A Simplified Life, Series Review!

Simplified_Life

Before summer gets away from me and life once again becomes crowded with too many homeschooling resources, parent-taxi responsibilities, and an overburdened calendar, it’s time to take a moment to breathe and simplify life. Perhaps you’re feeling like me and could use a little encouragement. Join us in reviewing this fun, simple to follow series!

With these basic, easy steps, we hope to help simplify life. Join us as we share our thoughts on how to simplify all areas of our lives, homes, and learning.

A Simplified Life: Menu Planning
A Simplified Life: Chores
A Simplified Life: Homeschooling
A Simplified Life: Educational Resources
A Simplified Life: Extra Curricular Activities
A Simplified Life: Free Printables

May these ideas help you as much as they help me!

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
~ Ephesians 5:15-17

Your Turn!: What is one area of your life you’d like to simplify?

Want to stay connected & up to date with A Homeschool Mom? Don’t forget to follow on FacebookInstagramTwitter&Pinterest!

Advertisements

Am I Really THAT Important?

Am_I_Really_That_Important

Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?

Clarence, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

I don’t know of anyone whose had the pleasure of having a ‘George Bailey’ moment. Do you? You know the one I mean. A fateful night when an angel comes down to earth and shows you exactly what life would be like if you had never been born. Like George, maybe every once in a while, we could all use a reminder of just how important a role we play.

am important. You are important. What lofty positions do we hold which allow me to write these words; senator, president, prime minister, or king? Nope; we are even more important than all these.

First, assuming you are a Christian, you are a child of the One True God; a child of the King. How could you not be important, especially to Him? He created you; you were not an accident. He came to earth for you, lived as an example for you, died for you, rose again for you, and is coming again for you. Yeah… you are definitely something special.

Second, He has a plan for you. If you are following His path for your life, you are fulfilling a purpose. No matter where God called you to serve and minister, you are doing God’s work. Take joy and comfort in that.

Not everyone is going to be a super star, much less hold a government office. That doesn’t mean the role you fulfill has any less meaning or importance! Being a Christian holds so much for those who follow God’s call in their lives. Being married gives a living example of Christ’s love for the church. Parents are imparting wisdom to the next generation. Those working outside the home have the ability to minister in an even wider arena. While you might not see the benefits of your hard work now, take heart. If you are walking according to God’s purposes, you are making an impact for His kingdom.

Now that I think about it, maybe you are an ambassador after all… an ambassador for Christ, reaching out to the lost and sharing hope to those who are willing to hear. A pretty important job; don’t you think?

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
II Cor. 5:20

We’d love to know… For those of you who are Christian, share a Bible verse which encourages you in your calling. For those who aren’t Christian, and might have some questions for us, we’d love to hear from you, too!

Want to stay connected & up to date with A Homeschool Mom? Don’t forget to follow on FacebookInstagram, & Pinterest!

Are You in the ‘Dead Zone’?

I could feel it coming on; a total shut down. I had, once again, overloaded the organ currently called a brain and put it into meltdown mode. Too much information was being entered, a mass amount of work was being done, and my body was calling it quits.

How often do we do this to ourselves? Personally, I do it far too often. From the minute I wake up ’til the minute I get the kiddos down – and sometimes beyond – I am rushing at the speed of light, trying to accomplish more than is humanly possible. The result of all my busy-ness? The dead zone. A temporary state of mind where I have to literally stop everything and just breathe. A point in time when, if I don’t stop, I’ll careen myself right into shortness of breath and a massive headache.

What causes the dead zone? An overload of activity or activity which I had not planned for. On occasion, it can also be caused by my own foolishness; namely, me choosing to do far too much on any given day. Unfortunately, that’s usually the one that gets me.

Last week is a prime example… We needed to get learning done in the morning. I got the kiddos started. While they were wrapping up work, I did a list of chores and cooked some food. We rushed through lunch and headed out the door. We handled a special event and ran two errands before I dropped the kiddos at home with their pop. I headed back out to do a few more errands, only to come home and start another list of things I wanted to get done before the day was over. Did I mention all of this took place before dinner time?

Now, mind you, every day is not like this! (Thank the Lord!) But I have noticed a trend. More and more days are becoming like this. It needs to stop. Having a busy day once in a while is alright and understandable, but doing this several times a week is just too much.

The sad part is, the main culprit is me. No one is putting pressure on me to get this much accomplished. There is no manager standing behind me, ordering me to finish this list of “to do’s”. This is all me. I need to learn how to say, “no”; even to myself. I need to realistically look at my day and understand I am not Superwoman. Yes; I could rush around like a mad woman and get all this accomplished – and some days I do – but those days should be few and far between. If I am managing my time well, the days will be full, but not overwhelming.

Most importantly, I need to stop telling myself that the more I do the more I am worth. This is not a competition, even one against myself. Just because an activity could get done today, doesn’t mean it should. If something comes up at the last-minute, I need to take stock and realistically decide if this can get done; without me ending up in the ‘dead zone’.

I truly hate to admit it, but I do not need to get this much done in one day. If all of my days are filled to the brim with busyness, even for a ‘good cause’, I might be missing out on something just as important; those quiet moments with my kids and the ability to just relax. Before I run myself into the ground, it’s time to slow down. It might just be a short season of our life, but I am tired of being stuck in ‘the dead zone’.

“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to [His disciples], ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’”
~ Mark 6:31

We’re curious… Do you ever find yourself overworked to the point that your brain decides to call it quits?

Want to stay connected & up to date with A Homeschool Mom? Don’t forget to follow on FacebookInstagramTwitter&Pinterest!

Senior Trip! What Senior Trip?

Hooray! We have somehow managed to survive thirteen years of home education and this amazing child is about to graduate. In these final months a multitude of activity fills our calendar. Senior photos, yearbooks, caps & gown, honors, and so much more. Then a passing acquaintance asks a question which sends us into a tailspin, “Where is your daughter going on her senior trip?” Wait… what? What senior trip? You mean that’s a thing!

Apparently so. One acquaintance was sharing the joy her oldest daughter had on her trip to France. Her second daughter was thinking London might be more her style. We’ve had friends who’ve gone to Mexico and others to Hawaii. Sometimes it becomes a family trip, other times one parent adventures with the graduate. On occasion the senior globe-trots with friends.

I’ll confess. These all sound amazing. I would love to be able to do this with and for my children. I would also argue there is nothing wrong with these parents choosing to do so and applaud their desire to bless their children. If they can afford it, why not go for it?

But what about those of us who just… can’t? For whatever reason – finances, work situations, life – prevent us from giving that “Instagram worthy” vacation our children have always dreamed about. Our friends are sharing their fantastic plans. Our children’s friends are sharing their fantastic plans. Social media is presenting the image that everyone else has fantastic plans. And we’re… Well, we were planning on heading to the local ice cream shop, getting two scoops of ice cream and perhaps going to the beach. That comparison game is tough, isn’t it?

Just thinking about it is enough to stress some parents out. Or worse. Start a bout of parental guilt. We bemoan all we cannot do for our children but would like to. We stress that our children will be unhappy or harbor feelings of resentment for not having a life which allows us such pleasures. In short. What started out as a simple question, “What are your plans for a senior trip?” becomes the start of a spiritual battle.

Friends, we’re right there with you. But the enemy doesn’t have to win! It’s all a matter of perspective and thanksgiving. If we choose to focus on the celebration of all God is doing in our child and the plans He has for their future, the momentary event holds less weight in our lives. Graduation is not about the party, but the next step in a grand adventure. How we approach the celebration is entirely up to us! Those two scoops of ice cream and a beach trip can be a wonderful senior trip. As could a picnic in the park, having a family party, or any other way we choose to commemorate the occasion. (Plane tickets need not be involved.) It’s all a matter of perspective and a heart of thanksgiving cultivated in ourselves and our children.

What is truly important is that our child know they are special to us. What matters is that they understand we are proud of their accomplishments and celebrate them, not the event. The ceremony, the certificate, is one tiny step in a bigger adventure. We rejoice together over a job well done and go forth in prayer for the steps to come. Graduation honors God’s faithfulness in bringing us this far and anticipating all He will do in their future. It is thanksgiving, grace, mercy, and love. And that cannot be outshined by exotic locations.

In one short month our oldest girl will be graduated. Honestly, I’m not sure where the time has flown. It seems like we just got started. But here we are. God has indeed been good to us. In so many ways. Our family will celebrate, in our own way. A small trip might be involved. We’ll see. And while I would hope she fondly remembers this small adventure, I hope it is merely one of the many which has brought her to this point. For, in my eyes, this isn’t the cherry on top, but one of the many sprinkles which already decorate the large scoop of life the Lord has put before us.

“And we pray… that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way; bearing fruit in every good work, and growing in the knowledge of God…”

Colossians 1:10

We’re curious… When you graduated, did you have a senior trip?

Want to stay connected & up to date with A Homeschool Mom? Don’t forget to follow on FacebookInstagramTwitter&Pinterest!

I Don’t Need This! (Or Do I?)

The following article was written for our monthly PSP newsletter. With permission from our principal, we are sharing this with you; praying you are blessed by the heart of his message. Enjoy!

….. 

“I Don’t Need This!” How many times have I uttered those words? Probably more than I can count, certainly more often than I recall. The chapter of the old year is quickly coming to a close, and a new chapter in our lives is just beginning. Many of us tend to look back at the past year, either rejoicing, or thanking God it is over. I am no exception. As I look back at the year, I too am glad, in a sense, that it is done. In truth, some chapters are darker, scarier, or less cheerful than others, to say the least. In my own case, the second half of the year was definitely in the trials category.

James tell us to “count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:2-4)

To be honest, I struggle with verses like these at times, particularly those hard times. But in light of God’s Word, I have to conclude that my opening question does indeed have an answer. That answer is, “Apparently, I do.” If I truly believe that my Father is in control, is sovereign, and has a perfect plan for my life; and if I trust that, like Job, nothing can come my way that hasn’t been okayed by Him first, then I must conclude that my trials, however unpleasant, weighty, or dark they may seem, have been allowed by Him for some reason, likely more than one. I can only conclude one thing from this: God uses trials to work on me.

God has a LOT of work to do in me, so maybe that is why I seem to have so many trials? Back to James. It says to “count it all joy… knowing that the testing produces patience…” My first inclination, whenever things get difficult, is to immediately cry out for relief, strength, and praise to God for His wonderful sustaining grace… NOT!! Sadly, my first inclination is to complain, bemoan my circumstances, and wonder, “When will this end?”

I am not, by nature, a very patient man, just ask my wife and kids. My Father, however, is working on that. His ultimate goal is not my creature comforts, but that I may, personally, be complete, lacking nothing. In order for that to happen, I need to learn patience, because, at least according to James, patience has a work to accomplish. That work cannot be accomplished quickly, easily, or without trial, because patience is only needed when one has to wait. If all of my trials ended in a split second, when would patience be built up?

According to Paul, I am supposed to rejoice in the Lord always. (Php. 4:4) James said to count it all joy. This does not mean that I am supposed to enjoy the trials, there is nothing pleasant about what we are enduring, but I am supposed to rejoice in Him during it. The fact that He is working on me is a joy, because He is working toward a perfect end, and the fact that He is working on me at all proves that I am His.

Not only am I impatient, but my natural tendency is also to wander, roam, and get distracted. I am like the little boy whose father is constantly saying, “Come here, stay close to me.” Every time a trial comes along, I run back to my Father because, like that little boy, I am afraid, overwhelmed, intimidated, or perhaps simply had some sense knocked into me. This being the case, I can also conclude that God uses these trials to keep me close to Him, which is where I need to be.

In the words of a contemporary Christian artist: “Now, I don’t want to sound like some hero, ’cause it’s God alone that my hope is in, but I’m not gonna run from the very things that would drive me closer to Him; so bring it on.” (Steven Curtis Chapman, “Bring It On”)

As I put this all together, I am coming to understand a key fact: It is one thing to praise God during a trial… it’s not always easy, in fact, it rarely is… but it’s another thing entirely to praise Him for the trial, which is where I need to go if I am to count it a joy when I fall into one. May the blessing of the Lord abound in this new (learning) year as you stay close to Him.

We’d like to know… During your summer break, in what ways are you being purposeful in drawing closer to the Lord so that you might be refreshed for the coming adventures in learning?

Want to stay connected & up to date with A Homeschool Mom? Don’t forget to follow on FacebookInstagramTwitter&Pinterest!

Helping Our Children Move Past Failure

Moving_Past_Failure

Some of you may have children that always seem to succeed; there is no hoop they can’t shoot and no test they can’t ace. Eventually though, both our children and ourselves have to deal with the reality of failure.

Through homeschooling my children, I have often seen them experience moments of failure. At times it is an arithmetic test, losing their self-control, or not winning a competition. It often amazes me that they put more pressure on themselves than I ever would place there. They have a goal and become distraught when their own expectations are not met. How do we show our children that it is okay to fail; that failure is merely a life lesson, helping them to grow and learn? How do we help them move on?

Congratulate them on giving it their best. One aim for my children is that they do their best, no matter the circumstance. Even when they don’t quite reach their goal, they should still be congratulated on giving it their best shot.

Let them talk it out and offer empathy. My kids often need the opportunity to vent their frustration and “talk it out”. They want to figure out where they went wrong and how they can fix the problem. There is no need for me to get upset; I simply need to listen and then offer a comforting hug.

Don’t lecture, ask questions: Instead of telling my child what they could have done and should have done, I try asking them what they would have done differently. By allowing them work the problem out for themselves, we are helping them to grow and mature.

Offer personal insight. It sometimes helps when our children know we can personally relate to their circumstance. If we can explain how we have dealt with the same struggle, it will encourage them to keep trying and eventually succeed.

Help them to keep trying. My kids need to be encouraged not to let the situation get the best of them, but to use this as a springboard. If they can’t succeed in a particular field, I help them to explore other options. No matter what, we “try, try again”.

Please let me be clear. While we firmly believe in helping our children move past failure, we do not believe in rewarding effort only. Not every child is going to receive an award; nor should they. We encourage our children to do their best with the understanding their best might not get them a physical award or reward. They are doing their best for the glory of God, and the improvement of themselves. Children who assume every effort earns them a trophy are being set up for life-long failure.

Part of growing up and maturing, is failing. The key is learning to dust ourselves off, learn from the lesson, and move on. With compassion, understanding, and a lot of love, our children can learn this important life lesson.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
~II Corinthians 12:9-10

We’d love to know… How do you help your children move on from failure?

Want to stay connected & up to date with A Homeschool Mom? Don’t forget to follow on FacebookInstagramTwitter&Pinterest!

Do My Children Struggle with Confidence?

do_my_children_struggle_with_confidence

Of all the subjects taught in public school, self-confidence seems to the most valued lesson. Our children need to learn to take pride in themselves! Our girls need to have self-assurance! Ironically, the lessons aren’t accomplishing quite what the schools had in mind.

It has been mentioned, once or twice, that my children do not lack in self-confidence. I have even been asked what I have done to instill this in them. Honestly, the observation took me by surprise. I never set out to teach them self-confidence; it just wasn’t on my top list of priorities.

If my children are confident, where does it come from? Let’s give that a little thought…

I think our children learn confidence from us. When we exhibit poise, our children see this and model their lives in the same pattern. Here is where we need to be careful. It can be all too easy to have confidence in the wrong things.

I do not wish to have foolish confidence, assured of things which have no value. I should also avoid over confidence, believing myself to be worthy of so much more. Instead, I wish to have confidence in Christ and the wisdom He has given. What I know, what I am capable of doing, and the assurance to proceed with decisions should all come from a solid understanding built on Christ; not of my own worth. This isn’t about me, but how much He can do through me.

When our children see our confidence in Christ and His ability to work through us, they too will develop their own sense of assurance. Their courage will come from Him with an understanding that He will see them through no matter what.

If we truly wish our children to exhibit confidence, let it be done in the right manner. Let us model a solid faith in our Lord and all that He can do through a willing servant. When they see the results, they too will become bold for Christ.

“For the LORD will be your confidence And will keep your foot from being caught.”

~ Proverbs 3:26

We’d love to know… What has God been teaching you in your parenting journey lately?

Want to stay connected & up to date with A Homeschool Mom? Don’t forget to follow on FacebookInstagramTwitter&  Pinterest!

The Practice of Oral Reading

Practice_Oral_Reading

I’m sure we all encourage our children to read. Silently. But, how much time is spent on reading aloud? Oral fluency seems to be necessary for good comprehension and an enjoyable reading experience.¹ If we aren’t already doing so, adding oral reading to our homeschooling routine might be of benefit.

Since their births, we have tried to instill a love of reading in our kids. Even before they could understand, we would read to them or read in front of them. However, reading to them isn’t enough. I want to make sure that as my children are growing, they are also reading to me.

There are some great ways to encourage oral reading. We can model how to read; ideally with us reading fluently to our children. We can read often; every day I make time to read with each child and have them read to me. We can read as a group; our family could memorize a poem and say it together.

What makes a good reader? One indication they are doing well, is that they are reading with expression; they will sound happy when it is called for and sad when necessary. Another pointer is that they are reading without struggling.

If you are looking for a great way to incorporate oral reading into your homeschool learning day, look no further than your book basket! If you care to find something a little more formal, I would highly recommend McGuffey’s Eclectic ReadersThe key is to read at least once a day, preferably reading the same passage throughout the week. This might seem boring at first, but the repetition is important. Reading the same words over and over, builds fluency and helps your child become comfortable with the text. After a day or so, your child will be less anxious about the words; focusing more on expression and delivery.

When children read out loud, we can better detect their struggles and offer them positive feedback; helping them complete their learning goals. This is especially important for children who are already struggling with reading, giving them the help they need to be stronger readers. Our children’s education will flourish when they are fluent readers. Fluency may seem out of reach, but it can be achieved. With consistent practice and constant encouragement, our children will ultimately reach their goal.

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

~ Joshua 1:8

 We’d love to know… Does oral fluency play a part in your homeschooling day? How do you find ways to encourage your child to read aloud?

Want to stay connected & up to date with A Homeschool Mom? Don’t forget to follow on FacebookInstagramTwitter&  Pinterest!

Give God Your Story

give_god_your_story

If anyone had asked me to share my testimony, the story of how I came to have a relationship with Christ, I would have told you it wasn’t a big deal. It wasn’t until recently I fully understood just how important my story really is.

I was actually what most people would call a “good kid”. No drugs, never drank, didn’t smoke, didn’t ditch school on a regular basis – Hey, I wasn’t perfect! – and I did what I knew would please my single mom; knowing she worked doubly hard to be our everything. See what I mean? It doesn’t sound like much of a testimony does it. What could this ‘good’, little girl have to say that could be so important?

But, here’s the thing… The problem with being a ‘good’ girl is that it’s all too easy to think you actually are good. You tend to rely on your efforts, on your ability to perform, and on your good deeds. It leaves no room for the grace of God. While I would have denied I was trying to earn my way into heaven, I was certainly living as such. As a friend told me, I was missing heaven by 18 inches. The distance from my head to my heart. It wasn’t until I was encouraged to attend an apologetics class at our church that I truly began to appreciate what God had done for me. My faith became real. I realized God is alive and active, and He requires something of me; my obedience.

Now, I have never given my testimony before large crowds. I probably never will. I don’t know how many people would even find my testimony to be worth listening to. But I do know one audience to whom my testimony is vital. My children.

My children share my experienceThey are being raised in a Christian home. My children go to church. My children are being given Biblical teaching day in and day out. If they are not careful they will quickly become what I was; someone relying on their own goodness to get into heaven.

Maybe your testimony isn’t as simple as mine. Maybe the Lord has done amazing things in your life; the person you are now is far different from the person you were before you came to know Christ. Has anyone heard your story? Do your children know all that God has done in you and for you?

“But I can’t share that with my kids! There is too much; it’s too horrible; it’s too harsh.” I don’t know what your testimony is, but God does. Pray about what God has done in you. Pray about how God would have you share what He has done. Maybe He will have you share some of your story; maybe He will have you share all. Maybe He will only have you share with your family. I am not here to force you into telling your story, only asking you to consider how God could use your story to bless others and help them come to a greater understanding of His goodness.

Think of it this way. This isn’t YOUR story at all, it’s God’s. This is less about us than what God is doing in us. This is about His goodness, His grace, His mercy, and His love. It’s about taking something less than perfect and making it truly good; not good in and of itself, but positionally good in Him because of His goodness imputed to us.

When the time comes, don’t be afraid to share your story. Whether it be to the entire world, the world around you, or the little world which resides in your home; may the Lord be glorified and honored for all He has done.

“…’Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.’”

~Mark 5:19

We’d love to know… Has the Lord led you to share your testimony with anyone?

Want to stay connected & up to date with A Homeschool Mom? Don’t forget to follow on FacebookInstagramTwitter& Pinterest!

Am I Under Attack?

am_i_under_attack

The following article was written for our monthly PSP newsletter. With permission from our principal, we are sharing this with you; praying you are as blessed by the heart of his message as we were. Enjoy!

….. 

Have you ever had one of those days where everything seems to go ballistic? You know the kind… the kids are constantly fighting, everything you say is taken in the worst possible way, getting the basics done, even those things they normally like doing, is like pulling teeth, and then the other stuff starts: the car won’t start, family and friends alike seem to be deliberately seeking to annoy you, dinner burns, the dishwasher overflows all over the kitchen… you know the day – the day from Hell! We all have had them, and for the record, there are more to come.

It is actually very easy on a day like that, provided you take even a moment to step back and look at it altogether, to realize that the battle is on. For some reason, there are the general trials and struggles of daily living, and then there are those days when, for whatever reason, you have been ambushed by a nefarious enemy who knows how to push your buttons, and seemingly has pushed every last one of them. It’s called spiritual warfare. The Bible is not silent on this issue (thankfully), and gives us great encouragement as we receive our marching orders.

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

~ Ephesian 6:11-13

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”

~ II Corinthians 10:4-5

These passages remind us that our weaponry and armor is from God, that our adversary is spiritual in nature, that our enemy is cunning, and that we can be victorious. While we are able to recognize the warfare that we engage in as such, our children, at least initially, are not. It is our duty, as good soldiers, to train the next generation of soldiers for war.

“There is no neutrality in spiritual warfare. Either one is an active combatant or an unwitting pawn.”

In Matthew 12:30 Jesus told His disciples, “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.” He quite clearly stated that everyone is either in one camp or the other. While outright combat is pretty easy to recognize (most people recognize getting punched in the face as an attack), there are a few things that fall into the warfare category that we would do well to consider, and prayerfully train our children properly regarding such tactics: not only how to recognize them, but also how to avoid using them on others.

Assassins: These are people that come into our lives, either long-term (family, coworkers, etc.) or for short period of time. They differ from those obvious fires that approach with guns blazing to storm our fortress in that their attacks are subtle. Their weapon of choice is usually poison, either coming with false doctrine and robbing us of the joy that our relationship with God should bring, or poisoning our hearts with discontent, gossip, slander of others, or the introduction of compromise. We should realize that this type of agent is not necessarily a deliberate assassin. It is quite possible that they can be a friend, who genuinely loves us, and does not realize that the enemy is using them to drive a dagger straight to our hearts. Teaching our children to analyze the influence that others have on them is difficult because it requires a great deal of self-evaluation along the way. Nevertheless, assassins abound, both intentional and clueless varieties.

Friendly Fire: These are the wounds we receive from our own side. In this category would be sibling rivalry (when all parties involved are believers), comments said without thinking that wound our hearts, and the myriad actions prompted by our own carnality and not-yet-dead sinful natures. Even on our worst days, we don’t wake up devising ways to hurt our family and friends (that would make us an assassin), but a believer can still accidentally discharge a loaded spiritual gun. In those times when we do so, we are usually aghast when we realize what has happened.

It is not always comfortable to ask ourselves the question, “Whose tool am I being used as right now?” but that is exactly how we must teach ourselves (and then our children) to think if we are going to avoid injuring our own backup in the fight. If we are not actively trying to promote peace and unity, it becomes very easy to become an agent of division.

Another point to consider is that this type of attack is rendered completely ineffective if we practice what we are taught in Scripture regarding forgiveness, praying for one another, and loving confrontation when necessary. Parental discipline may still be required for little Johnny when he gives in to the flesh, but siblings can choose to forgive rather than hold a grudge and seek an opportune moment to return the favor with a well-placed volley of return fire.

Double Agents: “Whose side are you on anyway?” This category is for those so given in to their own carnality that it is not easy to tell where they stand. They say they love God and want to serve Him, but their behavior swings back and forth to such a degree that it becomes easy to question their motives and feelings. They differ from those engaged in friendly fire in that there is less remorse, or even none, when confronted with their own deeds. Are they saved but really carnal, or worldly and presenting a facade (perhaps they have even deceived themselves)?

In any event, we don’t want to leave that question in the minds of others regarding our own conduct, nor do we wish for our children to be used as tools in the hand of our adversary. Teaching them the importance of self-evaluation, through the lens of God’s Word, is an important part of their own combat training as we bring them through boot camp in preparation for deployment wherever their Commanding Officer may send them.

It is our hope as parents, teachers, and solders in the army of the Lord Jesus Christ to raise up a generation of champions for the Kingdom of God. To effectively do so, we need to teach our children to not only recognize the tactic, tools, and wiles of the enemy, but also to avoid becoming his unwitting pawn against their own fellow soldiers. “Who am I a tool in the hand of right now?” is a question we all need to learn to ask ourselves more often.

Forward! Charge!

Want to stay connected & up to date with A Homeschool Mom? Don’t forget to follow on FacebookInstagramTwitter& Pinterest!