Wednesday, July 25, 2007

a heritage in mission

during the forge intensive in perth, danelle hamilton lead us in a session titled "family in mission."  she shared intimately, personally and tenderly about this critical topic.  she is the daughter of a minister and her father grew up with parents who served in the remotest part of australia  in the northwest, with aboriginals for 50 years (yes, 50 years).  it is from this rich heritage that she offered her insights and wisdom, based on how she was raised and how she and hamo are raising their children.  i took detailed notes not only for our sake, but i was thinking of our community and the desires and concerns we now have for our children.  she said her heritage had been one of servants and generosity - i want to learn from that.

the following are traditions practiced by her family to which she attributes their long-term well-being and health:

1) a family night and family day (saturday) every week without fail

2) faithfulness to the dinner table (and they never answered the phone during the meal).  at the end of the meal they were taught from the bible and they prayed as a family

3) her parents faith and commitments were lived out in front of the children

4) her parents valorized hospitality.  when they had guests they would say to her "you are so lucky to get to give up your room for these special people"

5) they were exposed to christians and non-christians alike - her parents were loving people

She offered some excellent advice for child-rearing:

-parents must be the primary teachers of their children (it's not the job of sunday school or school)

-it is critical to teach scripture and live out your faith in front of your children

-take your children with you and show them about loving and caring for others (children make great missionaries)

-share parenting, teaching and nuturing with others

Finally, she said the best thing you can do is be consistent.  this must be a lifetime commitment, not a season.  and, of course, there are no guarantees.

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