Bringing Out the Best in Our Children
Glynnis Whitwer

"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds." Hebrews 10:24 (NIV)

I threw up my hands in despair, and sighed with a dramatic and disgusted exhale of breath. At that moment, all five of my children were the focus of my frustration. I was tired of correcting the same behaviors, the same tones of voices, and the same irresponsibility from the same children. It had not been a good day, and I told them so –individually and collectively – in not-so-nice terms.

The lecture ended and they all went their own way, as upset and annoyed as me. Instead of changing their behaviors and attitudes, the negativity went underground. We were like a simmering pot, ready to blow its lid. My angry response only exacerbated the problem, not helped it. What I wanted was for them to get along, speak kindly to each other and do their chores respectfully. What I got was more of the same.

As I returned to my own chores, I realized how ineffective my tirade had been in achieving my true goals. While I got them to stop bickering momentarily, I hadn't really made an impact on their hearts. In fact, I'd done more harm than good by not modeling gentle and respectful words. The rest of the day confirmed the truth: I'd not brought out the best in my children. I just stamped down the bad for a while. My children are not so different from me. I know how I feel when someone speaks in an angry tone to me. It certainly doesn't spur me on to show kindness to them. In fact, I tend to take my frustration out on someone else. That's just what happened in my family that day. We had a domino effect of irritation.

In Hebrews 10, verse 24, the Bible encourages us to "spur one another on toward love and good deeds." In my experience personally and with my children, showing love and good deeds spurs others on to show more love and good deeds. The Bible also tells us that we reap in greater measure than what we sow (Hosea 8:7). Which means love multiplies more love, and kindness multiplies more kindness.

As a mom, I have an opportunity to bring out the best in my children. But it consistently means I have to bring out the best in me. I can't model impatient behavior and expect my kids to learn patience. I can't model a self-focused lifestyle and expect my kids to learn how to serve others. Nor can I model an ultra-busy schedule and expect my kids to find time for God in theirs. Spurring my children on to greater love and good deeds means they need to learn it by watching and listening to me.

Dear Lord, thank You for calling me to be the mother of my children. I confess that at times I fall far short of where I want to be in this area of my life. I know I can't do this high calling of motherhood without Your Spirit within me. Help me to submit my selfish will to Your perfect way. Thank You for loving me and seeing my potential to grow and change. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:

When Your Child is Hurting: Helping Your Child Survive the Ups and downs of Life by Glynnis Whitwer

Visit Glynnis’s blog for more mom encouragement.

The Bathtub is Overflowing but I Feel Drained by Lysa TerKeurst

Application Steps:
Identify one area of your personality that hinders you from spurring your children or others on to love and/or good deeds. Commit to submitting that area of your life to God for the next seven days.

Think about how someone has spurred you on to love in greater measure. How did they do that?
What are some ways your family can do "good deeds" for those around you? Make a list together and commit to doing one or two a month.

Power Verses:
Romans 12:10, "Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves." (TNIV)

Galatians 6:8, "The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life." (NIV)

© 2009 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the encouragement to model good works and spur others unto the same. Do you think this works with errant doggies??!!!

Blogger - said...

I agree and can identify with this post from start to finish. I look back after I have been upset with my son and don't feel that I have addressed his behavior in love and a noncondemning way. This is something I really need to work on. Thanks for the post today.

Blogger Eagles Wings said...

Thanks, I just had one of those days yesterday...ouch...
I want to model Christ to my children, but often fail more than succceed and I want to change that!
Thanks for your devotional today!

Anonymous Nicole said...

I have four children and last night I had had it. The last straw which wasn't a very big straw came right before our bedtime Bible Study. I threw up my hands and told them i was not in the mindframe for talking with the Lord. i then began lecturing them on their behavior and how frustrated i am that they just can't seem to play nicely without arguing and fighting. I told them it hard when it's four against one. (I am a single mom at the moment because my husband left a few weeks ago.) miracle of miracles, I began telling them how my heart is broken and asked them what breaks their hearts. my two youngest were in bed by this time and i was talking to my 7 and 5 year olds. its seems that they have some pretty big things that have broken their hearts. it seems that i break their hearts too with my "lectures". The Lord totally changed the atmosphere of our home and we proceded to have our Bible study which happened to be about having an attitude that pleases God. I do want to spur my children on with love rather than condemning with frustrated and thoughtless words. Pray for our families in the family of God. I think we all struggle at times but we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us and he will not put anything more on us than we can bear. this is a promise from our Lord. Jesus is truth. In him there is no deceit. His words are true. amen and amen.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for the devotion,I agree with you to a certain extent,but you need to dicipline your kids,sometimes harshly,this builds character and respect,also if you let them they will walk all over you
God bless

Blogger Connie said...

I love this paragraph:

"In Hebrews 10, verse 24, the Bible encourages us to "spur one another on toward love and good deeds." In my experience personally and with my children, showing love and good deeds spurs others on to show more love and good deeds. The Bible also tells us that we reap in greater measure than what we sow (Hosea 8:7). Which means love multiplies more love, and kindness multiplies more kindness."

Thank you for sharing!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much. My day was exactly like that today. And tonight my husband and I are to "teach" our youth about respect. Just keep modeling the behavior. Thank you, thank you and thank you!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really need to work on this. God be my strength

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the encouragement. As mothers, we have several jobs that we do and sometimes we just lose it in trying to make our home a happy and stable one. Even though we do lose it at times, it is so important that our children see us model how to say we are sorry and see us look to God to help us with our shortcomings. Even through the hard days, they are learning from US how to reach out to God.
I am so glad I am not the ONLY one!

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