What Are We Building?

Hi friend!

We know that the decisions we make today directly impact our children's future. The decisions we make today- the attitudes, actions, and reactions we adopt- will shape our children's view of the world, of family, of marriage, and of us. 

For the rest of May, we will be taking a look at different mothers in the Bible, examining their stories, and answering the question "What are we building?" By looking at these different mothers in the Bible, we will look at the impact of their decisions and characteristics on the world around them and consider how applying these lessons impacts our own parenthood. 

I hope you will join me in gleaning these important lessons from these women's stories and applying it to our own parenting. We're in for a big treat!

What are we building?

I passed by the field of a sluggard,
by the vineyard of a man lacking sense,
and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns;
the ground was covered with nettles,
and its stone wall was broken down.
Then I saw and considered it;
I looked and received instruction.
A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest,
and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
and want like an armed man.
— Proverbs 24:30-34 ESV

What are we building?

That's the question that has popped up a lot in my motherhood. What do I want my own motherhood to look like? What kind of adults do I wish my boys would grow up to be? What can I be doing today that will impact tomorrow in a meaningful way?

What am I building?

One thing I have longed for is my children to grow up to be readers. My oldest HATES reading. I've always thought that he hated it because reading is delayed gratification. You have to read the entire book to understand parts of the story and you know what? Reading takes time. Chapter books take even longer. For some, reading a book can take months. For others, reading a book can take a few hours.

My son is super active, constantly fidgeting. His mind wanders and when he gets on a thought, he just can't get off of it. So imagine trying to spend 5 minutes reading a book that's mostly words and little pictures? It just doesn't work. In an attempt to encourage this love of reading and also promote some delayed gratification, we've turned to comic books. Soon, we found him sneaking off to his room to "read" his new books. When we'd read the story, we'd discover that they always leave off with the cliffhangers. (I mean, isn't that how we always buy the next book in that series?) These comic books and the newfound excitement in reading took an exciting turn the other week. 

I was in the library with my boys. I encouraged them to pick out three books apiece. I was intending to start "reading hour" in my own home. A time set aside where they'd look at pictures and "read" for an hour every day. I was watching them wander the children's section of the library when a book caught my eye. It had two little girls, it had a pirate ship, it looked to be a chapter book... I took that book home and we started our reading hour.

Reading hour was going well and good for about twenty minutes and suddenly they found themselves bored. I pulled out that new chapter book and we got to reading. I read a chapter or two and to my delight, my son protested. He wanted to read more of it! In our first day, reading off and on, we read 5 chapters! I was delighted to watch his own love of reading begin to unfold right before my very eyes. My heart was delighted to see the potential of my son sharing my own interest in reading. 

Here's the thing: To get to this point took us 5 years! Talk about delayed gratification!

The idea of delayed gratification has been on my heart and mind for the last several weeks especially. Delayed gratification means that we're building something with the intention of eventually seeing a reward. All those little nuggets of teaching my son to expand his own attention span. All those nuggets of reading those simple picture books. All those little nuggets of searching for just the right book to capture his attention. All of that FINALLY paid off now that he's begging me to read more of his chapter book. All that work, all that frustration, all that persistence and perseverance led to the delightful discovery of that newfound love of reading.

These verses in Proverbs 24:30-34 tell us the consequences of laziness. It teaches us a very important lesson on wisdom. That lesson is this: Wisdom plans for the future. 

Three things Proverbs 24:30-34 teaches us. 

Wisdom plans for the future by making preparations for the sowing and reaping of the harvest. To plant seeds and allow weeds to come up without doing anything about them, endangers the potential of reaping a harvest. To not take care of the overgrowth prior to planting, endangers the whole process. Sowing and reaping require us to take an active role in the whole process. In our own parenting, sowing and reaping require us to take an active role in the whole process. We strive to raise successful adults (reaping), but we've got to take that active role in the whole process (childhood). 

The enemy of progress is laziness. This person saw his field, he maybe even had the intention of sowing and reaping, but instead, he did nothing. He saw the need and gave into his own laziness anyway. When we look at our children intending sow and reap, intending to raise successful adults, but we don't take an active role in the process, we're choosing laziness. We're choosing the enemy of progress. Intention isn't enough if it isn't combined with action.

The consequences of compromise. Compromise led to this man's want and poverty. The consequences of his compromise snuck up on him. His compromise stole from him. The consequences of his compromise didn't happen immediately. He didn't immediately find himself wanting and in poverty. He likely panicked at the end of the season when his neighbors were harvesting their crop and he had nothing. In parenting, the years go by in a blink of an eye. Adulthood sneaks up on us! We swear that yesterday we had just brought this child home and suddenly they're off to college to walk out the lessons they learned under our roof. It's in that moment that fear grips us, "Did we teach them all that they needed to know?" The consequences of our actions (or inactions) will be made known. 

So the question remains, what are we building? What are your goals in parenthood? Where is God leading you and your family in this regard?

Lessons from Mothers in the Bible series: