Barnyard Wisdom for Spiritual Parenting
Barnyard wisdom is fascinating to observe!
I watched Mr. Rooster King Kong strut around protectively with his flock of hens. He called them to his discovery of a cluster of earthworms by a woodpile. Then he cried the alarm when a hawk circled. A mother hen clucked to her brood to gather them close with the impending danger. Paul happened to be there and shot in the general direction of the hawk to scare it away. The chickens startled, but then, realizing the danger had passed, continued scuttling and scratching around for tender morsels. And the mother hen continued to cluck to her chicks, teaching them safety and fruitful rules of life in the barnyard.
The cat and dog played a game of tag and duck, having learned well respect for each other’s boundaries, and how far they’d let one another go, even in playful antics.
The mama cows taught their calves which grasses, weeds, and tree leaves are good for food and which they should avoid – except when they’re feeling the need of medicinal help from one weed or another.
It all makes for fascinating study in barnyard interpersonal relationships. 🙂
But it’s more . . .
Watching barnyard creatures can impart a wealth of wisdom to their human caretakers.
I’ve been impacted how even animals guide, discipline and train their young, so that they know how to live in their barnyard world. This impressed on me again the huge responsibility that parents have for how they raise their children in ways to prepare them for adult living in the real world.
I know there are numbers of pros and cons whether children should attend a public or private school, or if they should be home schooled. Or whether any of those options are even possible for a family in their area and situation.
Community organizations can provide training for various interests and skills development.
And the church can provide spiritual guidance for all ages.
But no matter the choice that parents make for their children’s education and development, the most important training children will ever receive is directly from their parents.
Whether mom and dad realize it or not, their children are picking up their values, simply by watching what they spend most of their time, energy and money on. As well as what they talk about most and how they express and show what they are most passionate about. Children also pick up their parents’ mannerisms and behavior, as well as their attitudes and perspectives about anything and everything. This type of training just happens automatically, even without conscious effort on the part of the parents.
Parents have a higher responsibility, though, for intentional training of their children.
While some aspects of raising children happen in the ongoing course of daily living, some important areas need intentional guidance.
Children and young people growing up in today’s chaotic and confusing environment desperately need intentional wise parenting. In Christian homes, parents have a huge responsibility these days to help their children figure out how to make sense of the morass of moral relativism and social shifts. They need guidance to understand God’s worldview in the midst of the culture wars all around them. They need to experience the stability of truth where deception has reached a level of normality in society. They need to feel the security of faithful love where hate speech and hate groups are on display every day.
Most of all, they need to learn to respect and appreciate reverent awe of the high and holy Almighty God, Creator of the universe, loving Father, and redeeming Savior.
How better can children learn all they need to know about living in the real world than through some moments of family devotions?
I realize that it’s just not easy to carve out time for family devotions in our fast-paced society. Perhaps mom and dad both work outside the home. Children spend much of their day away from home in daycare or school. Then sports, private lessons, homework, social life with friends, TV, Mind Craft, and all manner of other online games and attractions scarf up the rest of the day.
So making the time and space for time together as a family before God in prayer and into His Word requires significant intentional effort on the part of parents.
For families, however, who make space for God in their homes and in their daily routines, the rewards are of inestimable value!
It’s amazing how that simple activity can change the whole spirit and atmosphere in the home. There is something about getting the Word of God into our hearts and minds each day that tones our spirits, demeanor and behavior.
And it’s fascinating and thrilling to watch the effects in our children.
It’s as if it gives God more to work with as His Spirit can bring things to their minds through the various activities of their day.
- To know that God is with them, and He sees all they say and do in every situation.
- To convince them that God understands their personalities and temperament, strengths and weaknesses.
- To open up their uniqueness for God’s power and glory to shine through them.
- To experience grace transforming their intentions and motives.
- To shape their spirits and attitudes.
- To help them make good and right choices.
- To learn how to live in the world while not of it.
- To empower courage and confidence to stand for decency and truth, even sometimes with challenging consequences.
- To protect them from all the evil swirling around them.
- To feel the embrace of God’s shalom in uncomfortable circumstances.
It seems family devotions are more important now than ever before. “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25, NIV). I think that verse may not only apply to church congregations, but also to families.
I applaud parents who take the time and intentional effort to fortify their children with the Word of God and the Spirit of God through family devotions in our tumultuous times.
Delight in your children’s spiritual growth and development!
Bon voyage! Enjoy the journey!
Watch and be amazed!
And rightfully proud!
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