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Flourishing at Home

  • September 4, 2023
  • By Donielle
Flourishing at Home

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?

Psalm 92:12 – 15 (NIV) is a great place to start:

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!

Flourishing in pain

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.

Nature of children

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)

235883: Awaking Wonder: Opening Your Child"s Heart to the Beauty of LearningAwaking 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.

Flourishing in your home

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:

Flourishing questions

  1. Do your children believe that they matter? Do your kids believe that how they live matters?
  2. Do you create a love of learning in your home?
  3. Does the training and education you provide respect their individual God-given gifts and understanding of the things that are tough for them?
  4. Is it safe to give a wrong answer in your home?
  5. Are your children respectfully allowed to disagree with you?  It’s very important to teach kids how to confront lovingly and respectfully.  Do not allow criticism to be biting and purposefully hurtful, to siblings, parents, or even the dog.  I give do-overs where they practice a respectful complaint or disagreement.
  6. Do you shut your children down when they have half baked ideas? or ask “Have you considered this?”  Try “Interesting. How would you do that?” Failure should happen at home where it is safe.
  7. Is your home a safe haven of unconditional love and acceptance? (Not a place where they get away with everything they try)
  8. Are you approachable? Are you too busy? Can they get your attention off your phone?
  9. Can they count on enforced, fair boundaries in your home?  Consistency is key.
  10. Do you compare your children to each other or to their friends? God created unique individuals with individual personalities, struggles, and gifts.
  11. Do you try to motivate them with guilt? Bribery? Guilt is flourishing deterrent.
  12. Is your home a place of authentic faith and virtue?
  13. Is your home different from the world?
  14. Is your home full of moralism without faith? Do you need your kids to look a certain way or act a certain way so they don’t embarrass you? I am not talking about having manners and being clean. Those are necessary. I am talking about tweens who try a new style of dressing. One of mine wanted to wear a leather coat everywhere. One had a hat phase. Let it go!
  15. Do you praise their efforts instead of their accomplishments?
  16. Does your family speak and live one way in front of some people and another in front of others? Are you able to put aside expectations for the good of your children?
  17. Do you ask forgiveness when you lose it with your kids? Do you ask forgiveness when you lose it with your husband?
  18. Is your home a place to live a purposeful life?
  19. Do your children contribute to the household in some way? Chores create a sense of belonging and importance. Do they help out their siblings and grandparents?  Volunteer in some way? Church? Local and community programs?

Unconditional love

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.

Sensory “mess” for younger kids:

Hot Cocoa Cloud Dough

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1-2 cups hot cocoa mix (or several hot cocoa packets). Cocoa powder works as well.
  • 3/4 cups oil

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.

Sensory “Mess” for older kids

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!

By Donielle, September 4, 2023
  • 1
1 Comment
  • Josie
    September 6, 2023

    Thank you for sharing your parenting ideas. I’m sure parents appreciate them. I like sharing them with my nieces. I pray they are inspired by them all. You’ve done a great job rasing your girls, therefore, with confidence, I pass this one.

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