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October 2, 2008

Above and Beyond

Mark and I have taught a parenting class for a few years now. One of the principles we have learned about is teaching our children how they can choose to respond to situations in different ways. There is good, better and best. Good is doing the moral minimum in a situation and represents who you are as an individual. For example if someone says hello to you, it is a moral courtesy to say hello back. Most everyone does that. Better is going beyond the moral minimum, to take it a step further. This represents our standards as a family. So instead of just saying hello, they may say, "Hello, how are you." Best is going above and beyond the moral minimum. This represents God. When someome says hello, you might shake their hand, ask how they are doing and initiate the conversation. Good is expected, better is preferred, but best honors God. It goes beyond rules, it becomes part of who they are as they desire to honor God. This becomes part of them way back when they are little. You can teach a 3 year old to go above and beyond. God has given the family as an amazing training ground for our children every day, all day long. In family we have the different ages, different personalities, different circumstances. We have many, many daily opportunities to go above and beyond. How much better designed could it be? And then when they go outside the home, this will be the norm. It will be part of who they are. As an example of what can happen when you train this into your children I want to tell you what happened here yesterday. I had to bring Jennifer and Megan to the dentist. I brought 2 more kids with me, one went working with dad and the rest stayed home with Kerri. With just a normal day, Kerri would have been busy. But instead she choose to go above and beyond. For her good would have been to take care of the children. That is all I had required of her. Make sure they were fed, dressed and safe. But she chose not to only do good. She chose to do better. She kept the house spotless and made a delicious chicken supper. But not only did she choose to do good and better, she chose to do best. I found out when I was halfway home that she had not been feeling well (I could tell in her voice when I talked to her, she wasn't going to tell me). So even in not feeling well she did the wash for her sister. I was okay with the wash being left for the day. We would have survived (only 1 day though around here!) But because she was preferring others above herself, she chose to do this. That was so above and beyond. There was nothing in it for her except the knowing that she was honoring God. That was her motive. Another day last week I was looking all over for a reciept I needed to return something. I couldn't find it anywhere and had to leave hoping I would find it later on. Good- Megan helped me look in the house for it. Better-Megan looked for it after I left without me asking. Best- Megan looked through our stinky garbage that had been sitting around for a few days and found the receipt! When she told me she had looked through the garbage to find it I can't even explain how loved I felt at that moment. That was above and beyond. My challenge to you today and every day, go above and beyond, train your children to go above and beyond. Keep an eye out for it when your children are playing with each other. Look for the opportunity to train their little hearts. It will be worth it. God will be honored and you will be a light to those around you.


Stacey said...

Where/when did you teach? Thanks for the lesson today. I'll definitely be implementing this in our house!

The Pauls' said...

We have taught the class quite a few places over the last 10+ years. We even did one in your neck of the wood a few years ago :)