Category Archives: Mom’s Corner

The Best of The Best

The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to encourage you in the importance of spending time each day in the Word. It is easier for me to have that time in my day now that Steve and I are “retired.” Even in those hectic days of babies, toddlers, and homeschooling, I still needed time with Him every day, perhaps even more than I do now. God’s Word is the foundation of our relationship with Him, our walk with Him, and our interactions with ourselves and with others. Just as we nourish our physical bodies daily, we must nourish our souls.

From the Word about the Word

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.”  (1 Peter 2:2). Babies don’t want their milk once a week. They demand it every day and multiple times a day at that!

“But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” (Psalms 1:2). 

“The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward” (Psalm 19:7-11).

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Throughout Scripture, we see the importance of God’s Word to all aspects our lives. 

When?

Find a time in your day when you can be consistent with Bible reading. Early morning is generally the most consistent and least interruptible time of day. It is when you are freshest and your mind the least cluttered. It puts Christ in your day as your top priority. Jesus even gives us the personal example of rising early to spend time with God. “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed” (Mark 1:35).

How?

For Christmas I was given a lovely, Bible journaling notebook and pen. Journaling as part of my Bible reading time has been my habit for most of my life as a Christian. However, I filled up my last journal a couple of years ago and never initiated buying myself another one. I dropped the journaling from my Bible time and simply read. With my new journal, I wanted to start using it right away. When I did, I realized how much I missed journaling during those months I was reading without doing it.

When I journal during Bible time, I pick a verse from what I read that is meaningful to me. Usually, it is a verse that does one of these things: 

Tells me something about God

Tells me something that will help me in my walk with God or with others

Tells me how to praise God

I date the journal page and then copy the verse (sometimes it is two or three verses together). Next I write down why I chose the verse and what I learned from it. It is a simple way to focus my thoughts on something specific from Bible time. Perhaps this would be helpful in your Bible time, too.

I hope this year you start the discipline of daily Bible reading if it isn’t already part of your life, and if it is, that you continue making it the cornerstone of your day. It is easy to miss a day and justify it, but remember that baby mentioned in 1 Peter 2:2. Mmight she be our example?

Posted in: Mom's Corner

Give Your Family a Stress-Free Mother 

While most of us love the Christmas season, sometimes the activities and things to be done weigh our mama-hearts down. Stress rises, and instead of a joyful season of worshipping Christ, we become frazzled  women running to and fro, impatient, and frustrated. How can we take the stress out of the Christmas season?

REST IN THE LORD

Perhaps the greatest stress reliever is to remember the words of Christ Himself. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). For Jesus to give us rest, we must spend time with Him. During the weeks before Christmas, are we truly coming to Him? Are we continuing in our daily time to worship Him through reading His Word and praying? Are we casting our cares on Him? “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7). 2. 

WRITE IT DOWN

Write down what you will be doing and want to do during the Christmas season. Often stress overwhelms us when our minds are trying to track, manage, remember, and juggle all that needs to be done. Computers crash when they overload their memory, and so do we. When you free up space in your mind by writing it down, there is relief. It is all in a safe place to be retrieved and referred to as needed.

ELIMINATE

The third thing you can do to relieve holiday stress is to eliminate. Once you have that list, determine if there are activities or duties that are no longer your priority. Just because you have always done it, doesn’t mean that you have to keep doing it.

What Christmas activities draw your heart to Jesus? Which ones share Him with others? Which ones teach your children to love, teach them that it is better to give than to receive, or teach them to worship Him? Have criteria in mind to help you determine what your Christmas time usage priorities should be.

I would rather have a peaceful heart and do half as many Christ-related traditions and activities than to do the full measure of them feeling and acting stressed. 

PLAN

Next take the prioritized list of Christmas activities and duties, and for complex tasks, write out needed steps to accomplish them. Now they are easier to achieve. With your available time, look at the lists and choose what you will tackle during that particular time frame.

DEDICATE TIME

You can have the best-prioritized list of Christmas activities, but if you don’t allocate the time to do them, you I will probably feel stressed. Try taking one hour per day in the month of December for Christmas preparations—a specific hour that you know you can consistently be committed to keeping. If you are a homeschool mom, you could shorten your school day by one hour for the month of December. Likely you will be quite pleasantly surprised with the progress you make on things like Christmas cards, online gift shopping, gift wrapping, meal planning, and make-ahead baking in just that one hour.

As you get closer to Christmas, you will know what one hour a day has done for you and increase or decrease the time according to where you are in relation to what remains of your goals.

I doubt that you like to feel stressed, or like the person you become when you are stressed. This Christmas season will you choose to give your family the gift of a stress-free mama?

Posted in: Mom's Corner

Almost as Good as Sugar

This summer, before her wedding, Sarah went to a local florist to order her flowers. After working through it all and a nice visit with the florist, Sarah thanked her for all her help, great prices, and wanting things to be the way Sarah desired them. Then the florist had a very surprising and sad response. She said, “You know, Honey. I work hard to make the flowers exactly the way the bride wants them for her special day. Sometimes it takes a toll on me. But the only ones I ever hear from after the wedding are the ones who are unhappy about something.” That statement grabbed both Sarah and my hearts. Obviously even though she was being paid for her work, she was putting more into it than it simply fulfilling a job and her heart yearned for some recognition of that.

With our U. S. Thanksgiving holiday coming up soon, I wanted to focus on expressing gratitude to others for ways they bless us, like the florist who goes beyond her duty to make a wedding beautiful. As I went for verses that endorse this thought, I came up dry. The closest verses I found were general suggestions that thankfulness to someone might fall into like:

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).

“And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Luke 6:31).

From these verses, we would probably agree that being grateful to someone for something they have done is a way of being kind to them. It is also how we want to be treated so Luke 6:31 encourages us that is what we would do to another. We like to be thanked when we have done something for another and can feel taken for granted if our kindness isn’t acknowledged. 

The multitude of verses in Scripture that have to do with thanksgiving, though, tell us to be thankful to God. “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). And, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20). 

In the end, when we are blessed by another person, God is the reason. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17).

This brings us to consider if perhaps we become so involved in thanking others when they bless us – which we should do – that we neglect to thank the One Who allowed the blessing to come to us. Could it be that we thank the Lord for what He does that another human being couldn’t do such as providing rain when it has been very dry or healing a sickness or injury, but  we aren’t as often thankful to Him for His blessings through other people?

I want to thank those who bless me like the florist and let them know my genuine appreciation for how they have served me. I also desire, though, to thank my God, from Whom comes every good and perfect gift. The more my thoughts and words are involved in gratitude and expressing them, the less I focus on myself and the less my words descend into complaining. “Do all things without murmurings and disputings” (Philippians 2:14). May we be women of thanksgiving, first to God and then to others.

Posted in: Mom's Corner

Halloween

As this time of year rolls around and evil is exalted in every neighborhood, it brings back memories of the journey the Lord has led Steve and I on concerning Halloween. I thought it might be appropriate to tell you this story. Hopefully, it will encourage those of you facing decisions in this area, and bless those who have already made them.

As young parents, we wanted our children to enjoy the same positive Halloween experiences and memories that we treasured from my past. However, since accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior toward the end of our college days, some doubts crept into our minds as we viewed Halloween decorations with a new perspective. We discounted those doubts, though, being sure we could keep our children dressed appropriately and apply our own values to this particular night.

The first Halloween our little ones were of an age to trick-or-treat (back in the early 1980s) I had made them very cute costumes. Out we trooped on Halloween night to the “safe” close neighbors, determined to make memories as we went. It wasn’t long until I had one child in my arms and two more clinging to my leg begging to return home. The lure of free candy did not overpower the fear in their hearts as they looked at the other trick-or-treaters.

Steve and I began to wonder if childhood Halloween memories were worth what was beginning, in our hearts, to feel like compromise. What kind of memories were we building anyway? The Lord used the children’s fears, as well as much discussion and prayer between Steve and me, to convict us. We decided that it wasn’t right for our children to be out trick-or-treating–participating in a “holiday” that focuses on evil. Verses such as the following would stand out to us as we were praying about this decision. Romans 12:9, “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” Romans 16:19, “For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5:22, “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

Once we made the “no trick-or-treating” decision, we still had to deal with children who would come to the door on Halloween. Surely, this would be an opportunity to witness to them by handing out tracts along with the candy. We could involve our children in choosing tracts. Plus, we would still be building warm, childhood memories by letting them hand out the goodies and tracts.

Halloween once again rolled around. The doorbell rang. Excitedly, I asked our oldest son (who was six years old at the time) if he would like to open the door and give the children outside each a piece of candy and a tract. After opening the door, he quickly handed the container back to me and ran to his Daddy. It didn’t take long to figure out why. The “characters” facing me were frightful looking at best.

Perhaps the Lord is taking you along a similar path concerning Halloween as He has our family. I want to encourage you not to feel strange or alone if you decide to spend that night in your house making it look from the outside like no one is at home. Stand firm on being separate from the world’s pursuit of glorifying wickedness and don’t bow down to the evil of Halloween. Take that time to spend together as a family, praising and worshipping your holy, righteous, almighty God.

Waiting

I imagine each of you has been in a season of waiting at some point in your life. Have you learned and grown through that season, or have you become disillusioned and maybe even bitter? 

Our daughter, Sarah, who is 40 years old just finished a long season of waiting—22 years to be exact. Sarah wanted to get married and have children as soon as she finished high school. Through the years, there were young men who came who were interested in Sarah. But with each one, time proved they weren’t right. 

Then, Kory came along, and Sarah knew quickly that this was the man God had for her. She got married last month to this godly, biblically grounded man who loves the Lord Jesus with all his heart and is more than Sarah dreamed she would have in a husband. Neither of them have been married, and each feels they were waiting all this time for the other. The wait was long for Sarah (and Kory). Many times it was discouraging when a hoped-for relationship didn’t work out.

In Sarah’s season of waiting, it was hard for Steve and me too. We knew how she longed for marriage. She had a happy, busy life filled with opportunities to serve the Lord, but always there was that desire for marriage. We wanted it for her as well, and we continually prayed alongside her for a godly husband.

The waiting may not be for a spouse. It could be for a child, for healing from an illness, for restoration of a relationship, for a particular job, for finances. There are many ways to be in a season of waiting. 

God gives us encouragement and direction concerning waiting in His Word: “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD” (Psalms 27:14). When we wait, we are not to live in fear that what we are waiting for won’t come to pass. We are to keep our focus on trusting the Lord through it.

“Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass” (Psalms 37:7). We are to have a quiet heart in waiting and do it with patience. 

‘My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him” (Psalms 62:5). That word “expectation” actually means “thing that I long for” in the Greek according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. Our hope is to stay steadfast on God through seasons of waiting. He is the One Who will give it, if it is to happen.

When waiting, we pray. 1 Peter 5:7 tells us, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” And my top favorite: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

If as we wait, we focus on ourselves and our lack of the thing we are waiting for, then self pity, frustration, and bitterness will likely be the result. Isn’t it possible God wants to withhold something from us for a season or forever because He has a purpose in that? Hasn’t He promised us: “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)?

Through the years of waiting, each disappointment was an opportunity to go back to the basics of a relationship with Christ. Who is sovereign and in charge? Can I trust Him? Am I walking in faith or in fear? Are my expectations in God or in the thing I desire?

God withheld a husband from Sarah for a long time. Now her wait is over. Many of you have prayed for a husband for Sarah, and you will rejoice with us over God’s goodness to her. We wanted you to know her joy. 

Posted in: Mom's Corner

Start with a Schedule

With the beginning of a new homeschool year almost upon us, I am once again waving my scheduling flag, trying to get your attention. Scheduling was my key to successfully homeschooling for 30 years while keeping up with my other home responsibilities. I would love to see you achieve that same level of success in your homeschool. What I suggest develops a schedule purposefully designed by you for the needs of your family, considering your priorities, and one that is thoroughly prayed through.  “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5). When would we need God’s wisdom more than with how to assign and manage our time?

Through the years as the Lord allowed us to share what He taught us about scheduling, other families discovered its benefits. Here is one of those stories:

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for writing Managers of Their Homes. I can’t remember how God led me to your program, but I can remember what our life was like.

We had a newborn, a critically ill 20-month-old, a kindergartener, and a 2nd grader. We’d been homeschooling for 2 years and had reached bottom. Little school got done, the house was a mess, and I was desperate. I knew I had found a God-blessed product when you directed me to pray about my family’s goals and priorities.

At the end of that academic year, we still had a small baby, a critically ill child, plus two in school. We also had accomplished vastly more at school and in our home. I wasn’t desperate any more. The difference was Managers of Their Homes and my schedule.

Beyond being a better homeschooling mom, we saw many benefits that are less tangible: kids with confidence because they could do helpful chores, kids who (mostly) looked forward to school time, a mother who didn’t yell, and a husband who became a whole-hearted supporter of homeschooling.

By sharing your wisdom through Managers of Their Homes, you taught me so many things I wish I’d known when I became a wife and mother. 

Thanks,

Pam

There is no way to truly determine the value Pam received from her schedule. There were not only immediate benefits for her and her family, but also ones that will be with her children for the rest of their lives – education, a mom with a quiet heart, industrial children, a husband/wife homeschool team, and an efficient family life. I want those for your family!

God gives us a mandate in 1 Timothy 5:14: “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.” When we don’t manage our homes, not only are we discouraged, but we give Satan the opportunity to discredit our Lord and ourselves. As you seek the Lord for the details of a schedule for your family, you are purposeful in your determination to guide your house. 

For those who consistently use a schedule, you know that each year gets easier to put the schedule together. Your experience from the previous years of putting a schedule together and then following it is the reason. Often, you can use the basics from the last schedule such as bedtime, wake up time, chore time, meal time, and school time while only changing up the specifics of school time for the new ages and grades of your children. May I encourage you to get working on this year’s schedule so that you have enough time to fine tune it before it is the first day of school!

If you haven’t tried scheduling for your homeschool days, why not do it now? Perhaps you have used a schedule in the past but for some reason or other let it go. Are you reaping the negative consequences of not being on a schedule? Is this the school year to go back to a schedule? Maybe you simply need to move forward on prepping your schedule for a new school year. 

Managers of Their Homes has helped tens of thousands of moms set up and run a schedule. Perhaps it would do the same for you.

Posted in: Mom's Corner

Homeschool Planning

For homeschooling moms, summer provides an opportunity to reflect back over your past school year and prepare for the upcoming one. New school beginnings hold the excitement, hope, and promise of significant accomplishments for each member of your household. Often, though, this promise will not come to fruition unless specific goals and directions are set for the year.

Planning as a Couple

Planning with my husband, Steve, for the next school year was always a highlight of my summer. The two of us blocked out time together where we set goals and planned the course of our school year. I remember a couple of summers where on a Saturday we went to a conference room at Steve’s work. There was a long table to spread materials and computers on, comfortable chairs, and a big whiteboard. Being away where there were no interruptions had obvious advantages. One year, though, we spent Saturday morning at home working on this with nothing else scheduled “to do” and encouraged the children to play in their rooms or outside as much as possible. After those planning times we had a “date” with dinner out. Several years we were able to get away for a night at a bed and breakfast for our school planning time.

Background Information

To prepare for our time, I put together some background information for Steve to review before we met. He took what I gave him, read and reviewed it, and prayed about it before we had our meeting. 

I gave him our plan and goals from the previous summer and a schedule of what we actually did during the school year. I also wrote out areas in which I felt we did not do what we wanted, including difficulties with attitudes, schedules, specific schoolwork, not keeping the children accountable, or them not achieving a goal. I gave him a list of subjects I thought we might want each child to study or work on and the number of hours we do school each day. I wrote out some character concerns that specifically affected schoolwork.

What To Do

When we had our planning sessions, we started with prayer, since Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” First, we went over the previous school year’s plan to see what we achieved, what we deleted, and what did not work. Next, if we written out goals for the past year, we reviewed and evaluated whether we had accomplished them. 

Then we looked at our list of what each child could spend his school time on for the coming year and prioritized it. The big white board in the conference room was great for this. We listed each child’s name on the board and then underneath placed the school subjects for him to pursue with a number beside it for its priority. From there, we worked with the specific amount of time to spend per day or week on a particular subject. We also wrote down ideas on how to make sure the character deficiencies were addressed and followed up on.

Make It Happen

I am grateful that Steve was willing to sit down with me and make important decisions regarding our school direction. Although I usually put together the specifics after this major meeting, I knew where we, as a team, were headed. If I ran into further snags, Steve and I set aside more time to address the new items that come up.

I hope it is possible for each of you who are homeschooling couples to make time to be together and focus on your school planning for the next year during these summer months. Perhaps it will be something you look forward to as I did my planning times with my husband.

The Wake-Up Call

Recently I had a health wake up call – blood glucose numbers approaching pre-diabetic levels. The Lord had been putting concern on my heart about my food choices, but I didn’t want to listen. Instead, I justified what I was doing with thoughts like these: 
I enjoy my treats. 
I deserve a treat. 
They aren’t so bad. 
I eat plenty of healthy food. 
My family loves me with treats and brings them to me. What can I do but eat what they give me?
My weight is okay. I can manage it all well enough.

What Is My God?

In the midst of those excuses was a nagging sense of guilt about the opposite of those excuses – the fact that they weren’t healthy, that I could make better choices if I needed a snack, and that my weight was going up. Along with the guilt were some verses that seemed to always stand out to me as I read Scripture with this one being the top, which talks about the enemies of the cross of Christ: “Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things” (Philippians 3:19).

I would wonder if my belly was my god because of how much I loved my treats, but again I could quickly send it away. No, I thought, Christ is my first love, not food. I reminded myself that everyone enjoys treats. That doesn’t make their belly their god. Then I would decide I should prove that by setting the treats aside for a time. Despite my best resolves and asking God to help me let go of the sweets, I was back at it fairly quickly, along with all the excuses.

God’s Chastening?

God answered my prayer, and He did it with chastening. “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth” (Hebrews 12:5 – 6). I received those glucose readings as chastening from the Lord – a gentle chastening from my loving, heavenly Father while I could still do something about it – a nudge to move me to what I wasn’t choosing before.

Now I have been three weeks without sweets and other carbs in order to bring those glucose numbers down. At first, it was hard, very hard. I didn’t have any energy. I thought about the Mother’s Day treats I had been gifted with but hadn’t yet eaten since I askedSteve to put them somewhere I didn’t know. I planned when I would bring them back into my diet and how I would be much more careful eating them. I decided I could not continue eating this way because I felt so badly.  

I am past that, now, however, and I feel much better. Those thoughts about the goodies I am not eating aren’t filling my mind, and I am happy to be where I am.

What’s Being Excused?

I share my story because I wonder what there might be in your life that you excuse before the Lord but know in your heart isn’t pleasing to Him. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Maybe for you, it is food like me. It could be not exercising, wasting time on social media, not going to bed at night to get the sleep you need, or not spending time in the Word. There are unending possibilities. May I encourage you to surrender before the Lord brings chastening to your life? Even though I miss my treats, my heart is happier this way, feeling that sense of joy that comes from obedience. And by the way, my glucose numbers are down where they need to be! I’m committed to keeping them there. 

Expedient and Edifying

A common problem for Christian women is feeling too busy. We express concerns about being pushed, stressed, anxious, and worn out because of all we do. Is it possible we bring some of that on ourselves through the choices we make concerning our time usage? 

Scripture gives us practical guidelines to help us. “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not” (1 Corinthians 10:23). Might we evaluate our time usage by seeing whether what we are doing is expedient or edifying? The word “expedient” in the Greek means “be better for, good, profitable” and “edify” means “to build up” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance).

Computers/Media

Let’s start by looking at an area that is part of our 21st century lives – computers and media. Our mothers might have struggled with spending too much time on the phone, but with media, we moved into a realm where the other person doesn’t even have to be available for us to engage. 

How many hours a day are you giving of your life to your computer or your phone? Have these actually become addictions for you? From Facebook to shopping to YouTube videos, many spend hours on their computers. These are often the same moms who are stressed by how busy they are. Are they wasting time on the computer while ignoring what is truly important in their lives? What about you? What would happen if you were to stay off your computer, phone, and iPad except for necessities? Would your time pressure ease? You might find out if you are actually addicted by trying not to be on your computer or other devices. 

Another gauge might be to compare how much time you spend with the Lord each day in your Bible reading and prayer – there’s no doubt that’s edifying! – versus how much time you spend with media. Ladies with time pressure might spend hours a day on their computers and phones while being unwilling and unable to get out of bed in the morning to meet with their Lord in His Word because they are so tired. 

Beyond time usage, what kind of example do you give to your children when you are on your computer or looking at your phone so much? Is it an edifying or expedient example. Is this media time edifying for you or for your child?

Is your computer/media time good and profitable? Does it build up?

Schedules

Could your time pressure be because you aren’t using the time you have available efficiently? Putting together a schedule and using it is a simple solution to that problem. It really isn’t that hard, and it is amazing how much more you will accomplish when you are on a schedule. 

Making a schedule helps you weed out activities that are not expedient or edifying. Seeing your activities, with their time usage, written down will help you prioritize what you do, while eliminating what isn’t expedient or edifying. What you do has to fit into a 24 hour day.

Here’s what Proverbs tells us: “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise” (Proverbs 6:60). We observe that ants are busy, working, always doing. Is it possible that we have come to believe that we need “down” time, and we justify watching a movie or TV or getting on our computer as that? Could it be that the quiet, down time the Lord wants us to have is with Him, in His Word? “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalms 46:10).

A Lens of Expedient and Edifying

If you feel too busy and stressed, could I encourage you to evaluate what you are doing through the lens of being expedient and edifying? Then would you drop those activities that don’t fit? 

If you need help with a schedule, I recommend our classic scheduling book that has helped thousands of moms manage their time well (https://titus2.com/products/managers-of-their-homes/).

Posted in: Mom's Corner

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.