During our close to 4 year residence in Tennessee we were blessed to live in community with a family. From them we learned many things. We didn't have an official mentorship relationship, but they were very much that to both Tim and I. Lately I have been entering community with several other families and am dumbstruck at the way their children behave and how the parents do very little about it. At first I was really frustrated about that, but came to the realization that God really gave us a blessing in seeing first hand how a family can potentionally function. Not everything we have learned is a direct reflection of this particular family's beliefs or instruction to us, it is merely our personal contemplations and assessment of what we observed. This is a list of the things we gleaned and were taught by the Velker family and their now 7 children.
1. Children have all the potential of being a blessing and enjoyable to those around them. It is just up to us a parents to train them, teach them and nurture them into a state of being a blessing to others.
2. Children are never accidents or mistakes. "If you think 7 children are too many, which ones should we give back???"
3. We are blessed through our children. Our children help us to experience attributes of God that we wouldn't be able to experience with out them.
4. We understand God's great love for us through the love we feel for our children.
5. We understand our depraved nature through seeing the already present sin nature in our littlest babies.
6. Disciplining children has more to do with disciplining ourselves than we would like.
7. Start disciplining your child as soon as it starts disobeying you.
8. Be consistent...be consistent...and be even more consistent than you think you should have to be.
9. A schedule is invaluable to a happy, calm home, baby, child, and parent.
10. Put a tired baby to sleep in a crib...no rocking, nursing, shushing nessicary.
11. Nurse your babies.
12. Don't vaccinate your babies.
13. Keep your babies close to you.
14. Play is important! Play outside! Play with legos, puzzles, games. Put your mind at use in play!
15. Make growing up milestones, rights of passage and traditions!
16. Enjoy every child for the amazing and unique person God has created them to be.
17. There are much worse things than the pain of natural childbirth.
18. Teach your children to do chores and to assist in the upkeep of the home.
19. Teach your children to be responsible for their siblings, to care for their needs, love them and to know that you are a role model for younger siblings.
20. Teach your children to sit still and pay attention for an age appropriate amount of time.
21. Children are capable of much more than most people think and that it is always better to expect more of your children than to expect too less of them.
22. Teach to the oldest aged child, the younger ones will follow the older one's lead and learn form example.
23. Don't ever let your child tell you "No" or defy you.
24. Don't ever let your child tell another trusted adult "No" or defy them.
25. Teach your children to obey "the right way, right away, with a happy attitude along the way."
26. Obeying in action, but not in attitude is the same as disobeying altogether.
27. Babies are the sweetest things on earth! Cuddle, kiss, and cherish them together as a family!
28. Teach your boys to care for babies the same you would as a girl because they will be fathers one day.
29. Everything is an opportunity to learn!!!
30. Fathers are the cornerstone of the family. All look to him to make the family what it will be.
31. A child should aways see the Father looming behind the Mother in support.
32. Having a messy house is far less disgraceful then having unruly children.
33. Have open doors and open hearts (hospitality).
34. Homeschooling is a superior education if done with diligence.
35. Homeschooling can be fun for the whole family.
36. If life is too crazy give yourself permission to not homeschool for a season in life.
37. Sometime fussy babies just need to cry.
38. Expect your children to worship God along side you in church from the very beginning. They will absorb more than you think and learn what it means to worship the Lord.
39. Enjoy and celebrate Advent or other foundational practices of Christianity.
40. Give your children a name that means something.
41. Don't expect less of girls or think that they are better behaved, they are just as much in need of correction as boys are.
42. Boys are boys, but that doesn't mean that it is permissible to let them act in disobedient or uncontrolled ways.
43. Take joy in times of grief as well as in times of ease.
44. Put your family in the capable hands of the Lord and leave it there. He will provide in all circumstances!
45. Eat healthy, excersize often, use herbs before medications.
46. Keep your kids off of sugar.
47. Make your home as lovely, warm and as decluttered as possible. Have a purpose for everything in your home and make organization an attainable goal.
48. Don't think that children stop you from doing things in life, just bring them along and enjoy the thrill of the adventure together!!!
49. Read classics to your children, develop a Christian world view and make sure the history that you teach them is also filtered through Christianity.
50. Love the Lord God with all your being and love others as you do yourself.
Thank you for helping us understand what God's intentions are for the institute of marriage and the family. Thank you for being patient and for gladly sharing all you have learned. We love you Velker Family!!!