Welcome to our series “A Peek into the Process” where moms like you share honestly about how discipleship looks in their homes.
Today’s post is written by Kristin Lindquist, mom to 8 girls, and an in-real-life friend of mine.
Her girls were the very first babysitters we ever used outside of the family. We have learned from Mark and Kristin’s example and have been encouraged by the thoughtfulness of their girls. We love this family.
I’m excited to share a peek into how discipleship looks in their home and pray their testimony is an encouragement to you!
One of the things I love most about this series is seeing how different discipleship can look in different families. You may not choose the same schooling method or you might disagree on favorite resources — or you might have everything in common, but parenting and discipleship aren’t one-size-fits-all formulas. So poke around the series and pick up a few ideas or leave a few, but most of all — be encouraged to follow as God leads your family.
Meet the Lindquist Family
We have eight daughters in our family.
Yep, you read that right — eight girls! Today they are ages: 23, 22, 21, 19, 17, 15, 11, and 10.
Many days and seasons have resembled a three-ring circus but remember ALL the laughter and fun at the circus? God has truly blessed our family! I am so very grateful for each season with each of our daughters. I continue to learn, grow, and change for the better with each one.
Our family has chosen to homeschool all our children through high school. Our graduating class of 2017 includes daughters 4 & 5. I am more than half-way through — only three more to go!
I have grouped my children, when possible, to be more effective with our time. It is especially nice to have a lab partner in science, a home economics buddy, and a classmate to practice your speeches with.
We believe that it is important to train our children according to Biblical principles.
Homeschooling gives us more time with our children to personalize learning, facilitate family conflicts, and open up communication among family members. This allows us to build strong family relationships which carries into conflict resolution since our family spends a lot of time together. I value the amount of parent-child interaction throughout the day.
Homeschooling also allows for the safety of the child. The child can avoid unnecessary peer pressure and is away from school violence. Better cognitive development occurs due to individualized learning (i.e. at each child’s pace since they must master the material before new material is taught). This teaching style is called the tutorial method, and is one method parents use to homeschool.
Every homeschooling year promises different blessings and challenges.
Years ago, I was told that the first year of homeschooling is all character development. They were so right! We, as a family, need to learn the importance of a schedule and balancing chores and studies. Please listen, I am not a slave to my schedule. One of the beauties of homeschooling is its inherent flexibility. However, I have found that scheduling allows me to prioritize my days, offers stability to my children, and takes pressure off me because I know we will clean the bathrooms and fold all the laundry on Friday.
The Discipleship Process
I will try to speak to how we make disciples, true followers of Christ, in our home.
➨ Bible Memorization
First, when our children were very young, we memorized a lot of Scripture together. Pretty much we just reviewed the verses line by line and added to it each week. We worked together as a family on Sundays.
➨ Bible Club
Next, as they got older, from age 3 through high school, we added a Bible club. Our children have participated in Missionettes and AWANA.
➨ Focus on Character
Thirdly, we added character reports which involved
- learning a character definition,
- memorizing it,
- finding Scripture to define it,
- defining the quality plus it’s opposite from the dictionary, and finally
- praising a sister who you saw demonstrate the character quality that week.
This helped each of us praise one another specifically, not just say that you did a good job. (Click here to see the questions we had our kids answer.)
We start character reports in about second grade and continue through high school. Repetition is a good thing.
➨ Rewards & Consequences
Finally we had a point system to reward good character and discourage unwanted behavior and attitudes. We created a rewards chart; everything from a candy bar, socks, hair décor, breakfast or ice cream alone with Mom or Dad, a book, or cash. (Click here to see our chart.)
Each child collected pennies in a mason jar as a visual reminder. There are ways to both earn and lose pennies (points.) In this way each child knew the consequences of good or bad behavior. This rewards system is super personalized since each child could set a goal for the prize that would motivate them. It also provided opportunity for one on one time with a child and parent, which can be very hard to find in a large family. I know, for some of my children, this alone time was valued more than candy or a cash prize. Each child can pursue a reward that resonates with their love language.
➨ Culture & Worldview
Lastly, we, as a family, talk a lot about the world we live in.
We talk about abortion, conscience protections for medical professionals, sexuality in our culture, film, music, why one-man one-woman marriage is important to God and society, the value of being a stay at home mom (if possible), giving your youth (teen years and early twenties) to God, making the years you do not have family responsibilities count for all eternity, etc.
Many of these topics come up at dinner along with discussion about when a loved one is going through a divorce, when friends make immoral choices, or after we read a newspaper article or post. This is the shoe leather of Deuteronomy 6:5-7. And it is very important if you hope to pass your convictions on to the next generation. How can your children carry on your legacy if they don’t know or hear what you believe in?
Our Most Helpful Resources
We have used the following resources over the years. Some of them are old, but they made a major impact on how we view training our children.
- Growing Kids God’s Way by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo
- What the Bible Says about Child Training by J. Richard Fugate
- Shepherding A Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp
- Managers of Their Homes: a Practical Guide to Daily Scheduling for Christian Home-Schooling Families by Steven and Terry Maxwell
- Strengths Quest: Discover and Develop Your Strengths in Academics, Career, and Beyond by Donald O. Clifton
- Achieving True Success: How to Build Character as a Family published by International Association of Character Cities
- The Power for True Success: How to Build Character in Your Life
Life is a balance of many ideas, so glean from each resource and use what will work with your parenting style.
The most important things we have learned are the need to ::
- be consistent in training our children,
- have their heart, and
- be emotionally and relationally connected.
What I Wish I Knew Before and Our Advice to You
Here are a few things I wish I knew a few years ago about discipiling my children.
➨ Start young and talk it through
Work with your children about appropriate manners, clothing, vocabulary, and boyfriend/girlfriend relationships. These conversations should start at birth, seriously.
You will save yourself so much emotional energy by always speaking of these important topics, especially at the dinner table. It established avenues of communication from the children to the parents about hard topics before the children go through hard things. Therefore, when the children have questions, they are used to talking to the parents about life issues.
Try to open these avenues of communication through everyday life. Point out what you see in ads, movies, or posts and why it agrees or disagrees with your convictions. It allows for an easier transition for your teens and young adults to ask questions and really talk about what is on their heart or what they are facing. The teenage years and beyond will be amazing, full of blessing and joy. Our family has experienced that.
➨ It is okay to be overwhelmed or desperate.
Enjoy the stage of life you are in! The moments pass slowly but the years fly by. For me desperation has been the mother of invention or change in my life.
It is okay to be overwhelmed or desperate. Those feelings motivated me to improve or change so that I could continue to enjoy my family. The best example would be doing once-a-month cooking in order to relieve the stress of dinner preparations and make mom a happier person to be around. God is faithful! During those times, I could feel God’s closeness, making them good days.
➨ Be available.
Also, be available for your children. I can’t stress this enough. Let them know or see that they are welcome in your private space. You want to try very hard to just listen. Those midnight talks are priceless.
➨ Admit when you’re wrong.
Do not be afraid to admit when you were wrong and ask for forgiveness. Do it quickly. Our children learn by example and many times owning our faults makes the biggest impact. This is where children learn how to apologize and can also remove seeds that could grow into resentment or shut doors to the child’s heart.
I hope this has brought a sliver of perspective to you. Raising a family is a gift! Please know that there is so much joy to be found in investing, nurturing, and praying for your family. As 2 Thessalonians 3:13 says, “But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.”
P.S. My 6 oldest children read and edited this post for authenticity and accuracy. ;-)
Kristin Lindquist resides in the far north suburbs of Chicago. She studied Exercise Science at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, the place where she met her husband, Mark. They have been married for twenty-five years and have eight daughters together. Her favorite pastimes are reading historical fiction, good conversations with friends and family, and sneaking in a nap.
Mark is a hard working Computer Systems Administrator. He just completed his first fantasy novel, Wardens of the Worlds: The Circle of Valstan. Rachel currently is a Patient Care Technician at a hospital in Libertyville, Illinois. She is diligently working toward her B.S. in Nursing. Elizabeth is spending her summer and fall semester conducting research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. She will graduate in December with a B.S. in Physics from Hope College in Holland, Michigan. Catherine just returned from a missions trip to Uganda and cannot wait to return! She will be at e2i in Manteno, IL as she continues with her engineering internship. She will graduate in May with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois. Sarah will attend the College of Lake County in Grayslake, Illinois this fall to pursue English or Art. Miriam will attend Berea College in Berea, Kentucky this fall. She will be working toward her B.S. in Nursing. Susanna continues with her high school studies. Her passion is soccer and we enjoy watching her play for Sockers FC Chicago on their ECNL team. Sophia will be in 6th grade. She enjoys friends, soccer, baking, reading, and piano. Bethany will be in 5th grade. She enjoys friends, reading, climbing trees, and sharing hugs and laughter with her family.