Today’s Table Talk is by MOAT friend Sheriff Daniel. Sheriff is a pastor in Calcutta, India. We met Sheriff in 2009 when he was in Dallas for a training session at Dallas Theological Seminary through GPA. We were Sheriff’s host family. Poor thing had to brave our home staying with us one weekend. We had so much fun together and have stayed in touch since. 

Last summer, Sheriff and several others returned to Dallas for a reunion. By that time, I had started the MOAT blog. Little did I know that Sheriff was a fan along with another pastor friend from Benign, West Africa. Why? I couldn’t imagine that these guys could relate to our little entitlement cleanse in any way. Apparently kids are kids no matter the socioeconomic environment. When Sheriff started to tell me about he and his wife’s efforts in empowering their kids… I asked him if he would share his thoughts. Here’s a large part of what he sent me. (I encourage you to take the time to investigate the Bible passages to which he refers.)

I hope you enjoy it.  I sure did (especially the “delegating responsibilities” section :). I just thought it was so interesting to get outside our little world and see how parenting is very similar regardless your location in this rather large world. … Thanks for sharing, Sheriff 

and… Thanks for walking the road with me.

From India With Love

The Practical Suggestions

All the best practical suggestions come from God’s word the Bible! (Heb 4:12) I would humbly request the readers to seek God’s face for the right advice you need for you and for your children. The Almighty God knows the exact situations and needs of your homes. When we seek Him with all diligence, He is gracious and compassionate to answer from His word to all our questions with the best answers we could ever imagine.

As a servant of God, all that I can do is to share my experience with you. May the dear Lord give you what you need while you are reading this!

1.     Intentional Investment

We should be very careful in counseling our children. We should start injecting the moral values in our children right from their infancy. This can be done through story telling, family prayers, and through all our conversations with them. I would call it Intentional Investment in our children’s life.

Up to five years old, their questions would be of learning new things they see. They would believe and take whatever the answer comes from us. After five, they will start asking questions upon our answers. This gives us the signal that they have started finding reasons on their own.

Our seventeen year old son and nine year old daughter come to us and share all that they spoke and did in school. We do listen to them. We do not rebuke them are correct them on spot. We wait and look for the right opportunity to explain things in the way they can understand.  We try our best to instruct them by examples. We try to avoid pointing them directly.

The best way we found is to allow our children to read the small portions from Bible intentionally selected by us for the Situation. After reading the Bible portion, we ask them to come up with their explanations. Surprisingly, they are good in understanding what they read.

One Chapter of the Proverbs a day or a five to ten verses a day is a very good idea. We can do this every six months. We can pick up a book of Gospel and read a small portion every day and study as a family. Now we are studying The Gospel of John.

Believe me! God’s word does amazingly greater things than our own advice and counseling! (Deut. 6:4-9)

2.    Be Transparent

Most importantly, let our Children see and learn from our own lives. Our lives should be transparent before our children. They need to know what kind of people we are and why we are different from the majority in the world. (Job 1:1b, Proverbs 13:6)

It is good for them to know:

The income and expenses of the family, our appointments and activities,

Our friend’s Circle, The time we work for the welfare of the family, our giving, our worship, our priorities, and our time with them etc.

We are living to honor God by preserving ourselves as the holy community and to preserve our children and through them the next generation to come. We can lead others to Christ, only if we and our family walk on God’s ways.

Everything was permissible for Apostle Paul. But, He chose only that was beneficial for him. Marriage is permissible.  Sex is beneficial only within the institution of Marriage. Our body is the temple of God and the temple is not for the sexual immorality. (1 Corinthians 6:12 -13)  May the Lord help us to understand what is beneficial for us from what is permissible to us?  Let our children know how transparent we are in our moral standards.

“Knowing Him and to make Him known to our children and to the world is our ultimate goal on earth.”

3.    Delegate Responsibilities

It is important to teach children how to participate in the household jobs.
This will teach our children responsibility. The burden of running the whole house should not only be upon one or two family members. All members including children should involve in daily jobs.
According to the Children’s age, delegate some responsibilities. Our seventeen year old son helps us in buying things from the Market, fetching water, Preparing the songs for the Family prayer, House Cleaning, taking his sister to school, arranging his book shelves and ward robes, preparing the bed for his sister and before going to bed he makes sure that the house doors are locked from inside etc..

Our nine year old daughter helps us in arranging the Table and in lifting up the Table, House cleaning, arranging her book shelves and ward robes etc..

We ask our son to read a portion of
the Bible to his sister and to explain it. We ask him to share some of the dos and don’ts that he thinks is the best for his sister.

Make your children understand that every one in the home is responsible for everything done in home! For an example; dirtying clothes, dishes, producing garbage and house hold expenses are caused by all the members of the family. So, it’s very important for every one in the family to help one another to run the family in a better way.

Involve the older ones to make the list of all the house hold works and then delegate the responsibilities of each work to each member of the family. 

4.    Teaching with love

It is very important to teach our children some of the very important lessons on attitude and behavior. All the teachings should be done with love and in the right time.

As I had mentioned earlier, most of their habits, attitude and behavior comes from the parents. They carefully watch and listen to the conversations between the parents.

The conversations between the parents are very important, especially if in front of children. Let your conversations be polite and honoring each other.

Father and mother should be careful in what they say to their children about one another and about the third parties. This creates the good/bad impressions in children about the people they talk about.

Talk to them about how you miss your parents and siblings; teach them about the importance of relationships and about the blessings in it.

5.    Be a Friend

 We should be honest and serious in answering their questions. If they are not satisfied with our answers, they will try to find the answers elsewhere. We should allow our children to come and share with us everything they have in their hearts. Children like to do this. If we try to stop them sharing with us, they will start sharing to those who listen to them.

We should talk to them like friends. Spend time with them to play some games and be available for the things when they need us.

M.K. Sheriff Daniel serves as the pastor of Apostolic Christian Assembly West Bengal Ministries in West Bengal, India. He is also the founder of Mesha India, a registered organization serving the unsaved Neighbors in India. Neighbors are the least reached people group of the world. 

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