Yesterday, I shared my story of becoming a gold-mining mom. You might want to scroll down to read the first part, then come back for the rest of the story. It will will make much more sense if you start with the beginning.
The next day, Joshua and I created a character chart on poster board. We made cards to attach that included a character trait and Bible verse and clip art Joshua selected to illustrate the actions and attitudes. We made gold nuggets by balling up foil and spray-painting them gold. That afternoon I showed J.J. our new invention. He liked the idea and agreed to join the adventure.
We decided to focus on a different trait each week while looking for ways to live them in our everyday lives. At dinner or bedtime we’d talk about ways we shared, showed patience, persevered, etc. We incorporated that week’s verse in prayers for our family and others. When we saw Joshua displaying one of the golden actions or attitudes we gave him a gold nugget. We also set up a system so he could save and redeem the nuggets for special treats or family activities. This became our way of encouraging him for showing good character. It also helped him learn delayed gratification; the perfect fix for those “I want one of everything” days.
As we read Bible stories with our boys, I started looking for examples of people who showed good or bad character. The new perspective God had given me for parenting started shaping my prayers as I asked God to mold our children’s character and our own to look more like His.
Although I was the one who initiated this new idea, my husband, J.J., caught on quickly and even started making up games to teach the kids traits we were learning each week. One day he tied a blanket around Joshua’s waist and put M&M’s in a cup on the other end of the room. He told Joshua to pull against the opposing force of dad holding the ends of the blanket to get to the cup.
While Joshua pulled, J.J. shouted discouraging comments like, “You might as well give up. You are never going to get to the other side. It’s just not worth it to work so hard.” He also had Andrew, our youngest son, cheer Joshua on with encouraging statements like, “You can do it. Just keep your eyes on the M&M’s. Don’t give up!” Finally J.J. allowed Joshua to get to the cup. While they M&M’s together, J.J. talked with Joshua and Andrew about the rewards of not giving up even when things are really hard and the power of encouragement to help someone persevere.
Isn’t it just like God to take a mom’s mess and give her a message that she needed – and one she could eventually share with others. I pray that it is giving you hope. You see, our home changed the week I was ready to give up! And it has never been the same. With new perspective in our parenting, my husband and I have become a gold-mining mom and dad. It’s been almost 10 years since then, and we are still looking for new character traits to learn and we ways to live out God’s Word in our everyday lives. It has taken our kids beyond the basics of Bible stories and made following God’s commands more of an adventure rather than a set of rules and regulations. The golden nuggets have become tangible blessings and reminders of God’s promise to reward us for following Him.
Although the world tell us to seek the treasures of big houses, new cars, skinny bodies and expensive vacations. God tells us to mine for gold in our own backyard by investing our lives in shaping the hearts of our children. The Bible says children are an inheritance and parenting is a high calliing. Today’s kids are tomorrow’s leaders – for our communities, our churches, our schools, and our nation. Shaping their character is the most worthy investment we can make.
But it won’t happen just because we think it’s important. It will only happen if we take time to show them what it looks like and coach them through circumstances where they can choose character over convenience. Like any learned skill, character has to move from the head to the heart and then be practiced in everyday life.
After several years of shaping our children’s character with God’s Treasure Box of Truths, mining for gold in the heart of our children has become a reality, and we are richer for it. Bringing out God’s best in them has gone beyond gold nuggets to the reality that we are accomplishing in our kids what God wants to accomplish in us. He wants all of His children to have a heart like His. The good in each of us is because we are created in His image. The gold we find in the hearts of our children is that which reflects the heart of God and the golden truths of His Word.
As I shared yesterday, the day I almost quit being a mom was actually the day I started becoming the mom I wanted to be and the mom God created me to be – a mom with a heart like HIS.
Tomorrow, I’ve got some very practical steps to share to help you get started. See you then!
Copyright 2009, Rene Swope – All rights reserved.
Today’s Mom Give-Aways
Today we are choosing winners from the comments and giving away two D6 mom resources – a copy of my “Mining for Gold in the Heart of Your Child Chart and CD, a D6 Mom Tshirt and a year’s worth of Family Devotional Magazines from D6. We’re giving away gifts every weekday, so be sure to come back for more mom encouragement and resources from D6 and Proverbs 31 Ministries!
To be part of today’s give-aways, click on the words “comments” below this post and PLEASE include your email in your comment so we can get in touch if you win!