Today’s meeting was all about how to raise our children to flourish. Martha Rudd started the meeting with a devotional about praying for our children daily. She gave us an amazing handout with 10 verses to pray over our boys and 10 verses to pray for our girls. If you missed you can find them at the links below:
Martha shared the verses that she has prayed over her two boys throughout their lives. For her son Jeremy is “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). and Joshua is “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). She encouraged all of us moms to find a verse and pray for our children daily whenever we find the moment whether it be while nursing, escaping to the bathroom, or in the pick up line at school.
We then had a guest speaker Erin Myers. A mother of eight children ages 14, 12, 10, 8, 6, 5, and twins that are 2. She recalled becoming a Kindergarten teach and all of the tests and exams she had to take in order to prep her for becoming a teacher, but then when she became a mom there was nothing. They hand you a newborn and send you home. You instantly start regretting things that you have done wrong as a parent. She said for her it is funny how everyone says with eight she must have so much patience. She exclaimed that is far from the truth and that she actually has almost no patience but instead grace.
She started the meeting by telling us of three instances where she remembers losing her patience and what that led her to realize. The instant the resonated with me the most was when she shared that her daughter asked for a cup of water at bedtime. Not really a big deal, but by the end of the day we are all tired and just ready for them to sleep. She recalled being so angry that she went and grabbed the cup of the counter and threw it at her daughter. These instances led her to pray for the Lord to give her peace and patience and grace for and from her children.
Erin shared with us to two principles and one practical advice tip on how to raise our children to flourish. The first principle is to build relationships with your children. She shared of course we are with them all the time so that’s building a relationship, right. Wrong. She encourages us fellow moms to seek the difference between having a physical presence in their lives but to be intentional with our connections. Take the time to listen to the stories and look at what they have created even when it seems monotonous. We have to find the balance between our to do list and our relationships with them.
She encourages us to start building the relationships now when they are young because as they get older the naturally want to separate from you. She warns if you do not take the time to nurture the relationship when they are young it is even more strained as they become teens. When they are teens and naturally want to pull away is when we are trying to have the hard adult conversations these are easier if you have taken the time over the years to cultivate a relationship with them.
The second principle is extending grace to your children when they fail. She says we need it when we fail like when she threw the cup at her child, but they need it too. We receive the most grace from our Father, God and in his likeness we should pass this onto our children. She says when you find yourself wanting to belittle and berate them instead come beside them, link arms and do it together. You need your children to see that, “I am with you and I am for you.”
Lastly, her piece of practical advice. Pick up a good book and read to them. The benefits are not only academic, but spiritual and emotional too. She shares that reading with a child demonstrates love because you took the time out of your day to be with them intentionally. It is not something you can do in a passive way. It creates memories with them; things you guys can look back on and laugh about together.
She shared a story about picking up a poetry book and being able to hear her dad’s voice as if he was reading them when she was a child. She said read stories that emulate behaviors, virtues, and godliness that you want to see in your children as they grow older. She shared how when everyone is fighting in her family, they stop and read. It helps everyone to settle down and it diffuses the tension often letting them continue their day in a much more positive manor.
The last piece of information is that as we all look back on our mother we will find things that we regret, but one thing no one will ever say is I regret the time I spent with my kids.
Thank you Erin for sharing your story with us and encouraging all of our moms on how to raise our children to flourish.