A few nights ago at Bible Study a dear friend shared some ideas that she did with her children when they were younger during the summer. She created a list of items that her kids could do that helped her out around the house while teaching her kids valuable lesson of loving and caring for others. I loved the idea and decided to adapt it to fit our family. A couple days later, Jay and I spent a date night compiling a list of ideas that we could use to encourage our kids to Love, Share and Grow this summer.
The first questions we asked was, what passage of Scripture bests teaches the principles of loving, sharing and growing? While there are a bunch, we decided that Philippians 2:3&4, (one of our favorite Bible verses) would be the foundation of why we are doing this challenge. In this culture we live in we are surrounded by self centered, entitled children and we are striving to raise ours differently. So Philippians 2:3-4 says, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others."
I am generally not a list person and so when I see these moms who come up with these great plans with checklists and accountability I start to sweat and feel inadequate. And this project that we were about to do required us to make a list.
One of the things I love so much about summer is having my kids home and away from the negative influences and behaviors they face at school. For our family we have chosen for our children to be in public school and while I am not going to debate that decision, I will say that I love that summer brings the time to slow down and focus on building Godly character at home.
The one thing we want more than anything is for our children to love God and love each other. We believe that one of the best ways we display our love for God is by loving each other. Quite frankly, there are times in this house that Jay and I look at each other and wonder what has taken over our children because the love is not there. The focus has been more on what each other is doing wrong or right instead of just loving each other.
Back to the list, sometimes I get off on tangents.
We have decided as parents, to talk more about why we do the things we do. Why do we play board games? So we can learn to love each other more. Why do we allow them to play sports? So they can learn to love the people they are surrounded by. We are not perfect but this is something we are becoming more conscious of in our home.
Loving, Sharing and Growing is a project that allows us to be intentional about teaching our kids how to love, share and grow. With our theme verse in place, we now had to think of things that we could list under each category that would demonstrate the characteristic. For example, under LOVE, what things could the kids do to demonstrate love for one of their siblings, a friend, or us as parents.
So what does this look like?
The kids receive a point for each thing they do as they go out of their way to love each other. It may be doing someone else's chore for the day without being asked. Along with the list of ideas we created to help get them started, we hope that they will begin thinking of how to display love in their own ways.
We did the same thing for sharing. Our verse for that is really to encourage them to be generous in all things. 2 Corinthians 9:11 says "You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God." We have been so blessed by the generosity of some pretty amazing people and we have found that the more generous we are, the more we are willing to give, even when we really don't have much to give, we are truly blessed. We want our children to have selfless, generous hearts in all things so that God may be praised.
Again, we gave a list of ideas where they can share, like giving to church, buying something for a sibling that they know would bless them, writing a letter to a grandparent or someone else far away, etc.
Last is the characteristic is Grow. While i love having the kids home for the summer, one of the things that I cannot stand is the laziness that consumes teenagers and all children. Just because school is out, doesn't mean they can't learn and grow. We have specific things we want our younger ones to know. Things like the Lord's Prayer, the books of the Bible, The Apostles Creed among others. We also said they could read a chapter book of their choice for 30 minutes, a book of the Bible, a non-fiction book and so on. The ideas for how they can grow are endless.
At the end of each day we tally up the points that I mark down throughout the day. We gave them a goal of 150 points by the end of Summer and they will get a special treat or date night of their choice. Our 2 youngest are very motivated by this and have been loving and sharing and growing like crazy. I am very pleased with the results so far for them. I'm still figuring it out for the 12, 15 and 17 year olds. We'll keep you posted throughout the summer.
Amy is an amazing mother of 5, 4 boys and 1 girl. Her passions lie in caring for her family, mentoring young moms, and speaking into the lives of women. She and Jay have been married for 19 years, and have been so blessed to be able to share in ministry to families together.
Thanks for taking the time to read The Higham Family Blog. Each week we try to share new content about something we are learning, something we love, or something to offer encouragement to the family. We love to hear from our readers, so please share your thought in the comment section of each post.