This week I had the wonderful opportunity to attend my first Hearts at Home conference. I first heard of Hearts at Home from a friend several years ago after she had been there. Just hearing her talk about it made me know that I really wanted to go, and I couldn't wait until I had the opportunity. As I've written about before, I was made to be a stay at home mom. Seriously, never wanted anything else. And part of the excitement of staying home for me was knowing that there were conference such as this just for moms! I mean, I was excited about learning how to be a better mom even before I was a mom!
I attended the conference both Friday and Saturday for maximum learning. It was a truly great experience and I hope that I will keep the things that I learned with me for a long time. It's hard to say which session I got the most out of. When I was telling Brad about it I ended up talking the most about the workshops I thought I had gotten the least out of. I think I was wrong.
I don't want to overload so I'm just going to write about one session right now. Other things I learned might come up in the blog later, but for now I will focus on just one. My first workshop was with Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar. I know a lot of people are not fans of the show, but I think despite your personal opinion on them as a family you have to admit that they really seem to have it all together. Their children are very respectful and polite and it looks like the parents always respond with love and never in anger. How can you not ask yourself, "How do they do it?" So, I was very excited for this workshop.
One thing Michelle stressed was the importance of getting God's Word into the hearts and heads of your children. Wow. That is so true. I often pray that God would just give Micah a love for his Word and a mind that can easily memorize Scripture even from an early age. But I had to ask myself, what am I doing to foster that? Sure, we read Micah a Bible story every night before bed and I try to read Bible-based books to him, but I'm not doing anything to encourage a love for Scripture. I know, I know, Micah's only 16 months old, but it starts young. And I believe that I can be laying the groundwork right now. One thing Michelle does with her children is have a time during the morning where all the kids sit around the table and they do Scripture memory together. They make up actions for the little ones, talk about how it applies to the older ones, etc. She makes it applicable and possible for all ages. Regardless of whether or not her youngest children are actually able to memorize the verses right now, she is showing them how important God's Word is and instilling a love for that Word in them. What better lesson can we teach our children?
The other lesson I took from this workshop was about my child's character. On their website, the Duggars have a list of 49 characteristics they think everyone should strive for. Their children are very familiar with these characteristics because they are talked about frequently in their house. They talk about how to demonstrate each characteristic, they bring to attention when a child is exhibiting a characteristic, etc. When a child apologizes for something, he/she must not only apologize for what they did wrong, but for not displaying a certain characteristic. For example, if a child takes a sibling's toy he says, "I'm sorry for taking your toy. I was wrong for being selfish." I love this focus on the child's characteristics. It really helps them develop into the people we want them to be. It also makes them realize how their behavior was wrong. I want my children to grow up to be men of good character so I know that it is important that I start teaching them that at a young age. What a great way to do it!
Like I said, I learned so much at the conference. This is just a small tidbit of what I took home this weekend. It is my prayer that God will keep this in the front of my mind and give me perseverance to put into action what I learned so that I can be more like the mom that I want to be.