Category Archives: Child Training

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

Give an Ear

What is the cheapest and most expensive thing you have to give? It costs you nothing, yet what you give it to will either reap huge dividends or be a burden if given to harmful things. It is your attention!

If you pay careful attention to your Lord, His Word, your wife, your family and to increasing vocational skills–oh what value you will receive back.

Families are starved for their dad’s attention. In addition to my observations, I recently read how men usually stop increasing their vocational skills after five years of employment. May we give our all to our Lord, our families and our work.

“Who hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matthew 13:9).

Do We Really?

I’m confident that every parent knows what it feels like when a child is ungrateful or has an entitlement attitude in spite of our best efforts to teach them to have a thankful heart. Don’t you agree that whatever we have given our children is minimal compared to the blessings our God has showered on us? What an awesome and loving God we serve, and oh how blessed we are.

Maybe it doesn’t matter if our children are ungrateful. Then again, maybe it is serious – far beyond our wildest imagination.

“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen” (Romans 1:21-25).

Steve

Adapting Can be Harmful

As a young airman in 1970 stationed in Thailand, I could tell the baht bus I was riding was entering the small town because the smell from the open sewers announced our arrival. Thankfully, it wouldn’t take long to become accustomed to it.

Driving west on I-70, there is a large cattle feed lot from which smells overtake you if there is a southerly breeze. I assume those living near it become used to it.

It is amazing how quickly we adapt to negative things. Sadly, our soul can all-to-quickly adapt to things after our initial repulsion. I’m confident that is why the Lord told the Israelites to destroy things that would be a snare to them as they conquered an idolatrous land. 

“The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the Lord thy God. Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing” (Deuteronomy 7:25-26). 

Are we being on guard for things that will ensnare us and our family? At first it may seem harmless, even a bit funny. However, Satan will package it any way he can to get it into our homes and hearts, but evil is still evil. There will be consequences. 

Steve

Simple

Most people have two sets of priorities: the set they think they have and the ones they live by. I find it fascinating to learn their real ones. You can not find out just by asking them. They must be observed. 

I think we might surprised ourselves by our real priorities. Simply observe what action or activity bumps another out of its place. The real priority is the one that wins.   

I might say that spending time reading my Bible is important. If so, how consistent have I been? What took its place if it didn’t happen. What about family Bible time? What about exercise? What about time with my wife or time with my children? May we each examine ourselves.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

Steve