My children are such keeners that some days I get worried I won't be able to stay a step ahead of them with homeschooling! Another thing that amazes me is how the two little girls watch and learn without my realizing it.
Sivana (who is four) and Avalyn (who is two) found the toy clocks I use for teaching time. I believe that the best learning happens when a child shows intrigue and interest. The girls clearly had this as they were moving the hands around on the clock so I figured I would seize the opportunity and teach them the basics of "o'clock." The little girls already know their numbers so the only thing now was to explain what the hands mean on the clock and how they communicate to us. In our house, the rule is "littlest one first" so this concept was easy to transfer to the little girls... "which one is the littlest of the two hands?" The girls excitedly pointed correctly. "Right! Littlest first so we look to see which number the littlest hand is pointing at. Next is the big hand. Mommy's going to teach you the o'clock rule... when the big hand is pointing straight up... show me your hands pointing straight up... you got it! When that big hand is pointing straight up, he says 'O'CLOCK'! So littlest first then 'o'clock'!"
We went a few times around the clock and the girls got it pretty quick. At this point, by no means was I expecting this to stick but to my amazement, Avalyn has been notifying me what time it is throughout the day! My two year old is better at keeping time than I am! :) Tonight at the dinner table, she said "Mommy, it's seven o'clock." "Yep, Avalyn, you're absolutely right!" She has been struggling lately with staying in her seat until the completion of the meal so I've been teaching her about self-control and obedience. Today, she did a great job with staying seated so after her clever remark on time, I added "And Avalyn.. you have done a great job with being obedient today. Thank you!" A big triumphant grin came across her face "Ah.. yo welcome, Mom. God fixed my heart."
I nearly choked on my bite! I had been teaching Ethan and Anika that no matter what we do in our daily lives, good deeds or bad, if these do not proceed from a loving and serving heart, we've missed the mark. I've tried to call attention to the heart of their intentions to grow in self-awareness. When Ethan swung a rope around and inched his way closer to Sivana until she got hit and cried, I asked him "what was the desire of your heart in that moment?" To which he looked at me and sheepishly said "My desire was to hurt her and make her cry." "Thank you for being truthful, Ethan. Can you tell me why that was something you desired?" "No.. I don't know why." "Well, chances are if you can't figure out the 'why,' you'll likely be facing that desire again. Until you can figure out the why, try harder not to give into the temptation of that desire, ok?"
Or on another occasion, our family was sitting in the living room with my Mom, and Ethan thinking that Grandma Jacquie was cold, grabbed a blanket and put it on her lap. I watched to see if he would delight in doing what was right or if he would look for accolades. Sure enough he looked over at me and said "Did you see what I just did, Mom?" I burst out laughing and said "Oh my son, you were so close! Should we put a blanket on grandma to keep her warm and be helpful or so that other people point out what a good boy you are?"
It is truly a blessing to be in this family and to help encourage each other towards living truthfully and with integrity knowing full well we fail but we never stop trying. The kids are even "good" at pointing out my shortcomings! :) "Mom, remember that it is not kind to raise our voices."
Choke that one down in the heat of frustration!! I've since explained that if I've had to say something more than twice, it merits a yelling. ;) They agreed that was fair.
But here we are with little Avalyn who unbeknownst to me has been soaking in the teachings about keeping watch on the integrity of our hearts knowing it is God who instructs us through His Word, as long as we seek Him diligently through it. For He alone is the God who removes hearts of stone and replaces them with hearts of flesh... hearts that walk in the delight of His law. (Jeremiah 31:33 and Ezekiel 36:26) Avalyn was brilliant in acknowledging that Adonai guided her heart towards obedience... and she responded!
I love the blessing of the life Adonai has given me. I love these little lambs He has placed in my care and their eager hearts to do good. I pray He can guide me to stay one step ahead of them until the time comes for Him to take them beyond anything I am capable of. Then, just like the jet packs pull away from the rocket, Duane and I will, too. And beyond telling time and gaining mastery over the desires of their hearts, perhaps God will grant them a wisdom and understanding that truly is, out of this world.
Blessings to you all out there. May His peace be upon you this night and always.