Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Training up "Pauls" and "Timothys"

While raising my children, I was aware that we always need to be a "Paul" or mentor to some people, while we need to be a "Timothy" or learner from others.  I tried to make many occasions for each of my children to be in both roles in their relationships.

I went to great lengths to have older boys over to impact the boys positively, and older girls over to impact the girls.  We had times where there were Bible studies and sharing times where my children could learn from those a little older than they were -- people they looked up to.  I'd ask questions and have them ask questions.  I also did "career training" that way -- have people over and ask them about their jobs so my children would be acquainted with many different job opportunities.

I also made sure that I made opportunities for my children to mentor others too.  I'd say, "Jesse, tell ____ about how hard it is for you to be in charge of this family," or ask questions that would get my children to share things with those younger than them.  They took turns helping their younger siblings with homework and playing with them.  We directed kids' plays where they would coach younger children in their roles and responsibilities.  They helped me in Rainbow Gang (for toddlers) and in Nursery.   They went with us to Cornerstone Schools in Detroit where we had adopted a student for several years.

Play "follow the leader" with them, and instill in them the important of learning to follow, and help them to realize that someone will always follow them.  Point out times in nature and as you go about your days when people follow those leading them the wrong way and what happens, as well as those that lead people do be better.  Let them know what an incredible responsibility it is in Scripture how accountable we are to the Lord as to how we influence those who "follow" our example.

Challenge:  Make sure your children realize they can learn from people a little older than themselves who have done things right and have achieved good results from their choices.  Make time for your children to "mentor" and "teach" younger children in various settings.  This will carry through when they're older and it will be a natural thing for them to "learn" and "teach," follow and lead!

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