We read together pg. 299 of Polished Cornerstones and then read from Luke 14: 12-14 and Hebrews 13:1,2 on hospitality. Then our first guest arrived and she played shy. She would not give a hug or kiss and she would not take my Uncle’s drinks into the kitchen. So I released her from her Jr. Hostess duties and decided we’d work on it another day.
It’s link up Wednesday over on Raising Homemakers! So on July 3rd, I began to prepare Alexis (age 5) to be my junior hostess for our 4th of July family picnic. Her role was to greet everyone at the door with a hug, kiss and offer to carry their things into the kitchen. Rather than running off to play with the first child who came through the door – she was to stand post and be ready to warmly greet ALL of our guests and serve them.
The next day we discussed what happened. Alexis was disappointed that she had lost her opportunity to be my Jr. Hostess. But another opportunity was coming, I had a play date planned.
This time – she stood at the window waiting to greet the mother’s and their children. This time she eagerly took the bowls from the mothers and brought them into the kitchen for me. This time she warmly greeted her friends. This time she lived out the character trait of hospitality.
Will she do it next time? I don’t know – training our children is a process. There will be good and bad days. Some personalities will be easier to train in certain areas than others. Sometimes they will respond to our training and other days they will not. We must seek to know our children – know their strengths and weaknesses. We must seek to drive the sin of selfishness and self-centeredness out of their little hearts and give them opportunities to serve others.
In Luke 9:23 Jesus says, “If any man will come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me.”
In the end, Alexis experienced the joy of denying herself. We must continually give our children opportunities to deny themselves. Satan has deceived the next generation of children into believing that joy comes from cartoons, toys, video games and the next great gadget. But true joy comes from walking in the footsteps of our Savior Jesus.
It’s seems to be a dichotomy to say that denying yourself will bring joy. But the best moments in my life were when I was serving Jesus. I have fond memories of missions trips, Bible study groups, gatherings in our home or service projects where the joy of the Lord was so full in my heart it overflowed. It’s the same in motherhood. All my daily sacrifices added up have equaled joy in our home.
This parenting thing is a journey for me. I am learning as my children learn and then sharing it with you. There are a lot of things I am unsure of, but one thing I am sure of, learning self-denial starts in the home. Let’s teach our children to serve others and give them something money can’t buy, true joy.