Real Army Wives: Time to Build a Support Network

The Real Army Wives Series: Time to Build a Support Network

 

******This is the 12th chapter in the series The Real Army Wives, stories from a young military bride at the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2003.******

Previous chapter: When Alan First Deployed: My New Friends at 9-1-1.

Getting Help

I followed through with my vow from the previous night to hop off this crazy train and get myself some help. What kind of help, I had no idea, but I figured I’d try the doctor’s office first.

Military clinics are a unique entity. The appointment line system in and of itself is enough to make a person go absolutely mad, but somehow I managed to secure myself a same day appointment. I must have called at 7:59 am, and God was just smiling down on me that day because it’s normally about impossible to get an appointment. » Read more

The Story Traveler’s Bible: 5 Easy Ways We Teach Our Children About God

5 Ways we teach our children about God

Our number one priority is that we set our children off on the right track spiritually.

We aren’t training them to live to please just their parents, society, or a set of rules.  Once you’re an adult, those things all become mushy anyway.

We’d rather they have a relationship with God. It’s not about religion; it’s about knowing how to pray, knowing why they believe, having faith, and making these choices on their own. It’s about feeling responsible to a being higher than ourselves.

We want them to know that through any crisis in life, and the good times too, they can cry to Jesus, to our Heavenly Father. Alan and I will eventually die. Their brothers will too, so they need someone who will always be there. That’s what they can find in their relationship with God.

The Story Traveler's Bible 5 Ways we teach our children about God

Here are 5 super simple ways we foster their relationship with God:

 

#1. We teach them to pray.

From the time they are babies, we pray with each child individually before they go to bed at night. Sometimes it’s just Alan or me, but usually it’s both of us with each boy. When they are babies, I say all the words.

By the time they are talking, I let them say their own prayers, and I give them ideas for what to say by having them repeat after me. I change it up, not saying the same old thing every night.

For example:

“Thank you for this day. Thank you for my mommy, my daddy, my brothers, and (whoever else comes to mind). Thank you for my toys. Thank you for my house. Thank you for my food. Please help (insert sick relative) get better. Amen.”

By the time they are 3, they rarely repeat after me. They say whatever is on their mind, and sometimes it is adorable, and sometimes it is downright hilarious.

One of my boys used to say, “Thank you for

my mom and dad. Thank you for polar bears. Please help the polar bears. Thank you for badgers, raccoons, sun bears, grizzly bears, dolphins, beluga whales…” and he’d go on and on and on naming every animal he knew. So precious.

As they get older, we add in teaching them about praying for forgiveness when they’ve hurt their brother or disobeyed.

 

 

5 Ways we teach our children about God

Daniel, proudly displaying an award he earned at church.

#2. We take them to church.

It’s so much work when they are little to get them all cleaned up and dressed and to the church on time, but it’s so incredibly worth it. Hearing these Bible stories from another adult, hearing about how God loves them, and getting another Christian’s perspective on walking with the Lord is powerful. 

It backs up everything they are learning at home, encourages them in their faith, and exposes them to other leaders and kids like them. I have had so many mentors over the years that were my Sunday school teachers and other Christians who enhanced my understanding with their unique experiences.

 

5 Ways we teach our children about God

 

#3. Talking about what the Bible says

I should actually do this more. I tend to remember when I discipline the boys. I tell them, “Hey, Mom doesn’t like to punish you, but it’s my job. God tells me to. The Bible says an undisciplined son is a shame to his parents.” And well, we all know that’s true.

I try to remember to use Biblical examples when I’m coaching them on how to handle difficult people or situations or jobs.

#4. Modeling good habits

Feel free to laugh at me here because I guarantee you I’ve taught about as many bad habits as I have good…ahem…

But that’s okay. Kids need to know that people aren’t perfect, and we have to love and accept all sorts of people and be very forgiving.

We all know “more is caught than taught.” I want my children to see me reading my Bible, see me praying, see me helping the poor, and know that I am a kind, loving person who truly believes what I’m teaching.

For example….

I remember when I was home-schooling. Caleb and I were both going through a phase where we were having trouble with our out-of-control emotions. His was probably the result of my BAD modeling because I was going through a difficult time, but at least I was able to coach him on how to control his own emotions, by learning from my own mistakes.

I said, “Caleb, you may not ever be able to master your feelings on your own. When you feel that anger start to rage, and you want to give in to it, immediately stop and pray. Pray for God to help you keep it together.”

So one day, one of my boys came in, all upset and indignant, to tell on Caleb.

“Mom! Mom! I accidentally (did whatever), and Caleb got mad, and he HIT me, and then he just got down on his knees and started PRAYING!” said the flabbergasted and deeply offended brother.

I was so happy I could have soared with the birds.

“Oh, wow! That’s wonderful!” I joyfully answered.

“What! Wonderful?? What! He HIT me!!”

“Don’t you see? It would’ve been much worse for you if he hadn’t stopped and prayed. He stopped and prayed to keep from hitting you any more. Be thankful!”

 

#5. Using illustrated children’s Bibles to teach them God’s Word, like the Story Traveler’s Bible.

Reading the Bible to the boys goes over a whole lot better when we use a book with mesmerizing pictures, like this one. You should’ve heard the weeping and gnashing of teeth we used to hear when Alan would make our 7, 6, and 2 year olds listen to an entire chapter of the KJV Bible straight up.

Bible time should not be torture. We’ve come a long way since then.

Allow me to introduce you to a fabulous new children’s Bible that our family is currently enjoying reading:

5 Ways we teach our children about God

Includes 85 Bible stories

I love the details of the Bible stories that it includes.  Plus, it’s so helpful how she includes these memory verses in the margins!

5 Ways we teach our children about God 5 Ways we teach our children about God

The boys love the brightly colored illustrations by Tim Crecelius.

5 Ways we teach our children about God

In fact, for a week I could not find the book, and I thought I’d looked everywhere. It finally turned up in my nine-year-old’s room, in his little reading corner.

Now that’s good silent reading material!

5 Ways we teach our children about God

Look at these beautiful pages:

5 Ways we teach our children about God

In this book, 3 modern boys and girls travel through time and visit all of these old Bible stories and places.

5 Ways we teach our children about God

the Samson story

 

 

5 Ways we teach our children about God

 

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You can order the Story Traveler’s Bible here, for $9.94 from Amazon.

I hope you got some ideas or found some of this helpful. If you have any ideas to add or questions to ask, comment below.  Good luck on the giveaway!!

 

 

Tom Sawyer and the Most Important Commandment

Sometimes I choose involuntary titles to read to my children. As in, I pick the book, and they have to listen. I have four boys, and with their personalities this is necessary if I ever want them to read a single classic novel. It worked well for the Little House series and Old Yeller, so why not Tom Sawyer?

 

I do have the unabridged version of Tom Sawyer, which is on an 8th grade reading level and is chock full of big words, some taboo language, and outdated ideas. I think it broadens their understanding to read things like this.

And it is a hilarious book, as you would expect, certainly funnier than their beloved Captain Underpants, in my opinion.

I’m only reading Tom Sawyer to my two oldest because the little ones don’t have the attention span for that yet.

One chapter we read recently reminded me how much America has changed for the worse, though many changes, such as America’s dark past of racism, have been for the better.

What change was for the worse? Bible knowledge. These days most people have terrible misconceptions of God and the Bible. How could we have any knowledge of a book most people no longer study?

Tom Sawyer was no goody-good church kid. That much you know, but out of requirement he did attend church every Sunday. The kids in Tom’s Sunday school class could even earn tickets by reciting Bible verses…..much like AWANA today. Tom was obviously not one to spend much time practicing his verses, so he took to trading for tickets.

This was funny to me because Caleb used to do this exact thing with SOAR cards when he was in 1st grade. SOAR cards were handed out at school for good behavior and could be exchanged for prizes. Caleb used to take Lego men to school and trade them for SOAR cards. He and many of the boys in his class had a real underground black market going with those cards.

Anyway, in the book Tom hands in enough tickets to get the grand prize, a new Bible. Not only that, but when he receives the grand prize he gets to stand up in front of the entire church and receive applause.

So they brought Tom up, and they asked him questions like, “What is the greatest commandment?”

No, Tom didn’t know.

Most people in America probably don’t know what commandment is the greatest. Sometimes the loudest so-called Christian people are the very ones who have confused everyone from knowing what God’s message even was. Ugh.

So I ask you, do you know? What is the greatest commandment? Some of you know, and some of you may not, but I don’t think we can ever be reminded too often.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

 

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”                                  –Matthew 22:36-40

Because if we love others, we will naturally not steal, lie, cheat, or use God’s name in vain. When we love others, we want to respect, help, and honor them.

None of us are perfect, and none of us ever will be on this earth, but what we should be striving for is LOVE.

“We were meant to put ourselves out there for people. An earthly cause is nothing without a people it affects.”       –Beth Moore

Love God. Love people. The most important commandments. People often split hairs about raising children. Do they have all As? Are they good at sports? Are they leaders? Do they sit quietly with their hands in their lap? Are they outgoing?

Who cares? You know what matters? Do your children love God and love people and show that through their actions? That’s what matters in my book and in God’s book too.

Of course, they have to learn that from us. We have to show our children how to do these things through our own actions. I hope we will always look for ways to show love to God and love to people. It isn’t always easy, but it’s more than worth it.

As I type these lovely, ideal thoughts out, I wonder. How will I show love today? You know, I’ve probably already failed a few times at this, and it’s only 10:39 am. But it is never too late to make the next step in a positive direction.

 

 

 

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