Exhort: to incite by argument or advice : urge strongly : to give warnings or advice : make urgent appeals.
If you were to start a new series on your blog that you would hope to use to encourage yourself and others, I would exhort you to start with a simple word or idea – I do not recommend starting with teaching a 4 year old and a 2 year old about exhortation.
… let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24). As parents, we are continually exhorting our children – encouraging, urging forward, teaching our little ones how to love and do good deeds. Even if we don’t think we are exhorting, we are – I think it’s a natural part of teaching those we love. We love them, and we want them to love and to do well and to do good things, so we exhort!
Teaching our little ones to be exhorters themselves can be difficult. I think Elias has a gift of encouragement – he is always telling people how well they are doing and exclaiming over their abilities/attempts/activities. But I think the natural self, even if gifted with encouragement, has a hard time exhorting. I mentioned last time how Elias encourages Donovan towards trouble instead of away… wanting to do “fun” things that are not allowed (jumping on beds, throwing balls in the house, etc.), so he delights in Donovan’s lack of self control as he does those things Elias knows he shouldn’t. Tattling is also a part of this… when a child comes to “tattle” on another, he is missing his chance to exhort the other to do good.
We have punished Elias for egging his little brother on and for tattling, but we have not exhorted him to exhort Donovan on to good deeds. That has been our first step. I think I will also be making a chart (see Amanda’s posts here and here) to help him see when he has the chance to exhort to good deeds or disobedience.
And after starting off with a quiet bang, we quickly fizzled out on exhortation crafts. That’s OK, though. Mulling over it for a while and continuing to talk to the boys about it has helped me to come up with something that I think is really fun, and we’ll add to it with each character trait we study…
Introducing “God Wants Me To Be… a book about Christian character traits,” by Elias and Donovan!
I cut out a LOT of pictures of people from magazines, and with each trait we work on, we will copy the trait, definition, and Bible verse into our book, and the boys will select what picture(s) they think illustrate the character trait.
Here is a picture of a little girl telling her friend how to love and do good deeds!
At the end of The List we will have a book of 51 verses that tell us how God wants us to be. These are similar to the other verse “posters” we’ve made in the past, and I’ve wanted to bind them all up into a “book,” too – perhaps we’ll have a couple of volumes of verses that the boys will be able to look back upon for years to come.
What do you think about your role as exhorter? How do you help your children encourage others?