He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD.
I don’t often write about my children. I am so aware that I do not deserve the blessings that I have received from the lives of my children. In writing about them, I wouldn’t want anyone to misunderstand and think that I thought I had done a great thing. I am well aware of my shortcomings, yet my children bring me honor It seemed, when I was young and rearing the children, that the church only asked perfect families to teach on child rearing. I realize now, that they were not perfect, but many times they appeared to be. I cannot tell you how to rear perfect children, but I can tell you how to rear god-fearing children.
God has been faithful to Jerry and me and has worked a wonderful work in the lives of our children and our grandchildren. Without them, I surely would be a barren woman. Because of them, I have beautiful fruit hanging from my tree.
Our sons are 48, 46 and 28 years of age. Our foster daughters are 60 (five years younger than me) and three are 55 years of age. We have a large range of age in our family. The grandchildren go all the way from the 30’s to 3 years of age. We have someone in every age group.
We were just children ourselves when we birthed our first son. I remember sitting on the front porch, holding Tom in my arms and looking into his face saying, “If your life depends on me, you are in big trouble.” I had done some babysitting, but I knew nothing about rearing a child. I did have some strong motherly instincts. I didn’t take my eyes off of my children for fear they would need me and I wouldn’t be looking. Tom’s baby bed was right next to our bed so I could hear him breathe at night. I didn’t leave my children with other people to do the rearing. I felt strongly that they were my responsibility. I overheard one of our relatives say, “Gloria will have 12 kids and you (my mother) will have to rear them all.” I determined right then and there that I would not ask my mother to babysit for me, so I could prove this person wrong. I missed a lot of blessings because of that, but I did rear my own children, and I’m glad I did. I gave up a lot of my childhood to be a mother, yet I didn’t resent my children entering my life. Having children was something I grew up looking forward to.
If you are in the process of rearing your children, or if you are in the process and trying to discern where you went wrong with your children, or if you are in the process of rejoicing over the rewards of your labor, this article is for you. Children are the greatest treasures on earth”. Children are the hardest work on earth and the most important work on earth. Your work will come and go but your children will be with you forever. They are your blessing or your curse, depending on how you rear them.
Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
One of the advantages of being young and stupid, is that you know you must depend upon someone else if you are to survive. Thanks to my upbringing, I knew to look to the Lord. My problem was that I did not know the Lord well enough to know how to accomplish what He had commanded me to do. The first nine years of our marriage I tried to do what I thought best and what other people told me was best, only to be lacking severely. In desperation, and through Bro. Roloff challenging me to read through my Bible each year, I began to seek God’s face through His written Word. God was faithful to teach me just what I needed, just when I needed it. It would either come from reading the Scriptures, or a godly friend, or a sermon. Mother didn’t give a lot of advice, but she was a good listening ear. As I would tell her my dilemma, hearing myself speak, I would see what I was doing wrong or lacking. Sometimes it just helps to tell it to someone.
You cannot do bulk rearing with children. Every child is different!
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
A lot of people have clung to this verse without understanding what it says. To train a child is to form a child with a particular bent. “The way he should go.” Know your child! This takes time. You must listen and give your child a place to express himself or herself, but make sure you teach them to speak respectfully with honor. Never allow a child to say “NO” to a command. The greatest thing you can do for your child is to teach them to honor and respect your position in their lives. The Bible says, “Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right” ( Prov 20:11). It is a commandment of God to honor your father and your mother. When you allow your child to dishonor you as their parent, you are allowing them to be against God’s Word. More than being ugly to you they are rebelling against God, and if we love them, we should never allow that.
Dr. James Dodson calls it “tough love,” but I call it “true love”. Jesus said, “If you love me you will keep my commandments.” I say, if we love our children, “we will make them be obedient, with a right spirit”. With some children this is very easy to accomplish, with others it takes all your energy and all your breath of every waking moment until it sinks into that pretty little noggin. Our first son only had to be told one time, and he obeyed! I made the mistake of thinking all kids were that easy. Our second son would ask “Why?” with a good attitude. Our third son (which came 18 years later) would ask, “Why?” and “Are you sure this is what you want me to do?” With my first son, I didn’t have to give thought to what I was doing (which is very dangerous for a parent). With my second son, I had to stop and think about it (which many times I realized it wasn’t that important). With my last son, I had to stop and think about it and analyze myself as to why I asked him in the first place! I learned something from all three sons. I also had my four foster daughters who came to us when they were teenagers. All of their homes were different and ours was different to them. I had to listen closely and quickly to know how to know their hearts. Most of the time we had at least eight people living at our house and all eight were different. In order to train them, I had to KNOW the way in which they should go. Do you really KNOW your family? As a woman you are the help meet of that house. How can you help if you do not KNOW them? This is why they say a mother has eyes in the back of her head. She has eyes to see through each perso
n’s focus, because she KNOWS them. I cannot tell you how many people Jerry and I counsel that live together in a house and are strangers in heart.”
If you do not take the time to KNOW the way of your children, you cannot claim this verse as a promise. Parents think that because they take their children to church every time the doors are opened and they attend all the functions of the church, that they can claim this verse and believe their children cannot turn from what they believe. Not so!
What your child LEARNS, he cannot depart from. They may not always practice it, but it is imbedded in their souls. I can tell my child, “Do not steal.” but that does not mean he has learned not to steal or that he knows why he is not to steal. Many times we give facts, which is no more than knowledge, but do not give understanding and wisdom to go with those facts, therefore, they do not LEARN.
Parents complain more about rearing teenagers than any other age group (unless it’s the terrible twos, which come when you are learning to discipline). I call the teen years the “grace years”. Everything that can go wrong, goes wrong in the teen years as a rule. Why? Because God is letting everything come to a head that you THOUGHT you had taught them, but they didn’t get it! God is giving us another chance to try again, but usually we become offended at them and see them as ungrateful for our efforts, and we miss the opportunity to try again. I assure you, it is much harder to help your children after they leave home and you are no longer the boss, but just a counselor! Disrespectful children do not listen to counselors, especially parents.
Remember, it is the spirit that kills or makes alive. You want to be sure that you encourage your children to keep a right spirit and the rest will take care of itself! At our house we say, “Yes, Sir and Yes, ma’am”. By the time you get the second word out of your mouth your spirit has become sweet! You cannot expect more out of your children than you are willing to practice! Are you polite when you speak to them?
When our first son was about 4 years old I had gotten a habit of yelling (who me? Yes, me!) I never thought I would have done that. One day, I looked out the window and saw my son Tom (and his little friend) on top of his daddy’s old pick up truck. I raised the window and yelled, “Thomas Leon Brewster, you get down off that truck this minute. Do you understand me?” He said, “Yes, ma’am.” As he was climbing down, I heard him say to his little friend, “It’s OK, mother is just having one of her spells.” That was enough! I did not want my son to think of me as having spells. Be careful not to become rude and unfeeling while teaching your children. Above all, don’t have spells!
Everyone of our seven children treat us with respect and honor today and are teaching their children to respect and honor them (and us). Why do they do this? Because we taught them to fear God and keep His commandments. Our children do not always agree with us and many times they differ in how they live their lives, but we can always enjoy unity because of respect and honor for one another. God COMMANDS that we teach our children these things and there are GREAT REWARDS for obedience to this command.