When I was in college in Atlanta, we traveled over 30 miles on Tuesday night to a Bible study that sometimes had over 400 in attendance. There was a three-piece band and a speaker. Simple music, simple truths. The concept was, “if you teach them, they will come” and we did. We studied the Bible a passage at a time. I remember it was the first time I heard the phrase “the Beatitudes are Attitudes to be”. Most of what God has to teach us and our children is simple truths. We just like to complicate them.
As parents or workers with children of various ages, we know “attitude”. We probably get several doses a day. Have you ever thought about teaching children a conscious attitude; attitudes to be? Jesus did and gave a wonderful lesson that we should teach to our children early on.
TO BE verb and auxiliary verb
- present singular 1st person: am(I am)
- 2nd person: are(you are)
- 3rd person: is(he/she is)
Attitudes are something you ARE. You choose to BE. It is a decision. Very early on you must teach children that they are choosing their attitudes and those decide how they act and those actions have consequences. At the first sign of an inappropriate attitude you look them straight in the face and say, “you need to make a decision. Make a good one. If you continue in this ____ (name it – action or attitude) then YOU are DECIDING and CHOOSING this consequence (name it).” You have to teach them as early as two that they are ‘asking’ for consequences by their choices. If they are acting out they choose to be punished. Do not let them blame you. Encourage them to choose wisely and receive good consequences.
I hear mom’s say, “he/she’s in their terrible two’s” or, “oh, he/she’s carried the terrible two’s into the terrifying three’s”. Don’t CLAIM it for goodness sake. Do something about it. You do not let children control you or your home. I know I have said it under other sections, but, let me say it again. Parenting is a SMALL minuscule picture on earth of our Heavenly Father’s relationship with us. Remember what happens when you try to control your life; you try to control God? Makes a mess of things doesn’t it? Well, why are you allowing children to control you and the home? I see toddlers in control of large adults 4x’s their size and I shake my head and think, “when did you hand them the keys?” Most turn over control before they are two believe it or not.
I won’t mention which daughter, but one of mine wanted something in the checkout line and I said, “no”. To which I received a tantrum, her first. I looked at her and told her she was embarrassing herself and me and that was no way to behave in a store. I told her to make a decision or I would have to embarrass her. She continued to scream. So I dropped to the floor and threw a tantrum. She was mortified. She told me I was ‘mbearinsing her’. I told her I would stop if she did. 😀 Quit laughing, it worked. We were in Winn Dixie and a mom looked at me and said, “Oh, if I only had the courage to do that.” There were no more tantrums in the store. There are those that say not to humiliate your child in public. HOGWASH! (<~ I have become my mom, it was her fav word). Half of what is wrong with children is we are protecting them from good child rearing techniques for fear of what others will say or think. Or worse, what some ‘professional in the world’ says will hurt the child. The world is not in charge of raising your child. The truth is, you answer only to God for how you turn out your kids. Any child still living at home and you pay the bills, is your responsibility, your stewardship under God’s eyes. I am sorry to say that an out of control teenager did not wake up that way one morning. It started years before when someone stopped parenting and handed over the keys. It is very hard, but not impossible, to get those keys back and start over. God expects you do to just that.
He gave you a manual on teaching attitudes to yourself as well as your children. These are simple Bible truths that Jesus taught in Matthew 5. (This is greatly simplified due to BLOG constraints – everyone should really do a thorough study of God’s attitudes TO BE.)
- 3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (our BEatitude is recognizing we OWE all to God) God is teaching us and we need to teach children, that we are blessed by Him and stewards of all that we have; we should have a humble and thankful spirit and not a proud and greedy one
- 4“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (our BEatitude of SORROW for sin that brings repentance, recognizing when we do wrong and REALLY being sorry) God is teaching us, and we need to teach children, that we should be sorrowful over sin and wrong doing; that we are dependent on the Holy Spirit to walk daily in Him and that we cannot do so without Him. Teach them to yield to that conscience; yield to the tugging of the Holy Spirit. We know when we are doing wrong and we know when we are ignoring that tugging on our conscience. If we ignore, the Holy Spirit within us grieves. We ignore that, we harden.
- 5“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (our BEatitude of SUBMISSION to God) God is teaching us, and we should teach our children, to be quiet and rest in Him, to not get upset when we are wronged but to turn the other cheek and show His love to others as He has shown it to us. We are to be patient with others as God is with us, that includes being patient with the children you are teaching patience!
- 6“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (our BEatitude is one of SENSING our need for God and striving to be more like Him) God is teaching us, and we should teach our children, through two things the human body can understand, hunger and thirst. These needs keep us alive and our hunger and thirst for righteousness are vital to our spiritual life just as food and water are to our physical body. Priorities must be set and followed. Putting God first makes everything else fall in line.
- 7“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Our BEatitude is one of SHOWING our Christ in our actions) God is teaching us that when we hunger and thirst after Him, our ACTIONS will show Him. This is our testimony in action. We show love for others as He has loved us. For a long description of LOVE see my “For The Greatest Of These is Love” post. We give forgiveness as we are forgiven. We show compassion, pity, patience, just as we have been shown them by Him.
- 8“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Our BEatitude is one of seeking His Holiness) God is teaching us, and we should teach our children, to put away the world and seek only that which is pure. God cannot look on iniquity so having it in our heart separates us from Him. To see God, we must have a pure heart. Pure hearts come from what we put in our minds through our eyes and ears.
- 9“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God” (Our BEatitude is one of SOLVING not creating problems) God is teaching us, and we should teach our children, to strive to get along and find good in others and situations. To establish Peace through Him. Our light in a dark world should bring comfort and peace. As the old saying goes, “if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.” When actions display God in us and not us in the world, then we are part of the solution.
- 10“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”(Our BEatitude is one of SELFLESSNESS) God is teaching us, and we should teach our children, that when we take on all of these BEatitudes, the world will not understand. Sometimes you will be walked over, made fun of and some will even give their lives. This is hard for us as adults and certainly not something little children can grasp. We simple must teach them that sometimes, even though we are doing right, bad things are going to happen; people are going to hurt us. This is when it is even more important TO BE the BEatitudes through His strength in us.
- 11“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me”(Our BEatitude is one of STEADFASTNESS standing strong in the Power of the Blood). In America today, Christians are being picked apart and ridiculed. You and children will face more and more verbal, if not physical, persecution for standing in the testimony of Christ. During these times our resolve may weaken, or we may become apathetic if we do not stand in His Power. There are times when I just get quiet and pray, “Lord, by the Power of the Blood, for the Victory that HAS BEEN ONE, I bind satan from this situation. What is bound on earth is bound in Heaven. (Matthew 16:18) I claim this VICTORY.” And then I move in His Power, not my own.
Learn the BEatitudes and pass them on to your children. What’s your BEatitude today?