Summer is here! I love this time of the year. I love daylight, so I am always excited when daylight savings time begins. Summer brings back many happy memories to me. Before we started Rhema Bible Church, my husband and I and our children, Craig and Denise, traveled all summer in crusades with my father- and mother-in-law. We were gone from home most of the summer months.
Though we were in church meetings a lot, we also made many good memories with the kids. Psalm 127:3 says, “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” Raising children is not an easy task. It is important to balance training the children and developing a relationship with them as well.
Proverbs 22:6 states, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” In training children, it is essential to establish early on values that are important for them to be successful in life. My parents instilled in me two scriptures that I taught my children as well. Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Attending church and placing God first in our life was not an option; it was a rule. I instilled that in my children and my grandchildren. In fact, one of my grandsons said one day, “You don’t tell NaNa that you are not going to church.” He was absolutely right. Regularly attending church is a vital part of training your children.
The other scripture my parents instilled in me was Ephesians 6:2–3, “Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.” My parents always said, “If you want to live a long time, it is important that you obey and honor us.” It concerns me when I see children talking very disrespectfully to their parents. Allowing your young children to disrespect you teaches them to be disrespectful to those who are in authority.
It is important to make fun memories with your children.
Rules and guidelines are necessary. However, having a relationship with your children is equally important. We included our children in some of the decisions that were made. For instance, our vacations were always a time we asked the children where they would like to go or what they wanted to do.
One vacation Craig and Denise still talk about is what we called “the amusement park” vacation. We were traveling in a motor home and went to Missouri, Kansas, Ohio, and Texas. We indulged the children by going to their favorite amusement parks. I did not go on any of the rides but enjoyed watching them have fun riding all the rollercoasters with their dad.
We always made Friday night a family night. I normally cooked at home, but on Friday nights, we went to a restaurant. Each week, one of us chose the restaurant. This taught the kids how to make choices and be amiable when a restaurant they weren’t particularly fond of was chosen.
One memory I have is a Friday I thought was going to be an easy choice. Everyone wanted a hamburger. Wow, we were all in agreement! However, when deciding where we would go for a hamburger, everyone had a different idea. Denise wanted McDonald’s, Craig wanted Burger King, and my husband wanted Whataburger.
Suddenly I came up with what I thought was a brilliant plan. One particular street in Tulsa had all three places. So we went to McDonald’s and Burger King and got carryout and ended up at Whataburger to eat our hamburgers together. That night everyone got their choice of food!
It is important to make fun memories with your children. And of course, we are now in the season of making memories with our grandchildren as well. We have five grandsons, and they still talk about the time we took all five of them on vacation. Their ages ranged from 3–14 at the time. What a trip that was! We took them to two amusement parks, and it is a memory I will always cherish.
In conclusion, make sure you have a home that is filled with the presence and love of God. Take time to have devotions with your children. Read the Bible with them. You are the greatest influence in their lives. Make sure you are a good example for them to follow.
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