More On The Secret

I shared the article “Shared Secret” on the Titus2.com blog. I received this comment and the following is my response. I felt it would be helpful for Seriously dads as well.

Blog comment: I concur with the idea that entertainment detracts from more useful application of one’s energy, especially since time can so easily slip away when you’re distracted. My question for you is whether there comes a point in time when one is too focused on serious pursuits, i.e. being a “work-a-holic”? How do you balance focused learning or on-task time with relaxing fellowship time? Erica

Hi Erica, First, I’m not sure it follows that the opposite of loving entertainment is being a work-a-holic. It seems like there might be a subtle inference of that in your question. That aside, maybe there are some who became too focused on serious pursuits. However, our personal experience and observations of others is that the natural pull/tendency is toward wasting time, particularly through various forms of entertainment, versus too many serious pursuits.

For believers, Scripture sets an example of working six days and resting one. Thankfully, most don’t have to work six days to live, but Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 10:23 is important: ”All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” Given available time, how can it be used to edify (build up) ourselves or others?

To spend time beneficially has become a guiding principle for our family. Serving, loving and learning are foundational verbs in making time edifying. The following verse keeps everything in balance because it is easy for something to get out-of-balance, whether it be learning, resting, and even working. “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). 

That verse means that our time is to be completely surrendered to our Lord Jesus. He may for a season shift time so that it is heavy in one area, maybe serving, or another time in loving someone in need. But if our time is under His direction, then we can have confidence the result will be good. ”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).

Steve

Posted in: General

Power in Discipling Children​

In November, we began a series responding to a mom with several children dealing with the stressful issues of sibling fighting, whining, and talking back. She wanted some fresh inspiration on practical consequences. The starting place is in our hearts, and that was November’s theme. If you haven’t read that article, here’s the link.

Before we move into discussing specific consequences, let’s consider some other proactive possibilities for tackling these problems that are quite common to any family with children. Scripture tells us: “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Drawing our children’s hearts to Scripture and how it affects their daily lives is part of bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. 

Teaching Time

Take advantage of individual and family time when you can discuss these problems. These times will be emotionally neutral. They won’t be in the heat of the offense, but simply in your normal, daily life. No one is unhappy or upset during the discussion, and no one is in trouble. However, you are prepared with specific instances of problems to bring out, review, and talk through. With the emotion out of the picture, you are likely to have some productive teaching discussions. Remember the Short and Sweet article last year? 

I encourage you not to move into a long lecture but to focus on a set of questions designed to help your children move to correct thinking, and then hopefully actions, about biblical behavior. Jesus often used questions in His teaching, causing His listeners to go deeper in their thoughts and motives. Questions draw your children into the conversation, help them think through what happened, how it affected them and others, why they did what they did, and what options might have been better in the situation.

When these discussions are family discussions, everyone can help with the answers and everyone benefits from the discipleship they afford. Sometimes, though, you will have the opportunity to have a discussion one-on-one, or maybe it is of the nature that you wouldn’t want discussed with the whole family. Remember, though, it is vital that this discussion be held at a neutral time.

Questions

When you have one of these discussions and rehearse what happened, what are some questions you can use? How about ones like these?  

Was this behavior kind?
Were the words kind?
How does the recipient of what was said or done feel?
Is this how you would like to be treated?
Is this how you see Daddy and Mommy acting?
Is this how Jesus would want you to act?

Then you can ask the children if they can think of any Scripture that would apply to the situation. 

Finally, you could ask what other ways there would have been to go through the situation in a positive way. Let your children come up with the good thoughts, words, and actions that would be appropriate. If your children are little, you might have them act out the right scenario as practice for the future. 

What are some good times for these discussions? How about meal times, family Bible time, or when you are working together in the kitchen or another project? 

Another helpful idea is to memorize Scripture with your children that applies to the common problems they are struggling with. That gives you and them biblically right thoughts to have at the moment of conflict. Plus it helps the children with Scripture that applies when that question is asked in the family discussions.

Could you be proactive with your children and their negative behaviors by using non-stressful moments to discuss their problems? Might you use Scripture to direct their thoughts and actions to godliness? My parenting-children days are over, and in hindsight, I wish I’d more often had wrong behavior discussions during the neutral moments, used questions, and helped the children apply Scripture. While that did happen, it wasn’t as much as I would have liked it to. I can’t redo those days, but I can encourage you.

Posted in: Mom's Corner

Your Turn

  • Adam: Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it.
  • Noah: Make thee an ark of gopher wood.
  • Abraham: Thou shalt keep my covenant. Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest,… and offer him.
  • Lot: Escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. 
  • Joshua: Arise, go over this Jordan,… Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you.
  • Samson: For the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb
  • Jonah: Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it
  • John the Baptist: Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
  • Paul: Prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles.

Your turn, Dad: …..What is God’s direction for you? Will you obey?

“But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand” (Isaiah 64:8).

Shared Secret

Many ask how I taught my children to do so many things. Preparing Sons to Provide for a Single Income Family is the long version of this.

Teach your children that they can do all things through Christ which strengthens us (Phil. 4:13). If God calls us to do something, He will enable us. If we don’t know how to do it, we have to first learn how (the easy part), and then we do it. 

Parents set the example by being sponges to learn (and enjoy work). 

Learn:

  • of the Lord Jesus, first and foremost
  • technical/vocational skills (make your time worth something)
  • relationship skills
  • communication skills, one-on-one and speaking to groups. 

(Side note: if you aren’t a self learner, learning will cost you.)

Now comes both bad news and inversely the key. The enemy of learning is entertainment. If you and/or your children love entertainment, sorry. Ignore all of the above. Your children might as well be wearing a 100 pound backpack through life. Few want to learn and work when they can play.

“No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2 Timothy 2:4).

Steve