Mini Blog #11: Pay Attention to What You Want to Grow

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. Proverbs 25:11   Four-year-old William gets plenty of correction and scoldings. Because of his impulsive, active nature, it feels appropriate to stay on him and to correct his every stray action – for his safety alone. However his spirit begins to whither under such scrutiny. The moment I find opportunities to express delight or speak affirmingly to him as well, his brown eyes light up and he struggles to hold back a smile. Then with his head held high, he becomes more complaint. At least for awhile! Like Will, a few of my other grandchildren are emotion driven as well. They tend to do what they want to do when they want to do it. Their actions are often steered by their emotions alone and in the midst of battles, they seem to have an innate need to gain dramatic reactions from others. Therefore, when we respond more intensely to their naughty behaviors than we do to their good behaviors, we wind up reinforcing exactly the opposite of what we want to see happen.  What we give our energy and attention to will grow. Just like our fears and worries, which grow when we feed them with attention, so it is with the behaviors of our children. Of course it’s our responsibility as parents to train and correct our children. They certainly need us to stand as loving authorities in their lives as they mature and grow. However, an even higher duty is to regularly encourage them and intentionally affirm them by speaking words of...

What Are Your New Year’s Resolutions?

We make them and break them. Apparently only 8% of people who make resolutions actually keep them. No wonder we laugh about the idea. Have you made any this year or are you choosing not to because you are still working on the ones you made in 2015? This year I am making ones that I am actually excited to keep. Not ones about weight loss or budgeting or getting into shape. For one, I want to go back to my fall plan and actually post mini blogs. Mini. Not Maxi. NO more long winded expositions that I tend to fall prey to posting. Instead, I want to produce bite size, digestible encouragement each week – stuff that is easy to read but still thought provoking and inspiring. So starting next week, I am committing to actually keeping my mini-blogs mini sized. I promise. What about you? What are your 2016 resolutions?   Here’s one I would love to prescribe for all of the sweet mamas that I am privileged to walk with and talk with:  “Leave the broken, irreversible past in the Lord’s hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him.” Oswald Chambers. You have different personalities and uniquely-wired children. Your challenges are different as are your circumstances. Yet you all share one thing in common. You are more apt to hold onto guilt and beat yourselves up rather than receive God’s grace for yourselves. You remember your mistakes all too well and too readily shrug off your triumphs. You allow your not-so-glorious moments to reduce your joy and gratitude as well as overshadow the victorious...

The Paradox: The fear of the Lord is the fountain of life, yet perfect love casts out fear!

What were you like as an 18 year old when you graduated from high school? And how mature were you in your faith? As parents and educators we play a vital role in preparing our children for their futures, and as I consider the students at Veritas Academy, I wonder mostly if we will have painted an accurate picture of Christ for them. I remember back to my own growing up years and what it was like to graduate, leave home, and enter the college scene. I left for college believing God existed and that I should strive to please Him but I knew little else. My parents were not believers at the time, nor did they know what was really going on in my life or what I was learning.  With no adult who took a personal interest in my growth, it left space for an abusive guy to step in and I left for college in part to run away from him. My first years in college included months of inner turmoil that I shared with no one, not even my roommates. Thankfully, I had been introduced to a Christian group on campus and for the first time was reading the Bible, learning about God’s nature, and considering the condition of my own heart. Because I didn’t see God as one who loved me personally, this examination initiated shame and caused me to feel unworthy in light of His holiness. I began to grow a fear of God as I learned more about His divine, holy and sovereign nature. In light of His perfection, I also understood...

Getting From Then to Now

   The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. Psalm 138:8  Watching my children and their spouses line up to present their anniversary gift to us evoked a deep sense of gratitude, but also excitement over the unexpected trip to San Francisco we would take the next morning. The evening had already been special with a new dress to wear for the surprise party they had thrown for us. I was stunned as Erin stood up to explain that for years they had each been putting aside a small monthly sum in order to send us on this special 40th anniversary trip. Holding Glen’s hand, I stood there gazing proudly at all six of them and marveled at who they had become: Erin, our faithful oldest daughter with a deep servant’s heart, who looks out for the needs of everyone in our family, and who motivated me to co-author Free To Parent with her Cameron, her husband, whose calm, unruffled disposition brings balance to his vibrant wife and children, as well as tranquility to all of us Troy, our son, whose diligence and steadfastness are evident not only in his role as a father and husband, but also as a school administrator serving over us at Veritas Academy Stevi, his beautiful wife, who sees the good in everyone and whose sweet, kind disposition radiates from within, bringing joy to all of us Alisa, our youngest daughter, who is consistently thoughtful, sincere and kind, and always a good listener which makes her easy to turn...

Don’t Let Communication With Your Kids Crash

What words are you tempted to shout at your toddler who throws herself on the floor at Target screaming over and over “ I want a snack,” or your squirmy, wiggly 6 year old who knocks a full glass of chocolate milk over your stack of important documents, or your argumentative 9 year old who defiantly barks “you are so mean” when you refuse to give in to her demands? When you ask your child to do a chore, or put away the iPad,  to you frequently find the two of you colliding into a screaming match? And do you give in to demands at times simply to avoid this type of head-on collision with your defiant child? In recent years the most common questions I am asked by parents, have to do with how to avoid getting angry and yelling at their children.These parents realize there must be a better way, yet they have no idea how to get there.  Learning how to communicate is vitally important, and even more so in our digitally connected world that offers them instant connection with anyone else, 24 hours a day. What causes so much eruption between parent and child today? I believe there are several reasons, such as the strong tendency in this generation to micromanage children or to place them at the center of who controls the family, or the assumption parents exist to make their kids happy. I recently have pondered an admittedly crazy reason as well. In recent years I see what feels like an increasing number of very, very strong willed kids, especially boys, who challenge...

How Not to Provoke Your Kids

  As stated in the previous blog, two of the few directives given to parents in the New Testament are about not provoking our children (Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21). I think this is important! To provoke means to exasperate or to rouse someone to anger. Regularly provoking our kids will likely kindle anger and resentment as habitual responses within them. We provoke our kids when we: discipline in harsh, punitive ways discipline while angry regularly find fault scold and lecture chastise them in front of others mock or ridicule them hold to standards that we don’t apply to ourselves fail to admit our mistakes or apologize fail to make time to listen and talk with them deny them freedom to grow and learn for themselves fail to keep promises Here’s a few suggestions that are more in line with bringing kids up “in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4) ONE: Deal with the anger in your own heart. Wait until your temper has cooled, before addressing misbehavior in your kids. Examine your own heart in prayer first so that you can address your child wisely and without an agitated tone of voice. Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1: 19-20 A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention. Proverbs 15:18 TWO: Intentionally replace harsh communication with gentleness. Some individuals can sound and even look angry when they are not. My husband is one of...