May 4, 2018
“Have You Set Your Rainbow in the Clouds?”
In Genesis 7, God instructed Noah to build an ark that would house his family and a certain number of other living creatures on the earth at that time. For forty long days and forty long nights, it rained. The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days. Every living creature that was not on the ark, was wiped away. God spoke to Noah when it was time to come out of the ark. He told him to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 8:17). Noah built an altar to the Lord and it was pleasing to God. God declared that never again would He destroy all living creatures as He had done with the flood. He established a covenant between Him and the earth that would be for all time. The sign was a rainbow. “I have set My rainbow in the clouds and it will be the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember the covenant and never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.” (Genesis 9:12-17)
The sign of the rainbow is certainly a sign to be remembered as far as waters and floods. However, I believe it is much more. I believe it is a sign of God’s highest standards for His children. As He instructs us to look up, I believe He is asking us to trust Him and look above the things of this world…to look at eternity! When I see a rainbow, it encourages me. It lifts me up and reminds me of God’s immense love and care for His children. It reminds me to set my sights above…keep the focus on the Lord!
For the past several weeks, I have made it a goal to “look up” daily…to look above the clouds, to look above the sun…to think of that higher dwelling place. As I trusted God to help me and guide me in raising my three children, I wanted high standards for them. I wanted them to seek after the best…to not settle for less than the best…to walk in a right relationship with God, and not walk with the world.
Today, I would like to share a few pointers for you, as parents.
1) Expect the best of your children. That does not mean perfection, but it does mean to help them to have high standards. When we set high standards for our children, we can equip them to successfully accomplish them. Talk about their standards for good citizenship, good grades, respect for others, cleanliness, habits, health and high standards in the friends they choose.
2) Help your child keep an open mind when they think they have failed or not accomplished what they set out to do. Talking about successes and failures in your own life will open the door for them to feel free to talk about their own.
3) Talk about making good choices and having wisdom in decision making. Help your child weigh his/her options. As your child gets older, he/she will be on his/her own to make those decisions that can and will affect their future.
4) Help your child set goals at least twice a year…goals for school, goals for friends, goals for health. Also, help them, most of all, to have a spiritual goal…one that will help keep them on track with the Lord…prayer and Bible study. Help your child attain those goals by positive reinforcement and sensible rewards.
A little girl was walking down the sidewalk, and her mom noticed that she was looking up and smiling. She asked her daughter, “Why are you looking up and smiling?” She replied, “God is taking my picture”!
As we all set our sights above, and see the rainbow instead of the mud, we will live lives that are pleasing and acceptable to the Lord! Keep your eyes on that rainbow. His promises are true!
Here’s to the journey…look above, and know the Lord is with you!
April 20, 2018
What kind of atmosphere or environment is displayed in your home? How do your children see you, as a parent? Do you have a "yes" home or a "no" home? Have you ever been around another mom or dad who constantly says "no" to their child? Is creativity present in your home?
I have always been perplexed when I see parents who can never say "yes" to their child. No matter what the child wants to do, there is always a "no" answer. As a mother of three children, I learned a lot about being a mom from my own mother. She was always creative in raising me and my two sisters. She was also very creative as a grandmother. I remember one day when my boys were 6 and 7 years old. They begged her to get a swimming pool for them to swim in her backyard. Instead, she dug a hole in the ground, at least 4 feet deep. She lined it with plastic and filled it with water. "There", she said, "there you go!" They played in that hole in the ground until the plastic tore and the mud came through. She had a mind for saying "yes", even if it caused her to have to do more work.
I quickly learned, with my own children, that their most fun times happened when we did something that usually did not cost much, like camping out, or had a creative element to it...times when they could just be "children"...times when they could use their imagination...times when they could actually help with "adult" kind of chores. When you think about it, all of God's promises say "yes" to His children. 2 Corinthians 1:20 states, "Every one of God's promises is 'YES' in Him!"
The Lord says...
"Yes", you can ask Me for wisdom. (James 1:5)
"Yes", I will never stop loving you. (Romans 8:37-38)
"Yes", you can do all things through Me. (Philippians 4:13)
"Yes", I will forgive you. (Ephesians 1:7)
"Yes", you will spend eternity in heaven with Me. (John 14:1-4)
The list goes on and on. When you parent with a "yes" attitude, it helps your child have a more positive attitude and it also helps build confidence in them. God has given beautiful gifts to all of our children. We should be careful that we do not "squish" them by saying "no" all the time.
There are many blessings found in developing a "yes" home for your family.
A "yes" helps everyone feel involved.
A "yes" empowers a child to use his/her gifts.
A "yes" builds confidence and self-esteem.
A "yes" helps children feel valuable and important.
How can we, as parents, develop this attitude in our homes? We must first determine in our hearts that we will let our child have a part. We must at least consider our children's ideas and not immediately turn them off with an instant "no". We must be consistent with our thought process, also. Then, in those times when "no" has to be the answer, our children will feel valued that you did at least consider their idea. No matter what, always be respectful toward your child, even when you have to be firm.
Our "yes" answers should always be filtered through God's Word. In doing so, we can teach our children about God's principles and His discipline. As we consider the Word of the Lord, we can spiritually impact our family for eternity.
Educator Shinichi Suzuki once said, "Children learn to smile from their parents." When children only hear "no" all the time, they develop a negativity in their hearts that is hard to turn around. Appropriately saying "yes" to your child will one day help him/her say "yes" to Jesus!
Here's to the journey...make your home a "yes" home!
"The Easter Bunny Or Not?"
March 22, 2018
We had so much fun, today, with the preschoolers! They were so excited as they brought their Easter baskets in for the Easter Egg Hunt! You could see the excitement in their eyes. Over and over, I heard them exclaiming, "We are going to hunt for Easter eggs!" Fortunately, the weather got warmer and the sun shone so bright and beautiful! It was such a fun morning!
I have heard many parents say that they just really are not sure if their children should believe in the Easter Bunny or not. The same goes for Santa Claus at Christmas. I have even talked with some of you about this very subject. It really boils down to the fact that every parent has to raise their children according to their own convictions. I feel that in a healthy, home atmosphere where parents believe in the Lord and raise their children to believe in the Lord, both the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus can have a part! To me, these characters are just a part of childhood. I believe that if you try to keep these characters from your child, you can almost do more harm than good! You have to keep that healthy perspective and keep your priorities in place...first things first and that priority should be the spiritual, eternal view!
I did some research and was very intrigued when I read about the origin of the Easter Bunny. The Easter Bunny is to Easter what Santa Claus is to Christmas...both bringing goodies and treats to the homes of children. The Easter Bunny has roots that go back to pre-Christian, Anglo-Saxon history. The holiday was originally a pagan celebration that worshiped the goddess, Eastre. She was the goddess of fertility and springtime. Her earthly symbol was the rabbit. Then, years later, when the Anglo-Saxons converted to Christianity, this pagan holiday, which occurred around the same time as Jesus' Resurrection, was combined with the Christian celebration and given the name "Easter". Because Easter is celebrated in the springtime of the year, we are drawn to think of the new birth of creatures and the beauty of creation!
Many times today, we get lost in the commercialization of this sacred and holy holiday. We must keep the truth and sacrifice of our Lord in the forefront of our minds and in our celebrations. We must teach the truth to our children...by the Living Word of God! Whether your children believe in Santa Claus or believe in the Easter Bunny is really not the point. The focus in all of our homes must always be the Truth of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of our Lord and Savior!
Jesus said, "I am the Resurrection and the Life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25-26, NAS)
Here's to the journey...teach the Truth of God's Word all the way!
"Give A Lesson On Planting And Watering"
March 16, 2018
Children love to plant, water and watch seeds grow. I know our preschoolers do! Have you ever experienced that? Now that it is springtime, it is such a great time to teach the valuable lesson of how God's Word planted in the hearts of men, then, watered through prayer, reading His Word, sharing and love from other believers blooms into a new life committed to the Lord! Take time this season to teach this valuable lesson...not only about God's creation of growing and harvesting, but that lesson of His provision for His children to come to know Him!
I remember watching several of our four-year-olds as they planted grass seeds in their little cups. They covered the seeds with dirt, then watered them and placed them in the window sill so they could receive sun to grow. Every day, they watered their seeds and looked anxiously for the first sign of growth! One day, it happened...the dirt broke and the grass began to show itself! Little by little each day, the grass grew taller and stronger and finally, one day, it was at least six inches tall and the children took their cups home.
I can not miss this opportunity to share just how you, as parents, can use this little example to teach a huge spiritual lesson to your children. First, you must help them understand that only God can cause that growth...He is the Creator! Second, help them to know that God is the one who plants the seed in the hearts of His children. Those seeds are planted from His Word, from the sharing of others who know Him, and through various avenues of life that God will use. Third, the growth in the life of an individual, can not happen without water...and, what is that water? That water is Jesus...He is the Living Water...through Him a life can be added to that great Garden of Salvation where one by one, God's family grows. Fourth, the growth must also have The Son to grow...a relationship with Jesus, God's Son, day after day maturing and growing in faith!
As parents, we are held responsible for sharing Jesus with our children. Make a new commitment in your home to share that new life...and do so, with the help of the Head Gardener...Jesus, Himself! In the beauty of this season, you will have numerous occasions to share this lesson! The ground will always be barren without the seed and a garden without water and sun will not grow!
Here's to the journey...plant seeds and watch them grow!
“Sticks and Stones”
March 2, 2018
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. How many of you remember that saying from long ago? It’s an old saying, but I can still hear it ringing from children on the playground, when I was in elementary school. Their attitudes were kinda like “Neh, neh, neh, neh, neh”, and filled with “I dare you” and lots of pride and sarcasm. I remember thinking to myself…”well, words do hurt! They hurt a lot.”
It is very important to remember that children are never too young to understand what you are saying to them…it may be the tone of your voice, your facial expression, your body language…the whole picture can send that negative message. As parents, we need to understand that our words have power. We must choose our words carefully and in so doing, we will continually gain respect from our children. In remembering that we are our children’s first examples and first models for life, they will mimic what they hear from their parents.
Several points to think about…
1) Our words need to be strength-based and come from a good standpoint. Even in questioning about something you are not sure about, that person will feel that you really care and respect them.
2) Be careful that your words don’t “label” your children. Comments like “He’s the smart one!” or “She is so loving!” can put so much pressure on a child, that it can have an adverse effect on them. It is a natural instinct for all children to want to please their parents and make them happy. Sometimes, commenting on one attribute of your child, can actually derail them from thinking of other possibilities in their lives.
3) Positive reinforcement is very important as you go through a day with your child. Constantly build respect and self-esteem in your child.
4) Your children may take on different behaviors if you are consistently saying things like, “You are acting like a baby!”, “Stop doing that!”, “You are so spoiled!”, “Why are you so slow?”, “What makes you so clumsy?”. Instead, take time to ask them what’s going on.
“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” (Proverbs 16:24)
“He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.” (Proverbs 13:3)
"But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.” (Matthew 15:18)
Remember that, any given day, your child might have had a “rough” day, too. Take a deep breath and let them know you have time to talk. Help them to know you want to connect with them and understand them. Help them to know that you really care about “who” they are, as an individual. Also, remind them every day of how much God loves them!
As my children entered the preteen and teenage years, I constantly told them: “Just remember I am here for you, no matter what you need to tell me, I am ready to listen and we will figure it out!” My husband and I always felt that if we could just keep them talking to us, we would have half the battle won!
Psalm 19:14 is a wonderful daily prayer: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
Here’s to the journey…make your words count!
February 9, 2018
“Guiding and Listening”
My sister recently found a piece of an old newspaper in some of my mother’s “stuff”. We are still looking at pictures, notes, cards and mementos from Mother’s life. This one really stood out to me, as I am always wanting to help parents with their relationships with their children. You see, I believe that you, as a parent, should be the first and foremost person your child can trust, confide in and share their lives with…that is until they find that perfect mate one day.
In 1971, David Wilkerson wrote a book titled, “Parents on Trial”. In this book he confronted issues of the parent/child relationship. He actually had a group of young people comment on what they “thought” they needed from their parents. Here they are speaking as if to their parents. Take a look…
1) KEEP YOUR COOL. Kids need the confidence that only a steady hand and a settled soul can offer.
2) DON’T GET HUNG UP on activities that keep you too busy to establish good communications with your children. A father should set aside time for family life. A mother should be at home to supervise her children.
3) DON’T GET STRUNG OUT. Stay away from liquor and pills. Try not to overburden yourself with other activities that really don’t matter.
4) BUG US A LITTLE. Use strict, but loving discipline. Show us you are wise and strong enough to be boss.
5) DON’T BLOW YOUR CLASS. Keep the dignity of parenthood. Don’t try to dress and act like teenagers. Kids need to know their parents are adults.
6) LIGHT US A CANDLE. Show us the way to faith. Be an example of faith at work.
7) TAKE THE WORLD OFF OUR SHOULDERS. Talk to us about morals, love, life, eternity, peace of mind and values. Let us know we can count on you when things get up tight.
8) SCARE US. When you catch a child in his/her first encounter with wrong, punish him. Be sure he understands what he has done wrong and why it is wrong. Let him/her know you are punishing him because you love him and are concerned about him…not because you want to get even.
9) CALL OUR BLUFF. Stand firm and don’t let us con you. Guide and direct us.
10) ALWAYS BE HONEST WITH US. Tell your children the truth. Be generous in praise. When it comes time to criticize your child, he will then believe you and trust your judgment.
Those points sound very wise to me. In this world that is such a “me” society, let’s concentrate on priorities and put first things first.
My children are young adults now (31, 30 and 28 years old), and I am still working on keeping a strong relationship with them. It really matters how the generations grow with one another…and that’s just it…we need to grow “with” one another, not “away from” one another. One day, I will have grandchildren and will certainly want to have a strong, respected legacy to leave with them. Tomorrow would have been Mother’s 87th birthday. I am thankful that she left a strong legacy…one in which I can live, trust and follow.
"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
Here’s to the journey…it may seem long, but trust God to complete what He has started.
December 15, 2017
Have you ever pondered the “no room” situation that occurred on the night Jesus, the Messiah, was born? Have you ever wondered…was that really true? “No room” in the inn for Jesus? You might think that surely the innkeeper could have seen that Mary needed a place to lay her head…after all she was “great with child”!
How many times have you experienced a “no room” situation or attitude in just day-to-day living? “There’s no room for even one more piece of furniture in that room!” “There’s no room for even one more traveler in the car!” “There’s no room for one more book on that bookshelf!” “There’s no room for one more guest at the party…the guest list is closed!” “There’s no room on my schedule for one more activity!” Tending to details such as these, can be exhausting! Before you know it, you are saying “no room” or just plain “NO” to so many things in life.
How can we change our outlook and say “yes” more than “no”? How can we actually “make room” for the positives and look beyond the negative?
Clearly, it was the will of God for Jesus to be born in that lowly stable and be laid in a manger. It’s hard to imagine the Christmas story any other way but that. However, when you think about the fact that He was the Savior of the world and that He was the King and Messiah who had been promised for so many years…how could HE ever be refused? The Promise was being fulfilled in Jesus!
So, parents, this brings me to the point of this entire blog today. Will you make room for the most important things in your child’s life, and will you be a “yes” parent? Saying “yes” to your child doesn’t mean you give in or you let him/her do “whatever” they wish, “whenever” they wish. It simply means that you are willing to listen and try to understand their little hearts and minds. It means that as they grow older and mature, you are willing to let them try some of the things they really feel led to do or act upon. It means that you are willing to trust your child and “let go” just a little at a time. It means, too, that you know your child is just a gift, on loan, from the Lord. He has a special plan for your child’s life.
Just a few tips…
· Always have an open heart, an open mind and an open ear to your child. Let him/her express themselves.
· Be willing to try “new and exciting” things.
· Be willing to let your child share responsibilities at home.
· Allow your child to feel important in helping make some decisions in the home. Recognize his/her opinion as one that counts.
· Making room for your child’s opinion empowers him/her to use their gifts in unique ways.
· A "yes" builds confidence and self-esteem.
As we consider our child’s gifts and thoughts, we must be consistent with our thought process and also demand respect from that child. In so doing, be sure you show respect, as well.
Educator Shinichi Suzuki once said, "Children learn to smile from their parents." When children only hear "no" all the time, they develop a negativity in their hearts that is hard to turn around. Appropriately saying "yes" to your child will one day help him/her say "yes" to Jesus!
Is there room in your home for “yes”? Is there room in your heart for Him? Will you lead your child into a life of positive thinking and “room” for what the Lord has in store for him/her?
Here’s to the journey…make room!
'"Just A Little Bit"!
December 7, 2017
Fifty years ago, in 1967, singer Aretha Franklin, made it big with her hit, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T”. It was a quick hit and very popular! In later years, as a teen, I remember hearing that song and liking the beat and the tune. However, as a teenager, I had no idea what she was singing about. The title of the song was a word I had heard my mother “preach and teach” about, but the message here was really just one of wanting “respect” from a man. You may remember…”just a little bit, just a little bit”. As I am contemplating our world today and seeing relationships tremble and decay, I wish we could have just a little bit of it, too.
I am imagining, today, a world full of love and respect…one where we love and care for one another, as we do ourselves…one where we look up to authority…one where our children listen and obey, because they have respect for their parents. You see, “respect” has to be taught and modeled. “Respect” has to be talked about. “Respect” has to be shared and given “importance”.
How can you teach respect for authority and how can your child benefit from being a respectful human being?
1) It must begin in the home. You are your child’s first authority figures. From day one, your demeanor, your tone of voice, your actions…will touch your child one way or another. Even a baby, who wants to kick and scream, can learn respect for his/her loving parents.
2) The teaching and modeling of respect must be consistent. Teaching manners like saying, “please” and “thank you” should be for everything and everyone involved...teaching your sons how to be a gentleman and your daughters how to be a lady. You and your spouse must be consistent in your respect for one another, also. Children should not see you showing disrespect or disregard for one another. It greatly affects their behavior.
3) Stay on top of these teaching experiences. Take time to talk to your child when you see disrespectful behavior and follow through with the consequences. Reward respectful behavior…not monetarily, but in “words of praise and encouragement”.
4) Be attentive to your child. Always guiding him/her along in this journey of life.
5) Be sure you have set rules and guidelines for your child to follow.
Do not allow “talking back” from your child when you ask him/her to do something. You should not have to tell your child over and over to obey. Expect obedience.
Be sure that your children all respect one another. Do not allow sibling rivalry that gets out of hand. It carries over into other relationships.
Teach your child to speak when spoken to and also to acknowledge others.
In public, let your child see you being kind to strangers and showing an “others first” attitude.
Be sure your child respects his teacher, and that your child knows you support that teacher.
6) First and foremost, be sure that your child sees your love and respect for God Almighty. He is the ultimate authority! You can be sure that if your child learns respect for you, as parents, he/she will ultimately have high regard and respect for God, who wants all mankind to love Him and to love one another.
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10
It would be an amazing sight if all mankind chose to respect others and hold others up in high esteem…in the home, in our schools, in your community, in the church, in the marketplace, in the world. Let’s work on it…”R-E-S-P-E-C-T…just a little bit”! Or maybe a lot!
Here’s to the journey…”respect goes a long way”…even “just a little bit”!
November 3, 2017
How many times have you looked into the eyes of your child and wondered just what he/she would be when he/she “grows up”? It’s almost like looking at that beautifully wrapped gift and wondering what’s inside. How often do you wonder what gifts and talents the Lord may have given your child? Do you see certain traits or characteristics in your child that you want to develop as he/she gets older? Now is the time, parents, to begin to take note of those little gifts that will blossom into larger gifts and talents as the years roll along.
It is such a sweet memory to me, personally, as I remember how my mom told of hearing me playing “Jesus Loves Me” when I was three years old. She had noticed that I seemed to love music, but one day, she found me at the piano picking out the tune to “Jesus Loves Me”. It was that day that she said to herself, “As soon as I can, I must find someone to teach her!” So, when I turned five years old, Miss Everett began teaching me and so began the journey of becoming an accomplished musician, as a pianist. To this day, I recognize that my mom saw in me, a gift and talent from the Lord.
How do you go about recognizing these gifts and talents so freely given by the Lord?
· Watch, observe and listen to your child’s daily activities.
· Be open-minded. No two children are alike, each one has his/her own uniqueness.
· Ask questions. Help your child discover these special “qualities of giftedness”.
· Show patience and understanding when your child takes interest in something new or wants to try something “far-fetched”.
· Provide background enrichment when the time comes.
· Nurture identified talents.
· Provide opportunities for those talents to emerge and blossom.
· Learn to recognize your child’s feelings about certain activities and avenues of education. Know his/her feelings of “joy” versus those feelings of “negativity” toward activities or even play time.
· Be an encourager to your child. Let him/her know you stand with them as life moves along.
I always wanted to know what was wrapped under the Christmas tree, and I always wanted to find Mother and Daddy’s surprises…those unwrapped gifts always got my attention…still do. However, it’s so exciting to watch the “unwrapping” of gifts in lives, today…and especially to see that in the lives of children. It is such a joy to also know, that the Lord has such a plan for their lives.
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10
Here’s to the journey…”unwrap it…one gift at a time”!
October 20, 2017
“He Knows Your Name”
Today, my heart is burdened for all the mommies who strive so hard to be “everything” this world expects them to be. Really, your relationship with the Lord and your responsibilities as a wife and mother should be your first priority. Dads, there are challenges for you, as well. However, today, I want to encourage all the women who have the wonderful and blessed opportunity of being called “Mommy”.
I was teaching the younger threes their music class this past Monday morning and one of the little boys asked, “What’s your name?” I replied, “Oh, you know my name. My name is Mrs. Burke.” To which he replied, quite insistently “No, your name?” I said, “Oh, my name is Cynthia! Just like your mommy’s name is ______ (and I gave her first name).” He became even more insistent, as he replied, “No, her name is Mommy!” I said, “Well, yes, you are right!” Her name is Mommy!” It was such a sweet encounter and it caused me to ponder that name, “Mommy”.
First of all, moms, you can not be and do everything your family or the world expects you to. You must focus on three areas daily in order to fulfill the role to which you have been called.
1) Spiritually, you must stay “tuned in” to the Lord. For, you have been called, by God, for a specific purpose. Your walk with the Lord must take precedence in your daily life, so that, you might know Him who knows you. Almighty God, your Creator, knows you, by name. Isaiah 43:1 says, “But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!”
2) Put your husband first, before the children. Did I really say that? Yes, I know it is hard. I know your children have needs that have to be met. Remember though, you and he will be alone again one day as “empty nesters”. You certainly want your relationship to be strong, alive, and fun then, too. Let him know his opinion counts when disciplining the children. Be sure you involve him in the activities with the children, and then, when it’s bedtime, try to have a few minutes to just “unwind” together. Make it a point to have a “date” night at least once a month. Spend time together with your focus only on one another. Allow your husband to lead your home. His authority should be respected and a concerted effort of both of you will do wonders for your children.
3) Be sure that your character is respectful and a good role model for your children. You are your child’s first model. You are your child’s first accountability partner. Be sure he/she has a good role model to follow. When you discipline your children, be sure that you have set the best example possible, and expect obedience. “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” Proverbs 31:28
There are many other thoughts I could share today, but I will save those for another day. I just want to remind you that you are created by God as a unique, special creation. Take heart and joy in knowing, He knows your name…He knows your purpose. On those days, when you think you just can’t get it all done or you can’t make everyone happy, remember to take note of your priorities and go from there. Many people will come and go, activities will occur and then be gone, but the stake you put in your family and home will be one that lasts…it will affect eternity.
Here’s to the journey…make it a positive, lasting one!
October 6, 2017
“Savor the Sweetness”
The journey of parenting can be overwhelming and frightening at times. There are so many outer influences that can invade your home and keep it from being a peaceful retreat…that place of rest and privacy which is so needed by all who abide. I see children facing challenges and obstacles today that a child should not have to face. There are negative influences that invade their lives even at the preschool age. So, what are we to do? What are you going to do to help your child remain sweet, innocent and truly have “a childhood experience”?
Today, I would like to suggest to you several areas of daily life to think about…
1) Help your child understand that it is ok to “love” others, to share and to be sensitive to the needs of others. This will begin in your home. As parents, let your child see you love and care for one another. Be cautious about allowing your children to fuss and fight. Help them work out their differences and teach them to pray for one another.
2) Teach your children about the blessings of the Lord. Help them understand how God blesses each of us. When they begin to have covetous feelings toward another child/friend, help them understand how to be happy for that friend. Discourage jealousy.
3) Stay calm with your child and help your child learn how to handle difficulty without pitching fits.
4) Be very careful about what you allow your children to watch on TV. Have limits, have only those certain programs they can watch…those you know will give a positive outlook to your child.
5) As parents, be careful not to argue in front of your children. Many times, children become fearful and nervous when this type of behavior goes on in front of them. Their little hearts and minds find it hard to handle.
6) Talk to your child and allow him/her to have conversations with you, where they know that you are truly listening. You will begin to know your child’s heart through this process, and in so doing, you will know how to lead your child. Be cautious about just “cutting your child off” when he/she needs to tell you something.
7) Pray and read the Bible daily with your child. Those moments provide times when you will teach your child many things that he/she will treasure.
“By wisdom a house (home) is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.” Proverbs 24:3-4
There will be plenty of time for your child to grow up and experience the world. For now, keep your hand on him/her, cherish this time of sweetness and innocence. It’s a precious time and the journey will move quickly…before you know it, he/she will be driving and making many decisions on their own.
Here’s to the journey…trust God and do not fear…and savor the sweetness!
MAY 9, 2016
"GIVE A SHOUT OUT"
You know, this day and time, we seem to give a "shout-out" for just about anything...sports events, politics, favoritism among people, favorite products we use...the list could go on and on. I have been wondering lately if we ever think to give a "shout-out" for family...for our children. It's easy to let such special people in our lives just take a back seat and not recognize the need to celebrate their lives. There are so many ways to celebrate your children and really ask the Lord to bless these precious ones in our lives. How bold are you when it comes to this?
As you talk to your children, help them to realize the importance of recognizing success, especially with one another in the home. Be careful not to ignore the goodness and blessings of the Lord and how He has worked. Help your child, also, learn to celebrate successes with others. It is a wonderful character trait to develop, as well as, teaching the love of the Lord and how to display His goodness.
How can we celebrate life within our homes?
1) Celebrate the small things. As you teach and model good habits in the home, celebrate each accomplishment. No, you don't have to have a party with cake and ice cream, but make it a big deal when your son or daughter finally brushes his/her teeth on their own, makes their bed without you asking them to, helps with the dishes after supper without your prompting...these are things to mention and applaud.
2) Celebrate the special dates...birthdays, graduations, dates that really mean something like "life" events...involving the entire family. Make a special supper, go out to eat together at a favorite restaurant, go on a unique outing...these are times to bind together and celebrate!
3) Celebrate with God. Give a "shout-out" to the Lord for His workings in the life of your family! Pray boldly and audaciously, without doubt. Max Lucado writes that the Lord never tires of hearing a parent plead and pray for the needs of our children. Also, be ready at all times to offer praise for what the Lord has done in the lives of your children and in your family. Consult God in everything and call on Him for great things! Then, when He answers, celebrate and give thanks, with great joy!
"Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know."
Walk with joy and expectancy, for it is a journey!
Here's to that journey..."shout it out"!
MARCH 17, 2016
"IT BEGINS IN THE HOME"
So, what's the condition of your home today? Is it a condition of love, rest and peace? Is it a place of forgiveness? Or, is it full of anger and resentment? Is it a haven where your family can share their feelings and really be "at home"? Is the Lord "welcome" in your home?
Over the past few weeks, as I began thinking about these questions, I realized that there are many homes that only exist to supply food, shelter and a bed to lay one's head. Our world has entered our homes in such a way that either computers or televisions "rule the roost" and communication between human beings has been lost. Time restraints have taken over our lives in such a way that parents and children do not communicate, and husbands and wives do not either.
Our world has become a place that is really just pretty mean and human beings don't mind attacking one another over and over. Our children have learned to bully one another to the point of children and teens committing suicide. Caring for others has become a thing of the past in many situations. We have become insensitive even to the feelings of family members.
God called me to work with children when I was eighteen years old and it has always been serious business to me. Thus, the epidemic of bullying has really gotten my attention...to the point of me asking "why" and "how"? Why would any child bully another one? How did children learn that this is ok? Why would a child even think it's ok to do so? The definition of bullying is "to use superior strength or influence to intimidate someone; typically to force him or her to do what one wants; unwanted, aggressive behavior; an imbalance of power."
For Christian parents, it should be an easy fix or really you should prevent it...because it does "begin in the home". First of all, we must model loving, respectful behavior before our children. If there are arguments between spouses in the home, they should be done in private. When children see their parents attack one another, they quickly learn that it should be ok for them to treat their siblings and peers this way.
We must show our children and the world that we are followers of Christ and model His Word. "Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34)
We must get along with one another. It is alright to have different opinions about topics and views. "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves." (Romans 12:10)
Teach respect in the home...really care about others in the home. Teach and model unselfishness and forgiveness. Share and celebrate with your children.
Love the Lord first and foremost and share that with your children. "Love the Lord, your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And, the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:37-39)
Teach your children to stand up for themselves...respectfully toward others, as God has created him/her with special gifts and abilities...each one has been created specially by God, the Creator.
When I think of a Godly home, these words in Proverbs 24 say it well..."By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures."
Your children and my children will or will not make a difference in this world today...it all begins in the home.
Here's to the journey...let it begin...in your home!
JANUARY 14, 2016
"UNLOCKING THE TREASURE"
Last week, when we went to Chapel, I talked to the children about their gifts and talents, and how special they are to God, their Creator. We talked about how God has a special gift and talent for each of His children and we should thank Him for those gifts. It is in knowing our gifts and talents that we learn to serve the Lord better and with more effectiveness. As parents of young children, you should always be consciously watching your children to see where they are gifted and within what areas of life their gift might lie. Many times, a child's gift will begin to show up at an early age. By the time I was three-years-old, my gift of music had begun to manifest itself in my life. My mother took note and made sure that by the time I was five, I had begun taking private piano lessons. The Lord led her to recognize that gift in my life. These treasures within a child may certainly begin to "unfold" before your eyes if you ask the Lord to show them to you.
When my children were at a young age, I began to pray and ask the Lord to help me "unlock" the treasures in their lives...those treasures that He implanted when He created them. Really, parents, it is our responsibility to take note of the characteristics in our children that lead them to do certain things...those traits that will lead them to find where they are gifted. As you "unlock" these treasures, you will begin to see strengths in your children that will help you know where they need training and the areas where they will succeed.
I also wanted to know that God was using me to help "unlock" the spiritual treasures in the lives of my children. God's Word is full of wisdom and I knew that my children must know the Word of God in order to live their lives accordingly. I, too, had to learn to trust God's Word to show me how to parent them in this very important area of life.
"My son, if you accept My words and store up My commandments within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as silver and search for it as for hidden treasure. then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom, and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding." (Proverbs 2:1-6)
There will be times, as you parent your children, that you may wonder about certain issues in your child's life, especially as they grow older and gain more independence. You will have times when you just can't find the answer to that gnawing ache in your heart or question you can't answer. The only One you can trust to help you may be the Lord, at those times. The darkness in your child's life may be overwhelming. He will see you through and as you pray, you will gain a deep abiding trust that your child is in His hands.
"This is what the Lord says, 'I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.'" (Isaiah 45:3)
Once your child receives Christ as their Savior and Lord, and begins that journey of faith, you will see just how beautiful it is for him/her to shine the jewels of his heart...those treasures will begin to come forth and build into your child's life so that he/she can truly become that man or woman God created. I believe it is the treasures of our hearts that truly shape the gifts and talents God implanted in our lives. For, without a love for the Lord and a knowledge of His Word, how can any of us truly survive?
Here's to the journey...let those treasures shine!