Applying This Sunday’s Message On Parenting

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:

Be Strategic – Jimmy and Laura were focused on developing their children.  They locked in on some non-negotiables and every day worked towards instilling those in their children.  They put these practicals into their calendar and daily schedule.
For my family, I have used the model of a wheel that I learned at my university.  With Jesus in the center, there are four quadrants around the hub.  The premise was that life should be a healthy balance of growth in each of these areas: Spiritual, Physical, Academic and Social.

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 Consistent – I have watched the Seiberts do the same things over and over as parents.
They always had family devotions.
They always had a family game night.
They always took time to explain to their kids why they did what they did.
They always disciplined their children for disobedience.
They always prayed for their children the promises that God had given them.
They always plan; no great accomplishment just happens by chance.

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.

Today, as I spend time with Caleb, I am inspired to be a diligent parent myself.  Behind every great success story, is a story of hard work, determination and faithfulness. Parenting is one of the greatest challenges but also one of the most precious privileges we are afforded in our lives.  Let us cry out to God for strength and grace and let us give our all to this high and lofty calling!
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