Raising the Whole Child
As you look to a new year, what are your hopes for the children in your life? How do you most want to see them grow in 2020?
At Palmer Home, we hope the children in our care grow like Jesus. God’s word tells us Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. (Luke 2:52)
We hope our children grow in knowledge as they learn in school and in wisdom as they learn in life. We hope they grow strong physically as they learn to practice healthy habits along the way! We hope they grow spiritually—coming to know Jesus more deeply than last year. We also hope they grow healthy, supportive relationships with peers and adults.
To sum it all up, we hope our children grow in faith, wisdom and healthy relationships! We bet you hope the same for the children in your lives.
We believe God has ordained every experience in 2020 to encourage and inspire growth in each of these areas. Every aspect of a child’s development (social, emotional, educational, physical, and spiritual) are interconnected. Each influence and is influenced by the other! Every experience in the coming year is an opportunity to help our children grow.
How do we, as parents, teachers and mentors in the lives of our children, ensure we make the most of the opportunities God gives us to help the children in our lives to grow in every way in the coming year?
Train our eyes.
Michelle Anthony, the author of Spiritual Parenting, asks, “What does God require of me as a parent, and how will I create environments in my home for Him to be at work in the unique children that He has entrusted to me?”
God is working in the lives of children in every single stage and area of their development. It’s our job to find the evidence, then to connect the dots for our children. We cannot force growth, but we can create environments for God to work in the everyday lives of our children. As 1 Corinthians 3:6 reminds us, we can plant and water the seeds—and trust God to bring growth!
We plant seeds and water seeds when we..nurture their faith by reminding them of timeless truths like, “God made you, God loves you, and God has a good plan for your life.”
Draw attention to the things we see God doing in their lives and help them make the wise choice in everyday situations.
Prioritize relationships above all else—letting our children know we see them, hear them and are with them, no matter what!
This will be nearly impossible without creating the space and quality time to do so.
The second way to ensure we make the most of the opportunities God gives us to help our children grow is to Find a Rhythm.
Every family has one. Think about the last week in the life of your family. How would you describe your rhythm?
Rhythm communicates to a child what is most valued in the family. Rhythm also says to our children what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” What we value, our children will come to value.
What does the current rhythm of your home suggest you value most? Sports? Academics? Obedience and compliance?
Deuteronomy 6 says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
There are four specific times in the day mentioned in this passage—times when families are to recall the law God has given them. These are times already built into most families’ daily schedule. Can you find them?
When you sit at home, walk along the road, lie down, and when you get up. Parent Cue identifies these four times as “Morning time, drive time, mealtime and bedtime.”
Maximizing these four times each day helps create space for quality moments with the children in our lives to encourage growth and inspire faith.
Mornings are wild in most families. What if we began to see them differently? What if we saw our role as a coach (rather than a manager) and used our words to inspire courage and give purpose rather than give directives and demands?
What if we used this time to connect rather than multi-task or pass time? What if we turn off the radio and tune into our children during this time? What if we used this time to nurture faith and talk about wise choices—bring meaning into every day with our children?
What if mealtime could be used as a tool to anchor your family, strengthen relationships, increase communication, teach healthy habits and highlight the values you celebrate as a family?
Just because bedtime isn’t easy doesn’t mean it isn’t important. Bedtime is powerful for children, tweens and teens. Plan ahead enough to prevent the nighttime rush. Stay calm enough to listen well. Be intentional enough to speak truth into their lives.
This year, train your eyes and find a rhythm. Each day, consider how you might nurture faith, prioritize relationship and draw attention to God’s working in their lives!