Category Archives: Child Training

Shortcut to Sadness

Spring is planting time, and soon farmers will be hard at it. Once the conditions are right. they focus on getting seed in the ground. Then, there will be fertilizing and cultivating to ensure a good harvest in the fall. Given normal weather, the quality of the harvest is generally dependent on the effort expended during the growing season.  There are efficiencies farmers learn, but basically its the same routine, year-after-year. 

Raising children is very similar. Careful attention and great investment is needed in training and discipling children. Instead of six months, the “disciple-growing season” is twenty years or so. Full-time commitment is required, there are no shortcuts. 

I have yet to meet a farmer who wanted a poor harvest or a parent who wanted a child to love the world. Oh my Brothers, I beg you, be committed, invest yourselves in the children God has entrusted to your care and nurturing.

“And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience” (Luke 8:14-15).

Steve

Deeply Concerned

Imagine a family driving down the road when Dad sees a sign that says “Detour – bridge out.” Because the children pressure Dad to hurry home so they won’t miss their favorite TV show, Dad decides not to take the detour. 

Insane? Of course it is. I can’t imagine a dad who would risk the lives of his family because he couldn’t handle pressure from the children.

Now picture a Christian dad who willy-nilly makes decisions. He does not seek the Lord’s direction through prayer and Scripture. When his children pressure him for a decision they favor, he quickly agrees.  He doesn’t take into consideration the eternal value of each soul he has been entrusted with to disciple in the Lord Jesus. Is it any wonder that children are choosing the world over the Lord in droves these days?

What part do you think Dad’s “leadership” (or lack thereof) has on the children’s eternal choice? Are you like Abraham? “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him” (Genesis 18:19).

Steve

Will We Pass or Fail?

Noah had a problem. God told him to build the ark, but he couldn’t build it by himself. He needed his sons’ help. His family’s survival depended on them working together. Through his years as a dad, if he had been trustworthy, his family would cooperate. If not, he would end up disobedient to his God. No amount of commanding would have been sufficient for his sons to work faithfully alongside their dad for over twenty years. They followed because he had earned their trust.

Abraham had a problem. God commanded that all the men of his house be circumcised. If he had shown himself to be trustworthy as their leader, they would submit. If not, he would be in disobedience to his God. All meant all. I believe they voluntarily complied. No ninety-nine-year-old man was going to physically force all the men to be circumcised. They trusted him.

There are clear commands and principles in God’s Word. When we live them out, we earn our family’s trust. As children get older, authority is insufficient. Familial trust might be considered the reflection of dad’s integrity and will be the bond of hearts that enable them to follow Dad’s lead. Is your family following?

“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).

Will Your Children Believe?

I’m confident that since you read Seriously Dads you desire that your children would know the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. To that end, our Lord leaves us good insight.

“For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Psalms 78:5-7).

God said there are two vital aspects in passing on the faith, a testimony and a law, that the fathers make known to their children. 

Our testimony is our witness of how God is real, loving, and doing a mighty work in our world and most importantly in our lives. If the Father isn’t actively doing a wonderful work in my life, why should my children be interested? We must proclaim out loud to our children what He is doing on a daily basis.

The Law is God’s Word. Isn’t it an absurd thought that some might base their life and eternity on a book that isn’t important enough to read on a daily basis?

Bible reading isn’t a “have to” sort of thing but a “love to.” If it is “have to,” I suppose that man probably doesn’t have a testimony either, and his family is in serious trouble. Our passion for being in the Word and sharing it with our family is a fundamental part of our testimony. 

Hope to see you in Ft Smith this weekend.

Steve

No, I Didn’t!

You know the drill. The child says, “It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t do anything.She’s always blaming me.” But Dad and Mom have a different level of understanding of justice, love, and kindness than the less mature child has. Hence, parents keenly see the wrong that was committed. 

In a similar way, God, Who is Wisdom, watches our interactions with the wife of our youth and will see things that displease Him that we can be clueless about. God takes it very seriously and is not reluctant to apply consequences. 

Do you feel like your prayers bounce off the ceiling? Would you consider asking your wife if there are things she is struggling with in the relationship? 

“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered” (1 Peter 3:7).

Steve

Short and Sweet

Recently, our young adult children talked about growing up in our home, and how we managed problems and issues. They were positive about it, praising Steve and me as parents, especially now that they observe other families from an adult perspective. However, in that conversation, I heard two words that caught my attention and made me cringe. They were “Mom’s lectures.” They weren’t speaking negatively about my lectures per se, but the word “lecture” doesn’t have as appealing a ring to it as say, “talks,” or “sharing,” or even “instruction.”

The Lecture

I don’t think my children came up with the term “lecture” because of the content of my talks but because of the length of them. A lecture to them was something that seemed to go on and on. Looking back, I wish I had kept the messages for my children short and sweet. “The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning” (Proverbs 16:21).

As I pondered lectures versus their alternatives, I thought about how I want Steve to present something negative to me. I prefer that he express it kindly, stating the facts, and moving on. If he spent a long time going over every little aspect of it and repeating each part a couple of times, I might think, “Okay. Enough. I’ve got it. I understand.”

Could it be that way for children? For younger children, they don’t have the maturity to understand a full explanation anyway. Older children have that maturity, but would likely prefer the truth spoken in love but briefly.

The Response

Since this realization hit me, I have shared it with several moms who have little children. They acknowledge doing a fair amount of talking to their children to try to keep them on the right path. Often during these lectures, the children have blank or bored looks or argue with Mom.

From those typical negative childish responses to lectures, I wonder if there isn’t a greater possibility, too, that Mom will have negative attitudes and emotions toward her child. “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise” (Proverbs 10:19). Whereas we want to display gentleness and love with a quiet voice and spirit, we might be frustrated, irritated, and even angry with a child who isn’t grabbing hold of our words with agreement and a positive spirit.

What To Do

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver” (Proverbs 25:11). Could it be that we would do better to briefly explain to a child what he did wrong, why it was wrong, and the consequence? Briefly. Sweetly. Over and done in just a minute or less, and then move on with life. 

I am not saying that there won’t be times for longer discipleship discussions with our children based on the Word. I am, however, doubting whether those are most productive when a child has done something he shouldn’t or not done something he should. Heart to heart talks might be better received when not in the midst of a possible consequence and when the emotions on both sides are neutral or positive.

Listen to Yourself

If you did something foolish or wrong and someone talked to you about it the way you talk to your child, would you like it? Is your child old enough to comprehend the depth of explanation you give for his bad behavior? If he is old enough, does he emotionally engage with you positively through your discussion with him? If the answers to those questions are “no,” then you might want to consider changing your method to “short and sweet.”

Why Would You?

When everything today is instant and delivered to you door, why would you go to Ft Smith, Arkansas, Feb 23/24, 2018, for a Family Energize conference? Simply put, there is something powerful and engaging when brothers-and- sisters-in-Christ meet together for inspiring teaching. 

More specifically, you and your family would benefit from the following:

• A big dose of motivation and encouragement

• Children encouraged in Christ and purpose

• Vision (where are you “headed?”)

• Likeminded fellowship and new friends

• Learning practical ways to be more efficient and get it all done

• Finding joy and peace when you are accomplishing what God is calling you to, 

I wonder if your wife would be thrilled if you told her you were taking the family to a weekend conference.

Homeschooling families often have more limited financial means because of Mom not working outside the home. That is why we don’t charge for those attending but have a love offering box on the display table.” We also have obtained a block of motel rooms nearby at a discounted rate. See conference registration details. 

I’d love to meet you there, and Teri would love to meet your wife. Will you come?

Steve

A Matter of Trust

Have you noticed how easy it is to see flaws in others and not recognize them in ourselves? When tempted to distrust your wife, have you considered whether you are worthy of her trust? “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?” (Matthew 7:3-4)

What is your wife’s confidence level in you: 

  • To put the needs of the family above your personal wants and desires?
  • That if you say you will do something, you will do it?
  • To keep your end of “any agreements?”
  • To be careful with family resources?
  • That you own the responsibility of discipling your children in the Lord Jesus Christ?
  • To value your time as priceless or do you waste it on empty pursuits?

May we each have the mindset that trust is earned–not deserved.

Steve

Success or Failure Oriented?

Dads, have you observed the new popular guidelines?

  • Don’t eat together as a family. One way to do that is not to have a set time for meals. Keep mealtime a secret until 5 minutes prior. Even if you know the time, demonstrate your independence by sitting down only when you feel like it. Also, consistent with this behaviour, don’t help your wife clean up after eating.
  • Don’t set a bedtime, and if you do, ignore it. Stay up late watching TV or doing something “important” on the computer. It is the most effective way to guarantee your wife can’t function well the next day (actually you too). To make sure this is an ingrained pattern for the children, allow them to enjoy movies and the media of their choice as late as they want. They will be irritable the next day and despise anything that looks like education.
  • Make pleasure/entertainment your pursuit, and you will fit right in with our society. No one will call you weird or peculiar if you do.
  • Be encouraged, these simple rules will easily be acquired by your children, and if you don’t like the outcome in their lives, it won’t be too difficult to find someone to blame. It’s not your fault anyway. 

“He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed” (Proverbs 13:20).

Steve

How’s the Fruit?

We caroled to our neighborhood Sunday night. As the family was caroling, I was overwhelmed with gratitude to the Lord. Forty-three years ago there was just Teri and me. Sunday night,  all twenty-three of my family – wife, children, grandchildren, and daughters-in-law were having a wonderful time showing Jesus’ love to our neighbors.

Are you seeking the Lord as you make decisions?  Are you proclaiming God’s mighty works to your family? Stay the course my brothers. Your children are eternal.  

“I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done” (Psalms 78:2-4). 

Steve