AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSEpictures of our family in the field

I have gotten so many e-mails and comments asking to give some tips and insight on how we are raising our five children. You are all so kind and your sweet comments are really touching. For those of you that care here we go!.

I am as down to earth as one can get, so what can I possibly have to offer? Absolutely nothing! I can only share what God has taught us over the years. I am in no way teaching, instructing, advising or anything of that nature. I am just humbly sharing what 12 years of marriage have taught us. If what we have learned will be a blessing for at least one family in the slightest way, Thank you Jesus, Thank you Lord, Thank you Father, may Your name be Glorified.

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If only someone would understand how hard it is to clean up after toddlers. Oh but if only I could conceive she replies, I would joyously clean up after my children.

I am so mad and frustrated that he wrote on the walls. If only my son’s paralyzed fingers could draw she replies, wiping the tears streaming down her face.

Constantly changing two toddlers’ diapers is more than I can bear. That mom in the slums of Mexico dreams of the day her hands will rest from washing cloth diapers, day after day.

I cannot wait for you to hurry up and get married. At a children’s hospital, a mother says “my dying daughter, oh my daughter, how I wish you would live to celebrate your 10th birthday”.

Makes you think differently about your situation, doesn’t it?!

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If God came up to me physically and handed me a doll or any other gift and said cherish it; I will one day watch a video of how you treated this doll and what she will look like when I take her back. Though this may be a farfetched example, I kind of see it this way; God gave us these precious gifts, our children to raise for His Kingdom and He will one day ask for an account of our lives together. Yes, we cannot be responsible for all of our children’s actions, they will begin to make “their” choices and mistakes but I do think helping them build a strong foundation on Christ is crucial.

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{We are raising the next generation of Godly young women and men who will one day be leaders in our churches, husbands, wives and parents. It’s so important to instill in them Godly characters and principles at a young age.}

I am a huge believer that God created us all extremely unique and everyone’s parenting style will be different. That said though, I do believe that there are some things we must all instill in our children from a very young age.

Before we even begin I know many will say parenting is soo hard. Yes, oh how I agree with you, I have five kiddos. But God opened up such a powerful truth to me. So many times before I would sit and spend hours telling God how hard it was to raise children. In A Mother’s Thought post you can read how God revealed such a huge truth to me. When we rely on our wisdom, our strength, ourselves to raise my children we are doomed to failure. We do not have what it takes to raise children, it’s when I surrender myself and raise my children through Christ only then I will have success. I no longer pray for hours and tell my God how hard it is. I tell my hardships how powerful and strong my God is.

Respecting elders-

Children need to be taught to respect their elders. They cannot talk to someone older the way they talk to their friends.

My parents and my spouse’s parents gave us life. I think it’s so important to make sure our children respect and appreciate them. When it’s their birthday’s we have kiddos first thing in the morning call and wish them a happy birthday. During the holidays too, we have them call them. Easter, Christmas, Father’s Day etc. are all such important holidays and though they don’t say much, the grandparents are so touched (I hope when they become parents and have children they will all call us).

Waiting in the waiting room and there is no room to sit, I think it’s so beautiful that our boys know to get up and let someone older than them sit down.

Being appreciative-

When I prepare a meal whether it’s to their liking or now there was work put in. We try to enforce the importance of being thankful after they finished their meal. Same when they are at someone’s house, they need to thank the host that prepared the meal they were served. My children are always helping me with the dinner preparation and we will thank them for their contribution. They will grow up knowing they need to be grateful and will do the same with their spouse (I truly pray they will).

I don’t mean only meals but being thankful for everything. If they get a ride somewhere, someone holds the door for them, a party they go to and so on, being thankful is such a beautiful act.

Helping others-

When we are out and about I always tell our boys to look for ways to be of help to someone. When shopping at a grocery store and an elderly couple is unloading groceries, or a mother with little ones, go over and unload for them. We were in the check-out line at Target. It was around the holidays and extremely busy. There was a young mom, she had an infant in her hand and perhaps and 18 months old sleeping in the cart. She was struggling to unload everything. Men and women stood of all ages staring at her, as she with difficulty, tried to get everything onto the belt. I had our 9-year-old go and help her unload. She was fighting tears of gratitude and the onlookers were stunned. I am not saying this because he was such a great kid (NOT AT ALL) but the importance of raising children who at a young age will be alert to their surrounding and if they can help, they should. If we continue to do this frequently it will not be a chore or something they could do, it will be something they DO without giving it a second thought.

Modesty-

I think teaching my daughters modesty from a young age is vital. Many of you may think we are a little “too” strict (or nuts, haha) but since she was about 3 she is not allowed to change if her brothers are in the room. Sometimes I am in the room and she is changing and the door begins to open and she will cover herself with her innocent hands and say don’t come in I’m changing. Maybe I am being “too much” but I am a huge believer that modesty is really important in a Christian’s life, especially ladies. I want her to know from a young age and way before her teen years that there is a certain dress code for a proper and Christian young lady. What the world wears we cannot wear, what the world deems okay is not okay for us. I want them her to know she is really beautiful when she dresses modest and it pleases the Lord. That being attractive is not when you walk by and every guy in the room turns his head because you are showing them so much to enjoy but because Christ loves illuminates through her. His love is shown through her actions and kind words.

My daughter loves to sit on my vanity and watch me as I do my hair to go somewhere, absolutely loves it. As I was dressing to go out with some friends I put on my dress shirt and didn’t quite button it all the way. I got distracted and as I look at her, her eyes were so round and innocent starting at me. I asked her what happened and she was like mom don’t you have any more buttons? As I finished buttoning the last few buttons my heart swelled with so much pride because she gets it!

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Electronics-

When I was researching the effects electronics have on children I was blown away by the statistics:

The average American between the ages of 8 and 18 spends more than seven hours a day, reported one study. Some of the effects were risky behavior, mood problems and poor social skills.

Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine reports: The more time teenagers spend using a computer or watching TV, the weaker their emotional bonds with their parents. Screen time can make a kid obese and too much screen use also interferes with sleeping habits.

Researchers at Queen’s University in Canada found that youths with the highest level of computer use (more than three to four hours a day) were 50% more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as drinking, smoking, drug use, and sexual issues than kids with minimal amounts.

As I read these statistics, a Christian mother who was given these children to raise for the Kingdom of God; my heart aches at the thought that I have huge responsibility. A responsibility not to tell my children that a tablet, computer, or a TV is wrong but through Christ to help them see and that it’s not necessary and the HUGE impact it will have on their lives. I want my children to know that everything they do now will effect what kind of future they will have. I want them to know they are to be set apart from the world. Satan tries to make every game, show or anything else so addictive and interesting. We as parents through Christ need to show them the truth behind those lies.

When we were growing up none of us had cell phones, tablets and most of us no television or computers. We got creative with the way we spent our time. I truly believe electronics is Satan’s number one tactic to destroy lives today. Toddlers, children, teens, young adults and even elders fall to this deception. People spend hours day after day in front of a computer, table or phone, oblivious to the damage it is causing. When our older boys were a bit younger they both had DSs. They played here and there and we didn’t really notice any problems. Eventually both of their DSs broke and that was the end to that story. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I began to notice our children liked to spend more and more time in front of a computer game. Yes, they were really innocent like basketball or soccer, but the fact of the matter is A LOT of time was spent on it and it was becoming unhealthy. The amount of time they spent there began to bother something really deep within me. We began praying and there was a big change in the way electronics were used in our home.

We put a limit on their “electronics”: 30 minutes during the week day, 1 hour on Fri and Sat and absolutely no electronics on Sunday; Sunday is the Lord’s day. They can have their electronics after their homework and chores are done. I don’t think we have yet had a week where they used all of their minutes: they just don’t have the time. It was SOOO HARD to go to this system, let me tell you!!. I doubted myself so many times and just wanted to break down and let them do whatever but I knew this was something God really put on our hearts. They put the timer on in the kitchen for the 30 minutes. When the buzzer goes off; whatever they are doing gets turned off, if they go over their time they lose the following day’s minutes.

We don’t have a TV so that isn’t something we filter but if they ever want to watch something I read reviews and skim through whatever they want to see to make sure what we are building and instilling won’t be compromised. What they play, watch is in the living room within ear shot of my spouse or I. If they are in their rooms and something inappropriate comes up they aren’t strong enough Christians yet to “flee” and turn away like Joseph did. It can damage them; therefore, they will play in the living room where we hear them.

Having said all of that I myself must lead by example. If I am constantly on my tablet or the computer or constantly checking social media how can I expect something different from my children? I must start with me.

I may not know many of you but I pray these words touch your heart. If your children spend a lot of time on whatever form of electronic prayerfully consider taking this issue to the thrown of God like we did. We wanted change in our family and as we prayed God showed us how to minimize and control the situation.

Is it always “PERFECT”? No. But if this is where we strive to be and we slack off a bit it’s still SO MUCH better than not having ANY guideline. Even if you say I cannot do 30 minutes, then start with 1 hour and pray, pray and pray for God to intervene.

We have seen a huge change in our children. Now instead of electronics they are creative with their time. They build “forts” in the living room, they read, they draw, they place hide and seek, we play Bible trivia, they interact with each other or are outside playing sports. We also love board games. In my Shop I posted some of our favorite board games that we all play together.

This post is so much longer than I thought it would be, so I will post the second part in the next few days it will be on creative parenting.

{P.S. English is a second language for me. We speak Russian at home, I read a Russian Bible and think in Russian so please do not mind my terrible grammar. This is something I am educating myself on but it’s a very slow process, haha.}

Read “Part 2-Creative Parenting”

Read “Part 3- Wife/Husband”

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What do you think? I would love to hear your ideas and parenting style!!.. =)