God made us to be 3-part beings, with a spirit, a mind and a body. We have to take care of all three parts of ourselves if we want to be truly healthy, well-rounded individuals. If we only ever nourish our spirit, our mind and body will suffer. If we only ever educate our mind, our body and spirit will suffer. We need to do things that will nourish and grow all three parts of our being.
As parents, we also need to take care of all three parts of the people in our family. We need to train our children's spirits in the Word of God, but we also need to provide nourishment for their minds, and activities for their bodies if we want them to reach their full potential.
So, how does that translate in my home? I will tell you a few of the things we do that nourish our spirits, minds and bodies.
For their spirits: Our children read the Bible daily. We read Story Bibles to the littlest one. We pray. We read good, scripturally based books that will teach us the things of God. We have a lot great conversations. We have regular church attendance and our whole family is involved in ministering to and serving others.
For their minds: I make sure they have access to wonderfully interesting educational resources, books and supplies. I give them time to explore and think. I let them try out new ideas. There is music and art. There are generally science experiments going on in multiple corners of our house. Our home is a learning environment whether school is in session or not. I try to get them outside to observe nature as much as possible, as I find this to be very nourishing for their minds, and also their bodies and their spirits.
For their bodies: Thankfully, our kids are naturally pretty active. That being said, I still limit their media time and encourage daily outdoor activities. I try to model the behavior I want to see them develop by exercising regularly myself. I cook healthy food most of the time so that they are eating things that will nourish their bodies. I make sure they get adequate rest. I try to make sure they maintain a healthy and realistic body image.
Some other things I do to nourish their 3-part beings: I try to provide a beautiful environment for my family to live and grow. I'm not talking about spending a lot of money or getting stressed over our home decor (that wouldn't be very nourishing, would it?) But there are little things I can do that don't take a lot of extra time or effort, but pay big dividends in the atmosphere of our home. I keep our main living area neat, clean and free of clutter (to the best of my ability with 4 kids at home all the time). That way there is always a peaceful place for them to rest. I try to make sure the house smells good by using essential oils or simmering potpourri. I often bring in wildflowers for the table and often, my husband brings them for us. Sometimes I will play peaceful instrumental music in the back round. I use real dishes for our evening meal together. I don't just throw the meal out there for them like they are pigs eating from a trough, but I serve our food in serving dishes and set the table properly. I don't do this to be fussy, and our meals are anything but quiet, formal affairs. However, it is our time together as a family unit, so I try to make it special. Above all, I try to rule my mouth and actions with kindness. I say please and thank you to my children and my husband. I try not to use a harsh or loud voice with them (I wish I could say I had done this 100%, but I am growing in graciousness.) It is possible to discipline and correct children without raising your voice or treating them harshly. Ask yourself how well you respond to a boss that is loud and harsh. Wouldn't you rather work for a boss that is considerate and kind? Wouldn't it be easier to do what that boss asked of you? Our children are people, too, and feel the same. It is my desire to train my children in the way I would like to be treated. After all, they will follow what I do far more closely than what I say. I try to model the behavior I would like to see in them.
We are certainly not a perfect family. I often see areas in which we need to grow and change. But even though our home is filled with real human beings and all the flaws that come with that package, we still have a peaceful, happy home. We have a home in which we are all able to grow, change and be nourished in all 3 parts of our beings. And that, to me, is the goal.
Have a great day!
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