Raising a Gentleman

I am rather old fashioned when it comes to gender roles.  I supposed that this is evidenced by the fact that I stay home with our children while Brandon works to provide for our family.  More than that, I like Brandon to open doors for me, help me in or out of a car/bus/train/whatever I’m getting in or out of, pay for my meal (even though it all comes out of the same pot) and generally treat me as a lady.  This is not to say that I don’t have an opinion or that I don’t like to share it frequently.  I definitely have a mind of my own.  But overall I like to be treated like a delicate flower.

Now that our son is old enough to understand some of these things, we are training him to be a gentleman.  Because I spend the majority of my waking time with him, this task falls largely to me.  He now knows to open doors and hold them for ladies (including his sister).  He is never to hit a girl and he is not to wrestle with girls.  We are currently working on not pushing or shoving to get ahead of someone, especially not a girl!  (Did I mention he is only 4 1/2?)

All of my instruction, reminding and harping can only do so much.  Sometimes the lesson has to be experienced.

A couple of weeks ago we were on Disney’s Epcot ferry returning to our car after a very long and exhausting day at the park.  Being first on the boat, Brandon, the kids and I all sat on a bench.  It was plenty large, so no great sacrifice there.  But as the boat continued to fill, all of the seats became occupied.  Brandon, being the gentleman that he is, stood and offered his seat to an older woman who was stuck standing.  She gratefully accepted the seat and we proceeded across the lagoon.

After a moment, my son leaned over and asked me why daddy got up for the lady.  I was so pleased and proud to be able to explain to him that daddy is a gentleman and a gentleman always offers his seat to a lady.  He accepted this answer and we rode on in silence.  But I can’t help but be thankful that our son received such a wonderful lesson from his dad.  It wasn’t planned, it wasn’t scripted, it was just Brandon being who he is: a gentleman.

What are you training your children to become?

What lessons do they learn just by watching you?

Web Site Review: “The Dating Divas”

I recently came across a really fabulous marriage web site geared toward women.  The Dating Divas is a site dedicated to celebrating and encouraging marriages by providing unique dating ideas to refresh marriage relationships.

Reading through their ideas got me so excited to try some creative dates on my own.  They have very unique ideas that will appeal to all types of women.

  • Want to get away from the cell phone and into the outdoors?  Try the Stuck With You Date.
  • Are you a home body?  Spend a special night in with one of their movie themed dates.
  • Hubby going to be away on your anniversary (again!)?  Check out their long distance anniversary ideas.
  • Looking for something a little spicy but not sinful?  They have that too.  Check out their Intimate Moments (but be prepared to blush).

The Divas have neatly broken their ideas down into categories to make it easy to find something that appeals to you.  I encourage you to check out the site and take your next date night from dull to dazzling!

Why Teach Tithing?

I taught my son to use the toilet so he wouldn’t be wearing diapers forever.

I taught my son to say “please,” “thank you,” and “you’re welcome” so that he will be polite and well-mannered.

I am teaching my son to read so that he will be a literate, productive citizen.

And I am teaching my son to tithe so that he will be a man who loves God and submits himself to the leadership of our Lord.

Every parent knows the importance of teaching potty training, manners and literacy.  They are necessary skills for life.  But few parents recognize the importance of teaching tithing.  Contrary to popular belief, tithing has very little to do with money.  Instead, it has everything to do with the heart.

God does not need our money.  He does not need the 1¢ my son will drop in the offering plate.  What he wants is our hearts.  He wants my heart and he wants my son’s heart.

God knows that we value money.  He understood it so well that he gave us over 800 verses of Scripture to help us understand how to use money in a way that honors him.  If God thinks it is that important, shouldn’t we obey?

God gives us everything we have.  To some he has entrusted more and to some he has entrusted less.  I want my son to understand that no matter how much or how little he has, it is from God.  God asks only that we return the first 10% of what he gives us.  Not because he needs it, but because he wants us to recognize he is the source of it all.  He allows us to keep the other 90% for ourselves.

It is all about having your heart in the right place.  A heart that is willing to trust God.  A heart that is willing to obey God.  A heart that puts God first and all else second.  That is the kind of heart I want my son to have.

By the way, my son is four.  We are starting small: an allowance that is easily divided into ten (10¢ in pennies works for us).  I explain that God asks we return one out of every ten to him.  He can easily understand that if there are ten pennies, one should be given to God.  I also explain that one way we can return it to God is to give it to the church to use.  Then we take the penny with us on Sunday and give it in the offering.

Simple lesson, but how much easier is it for him to start with a penny, then increase it to 10¢, 50¢, $1, $5 and so on.  It is a lot harder to teach a teenager to be faithful with his $10 or $20 if he hasn’t first learned to be faithful with his 1¢.

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”  Luke 16:10

Be Yourself

When Brandon and I were first married, he was pastoring a small church in rural Illinois.  So with the wedding ring and the new title of “Missus” also came the title “Pastor’s Wife”.  And with the title came the expectations.

Looking back, I’m not sure if the expectations came from the church or from me.  But I had this view of what a pastor’s wife should be.  She should play piano, sing in the choir, teach Sunday school, help with youth group, sit in the front pew and on and on.  So as a new bride and a new pastor’s wife I tried to be all of the above (except that I don’t play piano and you don’t want to hear me sing).  I diligently taught my three students in Sunday school, I attended the evening youth group, I sat in the second row during service . . . and was miserable all the while.  I don’t like teaching Sunday school.  I didn’t enjoy youth group or spending my Sunday evening there before returning to work Monday morning.  I hate sitting up front where people can see me.  I was trying to be someone I’m not.  I was trying to be someone other than who God made me to be.

A couple of years into this ministry I finally gave myself permission to be me.  I quit attending youth group and I quit teaching Sunday school.  Instead, I helped the church purchase its first computer and projector system to use during the service.  I happily sat in the empty balcony and created stunning slides to aid the church in worshipping.  I crafted announcement slides and played videos to enhance Brandon’s sermons.  And I was as happy as can be: I was being me.  I don’t think the church knew quite what to do with me.  I wasn’t the normal pastor’s wife, but they loved me anyway and expressed appreciation for what I did.

God created each of us on purpose.  Some he created to lead beautiful music, other to teach amazing lessons.  Some he gave amazing amounts of compassion, others he gave the gift of conversation.  He made us that way on purpose.  If we all wanted to sing and no one wanted to teach, how would anyone learn?  If everyone was busy talking and socializing, who would stop to have compassion on the hurting?

Jeremiah 1:5 says,

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

If God created Jeremiah to be a prophet even while still in the womb, hasn’t He surely created each of us to fill a special role?

Be who God created you to be.  Not who you think you should be.  Not who someone else thinks you should be.  Be who God created YOU to be.  He made you that way on purpose.  Don’t miss out!

You want me to do what, Lord?!?

For most of my life I have been a die hard introvert. My goal was to blend in and not be noticed. My worst nightmares were being chosen for audience participation at large events or having to speak in front of adults. Even worse if said adults were women. I perceived women as being the worst about judging, gossiping and maliciousness.

Children don’t bother me.  I taught K-8 technology classes for three and a half years and second grade for two.  Little kids are sweet.  They still think that you are cool and smart.  Not so with adults.

So how did a die hard, adult-fearing introvert like me end up teaching and leading in women’s ministry? It’s all God. Only God could bring me from who I was to who I am now. I have now led at least six women’s Bible study classes and am currently mentoring another class. God amazes me. I’ve always known I had the gift of teaching. But it is only within the last few years that God showed me I could partner with him in teaching and leading adult women in deepening their relationships with Christ.  It has been an awesome journey and I have discovered the joy of sharing the depths of God’s word with these women.

1 Peter 4:10-11 says, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

My story is one that gives God the praise. There is no way I could have overcome my fears and preconceived notions without God leading the way. I don’t know what God has for me next, but for now I am going to keep using my gift of teaching and rely on God to provide the strength that I need to accomplish great things for his glory.