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).


Wanna Be a Hero?

Okay, what did you really think when I encouraged you to have a consistent bedtime/wakeup time every day? Crazy? Extreme? Why would I suggest such a thing?

The answer: Because consistent bedtime/wakeup time is one of the greatest needs in a family. Often Dad is the one who sinks his family’s ship. Mom is desperately trying to get things done, but Dad throws marbles in the cookie batter. 

Once bedtime/wakeup time is set, so many other things will fall into place. Simple. Easy. Seriously, you can do it. Try me on this. It is amazing. Be a hero in your family, not a ____. 

I’ve heard from some dads who have had the courage to step up and do it.  I have a cow horn on my desk I blow for such occasions. Good going, guys. You can show the rest how easy it is. 

Here is what one dad wrote. Is this cool or what? 

“BT/WT has almost become a habit now. I start to get tired at the same time every night and am normally awake before my alarm now.  Thank you. I have noticed a difference in how I well feel and my attitude and thinking throughout the day.” 

When I see guys “step-up” like this, I am SO encouraged. 

“Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13).


Beware of the Fine Print

Does this sound like today or what? “For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely” (Jeremiah 6:13).

There is such a craving for the things money can buy and if you don’t have the money, companies stand in line to give you credit.

It begins with going to college so “you” can have the good life even if you don’t have the money for college. Young people broker future wages against the “certain” (?) high wages from their degree, presuming the money will be there to pay off the school debt. School debt is more permanent than marriage. You can divorce and lose a spouse, but even bankruptcy doesn’t get rid of school debt. Few (even believers) seem to take their debt seriously.

Why not trust a loving Father to supply all of your needs? He will supply all He agrees with.

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). May we dads be an example of being content and working hard.


Two Voice Confusion

In 2010 we toured Carlsbad Caverns and in 2011 Yellowstone park. They are both exquisite examples of God’s beautiful creation. Sadly, God was not given any credit – not even the slightest during various guide presentations or on placards. 

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:1-3).

Was our children’s faith weakened by evolution being given credit instead of Jesus Christ, the God of creation? No, not at all. For almost every day of their lives we have been in the Word together. It’s a special time of reading and sharing as a family. In addition, they have seen God’s Word authenticated in lives and know it to be true.

Sadly, now imagine the confusion so many (most?) children face who are merely taken to church on Sunday and then sit in front of a TV every day of the week? “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Corinthians 15:33).


I Can

I wanted to give you a real-life “I can” example since last month we discussed the differences between an “I can” and “I can’t.” Here’s the problem a young mom was facing.

My husband and I have eight children ranging from 13 down to 4 months. This most recent pregnancy was very difficult, and I spent most of the nine months in bed.  My older kids were fabulous and stepped up to fill in the gap. It was such a blessing and a joy to see the fruit of our parenting labors in such a real and tangible way.

However, my 6, 4, and 2-year-olds have acquired terrible habits, which we are having a very difficult time fixing. It feels a bit like all we’re doing right now is disciplining those three. This is having a negative impact on our relationships and the overall atmosphere of our home.

Any wisdom you might have would be so greatly appreciated. Courtney

Hi Courtney,

My encouragement to you is to stay the course with your little ones. While it feels like all you are doing is disciplining, it really isn’t. And the time you are investing in the discipline will reap rewards. You know that already from your older children.

I think one key is to eliminate expectations of what you wanted to do that you aren’t or of how your children should respond but aren’t. Simply go at your task of discipline and correction with the grit, determination, and love of the Holy Spirit’s power.

The other key is to maintain a meek and quiet spirit. Don’t let the circumstances discourage you. Discipline with gentleness but firmness and consistency, knowing that that fruit will come. Having a chart with consequences for common offenses is key. It helped me be consistent, not get angry or discouraged, and not to have to be frustrated trying to come up with the consequences.

Did you read the Mom’s Corner a few months ago about sitting on a chair? I wrote about that in Part 2 of this series, but here’s a link to Part 1 too.

Your baby is 4 months old. Those months are the months of adjusting to life with a newborn. Now that you are probably getting more sleep and your household running better, you will have the time to invest in the 2, 4, and 6-year-olds’ behavior.

I think with a focus on the younger children’s behavior, and your attitude of tackling it with resolve and joy, you will soon be seeing the changes you desire to see.


Within a few days, Courtney responded:

I read and re-read your e-mail several times. I spoke with my husband about your suggestions/insights last night, and he agreed with everything you said. I really needed to hear what you were saying because sometimes I get so stuck in the moment that I miss the big picture.

Today went beautifully for a few reasons. First, the younger kids and I made a rules’ poster that clearly reminded them of how to love their siblings. Then, as you mentioned, my attitude was better because I didn’t take their behaviors personally. They are children who need guidance, and I’ve been entrusted to aid them on their journey to maturity and toward Christ. My expectations were kept in check.

The final key was that I was consistent at making them sit at the table when they made a poor or unloving decision. By the end of the day, my two-year-old made a bad decision, walked over to the dining room table, sat down, and said, “Mommy, set my time.” They were hungry for the normalcy to return. There is safety in Mom and Dad being in control of the day, and they needed that to happen. I truly enjoyed my younger kids for the first time in too long. Courtney

Did you see Courtney’s “I can” attitude when presented with some simple suggestions? I loved how quickly she implemented change, and the results she experienced right away. “I can” or “I can’t”? Which one are you? Which one do you want to be?

Trusting in Jesus,

Posted in: Mom's Corner