Blessed New Year! (Reflection and Review of Kids’ Habits’ Training)

IMG_0655         A blessed 2014 to all!

This Christmas has been meaningful remembering our Saviour’s birth through the making of our Bethlehem Nativity Shakers . It was especially heartwarming when the kids and I gave out home cooked meals to our faithful  HDB Estate (Housing Development Board) Workers who cleaned our area and the Garbage Collectors (response from them was priceless!) during Christmas Eve to show our appreciation and spread Jesus’ love. Thanking God for the privilege of sharing this season!

As the New Year approaches, I sought the Lord in prayer with regards to the New Year lessons that the Lord would have us learn. Being a meticulous planner, I took out my own Charlotte Mason’s (CM) HABITS CHECKLIST Template to review for qualities that  we as a family would like to instill in our kids. I had started this yearly checklist 3 yrs ago. I am struck by how much work it takes to train them in such good habits! Now, we are still very much Work In Progress for those habits that I have listed in 2011. The bright side is, we are heading in the right direction and have improved over the years of training. One of  the few habits instilled would be the habit of orderliness, where the specific action of keeping shoes in the cabinet after use, keeping toys, and washing the dishes after breakfast and tea have been successful. I.e, they do it automatically now.   The habit of thanking God before meals can also be heard over mealtimes over the years. However, other habits like respecting each other and having self-control when one is angry, requires daily perseverance in training. Nontheless, I have noticed the improvement made over the years through much prayers and diligent corrections. CM explains the power of good habits and how to cultivate them.

Please do not be overwhelmed by the checklist template that you see. I only choose two to three habits from the list to work on for a period of three to six months until the habits are formed before moving on to another two to three habits for the next half of the year. Once habits are formed, CM cautions us to keep watch over the habits so that the habits will stay. I find this a tedious but necessary journey for such habits to be truly developed into character.(For more in-depth understanding of CM’s Education click here to download the free resources for e-reading.)

Why do i share this? Simply because as the new year approaches, I want to find my bearing in Christ’s precepts and also commit to Him the journey of growing these precious hearts. By nature, we have self centred and self willed ways.

Jeremiah 17:9

9 The heart is deceitful above all things

    and beyond cure.

    Who can understand it?

In order for our hearts to be renewed in Christ, we need to train them in His ways. Training them to develop such good and Godly habits will provide a good foundation to receptive and teachable hearts.

Ephesians 6:4

4 Fathers,[Parents] do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

1 Timothy 4:8

8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

Hebrews 5:14

14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Heb 5:14 has been a source of encouragement and motivation in times of discouragement over my training efforts. It is truly by constant repetition and practice of the good habits that we and our children will become mature and able to stomach solid food.  Training our children to distinguish good from evil will empower our children to mature in character and most importantly, receive greater ‘food’ from the Lord, for His Kingdom’s purposes.

Ultimately, the children belongs to the Lord. Lest we (my hubby and i) take credit for the hard work in training our kids, i am reminded it is the Lord’s abundant grace at work and He is the one at work within us, preparing us to do good works (Eph 2:9-10) for His Glory so that no one can boast. Let’s put it more plainly, God has blessed us with good health and that goes a LONG way! Imagine if we are sickly, all the brains in the world and the strength of Incredible Hulk will be useless (my constant reminders to my boys when they get haughty). We needn’t take credit nor need we lose heart when we do fail in our own parenting. We just need to continue to TRUST in the Lord and do our best.

May the new year be an exciting and hope-filled year as we enter it with thanksgiving, praise and prayer unto our Lord!

A song i sing for the family as the New Year unfolds…..

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS ONE BY ONE

Count your blessings one by one,

When dawn appears and day has just begun;

They will light your heart with happiness,

Make each hour bright and bring you gladness.

Count your blessings one by one,

When twilight falls and toil of day is done,

And in sweet dreams, they’ll come again to you,

If you will count your blessings each day through.

Count your blessings while you may,

For we are here but little time to stay;

All around are hearts sincere and true,

Lovely things abound just waiting for you;

Count your blessings while you may,

The big or small, which ever comes your way,

For then you’ll find this world a place of love,

If you will count your blessings from above.

.

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