A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. ~ John 13:34-35
Our families are the first formative relationships for our children. How we react to them as needy babies, teach them to share and cooperate as siblings, express mercy and grace when they are naughty, and express unconditional love are all guided by our understanding of who we are as followers of Jesus. Love, as Jesus taught, is our guide. Loving others is God’s working through us.
So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. ~ Matthew 7:12
How does this translate into our family life? First, get down on the level of little children and look into their eyes with love. This takes time. Not much but when you’re busy getting a meal ready or running to switch laundry loads you have to STOP and look into the eyes of the child who needs your attention. Do you have one that is extra naughty? Then that one needs more one-on-one guidance. If that guidance is to be effective then it must be done in love, relationally, eye-to-eye.
The eye that you give your children must not be a condescending eye, a haughty eye, an eye of embarrassment, a rolling eye, a continually disappointed and disapproving eye, but an eye of love. How do you expect that Jesus looked at the children He ministered to? How do you expect Jesus looks at you? Love and compassion are how we minister to our children and that comes through not only our serving hands but when we look at our children. The words that come out of our mouths must match the eyes that our children are looking at. When we truly see them as tender souls that need Jesus, just as much as we need Jesus, then they are feeling not just the love of a mother but the love of Jesus.
But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. ~ Mark 10:14
In order for us to consistently and persistently mother our children through the power of Jesus we need to sit at His feet. Read your Bible and study Him. The days are busy, I know, so read your children the gospels. Read a little bit every day and learn to know Him with them. There is more to Jesus than His birth and His death and resurrection. He is the source of wisdom. He is the source of love. By reading the stories of Jesus to your children, you will all learn together how to be like Jesus. You will learn how to love each other. You will practice together being like Jesus, looking at each other through the eyes of Jesus.
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” ~ Luke 10:38-42
The dishes and laundry aren’t going anywhere. The children will always need another bath, a haircut, nails trimmed. The math, science, and spelling will educate them, surely. But what will it all matter if they don’t know Jesus beyond His birth and death and resurrection?
When they are questioned someday, “Why is Christianity the only valid religion?” “Aren’t there many ways to reach God?” Will your children really know Jesus? Or will He seem to them as a great prophet among other great prophets? Spend the time you have with your children at the feet of Jesus and then talk about Him as you go about your daily work.
When our children are at the feet of Jesus with us, they will learn, they will grow in their faith, and they will see the reality of a living God. They will learn to know the only true God. They will learn that God cares about the intimate details of our lives; that God teaches us to see others as He does; that God loves us and others unconditionally. Our children will grow up under the love, mercy, and grace of sinful parents who are sitting at the feet of Jesus with them.
Kim is the joyful wife of Matt and the blessed mother of nine children.
When not busy homeschooling and farmschooling, she enjoys writing, gardening, cooking, reading, sewing, and crafting.
Kim lives on a farm in Iowa where her family grows beef cattle, corn and beans, and operates a micro-dairy selling cheese at farmer’s markets. She loves to write and speak about her passion for home and family. She is the author of Large Family Logistics: The Art and Science of Managing the Large Family. She blogs about the same subject at:
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