Raising the Bar in Child Training

Devotionals from Leslie Ludy and the Set Apart Girl Team

Raising the Bar in Child Training

by Leslie Ludy | March 4, 2011

“Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth.”

– Psalm 127:4

Last night we tried something new at dinnertime. We set the table nicely and served dinner in the dining room, with our four kiddos seated in booster seats (except for Hudson). I’ve always tried to make dinnertime as nice and romantic as possible. But with two toddlers and two preschoolers who have no concept of etiquette, this is easier said then done. Many nights in the past few months dinnertime has brought screams (from the toddlers), sippy cups thrown across the room, and whining about the food. I realized it was time for a bit of reformation in this area.

So we decided to make dinner a formal affair. Never mind that Avy and Dub were hardly big enough to see over the top of the table, or that they kept trying to use their dinner plates as Frisbees. We decided to use mealtime as a training ground. To teach manners, etiquette, gratefulness, and sensitivity to our four little “cave people.” (If you have ever seen an untaught child eating a meal, this is a pretty good description of their behavior!)

It was a lot of extra work to set the table nicely and instruct four little children on how to sit quietly, chew with their mouths closed, and keep their elbows off the table.

But the results were amazing! We had a wonderful meal together. Sane. Calm. Orderly. And even enjoyable.

It was yet another example to me of what happens when I rise up on the strength of God, put aside the weariness of my flesh, and pursue excellence in every area of my life as a wife and mother. He meets me at that step of obedience, and His Spirit turns something mundane into something extraordinary.

Having several young children in the home forces me to be constantly watchful, constantly on guard over the spiritual state of my mind and heart. My example is shaping their perspective of their Maker every single moment of every single day. There is no room for “coasting;” no time for laziness or lethargy. I am called to disciple them, nurture them, train them, and pour out for them. It is an all-consuming job that requires constant dependence upon the Spirit of God. But when I am obedient to this call, I find that children bring incredible strength to my spiritual life.

For example, having two newborns within seven months of each other trained Eric and I how to be ready at any time of day or night to enter into a time of intensive prayer. Our flesh was crucified and buffeted at every 3 a.m. diaper change and 5 a.m. feeding. We learned how to pop awake with a good attitude and rejoice in the opportunity to care for our little ones. We learned that we could survive, and even thrive, on far less sleep than we had always assumed we needed. This reality has brought even greater discipline and power into our prayer life. When we need to wake up at 4 a.m. in order to seek God in prayer, it doesn’t feel like an impossible job – because we have been groomed and made ready for the task through the nightly needs of two little helpless babies.

In so many countless ways, our children have become like arrows in our hand – they have strengthened our inner beings and put our flesh to death like nothing else ever could. After four children we are far more able to face “trials of many kinds” than we ever were when it was just the two of us.

So even though it requires a bit of extra effort and a lot of dying to my weary flesh, I am resolved to rise up by the grace of God and respond to His sacred call upon my life; to use even the mundane moments of life as an opportunity to train my kids in God’s perfect pattern. My flesh balks at first, but in the end, I find amazing strength, life, and peace. That’s the beauty of God’s way!*