We’ve been married 29 years and have 4 kids aged 28, 25, 20, 20. We have three daughters and one son. We We live in Des Moines.
Are there regular practices you used to help your kids grow in their faith?
Our regular practices included meeting regularly with believers of all ages in all kinds of settings- homes, parks, restaurants, and we did attend a local fellowship. We prayed aloud “on the fly” – in the car, when we were scared, when bad things happened, when kids were mean at school, etc. Sometimes we read the Bible together, sometimes we prayed before bed, all through high school my husband read aloud to the girls. We read good books, not necessarily Christian books. Regular practices changed as ages changed, as schedule changed, as circumstances changed.
I did not schedule quiet time for them. I tried various time to have quiet times with my girls individually. It did not happen nearly as often as I intended or wanted.
What did you pray for your kids?
Things I pray: they would fear God and bend to His will – they’d know Him
they’d respond to God’s love
He’d give them spiritual eyes
protection from the evil one
Now that they are older – a husband who loves God and people and will cherish her
Did you have issues with modesty? Tell us about it.
We had minor issues with modesty. They dressed modestly compared to our culture. I dress modestly, and we had a general guideline of modesty, no specific rules.
How did you handle sleepovers?
I dislike sleepovers at any age. Sleep was a priority for me as a mom of 4 kids and no child comes home from a sleepover well-rested and/or in a good mood. I personally felt uncomfortable with sleepovers because how do you ask who will be there – stepdads? big brothers? uncles? inappropriate movies, games, ouija boards? The scary list is long.
They made their own social engagement decisions in high school. We’d ask questions, and give a time to be home. Sometimes we argued about it.
Dating/courtship? Share advice or rules you gave your daughters about these things.
We highly encouraged group activities with boys/girls in middle school/high school. We let them go to school dances with dates in a group. Dating did not become an issue. None of our girls were boy crazy.
Our oldest went to college, fell in love as a freshman. She had known the young man for a few years, as our families were friends. We supported and encouraged their decision to marry at 20/21 knowing it is not culturally done often now. Both were responsive to us (parents) and God. They both finished college and he has now completed med school and residency. They lived in low income housing and held jobs while attending school. Marriage comes with responsibilities and privileges.
My advice regarding boyfriends would be to encourage any guy friends to spend lots of time with your own family. It becomes evident if he does not fit in or want to be with you. Siblings often listen to each other’s opinions and observations. If he does not want to spend time as a family, it’s a red flag. Dating and marriage is a chance to influence and befriend a young man.
I love my daughters and my son. They are all gifts. It is very satisfying to see our married daughter make a home, love her own husband and children, show hospitality to others, live out her relationship with God.
One other bit of advice would be to expose your own daughters to other mothers and fathers. It can clarify, help solidify your own values. It can also give your girls someone to talk to if/when she does not want to talk to you.
How did you encourage the father/daughter relationship?
Our girls developed a love for football by watching with their dad. Their dad went on camping trips with other dads/ daughters through church each fall and spring. He also took the girls on several Boundary Waters canoe trips. Live life openly with your kids. Include them whenever you can and include their friends whenever you can.
The mother/daughter relationship?
Since my girls are all adults, we want to do girls only trip every 2 years. Our first was a road trip to Texas to visit a friend who had moved. It was a blast.
How did you handle sibling conflict?
The sibling conflict thing was a tough one for us. I still hurt for my girls when they are not getting along and I can’t force them to love one another. As kids, we had them “work it out” but of course going through the motions can be done easier than heartfelt apologies.
School choices are tough. Can you explain the choices your family made regarding schooling?
School choice for us was city public school. It was good and bad. We had excellent teachers and some poor ones. We chose to fight unbiblical “stuff” in a public school setting rather than a Christian school and did not have finances to fund private school anyway. I recommend really seeking God on school or home school or private. There are no perfect scenarios. We live in a very fallen world, and fallen people teach in all those places.