Category Archives: Child Training

Making Disciples

How important is it to you to raise your children to love and serve the Lord? Is that your pressing priority every day? That desire is validated by your daily decisions. Oh my brothers, remind yourselves every day how high the stakes are. Think what a shame to create a child and then for that person to spend eternity in hell.

We read in Deuteronomy 6:6-7a “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children…” A key aspect is teaching our children the Word. They need to know the Word. It teaches us Who God is, His love for us, what He desires of us, and how we are to live. 

Head knowledge is critical but not enough. We must then model for them how to live what they have learned. They must be our disciples/shadows while we are disciples of Christ. Paul said, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). 

We model for them being in the Word, personal time in the morning and family Bible time at night. We pray. We serve, and we share our faith. “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

Leaving Chore Frustration Behind

After becoming successful with chores in our home when we had our eight children and before writing a resource on that topic, we did a survey of a large number of Christian, homeschooling moms. One statistic we garnered from that survey was that about 75% of those women did not feel prepared for their roles as wives, mothers, and homemakers while the other 25% were prepared. Those women said that the presence or absence of chore responsibility growing up made the difference. 

You are preparing your children to become mature, responsible adults so I want to encourage you to invest heavily in a chore system in your home and teaching your children how to do those chores. You can’t tell a child to do something and then expect that he will know what and how to do it. They need to have you demonstrate the chore, talking through it as you go and then letting them try it while you are watching. 

I wonder if practice is one of the major missing pieces that cause many to fail at their chore system. Recently we heard a reading specialist mention in a talk that dyslexic children can learn to read, but it takes repetition and practice and more repetition and practice – not just for a week, but for months and years.

We want to teach our children their chores and then think they will be off and running with them. That formula leads to disappointment and frustration for Mom, and that was certainly part of my failure with chores and my children in the beginning. How much better it is when we teach the chore, put it on the schedule, and practice the chore with the child for several days, until it is clear the child knows what to do and how to do it.

The next major stumbling block with a chore system is expecting that the chores will be done and done the way we want them done. I once heard someone say: “Don’t expect what you don’t inspect.” It takes time to daily inspect chores that are assigned to children. That means not only do the children have chores in their schedules but mom needs a time in her schedule to inspect them. This puts accountability in the chore system. 

If a child isn’t doing his chores or isn’t doing them well, Mom will decide if she needs to go back to teaching the job. Remember the dyslexic reader – repetition. Perhaps more practice with Mom is what will turn it around. On the other hand, it might be that we have moved into a character issue that must be addressed. It could be distractibility, lack of self-discipline, laziness, not paying attention to detail, hurrying, or many others. These are important to work through with your child too. Remember, we are headed for mature, responsible adults – step by step. 

Here’s an encouraging story a teenager’s mom shared with me.

“One of my children, who wishes to remain nameless, just said this – I promise, it is an exact quote . . . ‘I’m glad I have to do chores!’

So there you go. It only took 10 years of reinforcement, toil, sweat, tears etc. (on my part, I mean. 🙂 For those of you just starting in the trenches – don’t give up!  It pays major dividends!  Definitely not easy – what an understatement – but totally worth it!” Sandra

May I encourage you to work on chore system, not just setting it up but teaching, practicing, and inspecting the chores? “It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth” (Lamentations 3:17). While it may seem daunting, it is worth it, and it is never to late to start. 

If you need any help with a chore system, I suggest you get Managers of Their Chores. It has facilitated so many families in a successful chore system in their home and the positive outcomes that are desired from it.

In Faithfulness

On Thanksgiving day, I came down with a minor cold that turned into what the doctor called a raging sinus infection. One round of antibiotics and three weeks later I was finally well again. On Christmas Day, I woke up with a cough and developed a fever throughout the day. Four days later, that is still where I am.

Having only been well for ten days, I was not excited about the prospect of moving into another illness. Almost immediately, the Lord put this verse on my heart. Psalms 119:75 “I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.” In faithfulness God afflicts me. That moved my thoughts away from my own misery and onto my faithful God. It reminded me that nothing I consider good or bad comes into my life without God allowing it. He promised me, “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). Whenever discouragement started to set in, I quoted the verse to myself or to Steve, if he was nearby.

What is God’s faithfulness? Strong’s Concordance defines the Hebrew word this way: literally firmness; figuratively security; morally fidelity: set office, stability, steady, truly, truth, verily.

Here are some things we can note from Scripture about God’s faithfulness. “Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth” (Psalms 119:90). We are told His faithfulness is to all generations. He doesn’t pick and choose generations to receive His faithfulness. 

“Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds” (Psalms 36:5). Faithfulness that reaches to the clouds is a limitless amount of faithfulness. Only God has that much faithfulness. 

“It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23 ). This verse highlights Gods’ faithfulness despite our unfaithfulness. We deserve to be consumed but His compassions don’t fail and His faithfulness is great. Again we see in this verse God’s faithfulness even though we are not faithful. “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).

Even though physically I have been quite miserable these past few days, I feel blessed that God brought His faithfulness to mind early on with this illness. I, so quickly, fall prey to self-pity when God wants me fully engaged in Him and in this case His faithfulness. I have often repeated Psalms 119:75 these past four days, and it gives a special bit of joy in the midst of physical pain. The joy is there because God is faithful and He in his faithfulness allowed my affliction. 

In the November Mom’s Corner, we talked about not fretting over things that displease us and choosing instead to be thankful. Now I want to challenge you to consider God’s faithfulness in the midst of your trial or tribulation. Memorizing the end of Psalms 119:75 wouldn’t be hard -only six words – thou in faithfulness has afflicted me. Then the next time you want to feel sorry for yourself for whatever reason, remind yourself that God in His faithfulness has afflicted you. Then you will worship your Triune God for His faithfulness.

P.S. As the corner goes out, I am fully recovered. I know that a cold/flu virus is nothing of an affliction compared to what many are dealing with. May the Lord encourage each in their afflictions in His faithfulness.

Amazing

Recently, while at a Christmas nativity event, I encountered a dad who had a very worn and beloved, 3-foot-tall stuffed play raccoon hanging over his arm. I engaged and found out that it was his young daughter’s beloved companion. She always wanted it with her, and where they went, it went. However, the daughter quickly tired of carrying something almost as big as she was. So she asked her daddy to carry it, and because he loved her, he would. 

I was impressed with his humility. A grown man carrying a child’s giant raccoon would raise many questioning looks from observers. Possibly there were some child training opportunities being missed, but he demonstrated his love for his daughter and benefited in growing his humility in the process. 

In Andrew Murray’s book titled Humility, he suggests reading the gospels with a careful eye to note Jesus’ humility throughout His ministry. Teri and I have followed that suggestion underlining examples and noting in the margin our observations. It has been an inspiring exercise in humility. 

During this time of year, please especially consider how the Creator/God of the universe humbled Himself to take the form of man. He then allowed Himself to be treated as a criminal and die for sinful, rejecting, rebellious men. Only a loving, sacrificing God could invent and execute such a plan. Eternal praise that He did. 

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:8-11).

Young But Wise

A number of years ago we read a book, gifted to us by dear family friends, while we were traveling on an extended trip. Recently, I wanted to sharpen my soul winning skills and reread it. It is so good, I am compelled to highly recommend it to you. I believe you and your children will reap eternal benefits.  

The book is Will Our Generation Speak? by Grace Malley. It has many endorsements by the “who’s who” of today’s soul winners. Grace was in her early 20’s when she wrote it, but you would think it was written by someone in their 60’s. The wisdom this young lady shares is amazing. She has countless stories/examples that instruct and motivate. I’m confident that you and your children will find great encouragement and excitement in being busy about what we are must do. 

We live in a time when believers fill their time with things that are of no profit to God’s kingdom (or themselves), and parents seem to be pleased if their children merely stay out of trouble. However, what if Dad, Mom, and the children were on-fire and passionate about seeing souls introduced to our Lord and King Jesus Christ? Some of us say we want revival, but are our hearts and lives consistent with that desire? 

Oh my brothers, I plead with you. Purchase a copy. One young brother whom I highly respect as a passionate, soul winner said, “Oh yes, I LOVE that book! That was the book that was the tipping point for me between knowing how to share my faith and actually doing it. And it would be fantastic as a read aloud – I like that idea!” 

“Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). 

What a Gift

Likely you have noticed how different people respond when they are given a gift. On one hand deep and sincere thankfulness and appreciation for the gift and thought behind it. On the other hand there may be a token or oblatory, “thank you” at best with an air of “is that the best you could do?” The response should not be our motive in giving, but it gives us pleasure to know it was appreciated.

We men who are married have been bestowed with the second greatest gift a man can receive. First, is salvation which is an unmerited act of grace by our Lord Jesus. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Next most precious gift is a wife giving herself to her husband. 

In a Biblical marriage, she is vowing to be a helpmeet, to follow and honor her husband. Do any of us deserve it? No. So how well do we express our appreciation of her as a gift? Brothers, may I encourage you to give it deep consideration. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25).

All day everyday may we live out and vocalize our gratefulness to our God Who redeemed us and the wife he blessed us with. “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD” (Proverbs 18:22).

“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).

Any Problems?

When someone asks you how you are doing, often the response is predicated on the problems we are facing. No problems equals a great day. However, if you are alive, working, and interacting with others, likely you are dealing with problems of one degree or another. How do you respond? Feel sorry for yourself? Be grumpy? Go around with a sad face? Do your “best” to make others as unhappy as you are? Maybe you’ve been there and done that but are willing to try something else. 

Here are some thoughts. First, what is in your power to resolve? Whatever is, allocate time and energy and then deal with it. 

Next, consider if any of it is my fault or something I need to take responsibility for. May we be quick to ask the Lord, “Is it I?” Amazing how often we either are the problem or hold the keys to the solution. If so, we must own up to it and resolve it. 

Consider if the Lord may be chastening you (Hebrews 12:5-7). 

If not chastening, maybe God wants to use afflictions to grow you. “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:2-4).

Seek your wife’s input. We can be blind to something she has been concerned about and praying about (Proverbs 27:6).

Sometimes what we need most is a right perspective. As children of the Lord Jesus Christ (if saved by faith in His shed blood for our sins), nothing can afflict us that He doesn’t permit. “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3).

Read the Psalms if you want the right perspective on suffering and resting in the tender care of the God of the universe. He is good, always good, always. 

Dark VS Light

One of my grandsons is greatly enthralled with Maglites. He loves to repair them and talk about them. Maglites were a front-runner utility flashlight that packed a lot of light while remaining rugged. 

Portable light when in darkness is a good thing. Hmmm, sounds like what believers are supposed to be. “Ye are the light of the world” (Matt 5:14a). We are in the midst of, and moving into even more, dark times. Christians are to be lights shining in the dark, pointing to our God, bringing Him glory. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt 5:16).

In our country and locale, an evil wicked day is about to be celebrated. I understand that those who are lost, with no hope of life, will celebrate death and every wicked, evil thing imaginable. What breaks my heart is when I see professing “believers” decorate their homes in celebration of the wicked event. Oh readers, are we light? What do we shine on?

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness” (2 Corinthians 6:14).

“Ye that love the LORD, hate evil” (Psalms 97:10).

For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light” (Eph 5:8). 

“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Eph 5:11). 

“If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:6-7).

May we walk in the Light and be a light in a dark world. 

Could You Help?

We have been asked to have a weekend conference in Wood Leaf, North Carolina the weekend of March 8th, 2024. As we begin preparation, there is an area in which I would appreciate your help. 

I am both amazed and grieved at the host of powerful, negative influences that you, as conservative Christian families, are facing today. I would be VERY grateful and blessed if you would provide your feedback as to how you feel your children are faring against the onslaught. If you have benefited and been blessed by Seriously Dads, would you consider taking a few minutes to be a blessing to others by your feedback? I would be most grateful if you would. 

On the following questions, “10” is the best. If you want to break it out by child, that is fine. Frankly, if you would prefer a phone call, I’d love to talk with you, schedule permitting. Let me know your time zone and general windows of availability. Likely the following would be a good husband/wife discussion prior to your responding.

  • Do you believe your children are on track up to be strong, dynamic Christian adults living for the Lord and not for the world? 1-10 ______
    • If so, what do you attribute that to? ________________________
    • If not, what do you attribute that to? ________________________
    • Is your family consistently in the Word
    • As a family?  Yes.   No 
    • Individually?  Yes.   No
  • How would you rate the influence of your church on your children? 1 – 10 (10 positive)
  • How would you rate the influence of their church friends on them? 1 – 10
  • Estimate how many hours a day of media (movies, social, etc) they consume.  ____
  • Do your children read books such as Harry P? Yes?   No?
  • Do your children participate in organized sports? Yes?   No?
  • Anything else you would like to share on this topic that you feel is important?

May this be a good opportunity for evaluating how it’s going. Any changes you should make? Is this consistent with your goals? Do you have goals? 

We are grateful for you all. I tried to keep this brief, but if you want to give more detail, please do. Maybe share this email with your wife as well. Thank you for your feedback.

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Who Me?

Have you noticed how easy we are on ourselves and blind to our faults, which we expertly justify and minimize? It is one thing to destroy our health, morals, or even our testimony for Christ, but as we impress on our children by our example, the world’s media and entertainment (i.e. our “liberty”), that is serious. Certainly, the Lord Jesus treats it seriously based on the consequences He says we deserve in that situation. 

“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6).

The survival instinct under water is to try to get back to oxygen. In this case, as you descend deeper and deeper, your head is down due to the weight tied to your neck. You can’t turn to swim up, even if you could overcome the weight. It’s impossible. You are totally helpless. Every effort to get free only uses precious air while you continue the rocket-like descent. Your lungs in agony “scream” for air and feel like they will burst as you eventually lose consciousness. 

The One Who died for us gave this example to vividly demonstrate His love for the young and innocent and how serious He is about not causing them to stumble in their faith. My heart breaks for innocent children who are “taught” by dad’s example to love the world through his media and entertainment.  

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).