Every year we take our children to the pediatrician for a check-up. The first thing they do is check height and weight for normal growth. They have a chart to see what percentile each kid is in. Part of our job as parents is to make sure our children are flourishing, growing and thriving. So much more important than physical flourishing, spiritual flourishing is difficult to measure. It takes careful attention and regular conversation to gauge. How do we tell? And what do we do?
The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God.
They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The Lord is upright;
he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.
The Bible tells us exactly what flourishing looks like! Raising righteous children that proclaim Christ all of their days, in every season of life, in every age, during all the ups and downs!
I struggled mightily as I watched my mom die of cancer. She went from a vibrant 44 year old, full of life, energy, and big plans, to an emaciated skeleton of a woman that couldn’t stand up, in one year’s time. Audio Adrenaline’s now classic song was very popular on the radio at the time. And I would climb into my fiancee’s car utterly spent, emotionally and physically. That song would come on and Gary would make me sing, “I get down… He lifts me up! Every time I’m down the Lord lifts me up.”
How does one flourish in withering circumstances? Goofy as the song is, he was making me repeat the truth of the gospel over and over until I believed it. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. I will NEVER leave you or forsake you. All things together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose. The full armor of God has one offensive weapon – the rest are defensive weapons. That is the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.
In faith shaking times it is the word of God that stands. When the world is crushing your children, his word hidden in their hearts will flourish. It may not be immediately – our timing is not God’s. Understanding the nature of a child can greatly assist us in helping them to flourish: Each one of your children is created in God’s image and bears the potential to display God’s glory. So as kids mature they reflect their Creator as they learn to create, speak, imagine, and develop responsibility to be bearers of authority, when they learn empathy and compassion, how to relate to and serve others. As they learn that they are bought with a great price and are temples of the Holy Spirit they bear God’s image in the fullest way possible. (Sally Clarkson)
|Awaking Wonder: Opening Your Child’s Heart to the Beauty of Learning
By Sally Clarkson
What do we do with all this potential? How do we train up a child in the way he should go? Sally Clarkson in Awakening Wonder talks about the nature of children; she reminds us of the beautiful imagery of Psalm 23, God shepherding those under his care. He led them to lush meadows, breezes, sunshine, bubbling steams, away from dangerous predators. The table is abundant with good food and drinks; the place is peaceful. It is a place of safety.
Now compare this image to your home. If you dare, ask your kids to describe the atmosphere of your home. It’s admittedly not easy to create the home you want. Here is something important to remember: Creative play builds neural pathways and makes smarter, more well adjusted kids. Creative play is messy! So teach them to clean up, too. Embrace a little controlled chaos and do not fear the mess. I have some fun mess activities for you at the end of the article!
Is yours the yard where kids can make movies? The kitchen where they can bake cupcakes? The corner where they can sell lemonade? The garage where the band can practice? Can the blessings you have been entrusted with flourish in your home?
Just like the percentile chart, here are some questions to ask yourself to diagnose flourishing in your own children, in your home:
If your children know that they are loved unconditionally by you and by their Creator, they have the foundation needed for life and godliness. Children may choose not to believe what you’ve taught. But they are far more likely to if it is authentically lived with integrity.
Hot Cocoa Cloud Dough
Mix with your hands. Add more oil if needed for a “cloud” consistency. Add cocoa mix until you achieve the desired smell. Keep in a sealed bin or snapwear container. Play with using hands, cookie cutters, measuring spoons and cups, molds and bowls.
Forager’s Hibiscus Tea
Pick about 10 hibiscus flowers from your neighborhood. Set them out to dry until they crack easily (several days). Steep in 2 cups hot water for 10 mins. Add sugar, honey, or maple sugar to taste. Refrigerate until cold. Dilute with cold water. Garnish with mint or berries and enjoy over ice!
Sign up to hang out at Never a Doll Moment each week! I never share your information with anyone. Plus, you will receive my free Long Term Homeschool Planning Worksheet to get you started on an amazing homeschool journey!