Thursday, August 2, 2012

Three Part Parenting

I think we would all agree with the fact that one day we'll take our last breath. And when we do our bodies will be laid to rest and it's our souls that will live on for eternity. Right? 

Well, if that's what we actually believe then we should parent a little more with that in mind. We spend so much time parenting the "body" that we forget about the eternal part of our child.

Christian's love to throw around the term "spirit," "soul," and "body" but what are those three things? We all know what the body is, but what defines the spirit and the soul?

Emily Freeman in her book Grace for the Good Girl says; "I'm convinced that the Bible teaches that we are a three-part whole....  The soul is the emotions, the mind and the will. The soul can't function properly without the life-giving spirit. Back in the Garden, when God said that eating from the Tree of Knowledge would lead to death, he was not saying that just to scare the man and woman. Did they die physically? No, they still had bodies. Did their souls die? No, they still had emotions and thoughts and wills of their own. So what died? Their spirits died that day in the Garden, that invisible place deep inside where they were connected to their God. And so every human after that was born into Adam, into death, with a dead spirit. The only way to bring the spirit to life is to admit it is dead and receive the One who is life."

As a mom I know my days are consumed with taking care of my children's bodies. I feed them, keep them clean, hug and kiss on them, make sure they get enough sleep, give them vitamins to keep them healthy, etc. Honestly, taking care of their little bodies is exhausting enough but that's the easy part.

Parenting their soul...their emotions and their little minds and taming their will is the hard part.  And this is the area where I find myself putting the most effort. There are countless books out there that offer advice on discipline techniques and all sorts of different theories on how to train up a child.

But lets talk about the spirit of your child for a minute. Is it even something that you think about on a daily basis or are you so overwhelmed with taking care of their body and their soul that their spirit gets lost in the chaos? In reality their spirit is the most important part of them. It determines how they will spend eternity, yet we spend such little time nurturing it.

I am convinced that as you parent you should have daily routines in your life that help you parent all three parts of you child. We have bedtime routines, bath time routines, dinner plans, etc that take care of their bodies. We help them learn to control their will and manage their emotions through various discipline techniques and through positive reinforcement. And in our home we nurture their spirits in several different ways. For starters we pray and say a scripture at every meal. It's not a big deal, it's just part of the routine. Reading God's word also nurtures their spirit. And I'm a big believer in putting your child to bed instead of sending them to bed. When I put my kids to bed this is the main time of day that I connect with them and during that time I am helping them learn to connect with Jesus. This is when I teach them to pray. I ask them for prayer requests. We read Bible stories. I ask them if their is anything they need to ask Jesus forgiveness for (teaching them to confess their sins). I love that one on one time with them when the room is dark and they don't want to go to sleep yet so they stall as long as they can and talk. Sometimes letting them stall bedtime is a good thing :)  They love this time when we sing and pray and reflect on their day and talk about Jesus and talk to Jesus. For a long time I thought they loved it because it delays their bedtime, but I know now that their little spirits crave that time when it's peaceful and they can connect with Jesus. Christian is seven now and I know that he has a very real and rather mature relationship with Jesus and it's because of the time we've invested at bedtime.

I have no idea who actually reads my blog or if you'll even get this far down in a post with no pictures :)  I do know that the words of this post have been rolling around in my brain for a solid week and I felt like this was something I was supposed to write. I'm no parenting expert.  I don't have it all figured out. I just try (and lots of times fail) each day to be obedient to Jesus.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Judy. I also put my kids to bed with a prayer each night, but I know there is more I can and should do.


Anonymous said...

Wishing I had little ones again to start over...I might change a few things.