As a home decor blogger, normally I would be writing an article about building character and I’d mean character like the charm of an old house. But truth be told, I’m far more concerned about my kids character than I am about any home decor project I’ve ever attempted.
I have three children, ranging in age from 23 down to 11. While our youngest is just 11, I have a lot of hope and “confident expectation” for the man he will become. He is a young man in process, but he has a heart that could be shaped and used greatly by the Lord. Right now, we are deep into character building. I don’t know the end of the story yet. But I will report back to you on how that goes in about 10 years.
Yet I can say with confidence, at ages 20 and 23, my girls have already turned into great young women of God. They care about each other and their brother, they respect their parents and they are smart hardworking college educated kids! They are still growing and maturing, as we all should do for a lifetime, but I am confident enough in them to know their hearts are fully surrendered to God and His plan for their life. They are self-sacrificing, God-honoring young women whose character is evident to all who know them. And because of those quality in them, He has many more great things in store!
So how did I raise such amazing kids? Am I super mom? Should I win the mother of the year award?
No, not at all. I have failed many times. I’m not the perfect mom and my husband is not the perfect dad. I didn’t win the popular mom vote, the most fun mom award or the most Martha-like homemaker award. We didn’t read all the right parenting books or put our kids on the right schedules for success. We didn’t go to parenting seminars or have a detailed step by step plan for how to raise our kids. We disappointed our kids and ourselves many times. We cried many tears and prayed many prayers along the way. Our kids are amazing, but not perfect. And they can still fail! We are not the perfect family by any stretch of the imagination.
For you young moms, I don’t have all the parenting answers. I’m not an expert and don’t claim to have the success formula.
I’ve seen children grow up and choose to go their own way, with their free will — and it breaks their mama’s hearts. My heart breaks for those moms, many of whom did all they could and their children still disappointed them. We always have to hold our kids with open hands.
All I can offer you new moms, who are just beginning this journey of motherhood, is what I tried with all my heart to do over the past 23 years:
Faithfully build character into your children every chance you get. Even if you are not the perfect mom in every way, you can be faithful in that. Here are just a few ways to build and model character while raising those children:
- Nurture a healthy love and fear of the Lord into their hearts.
- Teach them the character qualities of God so they will understand ALL of who He is.
- Be there for them … praise them, hug them goodnight, kiss them goodbye.
- Look directly in their eyes when they speak to you. Listen to them.
- Be humble about your own imperfection, but firmly instill how much you love them.
- Take care of them in ways that are important, let go of the guilt or pressure to be super parents.
- Let them fail and take responsibility for it. Love them through it.
- Teach them to think and reason and make good choices…and model that for them.
- Let your children see that your marriage and family are a priority.
- Teach them to show respect, love and concern for others.
- Model what it means to love your neighbor as yourself.
- Give them opportunities to practice selfless and sacrificial love for others.
- Let them shine in how God created them and cheer them on.
- Challenge them to be who God created them to be even when it is hard work to get there.
- Inspire them for what is possible with God!
- Pray for them.
- Pray with them.
- Remember Who they belong to.
- When they question your wisdom, remind them Who they need to please, above all others.
- Remind them often that being their mom is one of the highest God-given privileges and honors of your life.
Hang in there moms. I pray you will see the rewards of your labor and the joy of watching your kids grow up to be Godly young men and women of character someday!
How do you build character into your children?