Saturday, January 17, 2009

Is "good" the very "best?"

Tonight my husband and I were talking about the loss of kindness in today's world. We had been out and about and I simply asked him, "Is being friendly really that hard?" I don't mean it as a judgement against others, but rather as a realization of something I feel we as a people in general have lost.

It made me think of my time spent living in Mexico and Honduras. My heart was remembering how genuinely kind everyone was to us. At the markets, in the streets, at the church, in their homes and in their care of us. It was important to them that they make every effort to extend a hand of kindness to us at any given opportunity.

Now, let us gain some perspective~ When the precious people of these two places were asked what it meant to be rich or have plenty of what you needed. They most often responded with "having a two day supply of food ready," "having at least $300.00," "having good shoes to walk to and from work and the markets," "school for your children," and the most honest being "good with what you have." Meaning contentment, of course.

The other thing I said to my husband was that the children were happy, content and well-behaved. Why? I think it is because families stay together for work, for play, for worship.... The children know their role in the family and work each day to help the family survive and run smoothly. There are also no distractions for these children because they have very little. One child I had the privilege of spending a week with received a lollipop when we first arrived. On the day we left, he still had it in his pocket, because he only ate a small amount each day, so it would last.

Sadly, I am certain this is not a strong character quality I have developed in my own children. We certainly do go with less than some people I know and in some cases more than others, but somewhere we have missed the mark at really cultivating in our children a sense of "pure contentment." Which of course, led us to discussing what more we can do to help strengthen this character quality in our children. I do know that it is definately a choice they can make in being happy and content. It is certainly biblical, "If you have food and shelter, with these you shall be content." (1 Timothy 6:8) So, how have we ended up off the path of contentment?

Distractions. We do many things that are good for our children and beneficial is some ways. Now, why do I choose the things I choose for them? Many different reasons, but the most important should be to honor God and teach them what it means to live a life set apart for His purposes. So many times the "rules of society" get in the way of solid truth-based thinking. We, as the family, need to be training our children in righteousness. This process must start in the home! The job of parenting actually belongs to parents! (I know, what an ironic thought!!)

My husband and I are working in the trenches with our children, because we desire them to grow in their understanding of what it means to live by the way of righteousness. But there are always sneaky forks in the road we sometimes haphazardly end up pursuing. So begins a new journey in this house of aligning ourselves to the path of "pure contentment." I will be sharing thoughts and ways of the process as we journey along, so stay tuned!

Here is my challenge to you! Stop and look at an average day in your child's life and see what might be distracting them. Look for the value in what you are doing and evaluate as necessary. I'm sure that we can all use some time to balance the scales of what our children are doing that is good for them with what is actually best for them!
Let me know how your process is going, I would love to hear from you~

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