OFFSPRING

by A. K. Coover

Well, spring has gone for yet another year and summer is upon us once again. I love this time of year. For those who know me, you may think that, being a homeschooling mother, housewife, and keeper at home, that it would seem strange to say that one of the reasons I love summertime so much is because it gives me so many wonderful opportunities to spend time with my children. I'm with them ALL THE TIME anyway, right? Yes, but there is something special that clicks about this time of year for us that makes it like none other. There's something about the warmth and lack of classroom structure and the freeing up of our spirits to investigate and experience Yahweh's creation all around us .... well, it's just exciting! What if I was doing it all solo though? At least for my life, I can't even imagine doing it solo. Just as Yahweh said in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:18), "It is not good that the man should be alone ..... ", so he apparently thought, wisely indeed, that it was not good that just Adam and Eve remain alone either or he never would have told the two of them (Genesis 1:28) to "Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth..." And so that's where offspring, more commonly known as our children, come into this pastime we call life.

Children! I wouldn't want to live life without them. They are our very life and our future. It says in Psalm 127:3-5, "Lo, children are an heritage of Yahweh, and the fruit of the womb is His reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man, so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them, they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with enemies in the gate." How do they become an heritage of Yahweh though? Just by the process of being born? Certainly not! Proverbs 22:6 tells us to "TRAIN up a child in THE WAY he SHOULD go, and EVEN when he is old, he Will not depart from it."

When our children were just starting official "school" at around 5 or 6, we just loved and enjoyed them even back then. I remember people would sort of scornfully look at us and ask HOW LONG we planned on doing this (homeschooling)? We would tell them "For forever", to which they would try to scare us with nightmarish visions of algebra and chemistry. When that didn't work, they would always rely on the familiar sidetrack, "You wait until they get in their TEENS!!! Then you'll know!" Well, to make a long story short, our oldest just completed sitting for his high school equivilancy diploma. We managed to get through what little bit of algebra we had to in order to pass the test. At this point, it doesn't look as though his personal interests and direction in life is going to require much more than the personal satisfaction of knowing that he passed that test. Chemistry? We never touch the stuff. In real life, most people don't, you know. Our next oldest just turned 13 (the oldest is 16). Our 13-year-old hasn't tackled either of the dreaded monster subjects yet either. Our youngest (age 11) is a joy, just like the other two, DESPITE the fact that she's not yet in her teen years. The teen years have been WONDERFUL YEARS, just like their younger years only in a more mature way. As they are growing into young adults, they are becoming more in the line of our companions and friends in a grown-up way. For example, we talk about things. We want to know what THEY think about things. We're still imparting wisdom to them, but there are many times when they have some wisdom and insight that we hadn't considered. The scriptures say "For honorable age is not that which standeth in length of time, nor that is measured by number of years. But WISDOM is the gray hair unto men and an UNSPOTTED LIFE is old age." (Wisdom of Solomon 4:8,9)

When it comes to the subjects that we've had to work on the most, I would say that could be summarized by II Timothy 2:15. "Study to shew thyself approved unto Yahweh, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." This is a school that we're all enrolled in together, all of us His children, for life.

Another thing I would like to share about children is that I believe, from our experience, that when you feel the way we do about our children, that it only spiritually follows that they're going to feel the same about you, their parents. The girls love to do things with me as much as I love to do things with them, and they care immensely what we think about the issues of life and they SEEK out our counsel. "For they that keep righteousness set apart shall be judged set apart, and they that have learned such things, shall find what to answer. Wherefore set your affection upon my words, desire them, and ye shall be instructed. Wisdom is esteemed and never fadeth away, yea, she is easily seen of them that love her, and found of such as SEEK her." (Wisdom of Solomon 6:10-12) The same holds true for our son. My husband and son are like peanut butter and jelly ..... made to go together. Because of the road that we have chosen to take, they've had lots of time to hewn that desire to want to be together, to talk, to listen, to genuinely CARE what the other thinks and feels. Proverbs 17:6 is still meant to be true today. It says, "Childrens children are the crown of old men, and the esteem of children are their fathers."

Did I hear someone say "generation gap"? If we ever had one, apparently it occured when we were all sleeping because we didn't know anything about it. I firmly believe that generation gaps don't just happen as a fact of life. They are created ..... by parents. That might sound like a hard saying, but it it true nonetheless. Such a gap is created by parents, who either unknowingly or uncaringly, leave an empty space or missed link between themselves and their children. This also involves another missed link, one between the parents and their creator.

There are a few verses in Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) that I love. Verses 1-4 say, "Desire not a multitude of unprofitable children, neither delight in unrighteous sons. Though they multiply, rejoice not in them, EXCEPT THE FEAR OF YAHWEH BE WITH THEM. Trust not thou in their life, neither respect their multitude, for ONE THAT IS JUST IS BETTER THAN A THOUSAND, and better it is to die without children, than to have them that are unrighteous. For by one that hath understanding, shall the city be replenished, but the kindred of the wicked shall speedily become desolate.

I'll close with a few more verses that I love from the same book (3:1-15). "Hear me your father, oh children, and DO THEREAFTER, that ye may be safe. FOR YAHWEH HATH GIVEN THE FATHER HONOR OVER THE CHILDREN, AND HATH CONFIRMED THE AUTHORITY OF THE MOTHER OVER THE SONS. Whoso honoreth his father maketh an atonement for his sins. And he that honoreth his mother is as one that layeth up treasure. Whoso honoreth his father SHALL HAVE JOY OF HIS OWN CHILDREN, AND WHEN HE MAKETH HIS PRAYER, HE SHALL BE HEARD. HE THAT HONORETH HIS FATHER SHALL HAVE A LONG LIFE, AND HE THAT IS OBEDIENT UNTO YAHWEH SHALL BE A COMFORT TO HIS MOTHER. He that feareth Yahweh will honor his father, and will do service unto his parents, as to his masters. Honor thy father and mother, both in word and deed, that a blessing may come upon thee from them. FOR THE BLESSING OF THE FATHER ESTABLISHETH THE HOUSES OF CHILDREN, BUT THE CURSE OF THE MOTHER ROOTETH OUT FOUNDATIONS.  Esteem not in the dishonor of thy father, for thy fathers dishonor is no esteem unto thee. For the esteem of a man, is from the honor of his father, and a mother in dishonor, is a reproach to the children. My son, help thy father in his age, and grieve him not as long as he liveth. And if his understanding fail, have patience with him, and despise him not, when thou art in thy full strength. For the relieving of thy father shall not be forgotten, and instead of sins it shall be added TO BUILD THEE UP. In the day of thine affliction it shall be remembered, thy sins also shall melt away, as the ice in fair warm weather."

Indeed, summer is upon us. Thanks be to Yahweh that through his grace and mercy, he has made provision for the ice to be melted away. :-) May these words be taken to heart and may the reader make the most of every moment with your offspring. Blessings.



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