Category Archives: Child Training

Will Our Children Read?

I spoke to a dad recently who used to give guest lectures to junior and senior public high school classes on a financial topic. He always began with the question, “Does anyone know what ten percent of $50 is?” After many lectures, he said he never had a student correctly answer the question. We would all agree that math is important for life.

What about reading? I’m confident you want your children to be able to read well. Reading is the basis for much learning. As believers we know it is critical for our children to understand the Bible and from it, life in Christ. Do we ever think about how important our example in this area of reading would be to our children? If our children never see us reading, will reading be important to them?

I’ve received emails from moms, in response to a book recommendation I’ve made that might help their situation, who say their husbands don’t read. Consider this statement from an unknown originator, “The person who doesn’t read is no better off than the person who can’t read.”

If reading is important for our children, is it important for us parents? In this age of video everything, do we read? Do we read the Bible, and do we read other beneficial books? If we don’t read, are we any better off than someone who can’t read?

“How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words” (Ephesians 3:3).

No One

I have observed the outcome of decisions I have been very curious about. Why did someone do that? As I was out driving yesterday, there was a five-mile backup on the southbound interstate because one lane was closed. There was no sign of a work crew or any work being done, but there must have been a good reason (in someone’s mind) to put out the cones and not pick them up.

Other things that make me curious are: the way a house is situated on a piece of property, a “feature” on a car’s dash, or the navigation scheme on a website. I have come to believe that no one makes a dumb decision on purpose. In fact, I am confident that everyone does the best he can with the information he has at the time and with his reasoning abilities.

Those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ’s shed blood on the cross for payment of their sin debt and who are in fellowship with Him have incredible advantage over those who are lost. Think about it. We can seek His direction for every aspect of our lives and spare our families hardships that can be avoided.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Paying Ahead or Behind – Vocational Success

Seems like everyone has heard someone bemoaning their school debt. US News reports that the average college grad has more than $35,000 in school loans. That is a lot of money. Young families often struggle greatly under such a burden, and it puts tremendous pressure on a fledgling marriage. What if both husband and wife have loans? Trying to pay behind for “success” might be the greatest obstacle to their being able to attain it.

Now, picture raising your children with the mindset of paying in advance for success. They learn to make the most of their youth years. From twelve on up, they use their time preparing to be skilled adults while making a reasonable income in exchange for their time. This does not mean that they don’t have fun. They just find beneficial ways of having it. Instead of video games, they thrive on the enjoyment that comes from learning. Instead of hanging out with friends, they work out with siblings or dad or mom, which build strength and family relationships.

Soon they will seek the endorphins adult-type achievement brings as opposed to skateboards and amusement park rides. All choices involve a trade. Will they trade up or trade down for the value of their time? Likely, those trades will have great bearing on the value of their future vocational time. What their time is worth to others will directly correlate with how much time they will have available for their future family and serving the Lord.

Pay for success in advance.

“The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want” (Proverbs 21:5).

What to Do?

A dad recently asked for book recommendations for his children. His children have read the complete Moody series many times and as many other good books as he could find. He has run out of other good books. What to do?

Reading is critical in preparing our children for life; however, once they have good reading and comprehension skills, it can become little more than a wasted time filler depending on what they are reading. Even worse, they can become addicted to the thrill of reading “exciting” books so that anything not exciting (the Bible and other worthwhile books) will not hold their interest. Think about it: What good is that?

I have NEVER had anyone tell me he (or she) regrets spending time in profitable pursuits growing up. The number of people who have told me they regret wasting their time, however, is beyond counting.

May I encourage you to consider moving your children into skill-based books as soon as their reading level and comprehension allows. What a blessed harvest they will begin reaping as they progress through their teen years.

My son Joseph began reading about programming when he was ten. He has no regrets about that now. In fact, all our children spent time gaining real skills during their teen years. They look back at those years with satisfaction.

Are we guiding our children or letting them float their own boat?

“And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship” (Exodus 31:3).

Time

God created time. Time used wisely coupled with God’s gracious provision, enables our children to be content in Christ. It is the universal bank account that puts everyone on the same level. We each have twenty-four hours a day to draw from and invest. At the end of the day, week, month, year, lifetime: what will we have to show for it?

It’s a trade, the most basic of all transactions. Read about successful people and men devoted to the Lord. I dare you to find one that squandered his time. When I was young, I traded my go-cart for a ball glove to a teenage neighbor. I mistakenly thought, “The go cart won’t run, so what good is it?” I didn’t value my go-cart as I should have, and I made a bad trade. Today, it seems, so many squander their time away on poor trades.

Some say that self-discipline/will power is the greatest predictor of individual success, even beyond intelligence. I certainly agree. However, in addition, I have to wonder if the driving force behind self-discipline might be how much a person values his time on earth. Possibly for Christians, the next step up is our level of desire to please our Lord in all things. “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17).

Will we teach our children to value their time? Productively using one’s time is vitally important in having the funds needed for life. That is foundational in being content in Christ and that is a powerful motivator for self-discipline. Learning to spend their time productively will provide dividends that those who spend their time on entertainment will not receive.

Follow-on thought for Dads.
We often receive e-mails from frustrated, struggling moms who are drowning in desperation. They know that their children are suffering from lack of a productive home and will have lifelong consequences as a result. They want to believe managing their lives is possible. Of those who purchase Managers of Their Homes, we know that some number will still needlessly struggle to be successful. The book is capable of helping them as it has tens of thousands of moms, but what is missing is their husband’s support. Many husbands don’t value time, a peaceful, productive home, and their family pays the price.

An example is bedtime/wakeup time (BTWT). We often hear how a husband likes to stay up watching the news or movies and won’t go to sleep nor get up at a consistent time. We have found over the years that BTWT is the single, biggest predictor of a mom’s success in managing her day. Yet, Dad won’t inconvenience himself to have the discipline to go to bed and get up when he should in order to be an example, leader, and help to his family.

Valuing time is critical to your children’s success. If you aren’t consistent with BTWT, I would encourage you that it is time to begin. Support your wife by being consistent. Your children’s futures are worth it. Don’t you agree?

Steve

“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”
Ephesians 5:16

Out by the Curb

It is extremely important to know how we are to spend our time. Maybe, even more important is to know how we should not spend our time. I encourage you to take a tour of your house and look for “things” that waste time—yours and your family’s. What a blessing of productive time you will give your family if you move whatever time-wasting “things” you discover out to the curb.

Our time is priceless and limited. It takes courage to do the right thing.

“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:9).

A Great Guy

I met a great dad recently who was not a believer. As we talked I could tell he sincerely loved his family. I was surprised to hear him share how his early-teenage daughter, who attends public school, was beginning to walk down a “dark” path. She has begun back-talking both him and his wife. He was troubled by the ugly change in her.

I asked if they had ever thought about homeschooling. He said “Yes,” they had discussed it, but his wife was not onboard with the idea. That saddened my heart greatly.

Although homeschooling does not guarantee children will turn out great, may each of us be willing to do anything and everything possible toward that end. May we consider investing our time and resources in anything that may help our children to grow up to be responsible adults who love the Lord with all their hearts, souls, and minds.

Homeschooling is difficult, but so is life. May we give our all for their eternity—Jesus did. (BTW, if your wife is homeschooling, lavish on her your gratitude for her investment in the children.)

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).

Walk, Run, Embrace

Many of us parents are first-generation Christians. We are saved by the blood of Jesus from a love affair with the world and its impending consequences and are introduced to an abundant life. Sadly, many parents assume their children will also embrace Christ as they did. But why should they?

These children are growing up in a “blessed” environment—the result of the parents’ life in fellowship with their Lord. The children thus assume that is the way life naturally is—all good in Christ. The children have not experienced the darker side of life that most parents have, which makes Jesus even more desirable.

I am not saying these parents don’t care. They really do. They just assume wrongfully that their children will follow Christ because the parents do. Sadly, they are wrong. Some walk away from Christ because He was never theirs. They had the blessings without knowing the “Blesser.”

What place does Jesus have in your home? Is He preeminent? What is central in your living room and family time? How are you serving and exercising the fruit of the Spirit? Live on the edge. Make Christ real.

“For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass” (James 1:23).

Creating What?

There is a huge difference between limiting and abstaining. Generally, we abstain from things that are detrimental or harmful or sin; no discussion, no rationalizing, end of subject! Well, at least it should be that way.

But what reasons do we choose for limiting something? Food is good, yet too much will lead toward gluttony and bad health. Sleep is good, but too much is slothful and will hurt our body. We have to have food and sleep, so we cannot abstain. Instead, we must learn to limit.

What about things such as video games, movies, TV, cartoons, and various sorts of entertainment that are not necessary (or even beneficial) for life in Christ? For some families those are the things that become a great struggle. Children love those sorts of things. (Okay, many adults do, too.) Even if parents may be discriminating in choosing or limiting such things that may not be overtly evil, their children will seldom exercise the same discretion.

We have observed parents who want their children to be happy (and in the process may not realize that they are trading away godly for merely happy). So they will choose to limit the child to metered amounts of movies, cartoons, or video games each week often as a reward for good behavior. They do not realize, however, that they are actually doing far more damage than any marginal amount of hoped-for good with this approach.

In business, the saying is “scarcity creates demand.” What parents will find with this direction is that they are creating huge appetites in their children for these things by this approach. The children know that if “it” was actually “bad” they wouldn’t be allowed to do it, but since it is merely limited, it must be good. Eventually, they will be able to make their own decisions, and these will include few if any limits. 

Our lives are filled with boundaries, and it began in the Garden when God said don’t eat of that tree. The world does not want limits placed on the flesh. “Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.” (Philippians 3:19)

Steve

Who’s Got Your Back?

Nathan started his IT consulting business almost 20 years ago. In the beginning he had no one to back him up if he couldn’t fix a computer problem, but with the Lord’s direction he managed. Anna attained her A+ certification a few years ago and, in addition to learning programming, has been taking help desk calls from some of Nathan’s clients. Nathan is her backup should Anna need second-level support.

When Teri and I began having children, we had no one to turn to for child-rearing advice. We were also just beginning our walk with the Lord Jesus, and after we moved away from that first church we did not have godly counsel. The Lord met every need, however, as we sought His face and counsel.

Some families write and sadly share how alone they feel in their walk with the Lord and in raising their children. If that is your situation, may I encourage you to accept and embrace it. It will make your relationship with the Lord Jesus all the sweeter as you trust and rest in Him. We have every good thing in Him.

“Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 124:8)

Steve