Our 17 year old daughter has been involved in babysitting/childcare work for friends and small groups in our church. She also “housesits” and takes care of pets while families are on vacation. Even though she can take her independent work with her, it sometimes interferes with our “family lessons” because she doesn’t have a set work schedule from week to week. I tend to be very structured, so when I make out the schedule for the year, I don’t like to have to change it around from week to week (unless an emergency comes up). I want to be flexible, especially when a friend needs help, but what do you do when MANY friends rely on the same person for that help?
Any words of wisdom would be welcomed!
This is a dilemma that us moms of older children (who know how to work!) are faced with. We have tried different things over the years from simply abdicating the family work (unsavory, though it is), to having the child read the family stuff on their own, to simply saying no to outside activities.
Though different circumstances may call for different solutions, it’s important to realize that each ministry opportunity performed by the child is really a family ministry because we all are affected, in that those left at home must pick up the slack for the one that is serving. Therefore, what to participate in becomes a decision of us parents based on what is best for our family. This is where courage comes in because we realize that these years with our children are so short. There is precious little time to affect them for the kingdom of God.
I have found that, with opportunities that the child really wants to do, often those being served are more than happy to assist us in our training. Then we are able to treat it the same as any other privilege. If such and such is completed by a certain date, then they can go. If not, we are brave to inconvenience everyone involved and cancel. The child quickly catches on.
Getting back to the basics of your own ministry to God first, your husband, your children, your home, then IF TIME ALLOWS, to your church and outside community can be helpful in making these decisions. It is crucial that you remain sane!
Realize that if you are not in command of your schedule there are plenty of people who will willingly, though unintentionally, take control. Then you become vulnerable to everyone’s whims.
I will now climb down off my soapbox and make one other suggestion. Knowing that your daughter is a person in demand may help you build a schedule that includes ministry time. Sonya has an example of a schedule that is built around time blocks. I have found that type of schedule helpful during seasons of serving outside the home. That may give you some ideas as to how to have structure and flexibility within the bounds that work for your family.
Priorities of the home come first here also. I think that her babysitting or home sitting should be worked around her school or family schedule and not vice verse. But that’s just my opinion. 🙂
Thanks for the replies!
Cindy, you’ve just described my whole life! I definitely am vulnerable to other people’s (and institution’s)whims. I have always had a schedule but haven’t been in command of it. I’ve felt like I’m supposed to drop everything I’m doing when someone asks for something, instead of discerning if it is in fact a true need of theirs or a want. I’ve known the priorities of God, husband, children, home, but when someone asks for help I feel guilty if I want to say “no”, feeling like I may be letting God down. Do you happen to know verses that ‘speak’ about guilt versus conviction? I have a hard time telling the two apart–they feel the same.
Also, in your list of priorities you mention church and community when time permits. I have definitely fallen susceptible to serving in the church at the expense of home. Can you lead me to some scriptures that will help me get balance in this area? I fall prey to the “are you using your gifts to serve God?” sermons!!
Thanks for the encouragement and wisdom!
I have thought of some scriptures but I hope you will forgive my inability to quote exactly (a lack of a cm education, I suppose).
I first think of Titus 2 where he exhorts the older women to teach the younger to be keepers at home, among other things. Now, some of us are in a unique position because younger women, to me, implies a mother of young children as well. If, like me, you have a 20yo and a 3yo, where do you fit? However, what better teacher than a young lady’s own mother? That can obviously take the form of service outside the home, but it really needs to be tailored to the young lady’s needs and the goals of the older woman (Mom) in teaching her. What teacher goes into a classroom without a plan?
In Deuteronomy we are told to teach our children when we rise up, when we walk along the way…That takes being with them.
1? Thessalonians tells us to mind our own business, lead a quiet life, and work with our hands. Again, I think we as parents need to guide our children into what we believe God has for us.
Now, what about serving one another? That comes in also, but it cannot take the place of ministry in the family circle because children are our heritage. We are the body of Christ. Jesus said that we should pray to the God of the harvest to send workers into the fields that are ripe for harvest. Praying is just as important as actually ‘going.’
I know what it feels like to see so many needs and desire to meet them all. But as you pray with your husband and get his guidance, I know that God will provide balance for you and your daughter. It will become clear just what you are able to do and what is not feasible at this time.
OH! and I just re-read your quote, “are you using your gifts to serve God?” Of course you are!!! You’re homeschooling! Malachi 2:15 includes these words: That he might seek a godly seed.
Thanks for taking the time to guide me toward specific scriptures relating to this issue. I’m going to meditate on these regularly until my ‘habit’ of thinking is changed!!
Thanks again for the encouragement.
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