Teach Your Children

What a year 2018 has been.  I realized that my last post was nearly a year ago.  I have no regrets, I’ve kept pretty busy this year with things of much greater importance.

Randy has kept us all pretty busy and rightfully so.  2017 was quite a year seeing Randy go from a newborn to a baby that could crawl, smile, and make little sounds.  2018 of course I saw even more changes to that little boy. It’s been a joy to watch.

He’s walking now. He’s also running when he’s grabbed the remote/iPhone.  I was wrong when I used to think that life would be over when he learned to walk and became mobile.  Life was actually over when he figured out how to climb. There’s no safe counter/shelf in the house!

Of course with the time that’s passed, Randy is now saying a few words.  His favorite words are “Yeh”, “Dada”, “Mama”, “Hockey”, “Uncle”, “Poppa”, and “Aimee”.  He’s picked up “no” and “gone” here recently. The closest thing to a sentence is when we get him to say “Oh yeah!”.

Honestly if you can think of a greater earthly joy than to coming home to a beautiful wife and a little boy that smiles and says “Dada” when you walk in the door…let me know… because I’m quite enjoying this one.

He doesn’t quite understand “Yeh” and “No” like he might lead you to believe.  We’ve been testing him on this….

We’ll ask him questions: “Do you want chocolate milk?”, “Do you want a biscuit?”, “DoIMG_3716 you want to go to grandma’s?”, “Do you want to go to Bible class?”, etc.  To all those he gives an enthusiastic “Yeh!!”

Granted, sometimes we’ll follow up with questions like: “Do you want to take bath?”, “Do you want to eat asparagus?”, “Do you want to give me all your toys?”, etc. to get the same “Yeh!” response.

Either Randy is obviously too trusting of the questions we ask him, or he doesn’t quite yet understand what we’re asking him all the time.  Either way…it’s pretty cute.

IMG_0138I think he’s definitely starting to get the concept of “No” at least as far as when he says it.  He seems to be able to pretty well block it out when we tell him “no”. For example, if he’s playing with his toys, sitting in a place he wants to be but shouldn’t be, or pretty much anytime he doesn’t want to be kept from doing whatever it is he’s doing….he will give a cute “no, no” shaking his head side to side letting us know he doesn’t want to be moved.

IMG_4350We had a 1st birthday this year for Randy.  This was a sobering thought. That first year went by so quickly and here I am about three months away from celebrating my little boy’s 2nd birthday Lord willing.  I tell you, the pure elation on his face when he dove into that birthday cupcake said it all…he’s his mother’s child when it comes to dessert.

IMG_3281Shortly after he turned one, Randy got to start going to Bible class.  This was a good thing of course yet it made me sad realizing that he was getting bigger.  I’ll have more to say about this in a different post.

Karen and I did better with our exercise this year.  I think this was particularly good for Randy to see because hopefully he’ll pick up the habit and not go years without taking care of himself when he’s older like I have.

In addition to that, Randy got to go to the beach for the first time in his life this year! We took a family trip to Orange Beach, AL and had a great time.  Usually when I travel I don’t do a lot of talking to strangers.  However, Randy is way more friendly than I am.  It seemed every day we went to sit on the beach Randy would find himself wandering over to an older couple only to come back to us with snacks they had given him.  I think his favorite part was being excited for the picture of the dog on the back of the elevator door when we went out each day.

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For Halloween this year, we all dressed up as DC characters. I was Batman, Randy was my sidekick Robin.  Karen was of course the villain Catwoman.  Since Halloween fell on a Wednesday night this year, we were able to trick-or-treat at one house…my in-laws.  Randy hated the mask but he enjoyed the candy.

Christmas was a lot of fun this year.  It was fun to watch him run into the living room where all his new toys were sitting beside the tree only to see him immediately run over to his old toys that we had moved across the room.  Once he realized the new things in the room, he adapted…but it was still funny.48404059_679420260167_3380541446984564736_n

IMG_0896Frankly, I think his favorite new gift was a toddler sized vacuum cleaner with real sounds!  He’s been all over the house with that thing. Now if I can only find him a toy for taking out the garbage and mowing the lawn! In that regard, recently we observed Randy run to the clothes dryer when it dinged to complete the dry cycle.  He put the laundry basket under the dryer door, pulled the clothes out, and pushed the full basket to the bedroom. If he learns to fold we are in business!

I’ve been blessed this year to have multiple opportunities to preach the Gospel in North Alabama.  This is important to me for multiple reasons. First, I’m thankful for the open doors of opportunity as I’ve been charged to preach the Gospel as a Christian.  I pray that I can encourage my brethren with these opportunities and lead others to Christ. I’m also thankful to have the opportunity to be an example to Randy.  Whether he preaches from the pulpit as an adult one day like I do from time to time, I hope and pray that he will grow to understand how important it is to share the Gospel with others.

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My wife Karen has been working really hard with Randy on being a good example in regards to benevolence and prayer…two of the most important aspects of being Christ-like that aren’t seen by others.  From her good example, he’s learned the word “Amen” and consistently says it at the end of a prayer. I can’t wait until he gets a good understanding of what prayer is and why it is important.

The last few months what has taken up a lot of my time (and perhaps part of the reason for my lack of posting) was that I have been allowed to teach a young adult study at our local congregation.  We’ve studied through the books of Joshua and Judges in this past quarter and it was eye-opening for me. I can’t remember studying those books as an adult.

Leading up to the period of time where the children of Israel invaded the Promised Land in Joshua, Moses provided a good deal of encouragement and admonition in the book of Deuteronomy.  He talked about several things they should remember as they went into the land of Canaan and possessed it. He told them about the importance of loving God (Deut. 6:5), remembering Him (Deut. 6:12), and obeying Him (Deut. 4:39-40).

Moses also warned about the importance of teaching our children about the Lord.  When he was talking about God’s commandments, he said “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” (Deut. 6:7)

God’s words, His truths, His commands were supposed to be not only taught…but they were to be evident within the home and everyday life. It wasn’t just to be a situation where children would be taken to worship or a private class to learn about God’s word…they saw it demonstrated in their own homes with their parents. Parents wouldn’t just trust their children’s spiritual training to their Bible class teachers and preachers. They made it their own responsibility! Children were to see their parents believing in God, teaching about Him, and practicing His Law.

As you get into the book of Judges, you see just how nasty the world becomes when people forsake the Lord.  They get involved in immorality and do horrible unspeakable acts of violence. As we look out into the world today you see that people as a whole are becoming increasingly wicked due to us failing to remember God.  I pray that future generations can change this trend and move away from the direction we’re currently headed. Teaching our children to not forget about God and live a righteous life is so very important to impacting this.

I hope and pray that we can teach Randy as we ought to.  I hope that he sees Christ living in his parents and that will eventually help him make that decision to serve the Lord too.

Lord willing I pray that you’ve had an excellent 2018 and that 2019 will be even better!

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