HEALTHY FAMILY LOVE
HEALTHY FAMILY LOVE PREVENTS PROBLEMS
While our two children were small…ages five and three, we and a group of our Christian friends decided to sponsor a group of children from a children’s home in Texas. Most of the children in this home were not orphans in the true sense of the word. Some of them had a mom or dad but who were just not responsible to care for them or they had health problems to the extent they could not care for themselves, much less their offspring. On holidays and two weeks during the summer, the group kept up to as many as twenty-one children at times.
Some of the families had children of their own who became very jealous and resentful of the children from the home. Our children didn’t…and in fact really enjoyed the ones we kept and grew so close to them over the years that we are still close after they all grew up. It is a life time relationship and I think I have the key to this: The families who had problems with the children quit keeping them during the summer and holidays because their kids resented them. The parents had tried to make them such a part of the family for that weekend or two weeks that they neglected the attention and affection of their own to some extent.
It is folly to sense that in order to love someone enough you have to love another less or ignore them more. By trying to make them a part of the family to the extent that they neglected and created resentment in their own children, defeated their intentions, because in return the visiting children felt more than ever like outsiders. So no one won in this situation.
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
There is a lot of controversy over this little short Scripture. Some don’t believe it means what it says and they call it a “Truism” in defence of their position. In doing so they err. Truism means a “a self evident obvious truth. In believing that this Scripture doesn’t mean what it says (which is very plain), they believe the first part and throw away the best part. The last part of it is the “goal” you are trying to reach in their short lives. They believe they trained their children in the way they should go…but they did depart, and so they believe this is not a true statement in all cases.
Another thing is that if young parents can’t believe this means exactly what it says…they won’t try as hard. It is a travesty to twist a Scripture to the point that it discourages efforts of a young parent. Compare it to a basket-ball team… and the team thinks they can’t win the game. They are not going to play as hard as they would if they believed they could win.
God lets us know the outcome of our efforts and it helped us tremendously in our efforts to train our children in the way they should go. Yes, we made some mistakes…but I’m so thankful that I read this Scripture way back before I had read “man’s explanation” of it.
TO MY GROWN UP SELF: Dear self, I don’t know how long it has been since you thought of me, your little girl self.
To my little girl self: Oh my! I think of you all the time….remembering the happy times and a few sad times. I wonder how different I would have been if our mother had not died so young. I know you don’t remember her at all being only 3. I doubt life would have been a lot different with such a wonderful dad and a grandmother who helped him out a lot…but it would have been easier on them. But I’m looking at that, not used to having a mother and that isn’t fair to her. In fact just calling someone ‘Mother’, ‘Mom’ or ‘Mommy’, isn’t in my vocabulary and I can’t remember when it was. When I speak of her I always say “our mother”.
To my grown up self: Well in growing up, I remember only one or two times envying my friends who had a mother…but I think there were more times when they envied me. LOL They seemed to want to spend the night with me and my sister a lot. They thought we had more fun at our house.
To my little girl self: One thing I regret that my dad did: Our mother was an artist and had a scholarship to go to art school and she married my dad instead. But she drew a lot on the backs of calendars etc., and Daddy let us play with them…..I know his thinking and I respect him for it. I know he was thinking that our mother was taken from us and he wasn’t going to take her stuff away from us too…But oh! How I’d like to have her art work now! I don’t remember our brother playing with her stuff because he was always making airplanes and doing boy stuff. But we would play school with them and use those for our papers. It wasn’t long until we were a little older and we remembered them but realized they were gone. Our brother can draw really well but my sister and I can’t at all. We reap what we sow…or destroy. LOL
To my grown up self: Now that you are grown up what single thing did you learn that helped you in your adult life?
To my little girl self: Well, I remember being left with a neighbor woman only once because a guy who used dirty language was going to be cutting wood with my dad that day…but all the other times, I went with him. He always made sure we were at home when my brother and sister came in from school too. My dad being a great mother/father figure made me realize that our children can and may have to…. do without one parent or the other…and if I were going to be one, I needed to try to be the best I could be for them. He had the tough part of being dad but he also had the sweet tender part, needed of being a mother. His influence went a long way into how I view a mother should be. He has been gone now for 23 years but I still feel a perpetual hug from him.
One time while driving into the next shopping town from us, Bobby saw about 9 baby calves being watched by two mama cows, while the other mama cows were out eating grass (within sight of their babies.) I wanted a picture of that and took my camera along the next few times but failed to catch the time of day they did it. We could never get a picture.
Today while driving about 4 miles from home, we saw a sight like it again, only not that many calves. Bobby drove back home and we got our camera and went back and took this picture. I love it! The other mama cows (you can see one of them) were in close range where they could see their babies.
It made us note the difference between animals and their young and modern day parents; (modern…as in the past 60 years or so.) who leave their babies and little children all day long with someone else…and they are NOT within sight of their babies. Maybe we could learn from them.
A lot of parents that we know, lately are leaving good jobs and benefits to stay home and be full time mothers. We are very proud of them and they will be blessed abundantly for putting family first.
When our daughter was in elementary school, a lot of the little girls were bringing their dolls to school and playing with them during recess. Their teacher told them they were too big to play with dolls and to not bring them to school any more. We didn’t make an issue of it, but my daughter and I and some of the other parents and children laughed about her ideas. I wondered though, why they were too big to play dolls and not too big to play secretary, teacher or nurses.
This was back in the middle 60’s but it shows that prejudice was rampant even then against a career as a mother and homemaker. Parents however, do not have to allow this intervention by the “Village” to interfere with the rearing of their children. We handled it in a way that made it of no consequence.
I wonder though how much a part it plays in our nation’s children in growing up too fast, and not getting to live their childhood. Parent who let their little first graders wear heels and makeup and revealing clothing and dress like many teens do, and like teens shouldn’t…are just simply asking for trouble. When they get to be teenagers and even beyond, what is left for them to experience that isn’t already ‘old hat’….it makes me shiver to think!
Too many little girls are pushed into adult situations before they are ready for the responsibility. Some of them who still should be ‘playing’ with dolls have the responsibility of a real one before they are hardly aware of it.
Another thing that happened not long after those years, is the kindergarten building was used to make room for the head start group and the kindergarten children moved to the elementary building and the sixth graders were moved up to the highschool building. Damaging? Maybe not, but it seems to me that peer pressure would be even more prevalent and kids are being pushed into the grownup world all too soon and this is representative of a nation that does not nurture its young. We are reaping the results of that in more ways than we can count. I believe a nation can be judged accurately by the way it nurtures its young and respects its old.
Just recently a school in our state held a talent show to raise money for a project. The parents of some of the students were directing the affair and the ages of those participating were from head start through high school. Some of the acts were songs that the young children were pantomining. The songs were of the sort that I would not want my children to listen to even when they were in their teens. Those little children probably did not even know what the lyrics meant, but I wondered about the parents who allowed it. There are so many decent songs they could have used. Some parents, I am convinced, either do not care…or they are just un-enlightened about how to influence their little ones for good.
In the early 1900’s when families began to move away from farms into the urban areas, the boys’ and girls’ clubs were organized to give the young ones something to do to occupy their time. In some aspects this may have been a good thing, since the parents were busy with jobs that did not include the children any more. However in many cases, they simply replaced family time, thus they were not involved in ‘family life’ as much, as they were in the rural residences. The ‘village’ can be harmful as well as helpful if the parents permit it.
Many people say they do not know how to fix it, but it has been suggested by some conscientious statesmen in our nation’s capitol that our nation be re-educated concerning morals and parental responsibility instead of leaving everything to the ‘village’ or to the government agencies regarding our family and its personal responsibility. This sounds good to me and I feel it is the only way we can rear our children in this great nation to nurture its young and respect its old.
©Edna L. Ingram
My favorite picture of Wendell & Kathy.
Marriage is for Life
What is it like to be married for 50 years? Too many in this world will never know what it’s like to be married to the same person for that long.They will never know the joy, the comfort, the pure sweetness of being married to the same person for 50 or even 60 or 70 years. They will never have the treasure of an unbroken home in which to nurture those precious little ones who are born to them. What a tragedy!
In their old age, they will never know the pure joy that comes from discussing together the memories they have of the growing up of the children that they both had pleasure in raising. They will never understand that you can disregard a fierce argument or disagreement without it affecting your love or your respect for each other…because you have learned that: “This too shall pass.” Some will never have the time to know each other well enough to blend together as truly one.
When we said those wedding vows, we pledged to remain faithful until death separates us. I have never seen vows that states that we will be faithful as long as our mate is faithful or until my pride is hurt…but it is always UNTIL death separates us.Our society is becoming one where commitment is unheard of and/or old fashioned…and where vows are taken lightly. May it cease to be so and hopefully a cure for our nation’s ills, yea even the ills of our whole planet will be realized.
-Edna L. Ingram
THE INFLUENCE OF MOTHERS
If you had a little boy…your very own little boy…and you knew that at any time Pharaoh’s daughter could come and claim him for her own, what would you teach him?
In those few months, years or whatever time you had to spend with him, what would you try to instill in the heart and mind of that little boy? Moses’ mother had only a very short time to teach him about God and to train him in God’s will.
We do not know how long she was with Moses, (Exodus 2:7-10), and we know they weaned them at several years old back then…. but that mother surely had her values in order. She had trained him well enough in that little while that his love for God and his faith in Him was so strong that he gave up a life of prominence and luxury later on, for a life of affliction and suffering with the Lord’s people. I am persuaded this training did not come from the king’s palace.
Can we, who have as long as 18 and sometimes 19 years do as well? It depends so much on where we place our values.
Imagine with me, if you will, a huge department store where someone has mischievously misplaced the price tags: A curtain rod sells for $150.00 and a wash cloth for $ 200.00, a tea towel for $250.00, but a beautiful carpet sells for 13 cents per square yard and living room suite for 95 cents, refrigerator for $1.29.
If you can imagine anything that ridiculous can you just see what a state of frenzy we homemakers would be in? We may not stock up on many tea towels or wash cloths at that price, but we would get rather excited over the other bargains! If we could make it past the check-out counter, we would be having a ball!! Wouldn’t we?
Well, this has happened in America. No…not in material things that we can see, but in something of much more value than material things. But mothers, we are not having a ball…we are losing our children! Satan has somehow convinced us that a job outside the home is more important than the home and that things of a material nature are more important than training our children …in the way they should go. (Proverbs 22:6).
So many , many mothers leave their children in day care centers or with a baby sitter to be influenced by these people all day long. I had my first baby at age 18 and my last one at age 20, but young though I was, I thought mine too precious to leave in the care of someone else. We can count on one hand the times we left our children with someone between birth and school age, except the few times they visited their grandparents for one over night visit at a time.
Today, some parents’ concern and the concern of Christian psychologists and counselors seems to be whether that day care center is equipped with the proper learning tools for their age and things like attendant and children ratio. These are little insignificant things compared to the mother leaving that child in the first place.
Yes, Satan has really done his job well in convincing most of us. It all happened so gradually over several decades that not many seem concerned about what it is doing to our families in America. The chilling thought that comes to my mind is that we mothers in America, a land of freedom, are doing the very thing to ourselves and to our little children that the governments of some other countries are doing to the mothers and their little ones by force.
Some of the actual remarks I have heard over the years are: “I had to go to work…My child and I were getting too close” and “My working has been so good for both my son and me, because he was getting to be too close to me…and such a mama’s boy.”
This is what it is all about. How can we ever teach our children and instill in them a desire to get close to a Heavenly Father if they are not allowed to even get close to us…their parents? One of the latest and most heart-breaking remarks I have heard was: “I have the fear that someday I will look back on my life and all I will have accomplished is raising kids!”
What a sad commentary on mother-hood in America! If that is all we have accomplished but have trained them up to have favor with God, what an accomplishment! Nothing can compare to that! One of my favorite quotes is from Benjamin Franklin: “It is the eyes of other people who ruin us. If all but myself were blind, I should want neither a fine house nor fine furniture.” What a lesson in those few words! It makes us wonder how many of our children are lost because of false pride in materialism.
Parents, if you are so impressed with the material things of this life that you would rather have a lot of luxuries for your children or grandchildren (grandparents are also guilty of this) than to see them trained in the right way, then no matter how wealthy you are, you are not only poor…you are poverty-stricken. Even when some gospel preachers preach on this subject of mothers in the home, some of them say, “We are not talking about those cases where it is necessary for the mother to work to help make a living.” As though the reason will make a difference in the neglect of the children. It is better to have a much smaller living than to sacrifice your children on the altar of materialism. As long as we show this attitude, our children are going to continue growing up having a warped view of success far removed from Biblical teachings.
This quote from Benjamin Franklin makes us see that when we put material things, (yes, even necessary ones) ahead of our little ones that we are sacrificing the precious for the trivial. What a tragedy!
When our children were small and we would be traveling, my husband and I would talk about our precious cargo lying asleep in the back seat. It surely made us more aware of how careful we should be in our driving, because of those precious little lives in our care. How much more important are the souls of these little ones than their physical lives! These little ones that are born to us and that we rear up are going to spend eternity somewhere and we are responsibility to see that they are trained in God’s way, because if we don’t train them…the world will!
Young mothers and fathers, you only have one opportunity to bring your children up in God’s favor, and there is not a price or sacrifice too big for that. Don’t blow it! You can not re-do it after you see that you have failed. You may be able to salvage some things later and you should never stop trying to, but you can not un-do from the beginning and start over.
Save yourself a lot of grief later on. Your children are the most important ‘possessions’ that you will ever have control of and they need to be guarded wisely, loved abundantly and completely surrounded by the word of God while they are growing up. This can not be done by a baby sitter or by a child care center. This is done by parental influence and it must be done early. (Deuteronomy 6: 4-6). It is ironic how the special-ness of family togetherness works. If it is special because of the rarity of the times you are together as a family unit, then the special-ness will not have the end result you had hoped for.
Family togetherness needs to be so often and so common place that nothing special is noted at the time. It is later on when it all unfolds and it is this kind of family where appreciation abounds from your children when they have grown up and fond memories will linger with them all through life. Don’t let opportunities pass. We all make mistakes when our children are growing up. No parent is perfect, but God knows this, and still gives the command to train them in the way they should go…If you will pray for wisdom and pray that you will raise them up to be pleasing to God, then He will cause your mistakes to become stepping-stones to greater teaching opportunities for your little ones. ©Edna L. Ingram