Mothering (part 4)

The Shaping of a Christian Family
Elisabeth Elliot

This book gave me such encouragement. It told the story of Elisabeth’s parents and their commitment to Jesus and to their family. She states several times that this book is one man’s story. How one Christian couple went about ordering their own home. Meaning it is not an instruction booklet or a prescription but it indeed is a worthy example. I was touched by the sincerity and the simplicity of Elisabeth’s parents as they sought to learn and apply godly principles from the Bible.

I’ve listed quite a few significant principles I took to heart from this book. Warning . . . it is a longer post.

“It is amazing how often children do what is expected of them when the example is consistently set by both father and mother.” Page 53

“My father’s life as we witnessed it was more eloquent than anything he ever said.” Page 55

“No one can make a child love anything, from spinach to sparrows to Scripture, but the parents’ love for things exerts a powerful thrust in that direction.” Page 60

“I remember Leland Wang of China whose motto was “No Bible, no breakfast.” Page 66

“In church the whole family sat together in one pew. My father felt strongly about this. We were a family. We were meant to stand and sit and kneel before the Lord together.” Page 69

On the subject of sitting still . . . “I believe it is wrong not to expect it, for in addition to being a fundamental lesson in a child’s submission to the will of his parents, it is also the best place to begin to train mastery of the body. To control movement in obedience to parents enables a child to control movement later in obedience to his own will.”

“’Head of the house’ did not mean that our father barked out orders, threw his weight around, and demanded submission from his wife. It simply meant that he was the one finally responsible. He took care of us. He was the provider and protector, making it possible for our mother to do her job [mothering] full time.” Page 75

Regarding an orderly home . . . “This requires regular inventory, sorting, and discarding or giving away. In our home there was a place for everything, and we understood that everything had to be put in its place. This takes endless repetition. There is no other way to train children.” Page 78

“A mother who uses a harsh tone is asking for argument and even defiance. She appears as the child’s adversary rather than his helper. Page 79

“But God never issued instructions which He is not prepared to enable us to follow. The contrast between the actual and the ideal, between the reality and the holy standard, is bridged by the grace of God.”

“A quiet life [I Thess. 4:11] meant that Daddy was home more evenings than he was out.” page 89

“Love is always gracious.” Page 108

“A father who is bringing up his children according to God’s law ‘puts the hay where the sheep can reach it’ – teaches, for example, that it is not enough to claim that you haven’t punched anybody today or run off with anybody else’s toys or cookies, haven’t teased your little brother or argued with your mother. He must teach positive acts of thoughtfulness such as doing obvious things without having to be asked—feed the baby his applesauce, pick up the garbage the dogs strewed around, help a younger child clean up his room, replace paper and pencil taken from the telephone by someone else. Love sees what ought to be done and does it.”

“No amount of talking penetrates as deeply as example.” Page 108

“The establishment of a child’s trust in God begins with his trust in the word of his parents.” Page 113

“Nothing trains and teaches so powerfully as love. Love attracts, it does not coerce. If the aim of the parents is to teach their children to love God, they mush show their love for Him by loving each other and loving the children.”

“If children learned early to respect, even to stand in awe of, their parents, they would be far less likely to get into trouble by defying other authorities God places over them.”

“Parents are given the delicate task of training an imperfect and highly impressionable child who is not their ‘property’ but is entrusted to them for a time, that they may curb the natural tendencies which are useless or destructive, and guide him instead to God.” Page 124

“My parents made rules for us to help us live a peaceful and fruitful life. The keeping of these rules was our early training in that renunciation and death to self which will never be easy for any of us so long as we live in this mortal body, yet that very renunciation is the route to freedom and fulfillment. The obedient child is the happiest child.”

“Rules and the consequences of infringing them instilled in us a healthy fear, not only of our parents but of authority in general.” Page 125

“’Quality time’ can never substitute for ordinary days spent doing ordinary things together.” page 127

“The greatest need of families is holy parents.” Page 142

“Nobody is born thoughtful. We must all learn it.” Page 166

“There is no doubt that the influences in the first eight or ten years of a child’s life pretty well determines his future course. Whoever spends most of his waking hours with him is the principal moulder of his character.” Page 174

I know this is a lot. The gems in this book were amazing to me and I hope they encourage you as well. There is one more paragraph I want to quote. First, though, I want to offer this book to anybody that would like a copy. If you put your e-mail in the comments, I will be in touch with you and would be most happy to send you a copy of this fantastic book. Here is the final quote:

 Ashley, Lauren, Kacey, and Rachel dressed for a father/daughter event

“The ordering of a peaceful home is not possible without the application of eternal principles. It is, after all, mostly little, common things that make up our lives. This is the raw material for the spiritual life. If we despise small things, regard normal household duties as burdens, routines as boring, rules too confining, we will never learn, nor can we teach our children, to live a life of holy harmony. This takes faithfulness in the troublesome details first of all, learning to do them well that we may make of them an offering to the Lord, for it is His work, after all, given to us. It is our daily bread for which we should learn to be thankful. Such faithfulness is the groundwork for all God may ever ask us to do.”

me, Rachel, Kacey, Ashley, & Lauren playing a favorite game

I promise my next post will not contain as much but will consist of one paragraph from the last book mentioned. It contains the key to which Steve and I used, or attempted to use, in all our decisions regarding our family.



Ashley said...

Hey Mom...I really like the quotes...now I get what you were trying to do..hehe..just kidding! :)

My favorite is the "no amount of talking penetrates as easily as example." Right on point.

thanks for posting and for being such a devoted mother...i love you.

KC said...

I posted this comment a couple of nights ago...but somehow it got deleted and you didn't get to see it: so here it is again. {grin}

Jay and I just finished reading this together. He said that he loves this book...read it when he was about 15. Cute.

I so agree with all of these quotes that you highlighted for us...right now I am really thinking about the end of the "father" quote which says, "Love sees what ought to be done and does it." So so true.

Thank you for sharing with us all. Love you, Mom.