Category Archives: General

Children Who Are Advocates

Recently our city wanted to limit the number of chickens that city residents were allowed to have to 10. Our 8-year-old granddaughter, Abigail, is “chickie mama” at her house, and she keeps chickens for fresh, healthy eggs for her family.

She realized that obeying the new city ordinance, if passed, would be a hardship from two fronts. The first was not having enough chickens for the necessary eggs for a large family and the other from adding new chicks to the flock before they were ready to lay eggs. If they had five hens who needed to be replaced, they would have to get rid of them before the new chicks could lay eggs.

Abby wrote a letter to the city commission stating her concerns, why she had them, and asking the city commission not to limit the number of chickens. Then she and her dad attended the city commission meeting, and Abby presented her cause before them. The vote was close, but the commissioners went with the 15 chicken limit—a compromise they felt.

Are you preparing your children to be able to cognitively and persuasively voice their thoughts and concerns publicly in areas that are important to them? Could your 8-year-old child stand up in front of an official group of adults and give them a presentation? Most adults are fearful of speaking in front of others. Maybe you are one of them. “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe” (Proverbs 29:25).

On Friday evenings during the school year, Nathan and Melanie have their children give short presentations at their home and sometimes for Grandpa, Grandma, and the aunts and uncles. These presentations are simply telling about something they learned or did during the school week. It is giving them skills and comfort speaking in front of people.

Talking to your family isn’t the same as talking to others, though. We can also help our children be comfortable talking to people who are friends, acquaintances, or even strangers (when they are in the protection of parental supervision). We can do that by giving our children opportunities to talk to people outside the family. Often in those situations we parents do all the talking. It doesn’t mean that the children have to monopolize the conversation, but that they are included for part of it.

Children who become adults who are stellar communicators have great potential to be strong, loving, caring fathers and mothers. Consider the importance clear communication has in families, especially from parents to children and the implications when that communication is absent. Children who have learned to think and then convey those thoughts to others will be business, church, and political leaders.

Are you not only preparing your children spiritually and academically for their future but also helping them be able to be advocates for what the Lord puts on their hearts as parents, as friends, and in whatever walks of life He calls them into? Are you giving your children a passion for things that are important whether it is how many chickens they can have in their backyard or that they can homeschool their children?

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).

We have a resource available to help you in this area called Making Great Conversationalists. In that book, we give you practical projects to do with your children to help them learn conversational skills. Maybe you will learn something too.

Trusting in Jesus,
Teri

When God

When God commands us to do something, He will enable us to fulfill the command. The omniscient One of the universe knows what we are capable of doing. He certainly wouldn’t command us to do something we couldn’t do.

If He commands us to do things beyond our own strength, knowledge, or ability, we can be sure He will provide what is lacking. When God commands, we can be sure He will enable.

The first and most important step is that we are willing to obey. There is joy and satisfaction in obeying. What has God called you to? Have you responded obediently?

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, And in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship. And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee” (Exodus 31:1-6).

A World Apart

Which one are you?

I will, I do, I did.

Compared to:

I woulda, I shoulda, I coulda.

“But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you” (Matthew 21:28-31).

A good place to start is to join us our Prayer and Fasting day, Tuesday January 24th.

Sign-up so I can pray with you on your requests.

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

Three Top Pieces of Advice for Young Moms Starting Homeschooling, Part 1

Recently I was talking to a mom with three little children, the oldest being 4 years old. She was planning to homeschool and had heard that I homeschooled for 30 years. She sweetly smiled at me and asked what I felt was a very insightful question. She said, “What 3 pieces of advice could you give me that you think would be the most important for my success as a homeschooling mom?”

I was thrilled to talk to this mom. She was thinking about and preparing for her homeschooling days. She gave me boundaries for the information she wanted—boundaries that would help her remember what I said.

For number 1, I started with what is probably the dearest to my heart—a schedule. Structure is what productivity, learning, and stress-free days hang upon. The schedule helps a family accomplish not only their homeschooling but other essential and even non-essential parts of their day.

I have observed schedules transform the family life, personal life, and homeschooling life of weary, discouraged mommies. That thrills me beyond measure. I don’t think it is a matter of personality —schedules for the disciplined person but not for the free spirited person. Schedules let the disciplined mom put her talents to use, and for the free-spirited one, it lets her have time for her free-spirited activities.

Even before you begin homeschooling, you can schedule. Mommies with preschoolers can benefit from a schedule just as much as those who are already involved in homeschooling can. Getting children used to a schedule as preschoolers keeps those days flowing and productive while getting children accustomed to the rhythm that a schedule will bring to homeschool life.

When we were preparing for another Managers of Their Homes (MOTH) reprint, we realized that we had gained a huge amount of scheduling experience since we first wrote and published Managers of Their Homes, and we wanted to impart that to others.

When MOTH came out, it was based upon our own personal scheduling experience and confirmed by those first 24 test families who used MOTH. Now, however, we have worked with countless moms as they have scheduled and seen the power of the schedule in a much broader framework.

We decided to take that valuable experience and put it into a revised version of Managers of Their Homes. So we ruthlessly tore into the text and took out what we didn’t think was as helpful in the book, and put in what we have gained from working with MOTH moms.

We know that the original MOTH is successful in teaching moms to schedule. We have the testimonies from so many who have read and used it to prove that it does. The revised MOTH doesn’t change those basics, but it brings in a fresh power from our real life experiences with a multitude of MOTH scheduling moms. We are excited about that!

If you haven’t yet dived into scheduling, this is the time to get the new, revised Managers of Their Homes. If you have friends who aren’t scheduling, suggest it to them. I really can’t think of a better Christmas or birthday present for you or a friend than this resource that will help bring productivity, peace, and contentment to a family.

Trusting in Jesus,
Teri

Ugly Word

Many of us rationalize, despise, and take great effort to avoid self-discipline. I have struggled with it in various areas. For most of my life I bit my fingernails. I agree that it’s a pretty disgusting habit. But I am free of it now.

In junior high I took comfort in food when our family fell apart. I know, no excuse, and it did not help. Eating more than my body required has been an up-and-down lifelong struggle for me. I told Teri I want to beat it, and as long as I have breath, I’m not giving up.

Where are your battles? Are you determined to fight a good fight? It’s not too late. Pick one area at a time and conquer it. 

“Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.” (Philippians 4:5)

Steve

Seriously Fast November 14th

It has been a year since we had a Seriously Dad’s fast day. I’ve wanted to have another one, but I have not been able to set aside a day to pray for those who sign up. I decided it would be better to schedule a fast day, even if I couldn’t pray for your requests individually. Therefore, we won’t have a signup for it.

I will join you in fasting and pray generally for you. Will you lift up other dads who are fasting as well? This will be a no food fast all day Monday, November 14th. I encourage you to take part.

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Steve

Who Would Have Imagined?

Who would have thought the current laws of the land possible?

Who would have thought the current laws would be so selectively enforced?

Who would have thought a mother could legally kill her unborn baby?

Who would have thought we would have the current presidential candidates?

Who would have imagined the current impact of the “church” on our nation?

Who would have imagined so many professing families in so much trouble?

Who would have thought that so many professing families would not be in the Word daily (personally and as a family) nor obediently following the Spirit?

Hmm, thinking of it, it really does make sense, doesn’t it? “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7)

Steve

Where’s the Blessing: Self-Discipline or Self-Indulgence?

I love watching my married children raising our grandchildren in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Steve and I are 1st generation Christians (we are grateful that both sets of our parents were eventually saved). Our children are 2nd generation Christians, and our grandchildren are 3rd generation Christians.

I thought I would share with you one specific example of what it might look like for a 2nd generation Christian to raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. First generation Christians can follow this same path, but they don’t have an example from their own childhood to follow.

After being saved in our 20’s, as Steve and I grew in our walks with the Lord, we became convinced of the necessity and beauty of daily fellowship with Jesus Christ through reading His Word and praying. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). While we did that on a personal level, we also did it as a family. It became a habit, a part of our lives. That meant our children grew up, some from infancy, with daily, family Bible time. (See Steve’s Feed My Sheep for more information).

Now we observe in our married children’s homes that they also are having daily, family Bible time with their children, from infancy. Not only are these children hearing God’s Word every day and learning from it as they become old enough to understand Scripture on a child’s level, but they are developing the beginnings of self-discipline.

Which Parent is Happy?

Have you ever heard someone say, “He is just a child. Let him play and have fun”? What does that mean for a parent wanting to raise their child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord? Is there a switch that is flipped on an 18-year-old’s brain that suddenly turns him from a playing child to a responsible adult with self-discipline?

I can’t help but wonder if we have lost sight of the high prized godly quality of self- discipline in favor of the world’s philosophy of play. Whether the world likes it or not, there are serious consequences to lack of self-discipline. To the extreme the person without self-discipline can’t hold down a job, ruins his health by obesity, destroys relationships, has no spiritual depth, loses his possessions, and may even end up in prison.

What outcome do you want for your children, and when does it begin? What age do you start helping your children toward self-discipline? In our permissive-parenting age, it seems that boundaries to move a child toward self-discipline are discouraged. The parents I observe who are enjoying their parenting, are the ones with children who are learning self-discipline–not that the children are perfect, but they are moving in a positive self-discipline direction. The frustrated, angry parents are the ones with children who are out-of-control.

Self-Discipline Practice

At family Bible time, I see our grandchildren learning a measure of self-discipline, an important beginning. Many would say it is impossible for young children to be quiet, listen, and sit still for a period of time each evening in order to be part of a family Bible reading. In the household of our three married sons, though, we have seen that even though there are different parents, different children, and different standards, all eight of those children (ages newborn to eight) in those families are learning self-discipline. As they participate night after night in family Bible time, they are growing in their ability to control themselves and to make choices against what they might most naturally want to do–sit for a brief season. What a precious opportunity those parents have to not only build God’s Word into their children’s lives but also to be teaching them the beginning steps of self-discipline.

Children who can obey, who can sit still when necessary, who can be quiet sometimes, who will respond when spoken to are children who are happier because they aren’t in trouble all the time. They also make living with them much easier for their parents and siblings than children without those qualities. Not only is life today better in their families, but their future looks brighter.

Does Self-Discipline Bring Blessing?

I think Paul nicely describes self-discipline in these verses and why for a Christian, it is important. “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:25-27).

Could I encourage you that boundaries are beneficial for your children, even beginning at a young age? You will bless your children by giving them opportunities to develop and practice self-discipline. I love watching my little grandchildren in family Bible time–happy, secure, and self-disciplined! I know that self-discipline will be a life-long friend helping them and bringing them peace and joy.

Trusting in Jesus,
Teri Maxwell

An Introduction …

I want to introduce someone to you. To you all, she is Teri Maxwell, to me, she is my wife and “Sweetheart.” 

To homeschooling moms, she is seen as the mom who made scheduling practical and achievable with the resulting benefit of an organized and peaceful home. She has helped tens of thousands of moms see that it is actually possible to get it all done AND be both sane and happy. Years ago she was in trouble, with too much to do, and not enough time to do it. Together we worked to simplify her life so that it was manageable. We found by simply “automating” many of her daily decisions we got the big, ugly, evil green gorilla off her back. To me, she is a fantastic manager of our home, where it is peaceful and orderly – a place I’m happy to come home to and proud to welcome guests in.

To those struggling with depression, Teri is a beacon of hope pointing to the Lord Jesus Christ and a myriad of practical choices that gain freedom from the “evil gorilla.” Because Teri has been crushed by depression, ruled by anger, and hounded by the guilt of what she wasn’t accomplishing, nor the mom she wanted to be, weary, heavy-laden, moms know Teri understands them. To me she is a trophy of how God, in His mercy, can exchange beauty for ashes in all of our lives.

To our ten children she is “Mom.” Eight children who are seeking to follow their Lord Jesus Christ on this earth and two more who are with the Lord Jesus waiting for her in Heaven. Teri knows the pain of losing children through miscarriage therefore others who have lost children know she can relate to them. To me, her walk is one of daily, obediently, trusting in her Lord, that all things work together for good. She is the love of my life.

To her daughters-in-law she is one who will (like clockwork), spend time lovingly playing with and reading to the grandchildren and will invest in their homes when she senses she can be an encouragement. To me she is an example of investing energy into the lives of those you love.

So why this for a Seriously? I want the story of our lives together to encourage you in a couple of areas. You are a team with your wife. As goes with her – goes with you. If she hurts, you hurt. Brothers, I plead with you, if she is trouble, do whatever can be done – move Heaven and earth – to help her.

Show her your gratitude and if you aren’t grateful, repent. Love, cherish and nourish her. “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church” (Ephesians 5:29). Lavish your love on her, not only Sunday, Mother’s Day, but every day.

Steve