Wednesday, September 22, 2010

some thoughts on godliness at home with kids

1.  I wonder if some of our struggles to be good tempered etc. with our kids comes from an unrealistic (and wrong) view of what our homes should be like. Are they to be a haven from the outside world? A place to which we retreat? Or are they very much in the world and a part of our experience of the world?

What would happen if we changed our ideas and expectations of 'home'? Try this. Home is not a place to escape. In this world, there isn't any human relationship or physical place we can go to escape from sin and fallenness. The world is in my lounge room as much as it is in the street or shopping centre. It is in my relationship with my husband and my relationship with my kids and my kids' relationships with my husband and with each other. Wherever I am there will always be sin and disfunction. If I am trying to make my family life look like a page of a scrapbooked photo album, then I will always be frustrated. Patience will be even more difficult. I will always see the things that aren't good.

2. The more temptation I face, the more likely it is that I will give in to it. It is a good idea for me to avoid temptation to sin when I can. We don't learn how to resist sexual temptation by hanging out in certain aisles of a newsagency or navigating towards MA internet sites.  To some extent, I can flee certain sins by sharpening up my home systems. I was speaking to a friend from church who is a Triple P Parenting instructor. I shared the story of a particularly woeful morning where my children and I were particularly badly behaved. Instead of berating me or encouraging me to berate myself, she pointed out a few ways we should change our systems so that significantly less patience was required of me and the children. Practical stuff. Our kids were refusing to get out of bed in the morning and get ready for school. She simply asked why this was happening. I explained that the house was cold. She suggested we warm it up a bit and have all their school clothes easily accessible (duh!). It made a huge difference. Everyone was in a good temper the next morning. Because we had avoided the first round of morning tantrums, I had more energy left for handling the later rounds.

3. I was listening to a Kellar sermon the other day. It was talking about how the bible talks about the FRUIT of the spirit rather than the FRUITS of the spirit. Keller suggested that we need to look at them as a set and work on all of them together rather than individually. A lack of joy may find expression in impatience. I'm thinking about this.

4. I go better at everything when there is freshness. A new project. A new idea. If I'm bored, I'm disengaged and grumpy. I need to inject fun and creativity into most things I do with my kids. This is just how I am.

5. My first point gets on my nerves. It feels so blah and negative and uninspiring. Home might not be the safe haven we may want it to be, but it can be fun and loving. Mine is.


  1. Maybe home is both; a 'sinful haven' if you like, though that sounds a bit sus, lol! I like the idea that my kids, hubby and I have a place where we are accepted 100%, quirky warts and all, but I realise that just like in the world we will sin against God and each other.

  2. I like those thoughts. I wish we had a Triple P parenting instructor at our church.

    I think the idea of home as a safe haven (and by extension, us trying to make it a haven of good tempered happiness with our kids as much as possible) can be the start of a slippery slope towards idolatry of home and family.

    I also like the idea of fruit rather than fruits, but maybe that's because it sounds like less work to concentrate on a set of qualities rather than lots of individual ones (although I'm sure it isn't less work). Maybe that was the difficulty I had reading Respectable Sins as many individual sins that it was hard to know where to start.

  3. I think sometimes we are more badly behaved at home because we are wearing fewer masks, we are less hypocritical. Not that that excuses it, but it points us in the right direction - it shows that home IS a safe haven. But then sometimes its because we take each other for granted and forget to make an effort. Like your cold house story - don't we all have a few hundred of those in our family lives!

  4. Hey Simone,
    Have you had a chance to think more about #3? I'm interested in hearing more!

  5. Yes. I've been thinking about it more. Nothing to report yet, though...

  6. Just in case you missed it, Simone: further thoughts on patience. Thanks for your very practical post.

  7. Thanks Jean. I had read your post. These thoughts kind of bounced off yours.

  8. Just remember that it's the fruit of the SPIRIT, not of our own efforts. I'm not advocating an attitude of sitting back and saying that any of your faults are because the Spirit hasn't fixed that yet (as if it were His fault) but just remember that it's the Spirit's work and that your job is to be malleable to that work.