As Mother’s Day is swiftly approaching, I want to take time to say a few words about my sweet children. All four of my children are great blessings of God! Each child is unique, and Jason and I are working each day to raise them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord as Ephesians 6:4 commands. Jason and I have 3 girls and one boy; all of which will, Lord willing, have reached the ages of 4, 3, 2 and 1 by the end of 2018.
As a mother, I often think about the lessons that I want to teach my children while they are in my care. My goal is to construct lessons that will teach my children to always live close to Christ and encourage them to be faithful servants of God throughout their lives. While it is vital for us as parents to think about the various things that we want to teach our children so that we can give them the skills they need to live productive Christian lives on their own, it is equally important to consider the lessons that our children teach us from day to day. Below is a list of 8 valuable lessons that my four children have taught me throughout the time I have been privileged to be their mother  “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4).
Always strive to be more like Jesus. Small children are closer to God than anyone else on the earth because of their innocence and purity. Babies do not understand nor think about the problems we face as adults in this life. Their only focus is to love and be loved. My little children show their closeness to God by being sweet to everyone and being loving. My eldest child, “Little” Shirley, even said the name “God” when she was about 3 months old. She said God’s Name in a way that seemed as if she knew exactly about Whom she was talking. Jesus says in Matthew 18:3, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
Be Flexible. One of the first things I learned after having my children was to be flexible. When you have children, you pretty much run on their time. Everything you do revolves around your children. We take our children with us when we go most places, and before we leave, I always make sure to have plenty of milk, diapers, toys, etc. to keep them happy on a trip! I also have learned to adjust my bedtime to match their needs. Before having my children, I became used to having a certain routine I went by every day. I have learned, however, from my children that life is too short to focus on everything happening at a certain time. Sometimes it’s fun to watch and see what happens next, and I always try to remind myself that God is in control! “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
Smile, Even When You Don’t Feel the Best. My children always manage to put a smile on their faces, even when they might not feel the best. An example of this is when they began teething.  Whenever any of my children would cry because of their gums hurting, they would still smile amidst the pain. We, as adult Christians, can try to do the same so that we can show ourselves friendly to others. “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).
Be Grateful: 1 Thessalonians 5:18 states; “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Whether it be a warm bottle of milk, a plate of French fries, or a hug, my children show gratitude for these things as evident by their actions. They smile, say “thank you,” and genuinely show pleasure with anything they are given. Adults can learn from this in a day and age where society teaches us to not pay attention to the small things in life and to only focus on how much of something we can get. I hope that my children will continue to be grateful for both the big and small blessings they will, Lord willing, be bestowed throughout their lives.
Be Patient: All of my children have shown patience at different times. I see their acts of patience most often when waiting for food. When my three older children are waiting to eat, they will ask for food, and wait patiently until I have it ready for them to eat. My oldest two children, on occasion, will even wait on the other to receive his or her food before eating their own. We, as Christians, can learn to be patient when waiting for earthly gifts and the gift of Heaven. Christians must not grow weary in waiting for God to reward them for living the right way in this life. Galatians 6:9 states; “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”  Patience is a positive character trait that can benefit us in both this life and the next life.
Be a good listener: My children LOVE for me to read to them! When I read them a book, almost all four of my children will always focus their full attention onto the story. Likewise, when adults are talking, most of my children will pay full attention to them. All of my children will also laugh when others are laughing, even though they probably have no idea of what is being said sometimes. We should always be as attentive when listening to God’s Word. We should have the attitude of the Psalmist in Psalm 42:1, who says, “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.”  As Christians, we could put our focus on God, instead of the worldly things going on around us. I am always impressed with how well my children pay attention!
Be Cheerful: Proverbs 15:13 says, “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.” My babies wake up every morning with smiles and in turn, they make my day start off so much better! They are always happy, and do not let things bother them for very long. We, as Christians should be the happiest people in this life because we know that, if we are faithful, we have a home in Heaven waiting for us. Those who live worldly lives do not have this blessing waiting for them. A baby is the closest being to God we can ever see in this life, and I am reminded of this fact with every smile with which my babies bless me!
Show unconditional love. Babies and young children are so loving!  They are eager to give and receive love no matter who you are. They show love toward others no matter what their social class or past. Christians should be this loving toward both other Christians and non-Christians. We should love everyone so much that we want to see them reach Heaven. Therefore we must train our minds to not focus solely on the mistakes someone has made, but rather focus on showing love and kindness toward them. 1 Corinthians 13:4 says; “Charity suffereth long and is kind; charity envieth not, charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.” My children’s innocence prohibits them from having ulterior motives for giving love. The sole purpose of their love is to unselfishly show how they feel about everyone with whom they come into contact. We, as Christians, should be like children in this way.  Love and kindness can be shown in many different ways, including teaching others about God. We should seek out those who have not learned about God’s Word and show love towards them through giving them the keys to Eternal Life. In so doing, we must show a loving attitude so that our word might be heard. So, showing love can have a positive effect in that it can help our relationship with others and help others have a relationship with God.
By becoming like little children, we draw ourselves closer to God. Let’s not think ourselves too intelligent or accomplished to learn from the smallest among us. They are newly come from God and have not yet experienced the troubles of this world. We can learn much from them and should take time each day to look at our children and mimic some of their ways.  Jesus knew this when he said “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein” (Luke 18:17).
-Brandi C. Gann