Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How to Be an Effective Parent

Every individual is growing, changing, developing,
or declining—intellectually, emotionally, spiritually,
physically, and psychologically.
A family is a grouping of individuals who are affecting
each other intellectually, emotionally, spiritually,
physically, psychologically.
~ Edith Schaeffer, What Is a Family?

By Weekly Contributor, Kim Brenneman, Large Family Logistics

As women, wives, and mothers we affect the people in our homes in a tremendous way. It’s a heavy responsibility. How do we do good for our loved ones?

We can look around in our lives, our culture, our communities, our pasts, our heritage, and in the history of the world for examples of how people are impacted by others and go down one road or another. The ripple effect continues with one person impacting another who in turn changes another in small or large ways ad infinitum. Satan tempted Eve to eat the bad fruit and she in turn gave it to Adam. How I respond to my husband in the early hours impacts us both all day long. How I am to my children will likely impact how my children are to my grandchildren, and so on... leaving a legacy of consequences.

So many nuances of who we are as persons are brought about by seemingly small things. I can look back into my own childhood and give examples. I wonder of my parents knew that small things they were doing brought about large influence.

One thing that was done nearly every night year round was reading a Bible story, not from the Bible even but various children’s Bibles. Not formally, just all four of us piled onto the Lazy Boy with Dad for a short Bible story. Sometimes we chose the story, sometimes he did. The result of that was a large store of Bible knowledge that then made further study as older children and adults easier. What my dad did was a small daily habit that had lasting impact.

When I was a young child my mother taught me that we were Christians and that meant standing up for God, the Bible, and choosing the right thing rather than going along with whatever was happening. I don’t remember any speeches or outright teaching so it must have been very conversational but had a lasting impact on my life. She had Christian art and framed verses on the walls of our home and Christian literature lay about. These were subtle things that shaped our personhood as children growing up in a Christian home.

As I look around my home and think about our daily small habits I wonder how my choices influence my family. Am I hurting or helping my family? What kind of legacy am I leaving for my descendents? First up, our home is very obviously a homeschooling one. We have piles of books and creative messiness. Do my children know why we homeschool? That is something that I will have to test myself on today.

What is on my walls? What music is playing? What is on the television? What magazines do I read? Who do I talk on the telephone to and what do we talk about? What do I do with my computer time and how does that change me day by day?  What amuses me? What are the words that come out of my mouth and the tone they are said in? All of these things are running in the background and influencing my family for good or bad.

What rules in my heart is what will come out in my personal expressions of living life. A good check on my relationship with God is an examination of the choices I make in the small moments throughout the day.

To affect change in those around us we must first change ourselves with the help of the Holy Spirit. Then in humility come along side the members of our families and talk about how we are working on X and towards Y.  We as wives and mothers set an example; we make small choices and habits that influence our families towards wholeness in Christ.

This week, I am doing a thoughtful walk through of my home observing and watching and thinking about the influences in my home due to my choices that are affecting the spiritual health of my family.

“as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” ~ Joshua 24:15


Kim Brenneman

Kim is the joyful wife of Matt and the blessed mother of nine children.

When not busy homeschooling and farmschooling, she enjoys writing, gardening, cooking, reading, sewing, and crafting.

Kim lives on a farm in Iowa where her family grows beef cattle, corn and beans, and operates a micro-dairy selling cheese at farmer’s markets. She loves to write and speak about her passion for home and family. She is the author of Large Family Logistics: The Art and Science of Managing the Large Family. She blogs about the same subject at:

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