All of what I know now in my 40s, I wish I could dispense to my boys in their preteens.
I suppose all parents wish that for their children. Often lasting growth involves learning it the hard way. But, I will always have my “mama megaphone” in hand blasting valuable truth for their growing boy-ears to hear. Especially when it comes to living small and becoming humble men, strong humble men.
have a deep sense of my smallness. A true estimation of who I am compared to the bigness of God. Realizing that the world does not revolve around me. Releasing a serve-me mentality for how-can-I-serve-you. Not owning an inflated sense of worth that expects certain treatment but operating out of gratitude for all the God has done.
Here are a couple ideas we’ve used to teach living small to our boys:
1. Create a habit of giving!
(There are so many ways to do this…) We starting giving the boys allowance at the age of 5 so that they would have some money to tithe on. At that time, they received $5 a month (and so on, receiving a dollar for each year they are old). 10% of $5 is $.05/month.
As they tithed each month, we taught each month like a broken record: gratitude, God’s given so much to us, it feels so good to give, it’s just what you do, out of a grateful heart… It such a wonderful and tangible habit and a gift to give to your kids. A wonderful way to live small.
2. Cultivate brotherly love.
A few summers ago, I anticipated that the boys would find it extremely entertaining to mess with each other! So, I created a constructive competition to “let their light shine” with each other. They had to:
a) Memorize Matthew 5:16
“In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
b) Do random acts of kindness for each other, “letting their light shine” (ex: giving a compliment or cleaning up the other’s toys or getting the other one a snack or intentionally sharing their LEGOS).
c) Every time they caught the other being good, they could put a sun ray of the other brother’s face.
They started with just a face. By the end of the summer, they had a massive shining SUN, representing a summer of living small. It lit up the environment of our house. They looked for ways to serve the other person and had fun doing it. They learned to live small (and, the end of project completion award of $5 each).
There are so many creative ways to teach living small to our children. One of the best and most difficult ways is to live small to them. God help us all.
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