Do You Desire To Bring Your Child Into The Kingdom?

It's hard enough to be a Christian parent in this world. How do we combat the forces of evil while at the same time raise our children to desire to walk in God's light? By seeking His face, His Word and inspiration from each other as we stumble through this parenting process together. You will find all the instruction, encouragement and resources you need right here at The Greatest Mission Trip You'll Ever Take to help you be the most effective witness to your child that God would have you be. Look around and come back often. Let's learn together.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Inspiring Families - A Family Living For Christ

photo by Savannah Grandfather

I met Steve and Tamara Thompson through my FaceBook page through a mutual friend of ours, not knowing they’d been reading The Greatest Mission Trip for some time already before that. Their daughter Alli has a blog of her own, Girls For Truth, that I was already familiar with, and as I read Alli’s blog I wanted to know more about her parents. Steve and Tamara were gracious enough to share how they make God a big deal in their home.

Who is the Thompson family and where are you from?
We are a homeschooling family of four, Steve and Tamara, Alli, who is about to turn 15, and Stefani, who is 11. Two years ago God providentially moved us from Metro Detroit to Rincon, GA, a small town just outside of Savannah. Most importantly, we are all sinners saved by Grace striving to live a life that glorifies God!

How would you describe your family’s personality?
What you see is what you get. We are very open with our lives and love to fellowship. We love to learn and would much rather attend a great conference as opposed to taking a cruise! We are always on the go and really have no desire to ever slow down. Each of us have very distinctive roles that make our family function-Steve is the leader, protector, theology professor, and overseer; Tamara is the educator, coordinator, and nurturer; Alli is the organizer, brain, editor, and theologian; and Stefani is our vibrant, energetic, athletic, and talented encourager. We often joke that Stefani is here to keep Alli humble because she is that little sister that can do everything on the first try!

Describe what you do to teach your children about God.
The first thing that we did to teach our children about God is we became learners ourselves. As our children have grown, this has never changed. As Paul Tripp would say, we are a “theological community”. We are always learning and always teaching around here. We were very blessed early on to be involved in a church that seriously embraced the need to teach Biblical parenting. Our pastor, who is a fabulous expository preacher, spent nine months teaching on “the family” from the pulpit. We can honestly say that God used this to set us on the path we are now on. Besides being taught straight from Scripture, our pastor introduced us to four books that we continue to recommend today. Shepherding Your Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp, The Heart of Anger by Lou Priolo, Teach Them Diligently by Lou Priolo, and The Age of Opportunity by Paul Tripp.

Over the years, what we do has changed a bit as the children have grown up, but here is a basic idea of what goes on around the Thompson household:

  • We regularly attend church together and always follow up with what we have all been taught and how God spoke to us through His Word.
  • We fellowship with our church family together and teach our kids how to correctly love one another.
  • We worship together privately as a family.
  • We serve together and encourage our children to serve independently.
  • We pray together, and teach our children to pray individually.
  • We do Bible studies together, as well as devotions.
  • We read books to our kids. Now that they are both independent readers, we do a lot of book recommending to one another.
  • We discipline our children and use this time as a teaching opportunity.
  • We listen to worship music together.
  • We teach our children how to discern for themselves.
  • We allow our children to make mistakes and we teach them through this.
This is definitely not an exhaustive list, but these are the things that are happening on a regular basis. Every single opportunity with our children is a teaching opportunity. We have never relied on a set schedule, because we strive to make God’s Word central to every minute of our lives.

At what point did you make a decision to purposefully teach your children about Him? For what purpose?
Before we really had any sort of parenting plan we sought out our purpose, or our goal in parenting. We honestly don’t remember if this was our exact purpose from the beginning, but as we grew in our faith, it became clear. We raise our children to keep Christ as their first love, and to bring glory to God in their service, actions, and love for others. The only way to do this is to teach our children God’s Word!

What have been the most difficult obstacles?
The most difficult obstacle has been our sin nature. Our sin nature can throw our focus off of God in an instant and we have to be very diligent to keep our home Christ-centered. The temptation to make your home child-centered, or to even put your relationship with your family above your relationship above God, is strong.

What have been the greatest blessings?
Hands down, the greatest blessings have been God’s grace and mercy. Not only is this incredibly wonderful in our own lives, it is an amazing joy to see His grace and mercy in the lives of our children!

Steve, what would you tell dads?
Keep Christ central in your life and take careful notice to your own walk. You are definitely being watched by your children, and they are probably learning as much from what you do as from what you say. Model to them what it means to strive for Christ-likeness. Dads, even more important than being a good dad, be a good husband. Love your wife in words and in deed! Also, never be afraid to seek wise counsel when needed from godly men in your life! Teach your children about Biblical manhood. This is true even if you only have daughters like I do! Teaching my daughters about Biblical manhood will help them to submit to leaders, seek a husband, submit to a husband, and possibly even raise sons.

Tamara, what would you tell moms?
I’ll start with what Steve said, keep Christ as the center of your life and take careful notice of your own walk. Also, embrace those women that live out Titus 2 and are willing to teach you. Many Godly women have walked beside me and taught me to love my husband, keep my home, and have offered advice in raising my daughters. I love these women and they have been such a blessing in my life! Mothers, purposely teach your children about Biblical womanhood! Put being a good wife above being a good mother. Submit to your husband’s leadership and show your children how God wants wives to love their husbands! Don’t take the easy way out when it comes to housework and shoo the kids out of the way. Not only will you get a lot more done in the long run if you teach them to work beside you, you are teaching them to be keepers of the home.

Any last recommendations or comments?
When our children were little, we frequently heard the comment, “Just wait until they are teenagers”! We never bought into that and have always looked forward to our daughter’s teen years. It is very important that you view your children through the lenses of Scripture. Don’t fall for the world’s belief that the teen years are the time for fun, freedom, and rebellion. By the time our children become teenagers, we should be viewing them as young men and women. Treating them as any less sets us up to expect very little from them. Alli is now in her teen years and she is not only serving beside us, she’s out there doing her own thing that she firmly believes God wants from her! As Christian parents, we should be looking forward to the teen years and not dreading them!

Related Articles:
reThink - A Book For Parents, Not Just Pastors
Girls For Truth
Nostalgic Revelations

2 comments:

kristen said...

they defently follow up on what they said! i know ali and steph from chruch and i also know there parents. they are good christian girls and they follow up to what they said if they say they are going to do something they will do it! no matter what! they love god just as i love them.!!!!!!

-Kristen! (youth)

Deb Burton said...

Hey Kristen, thanks so much for leaving your comment. I apologize for taking so long to get back to you, but our family is on vacation and I haven't had direct access to the internet or my blog in that time :(. I would love the advantage you have of personally knowing the Thompsons, and I'm sure they appreciate your testimony of them as a family. Thanks for checking in, and please keep coming back!