for the long haul.

Character education takes time. It is not a, “We accomplished that and now we’re done” kind of thing. You will need to be patient and diligent in forming your children’s character. Consistency is key, both in instruction and in putting it into practice. We are discipling our children, and that doesn’t happen quickly or easily.

Prayer and the Word are essential components of character building.

 1. Pray for your children’s character. Parents’ prayers are powerful. They touch the heart of God. And they cooperate with the desires our heavenly Father already has for our children.

2. Teach your children to develop consistent prayer and Bible reading habits. This is such an important part of building their character. As they absorb God’s Word and commune with Him, they can’t help but grow in Christ’s likeness. Becoming increasingly like Jesus should be the goal of every Christian. “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29). We can help our children begin at an early age by teaching them to pray and read the Word.

3. Teach your children to recognize, be sensitive to, and obey God’s voice.

If you need help with teaching your children how to pray and hear God’s voice, we have a couple of short, practical books to assist you. Simply click the images below.

 

Teach Your Kids to Hear God!

The Homeschool Guide to Raising Prayer-Filled Kids

 

Raising our children to be people of Christ-like character is not easy, but it is the most important task we have been entrusted with for our families. Diligently persevering in it reaps great rewards in their lives and for us in eternity. Though not easy, as you lean on the Lord, He will abundantly help you to reach the goal.

 

Character Building for Families,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

Why Character Studies Are Important for Your Family

Bible character training“I don’t see the need to ‘teach’ character to my children. They will naturally learn good character through my example and through everyday situations as they happen.”

I’ve heard the comment numerous times from well-meaning parents. The problem is, such an approach is naïve. Furthermore, it does not follow the model God gave us in the Bible.

Modeling good character for our children is an important part of the picture, of course. If we tell them how they ought to behave, but then do not follow through by living out the example of what we preach, our children will see through our hypocrisy. They are more likely to do as Mom and Dad do, than live only by what we say.

But, good character doesn’t automatically rub off on our children as we set the example for them. It needs to be presented systematically, “precept upon precept … line upon line” (Isaiah 28:10, 13). Teaching the concepts of Christ-like character within an organized framework, in companionship with modeling it by example, will bring about the best results in shaping our children in the image of  Jesus.

The Old Testament speaks of making a concentrated effort to bring up our children in the ways of the Lord. No doubt you are familiar with Proverbs 22:6‘s exhortation, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Consider also Deuteronomy 6:5-9:

And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words, which I command you this day, shall be in your heart, and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up. And you shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be like frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them upon the posts of your house and on your gates.

Notice that we are to teach the Lord’s commands diligently to our children, to talk of them when sitting and walking together, before bedtime, and in the morning when we arise. The Israelites were to bind them upon their hands (figuratively speaking of their actions) and on their foreheads (speaking of the mind), and to write them upon their gates and homes. That sounds like a pretty intense plan for training up children in the way they should go, doesn’t it? Nothing haphazard there!

What about in the New Testament? Well, Jesus was the perfect example of godly character to His disciples. They lived with Him day and night, continually seeing Him portray how to live a life of love toward God and  their fellow man. Yet, Jesus did not merely teach them by His example. In the gospels, we see that He spent many hours instructing His disciples in the specifics of how to think, speak, and live. Apparently, He knew they would not “catch” good character only by watching Him live it. They needed the reinforcement of solid expounding on the Scriptures and how to apply them.

The same is true of the apostle Paul. In 1 Corinthians 11:1, he encouraged the believers, “Be followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (teaching by example). Yet, as we read through his letters to the churches, we see much detailed written instruction in how to walk out holy lives.

Well-rounded character education is a bit like biology or chemistry: we present information through textbooks and lectures to put a framework of scientific concepts in place, and then we apply that knowledge in hands-on lab situations. In the same way, we should teach character systematically, through a character curriculum or series of character-oriented Bible studies, and then apply that knowledge in everyday life through example and practice.

Without some kind of consistent plan in place for teaching character, we can easily miss important areas of character development in our children. Because we have blind spots, we don’t always notice areas of weakness in our children or ourselves, even though those weaknesses may be glaringly obvious to others. By using character training materials, we make sure we touch the areas we could otherwise so easily miss.

In my next post, I will share some ideas of how to do our best at developing Christ-like character in our children.

 

Character Building for Families,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

Planning to Home School?

boy readingToday, I’m presenting information for those of you who are planning to teach your children at home for the first time. I hope these articles help you to discover that you can successfully home school.

From our blog:

New to Homeschooling?

Classes and Record-Keeping Demystified

Pros and Cons of Homeschooling

Other places to learn:

A Homeschool Mom — I Can’t Homeschool! Series

Mid-Life Blogger: — 10 Pieces of Advice for New Homeschoolers

The Teaching Home — Home School Basics

While the academics are important, helping our children to develop a personal intimacy with God and to walk out that relationship consistently is far more important. I encourage you to put Jesus first in your home school day.

I really enjoyed this post from the Annie and Everything blog: Our Main Reason for Homeschooling: Character Development.

We have books to help you and your family with Christian character education at our website, Character Building for Families. (They are reasonably priced, too!)

 

homeschool mentoringWould you like to be part of a Facebook Christian homeschool group where many of your questions will be answered?

Older Homeschool Moms Helping Younger Homeschool Moms may be just what you are looking for!

Maybe you have questions about how to handle a parenting issue, how to raise your children to be strong Christians, or some other concern connected with homeschooling. If so, this group might be a good fit for you.

Happy home schooling!