Planning Ahead

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This might seem silly, and it’s okay if you laugh at me, but I actually rehearse conversations with my kids before they happen.  When the house is quiet in the late evening, and I’m standing in front of a pile of soapy dishes, I think about what I am going to say to them in certain situations.  When I am driving in the car, and it is the rare moment that everyone has fallen asleep, I rehearse what I will do when they fall into certain sins.  When I am reading the Word in the early morning, I jot down verses that I want to bring up with them later.  If I am going to be a good trainer of these little troops, I have to have a plan.  If I am going to be able to withstand the surprising stressful moments with patience and kindness, I have to think ahead.  Because when you have any children under the age of six, nothing should surprise you.  I love little ones.  Their behavior is sweet and cute and funny, but they have only been in the world a few years.  Should I really be surprised when they are overtaken with jealousy or when they can’t control their tiredness?  I’m called to train them, which means they are going to need training!  I can’t expect them to know how to live without years of correction and practice and training

If you have spent any time with your children, you probably know what kinds of sins they are easily ensnared by.  Generally speaking little boys struggle with controlling themselves physically, and they are prone to hit, punch, wrestle or run where they shouldn’t.  Little girls seem to struggle more with controlling their emotions.  They tend to cry when they shouldn’t, whine, sulk, and envy.  I find it extremely helpful to watch for and notice what sins my particular children are more prone to, and to make a plan for how I am going to handle the situation when they start to slip.

I have put together a list of verses that I memorize with my girls.  These have helped me in many situations.  Have you ever seen your child in sin, and in the moment you can’t think of anything to say other than “Stop it!  Just stop whatever it is that you are doing!”?  The frustrating thing for them is that most of the time they don’t even understand what is wrong with whatever they are doing.  Instead I find it so much more effective to say something like “I can see that you are grumpy right now.  What does the Bible say about being grumpy?  A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.  Can we pray together for a joyful heart. Now you need to stop being grumpy.”  Or “I just told you not to jump on the couch.  What does the Bible say about obeying my words? Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  You need to listen to my words and obey them.”

I know there are many, many more verses that can be used for training children, but these are some of the ones that I seem to use the most frequently.  I try to use the same ones over and over again in my correction so that they remember it.  I hope these can be helpful to you, and that you can add your own verses for whatever your children need

For when they need to be reminded to obey:
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Ephesians 6:1

For when they need to remember to speak respectfully:
“Honor your father and your mother that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God if giving you.” Ex. 20:12

For when they are throwing fits:
“A man without self control is like city broken into and left without walls.” Proverbs 25:28 I explain this one by telling them that that if they throw a fit, their heart has no walls and it makes it very easy for sin to get in and control them, but if they control themselves, then their heart is strong like a city with tall walls.

For when they are afraid:
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust” Psalm 56:3

For when they need to forgive or be kind to others:
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32

For when others are unkind to them:
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21

For when they need to be reminded to be cheerful:
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22

For when they notice how beautiful they are:
“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 30:30

For when they make crass jokes:
“Let there be no filthiness, nor foolish talk, nor crude joking, which is out of place, instead let there be thanksgiving.” Eph. 5:4

For when they are complaining:
“Do all things without complaining or arguing, so that you may become children of God, blameless and pure.” Philippians 2:14

For when they forget the rules:
“Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe His commands.” Deuteronomy 8:11

For when they are feeling shy:
“The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.” Proverbs 28:1

For when they are jealous or envious:
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with the things that you have, for God has said, ‘I will never leave you, I will never forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5

For when they need to be reminded of God’s forgiveness:
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9