On Sunday, Jimmy Seibert gave a message on intentional parenting (You can listen to the message HERE) at All Peoples Church. In the middle of his message, he brought up Caleb (his nineteen year old son) who shared his perspective from being a child in the Seibert home. As Caleb shared from his heart, I was struck by the fruit of Jimmy practicing what he preaches.
I imagine that for many who listened to Caleb share this Sunday, there was the potential to write him off, relegating him to some super-human category. Many probably thought, “This kid is not normal. Are you serious? He is actually thankful that his parents highly monitored his media intake and were very deliberate about what friends Caleb could and couldn’t play with? And how many nineteen year olds can stand in front of a huge crowd and communicate that clearly and confidently anyway? Certainly this is one of those one and a million kids who are miraculously bequeathed to super-star pastors and saintly missionaries .”Although, I would say that Caleb is an incredible young man, my insider’s perspective showed me that he is not a freak of nature that evolved on a planet akin to superman’s birthplace.
I first met Caleb when he was 3 years old. I was dating Stefanie, who was a young training school student living in the Seibert home. Since Stefanie was incorporated into all the activities of the Seibert household, when I came around I was drafted into the family as well. My first memory of Caleb was babysitting him when he was three years old, and when I wasn’t expecting it, he came and punched me in the gut. I spent the rest of the evening trying to come up with activities that would tire this kid out to avoid any further beating. I also remember numerous times when Jimmy would correct him at the dinner table telling him to wait his turn to speak and to close his mouth while chewing.
My point is this, Caleb was a very ordinary kid. But what Caleb had was a father and mother who did extraordinary practices in parenting.
Here are three secrets I learned in the Seibert house:
I realize that children don’t know how to set goals and live disciplined lifestyles. We need to set realistic goals for our kids in each of these areas of life and then help them accomplish them.A simple spiritual goal would be having a daily 5 minute face time. Also, I suggest a chore chart. Stefanie and I use a traditional chore chart but instead of just having household chores on it we put meaningful activities from each quadrant for them to put a star by each day. These activities include facetime, room cleaning, practicing their instrument, daily reading and daily practicing their sport. I also encourage you to spend time waiting on God for each child asking God for the specific gifts and talents he is wanting to uniquely develop in them.
Be Well Planned – I have often watched Jimmy and Laura have a family admin meeting once a week. Now I am more of a spontaneous kind of guy, but I have seen that if Stefanie and I can talk about the week, we are able to actually put our values into the calendar and live out what God has called us to. I encourage couples to have a 30 minute meeting on Sunday nights to talk through the week.
I also encourage couples to pray over each quarter and talk through how to incorporate the main values of the family into the calendar (ie. church activities, family trips, Sabbath rest, sports, fun celebrations, etc.). I also encourage parents to keep a calendar and every morning to look at it and take a moment to pray through each event of the day.