Parents today find it hard to compete with electronic media for their teenager's attention. When their children were younger, the parents used the television to occupy them, as they stirred ground beef into "hamburger helper", did chores around the house or took a quick nap on the couch in the TV room.
The interactive activities of days past are a forgotten art in the two-career family. Parents are just too busy or tired or burnt out to interact much with their children. Then, they miss this intimate communication when their children are adults.
I was blessed to be able to stay home with our children and to home school them while we traveled around the eastern USA for four years.
We did crafts by recycling empty bottles, cans, boxes and other containers. The surrounding nature enabled us to developed abstract and landscape art projects. We combed the sale racks at art supply and discount retail stores for new craft ideas.
We frequented garage sales, played board and card games every evening after our dinner and devotion time. Before bed every night, we had story time with a variety of Christian literature, we memorized scripture to hide in our heart, and we sang to the accompaniment of my meager guitar skills.
During holidays we volunteered in soup kitchens and provided meals to the homeless and disadvantaged in our community. We even encouraged our children to give one of their cherished toys of their choosing to a disadvantaged children and youth, or they spent part of their allowance and savings from birthday gifts to buy something new and special for a child they knew who had nothing.
During the four years we traveled around the eastern USA in a camper, we had such fun exploring each new area in which we parked our camper for the night, week-end, week or month as my husband ministered God's Word in local churches.
I researched activities in each locality where we parked; and we took field trips to area museums, businesses, factories, libraries, scouting troops, sports teams, etc.
We did science activities with the flora and fauna of each new parking spot - learning firsthand the geography, agriculture and industry of each area of our country.
My children thrived by sharing with one another the interesting tidbits they read in their text books each day - virtually teaching one another new concepts and ideas.
One son learned to play the drums by using practice pads donated by a loving brother in Christ. Our other son grew adept at engineering a natural gym in surrounding wooded lots.
Our daughter improved on my inept baking skills and enjoyed baking, as well as sewing her own clothes, drawing and painting, and making crafts to give as "thank you" gifts to church members who took a personal interest in our children.
Generous church members around the country shared their swimming pools, took us on trips to theme parks and bought them individual toys and science project kits for their enjoyment.
One dear sister-in-Christ made each of my children a "big mouth" puppet of their own The puppets sported real clothing and shoes from local thrift stores. Our children learned to write their own scripts and to personalize Bible stories with their puppets.
They used a stage their dad and grandfather made for them from PVC pipes and curtains. For each performance, they put the stage together, used it in each new congregation where their dad ministered, and then took it apart and stored it under a bed.
When the children reach high school age, we sold our camper, settled in one city and put our children in public school. After a long, hard up-hill climb, the area school board president learned to appreciate the dedication to learning, disciplined behavior and self-learning skills our homeschooled children developed over the years.
Each child thrived with straight A's in every subject and excelled in each class, resulting in them all graduating with scholarships for college. God truly blessed me with my three children and these memorable experiences to cherish in my golden years.
Father God, teach young parents today to take an active role in their children's lives - even if it is simply participating with and observing their dance, music, sports and art endeavors through school or extra-curricular activities. Remind us to teach them the scriptures, to encourage them to participate as active members of the Body of Christ, to live our lives before them as Godly examples and to relate to them as Christian family, friends and Saints of God.
Allow them to overcome Satan's strongholds as they age beyond our parental influence and to make a way in their own life to impart their faith in Christ to their children as well. Help us to forgive easily and to apologize when we grieve their soul and disobey Your will in front of them. Remind us that this will teach them about their vulnerability, culpability and need for humility in their own walk with You. Help us to live as a praise to You and an example of Your glory in this earth.
Thought for the Day:
Raising children is a daunting task; but listening, supporting and being present in their lives is an easy way to stay connected throughout their lifetime.