Category Archives: Child Training

Encouraging or Dampening

Walking around the convention hall one couldn’t miss the sparkle of sheer delight in many mom’s eyes. They were thrilled to be at a homeschool conference hearing about and seeing the tools of their trade. WIth all the things an average mother does in managing her home, these moms were special because they added homeschooling to an already full mommy’s plate of daily tasks. These were the elite of the elite, the “Navy Seals.” the “Green Berets” of moms in the trenches of raising children. They had not chosen the easy way of sending their children off to school. They were not just doing a job, but were delighting in it. The time Teri and I dialoged with them was energizing. 

There was another aspect that was so good for Teri and me, yet, heart-rending. Those were the stories that tore your heart in two – stories of hardship, struggles with children (with no easy answers), and of the tragedies of life. 

What broke my heart most were the dads who stood lifeless or like a wet blanket in response to their wife’s excitement. She turns to him with an excited, hopeful voice, “Honey look at this.” He replies with a flat, dull, indifferent tone, “Ya, I see it” or something negative. 

Dads, we are the blessed of the blessed of the blessed to have wives who will invest their lives to school our children. May we love them in word and deed, honor them, and thank them. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25). Please don’t forget that it takes a mother to be a father.

Please

When was the last time you felt compelled to tell a friend he needed to listen to a message you just heard? That is what I’m doing right now! In preparation for the Colorado homeschool convention this week, Teri and I listened to our download of a past Keeping Our Children’s Hearts session. (It’s much longer than what we have time for at CHEC.) Each time I listen to that session, I come away with the heavy desire that every Christian parent should listen to it. The message becomes more relevant every year.  

If you appreciate these articles, please get the Keeping Our Children’s Hearts download, or if you have it, listen to it again (and again).   

What a Strategy

Have you ever wondered how the enemy could have been so successful in hindering the church from reaching our country for Christ? We have had over 200 years to evangelize this country and sadly we now have a pagan nation. If Satan would have used persecution to hinder the evangelization of the United States, he knew it would have strengthened believer’s resolve. 

Instead, he used the “good life” and all the fun and exciting things of the world, that weren’t overtly sinful, to pull the hearts of God’s people away from our Lord and His command. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…” (Matthew 28:19-20a).

My brothers that is why we are to guard our hearts and set them on things above. Just because Christians approve of all sorts of things it doesn’t mean our Lord does. “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment” (Mark 12:30).  

I remember a Christian teenage boy who told me that he couldn’t imagine life without movies. For many, just fill in the blank instead of movies – TV, video games, sports, skate boards, hunting, fishing, and … For me it was flying small private planes, but I praise God He enabled me to put that away over 40 years ago. Brothers, what do you live for? Examine your time usage and thoughts. 

Consider the End

Consider your children’s first taste of real excitement. Maybe it was a first wild ride on a swing or later a roller coaster. First,”weeeeeee” explodes from his lips. Then comes, “I want to do that again!!!” 

Excitement comes in other packages as well. Video games are designed to be highly addicting and some movies can provide near-real thrills. 

Now consider his first exposure to the Word of God when he was old enough to understand it. Did he respond similarly to the roller coaster? Of course not. 

Face it! The world offers excitement and pleasure beyond imagination. Compare that to “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:24-25). In sales, we would call that a very hard sell. If it wasn’t for the Spirit’s involvement, who could be saved and follow Christ? 

Therefore, considering the opposition, the more thrills you introduce them to and give them an appetite for, which grows into a passion, might you be aiding the enemy? Is his short-term pleasure worth the long-term consequences? 

I’ve been amazed at the number of young men who have no interest in meaningful work due to their passion for dopamine-providing endeavors. We all know dads who continue to fuel their physical passions of one sort or another while neglecting their Lord, His Word, and their families. Very, very sad. 

Trying to Cool a Hot Topic

Teens and Cell Phones

With the age for kids to get cell phones moving younger, we are alarmed about those ramifications. Families share with us heartbreaking stories about the negative, unexpected consequences of their children’s cell phones. These are particularly in the areas of time wasted on the phone, negative influences by others, and boy/girl relationships before the time is right for them. Once these addictions, texting, and social media relationships are established, pulling them back is at best, difficult, and at worst, impossible. 

From our perspective, as we evaluate these stories, the parents didn’t anticipate the potential problems, prepare for them, and communicate well with their children about them. Things were good in their home – solid relationships and children who were obedient. The phone was given as a practical tool but soon morphed into an engaging allurement that pulled the child’s heart into anything from many wasted hours to other untold evils.

In the past, we were concerned about the influence of TV, movies, and videos games in conservative, Christian homes and shared warnings with you about that. Now an even greater danger is trolling for your children. 

“A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished” (Proverbs 22:3). Is there any way to avoid your child falling into the evil clutches that can come with cell phones? We aren’t fully sure about that, but we think Proverbs encourages an attempt. Sometimes it seems hopeless, but if we were parents with children at an age to get a cell phone, we would sure try. Here are some thoughts about it.

Need?

Does your child really NEED a phone? We remember the years with our children growing up and how they didn’t get driver’s licenses until they truly needed one. At that point, they were earning income to either buy their own car or pay their share of the insurance and car maintenance. While this wasn’t the norm for teens and driving, it sure protected our children in many ways. Just because everyone else has a phone does not mean it is the right or best choice for your child. 

Plan

Think through the boundaries and parameters for your child having a phone and set them out clearly, even in writing. If you don’t want your child texting or communicating via the phone with friends of the opposite sex, let them know that up front. If there are apps you don’t want them to use, state that, or perhaps simply state what apps they can use. What about how much time can be spent on the phone? 

Research and consider installing protection and accountability on your child’s phone. We like Accountable2you, and our adult children chose to use that while living in our home. However, it is accountability not protection. We tried several protection plans but couldn’t find one that was reliable and didn’t lock our children regularly from the Internet. Our children were young adults at this time and needed the internet for their livelihood. So we moved from protection on the phone to accountability. 

If you want to look at your child’s phone sometimes, agree on the password, and then look at the phone regularly, so they expect it. Even if you are not concerned about anything at the time, if you wait until you are, it will be hard for your child to turn his/her phone over to you for your perusal.

Communication and Relationship

Ultimately what your child does on his/her phone grows out of your solid relationships and hopefully their desire to please the Lord. They will not want to follow your rules and counsel if they don’t respect you and your guidance. That’s part of a heart relationship with your children. 

Communication is key in those relationships. Don’t assume your child knows and understands your concerns and the dangers of the phone. Communicate clearly and often what the phone is for and what your concerns are about it and its dangers. 

Please dear sister, the potential evils are so big with teens and cell phones. Don’t think it will all be fine and then be blindsided when the unthinkable happens. Be proactive if you allow your teen to have cell phones. 

Hopefully Not You or Yours

Growing up, I loved going to the movies, and the more exciting the show, the better. I’m guessing most kids today would be bored to watch what we considered thrilling. We didn’t have the amazing graphics technology brought to entertainment in this age, but it still got our hearts racing and wanting more. 

Gratefully, once I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior I lost all interest in violence. Actually, it repulses me now, and I instinctively look away if confronted with things like that while in a store or restaurant. 

We are living in a time where big money is being made providing entertainment filled with inhumane violence perpetrated against people – human beings who are made in the image of God. “For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence” (Proverbs 4:17). 

What do you enjoy and allow as entertainment for your family (video games, sports, movies, TV shows)? Is there any violence in them? Consider what appetites you are instilling in your children for entertainment? “The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth” (Psalm 11:5). Let that sink in. God hates those who love violence. 

Close the Door dad

How many times per child, per winter, does every dad call out, “Please close the door. We can’t afford to let our heat out and the cold in.” Children don’t naturally appreciate the money that it takes to keep a home warm during the winter and what it will cost to heat a home when frigid air is being allowed into it. Dads generally are very sensitive to things that impact finances, but how aware are you of what you might be letting in that can cool (kill?) the spiritual interest of your children’s souls?

My heart groans when I hear of the barrage of worldly influences that storm the hearts of children in this age, especially things they are told they can’t live without. Social media of all types, addictive music, dopamine-pumping entertainments, and computer games make TV and movies look like toddler toys in comparison. If that wasn’t enough, friends from church promote them so that every “normal” (worldly?) Christian young person MUST have them. 

Having a plan to deal with the soul poison is important, but are you practicing good soul nutrition for you and your family? My heart breaks when I hear of families who aren’t in the Word every day. Are you daily leading your family in the Word, not because you “have to” but because you WANT TO and because you love God’s Word! 

We are so blessed to have God’s Word in our hands. We have no excuse, (except maybe a lost heart) for not loving it and sharing it with our families. 

Psalms 119:
97 “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.”
113 “I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love.”
163 “I hate and abhor lying:but thy law do I love.”
165 “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.”

Is The Season

Even though our children are now adults, memories are still fresh of sick children during the winter months. Life with little ones can be difficult enough normally, but when you add illness, it gets more challenging. Homeschooling moms carry a full plate of responsibilities. Illness simply adds to it. Here are some thoughts about this. 

Thank God. “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). As you give thanks, God will use your example to help your children learn gratitude even in difficult situations. You could pray with your sick children not only asking the Lord to heal them but also thanking Him for the opportunity the illness gives for your child to learn to accept the hardship of not feeling well, to be thankful for good health, and to be patient.

Help your wife. Take alternate nights in getting up to care for the children. Make the dinner meal while she rests. Pick up household chores your wife might normally do but can’t while caring for sick children. Take time off of work to care for her and the children if she is really sick. 

Another consideration is when you have illness in your family, don’t take the sick ones to church. If you don’t like your children sick, why “wish” it on another family that you are called to love. “… Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself” (Luke 10:27). 

Junk or Jesus

We drove through several neighborhoods listening to Twelve Voices of Christmas. It was very disappointing—not what we were listening to—but what we saw. The lights were technologically well done, in fact even a work of art, but instead of anything Christ-honoring (or even neutral), disco-dancing Santa Clauses were everywhere. If Santa was the focus of your Christmas, you would have loved it. However, I’m hoping that wasn’t true for any of you. 

We see the slide of our society further and further away from Christianity even evidenced in Christmas decorations. That should spur us on in our call as fathers. “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). There is no guarantee our children will be saved, but we must do everything we can to facilitate that. 

Brothers, we must surround our children with the truth of God’s Word and they have to see it lived out in our lives. “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9).

Soul Nutrition

The Word

How would you fare if you were taken hostage or in prison without a Bible? The recent Christian Aid Ministries hostages in Haiti, held for two months, had no Bible. Darlene Deibler Rose, American missionary POW in New Guinea during WW2, had no Bible during the 6 weeks she was being interrogated while imprisoned on death row. To draw comfort and strength from the Word, these all had to rely on Scripture they had memorized. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16).

What about when you lie awake in the night and can’t sleep? Do you have Scripture in your mind that you recite mentally and think about? “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalms 1:2).

Do you have verses you can immediately pull up when you face a tough situation, are fearful, or want to respond in anger? At those moments, it isn’t always possible to run and get a Bible. “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalms 119:11). 

The Excuses

Perhaps we relegate Scripture memory to our children, while we make excuses concerning it for ourselves. We might say, “I can’t memorize!” I remember hearing Jim Berg address the “I can’t memorize Scripture” excuse in one of his Quieting a Noisy Soul sessions. He said to his audience, “What is your phone number? What about your address? You all can memorize!” Our other excuse goes like this, “I am too busy. I just don’t have time.” We make time, however, for what is a priority in our lives and important to us.

The Plan

There is a simple way to begin memorizing Scripture. Pick a verse to memorize. Write it on a notecard or two (to keep different places) so that you can reference it easily. Take just five minutes a day to work on it. It takes me seven minutes a day to blow dry my hair. That is a good time for me to memorize Scripture.

Read the verse out loud several times. Then close your eyes and try to say it without looking. When you get stuck, look at your card. The next day, try to say your verse without looking at the card first. Usually, I can not do that the second day because I can’t remember the first word. So I check the card, get the first couple of words, and see if I can say any more of the verse. If not, I do what I did the day before. Usually it takes me several days before I can start the verse myself, but it does come. Practice it anytime you can through out the day. Even better use it when applicable in your daily life.

Once you have one verse down, keep reviewing it, and start on another one. It might be the next verse in a chapter or passage or from a completely different place. If it is a continuation verse, work on it like you did the first verse, while reviewing the first verse. When you have the second verse down, say them together when you work on them.

If you need an idea of verses to start your memorizing plan, consider these:

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Rejoice evermore. 
17 Pray without ceasing. 
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

The first two verses are extremely short, and the combination is a joyful, peaceful, and powerful way to walk through each day.

Start Now

Could I encourage you to set excuses aside and start memorizing Scripture? Think of the potential value in your life. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). This is the beginning of a new year. Make it the beginning of a new habit as well. Start with just one verse – one that will be helpful to you on a daily basis. Work on it until you know it and then use, use, use it so that you don’t forget it. Move on from there.