Our Family Values
I have posted before about how important it is to train children on whats expected from them - we have training at work and life is no different. We cannot expect our children to just 'know' how to behave in different situations, especially if they have autism.
I don't have autism and so learning to parent children with autism was completely knew to me. I was not raised in a christian family and so learning to pass on christian values and raise them to know Jesus was also a completely new concept - let alone the fact that just plain parenting was brand new!
I needed help, so I turned to books. I had read lots of parenting style books but these were mainly aimed at typical children, which is not the parenting journey we were on. I wanted to keep the training we had received regarding autism but I wanted to show/teach them about Jesus too. At this stage I was a fan of Girltalk blog site and they had lots of helpful resources. I also listened to our church leaders and read through their recommendations on parenting children to know God. Once I had armed my self with this knowledge, I took myself away for a day to pray and come up with a plan. Obviously I had been praying through all of this, that God would show us how best to help our children but having a day away meant I could really focus on what God was saying without distractions.
I looked at what we wanted to impart on our children and values that would not age but develop with our children. We decided upon 5 values that would help train our children in the way they should go, all backed by scripture.
We defined what each value meant, then we looked at how to do each value in terms of actions, words, thoughts. We also used a memory verse - which tied into why this is important. I taught them that God has authority and we are to do the things He instructs and it is for our own benefit. It helped them to know I was also under Gods authority and these values applied to all of us. Then we might do an example of what a good/bad value would look like or a question and answer session. Below is an example;
Listen - to make an effort to hear sound
How - we use our ears to listen to the sound, we respond yes (name) when our name is called this is how they know we have their attention, we wait for the person to finish speaking before we respond, that way we know exactly what it is they are saying/asking
Why - Now my children listen to me those who follow my ways are happy. Listen to my teaching and you will be wise. Do not ignore it. Proverbs 8:32
When they were younger, the values were decorated to look fun and were placed in their playroom so they could be reminded throughout the day. As they got older, we used prompt cards. When they were younger it would have been about sharing your toys or turn taking in games, as they get older - sharing their time and being generous - thinking of others...
I would recommend taking time out to really pray over how to raise your children and asking God directly to show you what to do next or for the future. Getting to know other parents who are a little further along in their parenting journey, is a good resource - they can teach you from their experience. Book recommendations from the parents/people you respect, help too. Find a family you like/admire, find out how they do it and learn from them. Experience is a great teacher.
There is no perfect parenting, no definitive way to raise Christians - Good christian people don't necessarily raise good christian children and bad parents can raise up children, who go on to become fired up christians. God chooses who will be saved, who will have the gift of salvation. It is not by our works. My salvation is my greatest gift and I want my children to have it too, why wouldn't a parent share their greatest treasure with their children? This post is not how to raise up christian children but how we use family values to instruct our children about how to live, as well as teaching them about God.
What are the values you install in your family?