|Set apart from the everyday dishes|
God has a thing about setting people apart by His grace and for His work. But I don’t think its exactly easy to be set apart – especially for our kids. I remember being a teenager, it was all about fitting in and not standing out. Being set apart can feel like being left out, and yet this is what I want for my kids.
During the course of their day, temptations and shifting boundaries are constantly in front of our kids. Using foul language, disrespect, cheating, ignoring or making fun of others, pornography, drinking, sex, lying, and more are coming at our kids constantly. I want, and expect, my kids to resist each of these. I don’t think it’s easy. I really don’t. I believe this is a hard road sometimes. In fact, my oldest has shared that having different standards has, at times, been very hard indeed.
So I talk to them – a lot. We have spoken about pornography at our dinner table. I hate that. But we will talk about tough subjects until they become easy to talk about. I don’t want my kids to wonder where we stand on these subjects and I want them to be clear about our expectations. I want them them to know they have a purpose; that I believe God himself has set them apart.
One of the tools I use to let them know they are set apart is china. When each of the girls entered high school I gave them each one place setting and wrote a letter about being set apart. I knew these years would be increasingly difficult. In the letter I told them about attributes I see in them already that indicate being set apart. I remind them that practicing boundaries now will help them be more confident later in saying no. I gave them verses from the Bible regarding being set apart. I explained that the dishes were special – like them – and would not be kept in the kitchen with the everyday dishes, but would be set apart and kept in the oak hutch in the dining room.
I let them know that they can get these dishes out anytime they want, that they can use them for dinner, a snack, cereal, or even ice-cream. They can use them to remind themselves of their value and purpose. I also told them that sometimes they will find their dishes at the dinner table, that I will set the table with them as a reminder that I am thinking of them.
I wondered what to give Zach, I wasn’t sure he would appreciate a set of dishes, but this summer I changed my mind, and I picked up one place setting of “manly dishes”. I decided that he should have a set too because one, I love the symbol that I can easily put in front of them, and two, I know the girls appreciate when they come to the table and find their special dishes at their place. I use these dishes as a quiet way to say I love you. I’m thinking of you. I think you’re special. I’m proud of you. I believe in you. Be encouraged, you’ve been set apart intentionally.
I can’t remember where I got the idea for the dishes, but I thought I would share it with you as it seems to be one my kids really appreciate. Feel free to share your ideas about how you remind your kids that they are special!