About Me

Van Walton

Fun Facts about Van Walton

My favorite smell: The way the earth smells after it rains.

My favorite sound: The first notes of a grand symphony.

My favorite way to relax: Sitting anywhere outside - on my front porch, on my deck, or by the lake, early in the morning with my first cup of coffee.

My favorite birthday dessert: a Peach cobbler baked by my husband. He’s my fave chef!

I will not eat: Avocado. They turn my stomach into a volcano that never erupts.

Technology I couldn't live without and why: My laptop - it takes me anywhere I want to go.

One thing that makes me smile: My sons' faces!

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My Resources

My book, From the Pound to the Palace, is available for $10
from Proverbs 31 Ministries.

Pound to Palace

My book, Little Halos, is available for $5.99 from Proverbs
31 Ministries.

Little Halos

Proverbs 31 Ministries


Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Sometimes I get lost in that jungle called parenting. I get lost and lose my way. But then I read God's Word and He guides me back to the garden.

If you have come over from Proverbs 31 Encouragement for Today

When we brought our puppy home from the shelter we gave him a safe place to hang out. Pet trainers call that safe place a crate. We crated him whenever we couldn’t keep a constant eye on him. As he grew accustomed to our house rules we allowed him to roam more and more.

I am reminded of the verse in Luke 16:10 when I consider doggies and little ones who are growing up in my house and in my classroom:

“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities”. (NLT)

Of course we removed temptations from our little dog so he wouldn’t get into trouble. He wasn’t allowed on the carpet. If he had an accident – no big deal. There is so much more to cleaning carpet than there is to cleaning linoleum, tile, concrete, or wood.

When we stepped to the door we made sure to block the way. We didn’t want him dashing outside where he might run off, get lost, scare a child, or be hit by a car in the traffic.

We took him to obedience school where he learned to sit, stay, and come. Once he proved to us that he was an obedient dog he earned his way into the world.

Today he pretty much has free roam of the house. We can trust that there will be no accidents.

We don’t block the doors when we open them. He has no desire to dash away. After all we protect him and provide for him.

He doesn’t require a leash when we walk him. He stays beside us.
He also has free roam of the entire yard. He has proven to us that he will obey when we call. When I am working in the yard I tell him to sit or stay and there he remains until he receives a further command.

As we “bring up our children in the way they should go” we might consider the dog.

Anything that might tempt my child to “accidentally” stumble is something I want to keep him from experiencing until I am assured he has complete understanding of the situation. I allow little steps until I know my child is “faithful in the little things.” Then I slowly make way for “the large ones.”

If my son asks for something I don’t feel he is ready to tackle I use God’s Word. “Let me see you faithful in the little things.”

If your child has proven that she is not ready to walk around the corner to a neighbor’s house, to go to the movies with friends, or to shop in the mall alone maybe the temptation needs to be removed by saying, “If you remember, I asked you to clean your room – such a little thing, right here in the house, in a space you so control and understand, but you procrastinated, you didn’t complete the task, your clothes are still piled up – not washed… I am not sure you can be responsible to get to your friend’s house, to deal with all the choices in the theater, to stay focused in the mall.”

If a child grows up knowing that his past behavior is the foundation for future privileges he or she will understand that to ask for something big is out of the question unless he or she has proven to be responsible and honest with the little things.

When my sons don’t like the fact that I won’t let them participate in something “everyone else is doing” I hug them and tell them how much I love them.

“I am keeping you from temptation,” I say. “It is my responsibility.”

“God is watching me to see if I can be a faithful and responsible mother. He has trusted me with a large privilege. I want him to give me even larger privileges as I grow, just like you want even greater opportunities and advantages in life. We are all in this together.”

So - do you have some ideas about how “being faithful in the little so we can be responsible for the bigger thing” can be applied to life in your home with your children?

What are the little things we ask of our children that lead to the greater privileges?

You know if our parenting is pro-active, if we plan ahead of time, we won’t be caught off guard when the question comes, “ Mom, can I …?”

And what are the dishonest things they do and how do they lead to a loss of greater responsibilities. Have you faced that issue recently?

I’ll start by giving two illustrations:

Earlier this week as we all left Bible study I noticed a young mom struggling with her preschooler who didn’t want to hold her mother’s hand. Finally mommy gave in and in just a quick minute her daughter took off running – straight toward the parking lot. We were all frantic. When the mother caught up with her little girl she took her by the hand and I heard her say. “I can’t trust you to walk beside me when you are not holding my hand so we have to walk holding hands. Now let’s practice.” The mother took the little girl back to the church door and together they walked, very slowly I might add, until they reached the car.

Hmmmmmmmm – practice doing the little thing with your child. Now that is a lesson.

My son wanted to use the car to visit a friend. We had made a deal when he started driving. He was to keep my car clean for the privilege of getting to drive it. There was one problem. He was not living up to his end of the bargain. I told him “no.”


– he didn’t like it. I stuck to the deal. “If you can’t keep the car clean, what makes me think you are a responsible driver? I mean keeping the car clean doesn’t involve maneuvering in traffic at a steady speed watching out for other drivers.”

“But mom, if I have to clean the car now, I‘ll be late.”

So – suddenly it was my fault. They try to do that, you know. Make it our fault.

Ouch – I might feel a bit of a guilty twinge if I allow my son’s twisted words to convict me.

I know better. I remember the deal and God’s Word: faithful in the little, faithful in the large.

“Prove to me that you can take care of the car, then I will let you take out the car.”

OK – your turn.

To learn more about inviting my little dog and me to visit the children in your community click here: Consider the Doggie


vballmom13 said...

This is my first time on your blog. Your lesson today was really good. I can see that you have older children. My question for you is what kind of boundaries did you set for Xbox and the like? We have a 17 yr old son who likes to spend alot of time on Xbox, many times before homework is done. It is hard for me to set boundaries on this because he is a really good student, isn't into drugs/alcohol, etc. So it is hard to decide if allowing him to spend 2 or more hours a night on this is too much. Any suggestions??

Julie Coleman said...

Wonderful devotional this morning-- and great post as well.

I found that giving in to my children and not holding them accountable was really the lazy man's way out. It was so much easier to do it myself. Yet it was infinitely better for my children to learn to follow through.

Makes me appreciate God's patient guidance with me, as I test the boundaries time and time again. He pulls me back into safe ground, and teaches me how to walk with Him hand in hand.

Thanks for your practical, insightful teaching.

hokieflag92 said...

Thanks for your write up and your blog. I enjoyed them both. As a mother of a 3 year old, I am trying to learn to be "proactive" and keep ahead of the things that come up, but I am not that good at it yet. Thanks for your perspective.

Micha said...

I am a first time reader, thanks for the insight. My son, who is 6, loves to play his Nintendo DS and watch TV. He also has a hard time obeying the classroom rules at school. So we have made a deal. If he has expert behavior for the day, he is allowed both. If he has a warning, he loses one, usually the DS since it is his favorite. If he has two reminders, he loses both and he has to spend his free time doing extra chores. If more reminders are needed during the day, he loses all privaliges until his behavior improves.
He knows what is expected of him, but he also knows that I understand how hard it is for him to mind all the rules.
We have set limits on how much time he spends on TV and video games. If he has more free time, he is encouraged to read a book or something else.

Vicky said...

This is my first time on your blog, too! I love your Proverbs 31 devotion I received in my in box and I'm glad I clicked on your blog link. I really enjoyed your post for today.

I have to agree with Julie's comments. I wish I had not taken the lazy way out so many times. I don't remember any particular instances but am very thankful that my children have grown to serve the Lord, even though they didn't have the perfect mom. God is so Good!

Like Julie, I, too am thankful for God's patient, loving hand that guides and steers me away from the snares of Satan!

Thanks for your lesson!

On Purpose said...

Thank you Van for GREAT practical, Biblical words for raising our children to be great kingdom builders!!

Anonymous said...

Your devo today really touched my heart. God used it to answer some questions about guiding and disciplining my little one. It also spoke to me about my own life... removing temptations to fritter time, be lazy, etc.
Praising the Lord for you!

Stephanie Brandt said...

Great words of advice, thanks! I only have 2 toddlers now but I hope I remember these things as they get older!

Speaking of my toddlers, maybe you remember seeing them on the cover of the Proverbs 31 magazine last month? Susanne Scheppmann is my mother-in-law. :)

Thanks for the great post.

Laura said...

Such wisdom!Faithful in the small things? My boys have daily chores. Nothing big, make your bed, put your clothes in the hamper, bring the cup down that you had your bedside water in. If they fail to do do these chores they lose a half hour of reading time before bed. If they do their chores faithfully, they get to read in their bed for that last half hour of quiet time.

So far it has worked pretty good. They are learning some discipline, and and also that their behavior has consequences.

Loved your P31 Devo, Van and love you!

Stacey said...

Confirmation! Thank you!!

Wolf said...

this is a wonderful post.

my husband and i have been talking about trying to start a family, and i must admit that one of my biggest fears is raising them right. i see so many of today's kids and am appalled by what i see. i don't want my children to turn out like that. in fact, i'd rather not have any then see them turn out like that. it is definitely a challenge and something that keeps me thinking...

Kimberly said...

I am so bad to read the devotions, enjoy them, and then forget to go thank the author! So I wanted to come by and thank you for the devotion this week. I especially loved you talking about temptation being like a step stool! I need to be alert about where there are step stools that need to be removed from the lives of my children and from my own life!

And I have enjoyed reading your doggie lessons here, as well. :)

Thanks, again, for sharing what the Lord has taught you.
In Him,
K :)

John Cowart said...

We raised six kids to adulthood. We didn't know what we were doing.

My wife says, "It's a shame that children don't come with an instruction manual--and a cattle prod".

Susan said...

Thanks so much Van. Now I have an answer to my 16 yr. old's latest question: "Why do I have a curfew?" I'm just taking away temptations.