Saturday, June 18, 2011

A goodly heritage

A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just. - Proverbs 13:22 

The Bible speaks often about leaving an inheritance for our children - not necessarily as a command, just as prudent advice. Applying this principle to material things, it is easy to see how helpful it would be to have the parent generation jump-starting their children's generation with sound financial teaching and the means for them to start their own families with tangible goods rather than debt. This second generation will then, in turn, be able to help the third generation so much more, and so on. I am not talking about amassing and hording money. Rather, I was thinking along the lines of how in the old days, families would pass part of their land on to each of their children, and help them build a house/farm on it, or how the family business would be passed down from father to son for generation after generation. 

The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage. - Psalm 16:6

Regardless of your financial standing, this same principle can be applied to the spiritual realm, which is also infinitely more important than the physical/material. 

Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.  - Psalm 119:111 

When we think about the importance of passing on to our children a heritage of godliness, living a life that strives to be in line with Bible principles becomes a much more urgent responsibility. There are more areas than I can list here, but I will give a few examples:

  • Marriage: What are you passing on to the next generation about marriage? I don't mean having a perfect marriage, because nobody has one since we are all married to, and are ourselves, imperfect people. I am referring to just how you deal with these imperfect unions that God says are to last a lifetime. If you throw in the towel and get divorced, do you realize that you are making it so much more likely that your own children will one day grow up and have one dysfunctional relationship after the other? If, however, you ride out the bumps (great and small) in front of your children, they will learn that marriage truly is "for better, for worse, till death do us part", and they may themselves are likely to make a more prudent choice of spouse than the parent generation did. Few of us were afforded a chance to see such commitment in our parents' lives ourselves, but the buck needs to stop somewhere, so it might as well be with us. If you look around families that you know, you may notice that couples who stay married usually have children who themselves are even more happily married.
  • Birth control: Life in an ever-growing family is very different from a "statist" family, regardless of the total number of children. Growing and stretching to uncomfortable new levels physically, mentally, and spiritually is a MUST if the non-birth control family is supposed to stay sane and maybe even succeed. There is no such thing as permanently "finding a groove" and growing comfortable, because just when we do, a monkey wrench in the form of an adorable but very needy baby is thrown into the mix, and suddenly we're back to square one. I always think it's funny how I think "Wow, this is so much work, I can hardly handle this!" only to one baby later think "Wow, my life was SO easy back then!" It's all perspective, and allowing God to control family size will really expand your perspective beyond what you ever thought possible or maybe even wanted to experience. If I were to stop and think about how many more children I might be having in my life time - children that haven't even been born yet, and that need to be helped from infancy to adulthood, it can really be an overwhelming thought. As much growing as I still have to do in so many areas of being a mother, I can at least see how I have grown in certain areas already that I would not have grown in had it not been for the ever-growing number of precious children. Children are a blessing, and God uses having them to teach us as much as we teach them. Even just growing up in relatively "large" family with 5 kids helped me so much to have a jump-start on raising my own children. I hope that our sons are learning what it means to provide for a large family, and that our daughters are learning how to sustain it from the inside. If they know everything we parents know at the point when they are getting married, they will have a 20+ year lead on what we knew when we were in their situation as newlyweds. THAT is the kind of heritage that we all should be fortunate to have.
  • Homeschooling: Much along the lines of the last point. Again, this will pick up momentum as one generation passes the torch to another, because children whose parents make their education their personal responsibility are so much smarter and well educated (haters, hold your comments - it's a fact.) I wish I had known even one tenth of what our children know when I was their age, or have their mental agility. The human mind is absolutely amazing, especially when it is cultivated rather than lulled and sedated.
  • Homemaking: Being a homemaker, I am ever aware of trying to pass everything I know on to our children, especially the girls (although if I succeed at teaching all of our boys to put their laundry in the hamper and their shoes in their cubbies I think my future daughters-in-law will love me to pieces). All of our children learn to cook and clean, because I firmly believe that learning ANY productive skill is worthwhile regardless of gender. As they get older, I truly hope and even pray that our sons will be taught my husband's line of work by him, so they can work in the family business as young adults even if they later choose a different line of work. It will give them an edge not only financially (a family business can employ their children at younger ages than outside businesses are allowed to hire them), but also professionally. My husband learned like that from his own dad, and I know it has helped him in his job many times. If our daughters leave home knowing all the tricks and shortcuts that it took me years and decades to figure out, they will themselves be able to build on this foundation and reach heights I would never be able to reach myself. The Bible calls children arrows, and it is so true, because we have the opportunity to shoot them beyond what we ourselves could accomplish.
  • Health: Not so much a direct aspect of "godliness", but since "all that a man hath will he give for his life" (Job 2:4) , this point still has great bearing on our everyday lives. Maybe laughable to those who frequent the Golden Arches regularly, this is actually very important to us. I wish I myself had not been formula-fed, vaccinated, and had my health permanently interfered with on so many levels. In some ways, trying to navigate through the maze of mis- and disinformation out there is like trying to reinvent the wheel. I sure would have loved to be taught all the traditional wisdom that used to be passed down from mothers to daughters about how to be (and stay) healthy, naturally, or to not fear pregnancy and childbirth as a deadly disease, or how to use herbs for healing, just to name a few examples. While I am starting from square one, our own children won't have to. In a world where in one century we have gone from the majority of people dying of old age to 1 out of two men and 1 in three women suffering cancer in their lifetime, in addition to a whole host of other entirely preventable modern illnesses, I would love for our children to be able to break out of this mold and not have to struggle with poor health their entire lives.
There, I have just run through all my favorite "hobby horses", but you can probably think of many more and better examples yourself. I hope this post encouraged you to look beyond your own generation and consider the benefits that we can bestow on those who come after us. The next time your spouse is acting unreasonable, or you get questioned at the store as to when you are going to stop having children, or people hate you for homeschooling because it pricks their own conscience, or you stay up late researching a new topic you are trying to learn about, or you get challenged for not injecting your child with toxic substances and aborted fetal tissue in the name of Franken-health - just think of it as laying up, little by little, a better heritage for your own children.

For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name. - Psalm 61:5 

And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. - Isaiah 58:12 


  1. I agree with you! I worked for years so that my daughter could pursue opportunities that I never had myself. I made sure that she had the resources available to help her achieve her greatest potential. She's graduating from a great university next year and she's planning on going to law school. I'm so glad that she's making more of herself than I was ever able to and I'm so proud of her!

  2. Zsuzsanna , you hit the nail on the head here. It should be the goal of all parents to enable their children to be better than they themselves are.
    Having grown up with absolutely no training on marriage, housekeeping, cleaning, or childcare, I was at a distinct disadvantage in the early years of my own marriage. Perhaps I should not say I had no training, but rather that the training I had was from watching my parents get divorced when I was 8, and having a mother who worked away from home and did not teach any practical skills to my sister or myself. :-(
    My husband and I have been married almost 18 years :-), and I am just now getting the hang of running the household well.
    I'm so glad that our children are growing up with the benefits of seeing our struggles and learning how to avoid them. :-)

  3. I know this is irrelevant, but you might want to look into CLEP tests(Be sure you're on the official website) I took my first at 14 yrs. and earned a degree that way. I agree with your opinion on learning vs. degree, but the degree did help me get a good job. p.s. I grew up using our 15 passenger van and it was very nice! (= God bless!

  4. I do like that in the last chapter of Job he gave an inheritance to his 7 sons and 3 daughters.

  5. I totally agree with what you said about marriage, a few years ago my husband and I almost divorced, we had so many problems but we stuck it out we stayed together. Our children now see us in a stronger better marriage because we chose godly counsel and stayed married. I taught my son's to cook and do laundry and other household things, sadly there is an entire generation of young women who couldn't cook a thing without pushing a microwave button and I wanted my son's to be able to cook a good meal if they marry a girl who's mother didn't care enough to teach her how to be a wife.

  6. What a depressing post lol! Seriously, to remind me of everything I won't achieve? :)

    But what you say is quite right. My family was not a large, or even christian family, however I was fortunate enough to be homeschooled, and I can see the difference being a second generation homeschooler is making. The things I see 1st gen homeschooling mothers stressing about are things that don't bother me in the slightest, because I saw my family go through it and make it out the other end, I know how it turns out. I have no hesitation in making my own curriculum, I can think of many ways to solve many common problems in homeschooling, and I don't have the doubts about not teaching everything or leaving a gap because I didn't know everything, gaps were left, but I had the skills to learn by myself and fill those gaps, and even help my husband fill his (somewhat larger) gaps. And really, does it matter that my mum forgot to teach me modern history and I had to learn about WW1 and WW2 myself, does that really ruin my life? Does it matter that my husband didn't know how to write a formal essay and had to learn from scratch because it had, somehow, been missed?

    I recognise how blessed I am to be in the second generation of this group, and I can't wait to see what our children will achieve! It's undeniable the head start I have recieved, so there really is something to this heritage thing. Now if only I knew ANYTHING about a good marriage or homemaking.

    Also I think it's great that you teach your boys cooking and cleaning as well. When we married, my husband knew far more about both of those topics than me! He literally taught me those homemaking skills, something I know a lot of other men wouldn't have a clue about. It also meant when I was suffering with HG he could cook for himself and keep the house hygenic at least without me running him through every step. Boys need to learn the basics of keeping house, just as girls need to know the basics of car maintinence, or house repair, or whatever 'male' tasks are around them, because their husband won't always be present.

  7. Deuteronomy 6:6-9 gives a clear command to the parents that we are to teach God's Word to our children when we're home, on the go, at bedtime and when we get up (in other words, at all times!) So many parents think that it is the church or school's responsibility to teach our kids everything and then wonder what in the world happened to them when they get older and want nothing to do with God.

  8. I agree with you that homeschooling creates an education heritag for our children. However, I've been thinking a lot about homeschooling in the conservative Christian community (of which I'm a member) and how we seem to be setting up our children for failure. None of our women are obtaining higher education or training in teaching and education because they are expected to stay at home and begin a family. While I agree that being at home is important, this equals children being taught by mothers without the means to actually teach them. It worries me. How are we preparing our children for the future this way? At least in public school, it's guaranteed that the teachers have a college degree and training. I know many Christian women who can't string two sentences together, and yet they are in charge of the education of a bushel of children. Are there are programs in place to help these women? Otherwise, the future for our Christian children seems bleak. Thoughts?

  9. Abba, with apologies to your mother, yes, I find it a very big deal that she forgot to teach you about World War I and World War II. The effects of these wars are still something with which we must deal with today--a lack of understand of this as an adult woman I cannot imagine and find sad. No, it doesn't ruin your life, nor does it enrich it. To not know history--especially regarding the most costly, brutal wars the earth has ever seen--is dangerous. To not understand recent world history is a danger. The old idiom about repeating itself is true.

    Kudos to you learning to run a home and to your husband for teaching you, what a wonderful man.


  10. I couldn't agree more with passing on those important skills. My husband and I both grew up in houses where we were not taught anything about cleaning, financial responsibility, cooking (although I learned by watching) he learned little about child care, and my spiritual education consisted of "all religion is bad." Neither of us had especially good parental or marriage role models either, (my father was abusive, his largely absent and divorced when he was 15.) I could go on forever about a memory from my childhood where one or both of my parents provided a bad example of adulthood, marriage, or parenting.
    We are now just into our second year of marriage, although we have been together for 6, and have two little boys, and it is only now that we're realising the damage our parents have done, and that it is up to us to change it for our own children, and (the hardest part) to change it in ourselves after 25 years of the same behavior patterns. Hopefully our boys will grow up understanding the importance of cleaning, cooking good food, paying bills promptly, saving even a little each week, having some kind of faith (we are non denomination spiritual believing in a higher power rather than God. For the time being, too much damage has been done in our childhoods to believe in Him as totally omnipresent) and respecting themselves, their siblings or other family, their friends, and their future wives and children.
    It is an extremely hard pattern to change, as an adult, so teaching your children how you would like them to be is vital, rather than expecting them to pick it up on their own when they first leave the nest.

  11. Thank you so much for this post, I am so encouraged by it!

  12. Very well-written post! Had to pass along an unrelated story that happened to me yesterday: I was in the store with my 3 kids buying a father's day card for my husband. I came across a card that was from a dog to its "father," thanking him for being the best dad, etc. I started laughing and showed it to my oldest - we giggled about how ridiculous it was! Right then, a lady standing next to me in the aisle got all up in arms about how I must never have had a pet, and that pets make people happy more than children do sometime, etc. I was flabbergasted. I told her that I had had a dog and a cat growing up, and while I love animals, there is no way that a pet is like a child and it is, in my opinion, ridiculous to buy a father's day card for somebody from their dog. However, if she was interested in buying one, she was more than welcome to. I think you had a post similar to this a while ago...Really - what has gotten into some people???? Maybe those were the lessons she was taught by her parents, who enjoyed getting their father's/mother's day cards from the family pet more than from her!

  13. I like the idea of homeschooling pools- kind of like a school, but where families from the same church or neighbourhood might collaborate on certain subjects. For example, I know this one family who would go to a friend's once a week to study science and math, as their mother was not particularly well-trained in these areas. Values are agreed upon beforehand, and therefore the parents can give kids the education they want, but a good education at the same time. Plus it gives the kids more variety.

  14. Great post. It is such a great thought to think that my children will be one step ahead of me in all these things.

  15. Renee,
    my sil posted on facebook Sunday, "Happy Father's day to all human and animal daddies." I couldn't even reply to her because I couldn't find nice enough words to respond to her ridiculous post.

  16. I have been reading thru your have such wonderful Biblical wisdom to share for raising a family. Our children are now grown, but the post concerning church nurseries brought tears to my eyes....when we had our first child, we had just become Christians (saved from a Catholic background) and while I was happy to be in churches that preached the truth concerning salvation and the Bible, the church nursery became such a "battleground" for me.....I can still feel the pain of being told I was too "concerned" with leaving my baby in the nursery, I should bring a bottle to leave for him at the nursery, it was a "problem" for them to get me to feed him, on and on. This continued with our other was just the way it was. I admire your stand and your encouragement for today's parents. God bless, Marie

  17. Anon on June 21 - HAHA! Does your SIL have kids???

  18. Regarding the pets as children thing... We have a cat, and while we love her, and my elder son always includes her when he draws a family picture there is no way I would consider her one of my children. Another member of the house who I am responsible for feeding and providing care for sure, but absolutely not my child. It makes me so angry when I see Facebook friends who obviously value their pets over their children. A friend's status the other day was something to the effect of "stayed up till 2am sewing a toy for the rat cage, the boys just loved it! Most spoiled rats ever... So tired, have to drive 40 minutes later on to get *super expensive dog food* wish the kiddos would just shut up so I can finish my coffee."
    What the heck do you say to something like that? Her children will grow up respecting animals sure, but also with the idea that pet needs come over those of your own child...

  19. Regarding your posting on health, you have the two leading causes of death in children in your house. Do you know what they are?

  20. I prefer homeschool support groups over co-ops. I like the idea of teaching my children myself and I have confidence my daughter,Angela, and my daughters-in-law can teach my grandchildren. We belonged to a co-op for a year and we belonged to a support group in the eighties in South Florida. I prefer family field trips over co-op or support-group field trips. On the pet subject-we had to put our 6-year-old dog "down" a few months ago. We found ourselves discussing the "animals don't have souls" subject and people(mankind-Bible word) do. Some people that don't have children(including tv "Christian" celebrities) teach otherwise. We grieved after we left the vet-and we have put down dogs and cats before. I will never have another pet. That was our last vet visit. I am done giving money to the pet industry.

  21. Renee,
    no she has cats go figure :-) so do I three of them and two dogs but my husband got a happy father's day from our children not our pets.

  22. Anon @ 11:20 on 6/21...
    The two leading causes of death for children ages 0-1 are genetic conditions and SIDS. Ages 1-4? Accidents and genetic conditions. Ages 5-14? Accidents and cancer. What does Zsuzsanna have living in her house?

  23. Lily and Anon.: is she refering to co-sleeping & possibly the pool (drowning risk)?

  24. None of our women are obtaining higher education or training in teaching and education because they are expected to stay at home and begin a family. While I agree that being at home is important, this equals children being taught by mothers without the means to actually teach them. It worries me. ...I know many Christian women who can't string two sentences together, and yet they are in charge of the education of a bushel of children.
    I must say, I'm fascinated that you know so many unintelligent people. I can think of a handful of people (men and women) who are as you described, and none of them homeschool. I also had a few highschool teachers (degree and tenure and all) who could be classified as kinda dumb. My Algebra teacher in 9th grade was a big lumpen man who did not know how to teach. Or else, he'd given up. Either way, I learned nothing from him, and depended on my dad to teach me algebra so I could do the homework and pass the tests.

    Myself, I have no degree. But I seem to be doing OK. We are using a state cyberschool, so I teach, but we are accountable to the state and the kids follow standardized curriculum. In spite of my degreeless-ness, my two school age boys are each 2 grades ahead of their peer group, and the youngest is on track to do the same thing.

    However, anyone who has the internet, no matter how uneducated or unintelligent, can provide their children with a world of great resources. No, I can't teach them college level calculus (thanks to my own public and private school education), but that doesn't have to prohibit my children from learning it if they want to and if it is part of what is needed for the educational and career path they want to take. And if one wants to spend some money, there is also the booming homeschool curriculum business, whereby people who specialize in one aspect of education, or all of them, put together curricula and resources and make them available to homeschooling parents.

    A person would have to try very hard to fail to give their children a good, well-rounded, home education. And some do, I am sure. But I do not believe that is a function of homeschooling without a degree.

  25. I am re-reading Voddie Baucham's(Baptist) book,What He Must Be...If he wants to marry my daughter. It goes along with the message of this post. It's not just about the future husband of our daughters. It's about marriage,raising our sons,the legacy of our homes,etc.

  26. I know I'm late, but I just wanted you to know that I LOVED this post! I printed it off and read it aloud to my husband, he liked it too!

    I hope you are enjoying your week!

  27. Julie marie, I could not disagree more with you that we may be setting our kids up for failure but totally the opposite!. First of all, higher education does not mean "better able to teach". For example, I have learned more history homeschooling a few years than I EVER learned in all my years of public school or college and my kids have learned it with me. My 7 and 8 year old could tell you more about Rome right now than I ever knew plus we have learned about major events that I never even heard of (like the Barbary wars.) They are constantly teaching their public schooled cousins and friends these things. When they are ready to homeschool their own children they will not only teach these things that they never would have learned in ps but also learn more and teach more because they have such a head start. I often say that our homeschool adventure is almost more for me than the kids because I am learning as much or more than they are. They will no doubt have the same experience of learning even more along with their kids but will be able to go so much farther because of what they have already learned. Since most homeschooling is done through high school, not having a college degree doesn't affect the learning. Mother's that have completed high school are teaching their children to complete high school. Anyone(not saying you said) that says a high school graduate can not teach a child through high school and then says the child would be better off in a ps is contradicting themselves. If the ps school teachers did not teach me enough to be able to pass AT LEAST the same on to my kids than obviously the public school failed even worse than we thought. When a homeschooler graduates and chooses to go on to higher education they will be entering that season of life with knowledge at least at the same point that we(public schoolers) did but more often with so much more. Each generation adding too that puts the students in a much better position to succeed wether or not the mother's go to college.

  28. I was told years ago that the reason there were so many men teachers at one point was that -that was a major that put them last on the draft list during the Vietnam War.


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