Tag Archives: children

From the Mouth of Babes

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While on vacation the past week, I was able to spend time with my mom and sister and family.  My little niece often says things that reveal she is a deep thinker even at 4 years old.  During a ‘tea party’ with her sister and friend, she said, “In all this world God is the boss. You gotta know that.”

Out of the mouth of babes.

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Wisdom Wednesday: Mind Your Own Business

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Have you ever regretted getting involved in someone else’s argument and wished you had minded your own business? Although sometimes it is good to act as a mediator, it is best to do so only when asked, and even then, it is sometimes wise to stay out of it. How do you know when to stay out of an argument when asked? Consider first those who are arguing. If they are generally reasonable and just seem to need another opinion, then inquire about the disagreement. If the disagreement is something that can be settled easily, then it’s probably okay to get involved. Otherwise, it’s probably best to stay out of it. The exception is if you are in authority, e.g. a parent training young children how to handle disagreements, because teaching them is your business. But sometimes, allowing your children to work out their own disagreements under your supervision as part of the training is also best. The point, though, is not to invite trouble.

“When you invite trouble, it’s usually quick to accept.” —H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

“Who is always meddling into other men’s affairs, leads a dangerous life.” —Spanish proverb

“When you live in reaction, you give your power away. Then you get to experience what you gave your power to.” —N. Smith

“Don’t get your knickers in a knot. Nothing is solved and it just makes you walk funny.” —Kathryn Carpenter

“It is easier to keep out of a quarrel than to get out of one.” —Latin proverb

“The go-between wears out a thousand sandals.” —Japanese proverb

“Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup!” —Unknown paraphrase of a J.R.R. Tolkien quote

 

If you liked this, you might also like… Wisdom Wednesday: When to Speak or Not to Speak


Wisdom Wednesday: Discipline and Raising Grownups

Photo credit:  Real Odyssey via freeimages with text added

Photo credit: Real Odyssey via freeimages with text added

Have you ever noticed that well-disciplined children seem happier? Proverbs 29:17 says, “Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.”

“Instruction improves the innate powers of the mind, and good discipline strengthens the heart.” —Latin proverb

“Discipline alone will not produce maturity, but maturity will not occur without discipline.” —Pastor James Lake in a sermon entitled “Stewardship of Discipleship”

“I’m not raising children; I’m raising the grownups they’re going to be.” —Louis C.K., comedian in ‘I’m Not There to Make Them Happy’: Comedian Offers Incredibly Insightful Take on What Kids Really Need from Their Parents

Have you ever seen undisciplined, disrespectful children and their parents. It ain’t pretty, is it?

“Parents who are afraid to put their foot down usually have children who step on their toes.” —Chinese proverb

“Give your children too much freedom and you lose your own.” —Russian proverb

“Overindulgence makes a child mean.” —Spanish proverb

Another thing that can make a child mean, angry or discouraged is treatment that is unjust or too harsh.  Although the Bible teaches corporeal punishment, and I believe it is appropriate at times, some have used the proverbs to justify abuse. Abuse is never justified. One such verse is Proverbs 19:18, which in the King James version reads, “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” Although it could be understood to mean parents shouldn’t let a child’s crying keep them from disciplining, some have interpreted it to believe they can keep beating their child despite the crying.  Young’s Literal Translation says, “Chastise thy son, for there is hope, And to put him to death lift not up thy soul.” Most other translations are similar and imply either that parents are to discipline their children and not contribute to their ruin or an early death, or to not desire the death of their children but to have hope that they can be disciplined.

And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. —Ephesians 6:4

Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. —Colossians 3:21

“No man commands ably unless he has himself obeyed discipline.” —Latin proverb

Discipline is not punishment, although it may include it. Think about how you discipline yourself. Discipline is more about discipling, teaching and training. Sometimes we adults want to be mentors or disciple someone, but we forget or don’t even consider that our children are disciples and we are their teachers. Discipleship is more than going through a curriculum or teaching rules, regulations and religion. It is living and walking together through life.

“You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. —Deuteronomy 6:7

God doesn’t just teach you things for your benefit. He wants you to pass on what you’ve learned to the next generation. Revive Our Hearts e-devotional

I once read a book… I think it was Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Ted Tripp… in which the author revealed that during a power struggle over a toy, both the child who tries to take the toy and the one who refuses to share have a heart issue, so the toy is taken from both as part of a lesson and training regarding selfishness. Oftentimes, parents focus on the behavior of the child who tries to take the toy and then proceeds to teach him or her it is mean without also dealing with the selfishness of the other child who doesn’t want to share. There’s a balance, of course, but I thought it was insightful.

“For those of you who are trying to correct your children, if you’re focusing on the behavior instead of the attitude, that’s why you’re not getting anywhere. You change the attitude, and the behavior will take care of itself.” —Steve Cobb in his sermon “Beyond the Shadow to Reality” (March 2011)

“Childish people are ego-centric; often they don’t even realize that they approach everything and everyone as somehow being about themselves. Much of their displeasure or discontent results from the fact that others see life differently. Childlike people wonder about things, are alert, have questions, are ready to learn; they also know how to jump up and down with glee, and really enjoy things.”  —Moishe Rosen, Jews for Jesus founder

 

If you liked this, you might also like… Go Play!

Disclosure: Links to products are provided only as a resource. I do not make any money by providing them.


Should Christians Be Happy All the Time?

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Three years ago, I had published a blog post that was inspired by a song taught to children in church, as well as an article by Russell Moore entitled Why Facebook (and Your Church) Might Be Making You Sad.  I had been considering posting it again, and although I could be wrong, I think the Holy Spirit gave me a nudge to go ahead and do so.

The song is high energy and fun to sing because of hand motions and increasing speed, but it hit me three years ago that it can also be very confusing and deceiving.  Why?  Well it goes like this:

I’m inright, outright, upright, downright happy all the time.
I’m inright, outright, upright downright happy all the time.
Since Jesus Christ came in and cleansed my heart from sin,
I’m inright, outright, upright, downright happy all the time.

Are Christians happy all the time?

When a little girl in a preschool class heard she would be singing the song, she cried out, “But I’m not happy all the time!”

Out of the mouth of babes.

Are Christians happy all the time?  Should we be?  We might try to pretend to be, but no, we’re not.  We have the same struggles as everyone else.  I think there are a few reasons we might put on a façade:  1) It makes us feel more religious/spiritual, 2) We have a sincere desire to glorify God, showing He is real and trustworthy, and we wrongly believe being happy all the time is most glorifying to God.  But can we truly reflect what’s real, if we ourselves are not?  Is that glorifying to God?

One of the things Russell Moore said in the article mentioned above is, “By not speaking, where the Bible speaks, to the full range of human emotion—including loneliness, guilt, desolation, anger, fear, desperation—we only leave our people there, wondering why they just can’t be “Christian” enough to smile through it all.”

Children, teenagers and even adults could be left asking themselves, “What’s wrong with me?  Why am I not happy all the time?”  Not only that, but they can learn to not trust the Bible or church, because what they’ve been taught either doesn’t square up with real life or they later realize they were led to believe something that isn’t true.  Even Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart, for I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33)

I mean no disrespect to anyone who has taught or still teaches the song or songs like it, because no one would knowingly seek to confuse or deceive children.  Sometimes we do things because it’s what we ourselves were taught or because it’s what has always been done.  But I think when children speak or react, we ought to take note and consider if perhaps changes need to be made in the way we present things.

Edited on February 24, 2014 @ 20:48 to add:  I should have said and need to add that the preachers and teachers of the church I attend do speak to the range of emotions found in the Bible, so this post is not an indictment of them. The purpose of the post is to encourage review and consideration of things we’ve always done and things that may sound good but may not be true.


Wisdom Wednesday: Service With a Smile

“The kindness is doubled if what must be given is given willingly.”  —Latin proverb

“The kindness is doubled if what must be given is given willingly.” —Latin proverb

Have you ever asked someone to do something for you only to have that someone respond with a heavy sigh, whining, or complaining? If you’re a parent or a teacher, that’s a pretty silly question, isn’t it? What’s even sillier, although less amusing, is when we adults do it to one another. I know we all have bad days and should try to respond with grace when met with a bad attitude, but isn’t it so much sweeter when someone gives and serves cheerfully? And don’t you feel more loved and respected when someone responds happily to a request?

“Cheerfulness gives sweetness to life.” —Filipino proverb

“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”
—2 Corinthians 9:7

“The kindness is doubled if what must be given is given willingly.” —Latin proverb

“The visible sign of utter love is an undying smile.” —Sri Sri Ravi Skankar

“He gives well and bountifully who accompanies the gift with a pleasing look.” —Latin proverb

“A gift with a kind face is a double grace.” —German proverb

Years ago while dining at a restaurant in Canada, I remember the response given by our waitress when I said, “Thank you.” With a pretty smile and a French accent she replied, “It is my pleasure.” I loved that response, so I adopted it.

“Forget the favors you have given; remember those received.” —Chinese proverb

Sometimes people give or serve in order to receive or to be served. Although we shouldn’t give or serve with selfish motives and a score card, isn’t it funny how people sometimes act as if you owe them for what they have done instead of giving and serving out of love and gratitude for the things you have done for them? Or maybe it’s the other way around.

“Every gift which is given, even though it be small, is in reality great, if it is given with affection.” ―Pindar, Greek poet

“It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding.” —Kahlil Gibran

If you liked this, you might also like:  Wisdom Wednesday: When It’s Never Enough


Like a Tangled Slinky

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I have a little friend I sometimes pick up and take to school, but since her older brother and sister have to be in school earlier, she comes to my house for about an hour.  She loves playing in my office and pretending it’s a secret lair.  She also loves playing with toys my second son had as a little boy that my granddaughters now enjoy.  One of those toys is a plastic rainbow Slinky.  Just as it was time to take her to school, she brought the Slinky to show me she had gotten it tangled.  Her sweet voice was so apologetic.  I took the tangled mess from her little hands and said, “That’s okay.  I’ll take care of it.”

Later as I began to untangle the Slinky, I believe the Holy Spirit helped me to see that we are like my little friend, handing our tangled messes to our Heavenly Father when we can’t fix them ourselves.  I had created a tangled mess this week, but Father was so tender and loving when I handed Him my ‘Slinky’, and people I had hurt reflected His mercy and love as well.  I’m so grateful I can go to Him with my messes and not be scolded or turned away.

“Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.”  —Psalm 103:13


Wisdom Wednesday: Breaking & Making Habits

Photo credit:  David Gunter

Photo credit: David Gunter

Have you ever tried to break a habit or tried to get your child to break a habit and failed? There are two main reasons failure occurs— taking something away without replacing it with something else and trying to change a behavior without a change of heart and mind.

“Nature abhors a vacuum.” —Latin proverb

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” —Socrates, a character in Way of the Peaceful Warrior

Ephesians 4:22-32 incorporates the secret of change. It says to put off the old man, be renewed in the spirit of our minds, and put on the new. Then it lists specifics: stop lying and speak the truth; stop stealing and work; stop using foul or abusive language and say things that build others up; put away bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander, and malice, and instead, be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving. People who want to stop smoking or eating too much, sometimes chew gum instead. People who want to cut down on eating processed sugary sweets, eat naturally sweet things like raisins, dried figs, and dates instead. People who want to be less negative, try to think positive thoughts, post positive notes as reminders, and practice writing and saying positive things to others. Making new habits takes intentional practice.

When it comes to parenting, if you take something away from your child, and don’t replace it with something else, you will have created a vacuum that will rage until it is filled. We can’t take something away and simply say, “Find something else to do.” If you don’t help them fill it with something good and satisfying, your child might fill it with something else that is not profitable.

The other secret to change is not merely trying to change outward behavior but to “be renewed in the spirit of your mind”— to have a change of heart. The root of any problem starts in our hearts and minds. A Norwegian proverb says, “Old habits have deep roots.” Why do we do what we do? What need are we trying to fill? Will replacing a whole pint of ice cream with exercise fix the problem, or will excessive exercise and the need to be thin simply become another addiction?

…if you provide the “right intervention” or “fix” for his problem (such as ways to better communicate…), you offer only a temporary solution…yet the heart has not changed. The control center of life essentially gets better equipped to continue doing what it has always been doing — operating out of corrupted desires. —Kevin Carson, chairman for Biblical Counseling

“Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action; actions form habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny.”
—Tryon Edwards

Sometimes we continue doing something destructive because we think it’s what we deserve or we have no hope that we can ever become better. Don’t believe it. That’s a lie. You don’t deserve it, and there is hope.

Sometimes we do things either because we don’t know any better or simply because it’s what we’ve always done and we don’t really think about it. A Latin proverb says, “Men do more things from habit than from reason.”

“But if I do what I’ve always done, I’ll be who I have always been. God calls out more. He calls me to act out now who I am becoming.” —BJ, youth pastor and blogger in Becoming

“If you are not in the process of becoming the person you want to be, you are automatically engaged in becoming the person you don’t want to be.” —Dale Carnegie

I’m not saying breaking old habits and making new ones is easy. I still have the bad habit of procrastinating at times and have to work at doing things in a timely manner so I’m not rushing at the last minute or constantly trying to catch up. Bad habits have a way of making our paths more difficult, while good habits have a way of making them smoother. And while making new habits may seem unnatural and difficult at first, if we keep practicing, they become second nature. It’s like muscle memory. But if we don’t first start by renewing our minds and understanding why we need to change, we will constantly have to keep jumping starting ourselves or eventually give up.

“When you give up…meh you didn’t want it that bad. You just kind of wanted it.” –Evan Sanders, author of The Better Man Project in “Day (380) – I Just Know


Wisdom Wednesday: Co-Signing

Photo credit: Dave DiBiase - www.sxc.hu/photo/204756

Photo credit: Dave DiBiase – http://www.sxc.hu/photo/204756

Have you ever co-signed a loan or credit card application and later came to regret it? There is a reason the Bible and financial advisers tell us not to do it.

What about co-signing for a son or daughter? No, not even for your child. If your son or daughter needs to establish credit in order to obtain a college or car loan, there are alternatives, but they need to plan ahead. Years ago, my daughter obtained a small secured loan in the form of a credit card by using part of what was in her savings account as collateral. After a year of using the credit card and making timely payments, the collateral money was released, and her credit was established. Not only does a secured loan help your child establish credit, but it teaches them personal responsibility and gives them a greater sense of independence.

“Be not thou of them that strike hands, of them that are sureties for debts. If thou hast nothing to pay, why should he take away thy bed from under thee?” —Proverbs 22:26, 27

“He who is surety for another, pays for him.” —Dutch proverb

“When you run in debt, you give another power over your liberty.” —Benjamin Franklin

Proverbs 17:18 says it is foolish to guarantee another person’s loan or put up security for a friend. But what if you already have? Proverbs 6:1-5 says if you already have, you should beg them to release you from the pledge. If you have signed a contract, it’s probably a little too late to get out of it, unless they can find another way of securing the loan. But if they will not or cannot release you and find themselves unable to make all the payments, it would be best, not only to accept responsibility for what they cannot do, but also to forgive them and consider it a gift. Otherwise you will both remain under bondage and have a strained relationship.

Most people don’t realize when we co-sign for a loan, we add it to our debt liability, which can affect our credit score. Not only that, if the borrower makes late payments or defaults on the loan, we are primarily responsible, and that, too, affects our credit score. Co-signing involves a lot of risk with little benefit, so the bottom line is don’t do it.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used as professional financial advice. Any reader who is concerned about going into debt or getting out of debt should consult a professional financial adviser.


No Offense Taken; Raising Awareness

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Have you seen this picture?  You may have if you have a Facebook account or browse memes.  A few friends have alerted me over the past year or so about a meme, because it contains this picture along with two others, and because this one is of me taken almost six years ago.  I am grateful for friends who love me and were offended for my sake and even defended me publicly.  Why were my friends concerned and feel the need to defend me?  Because the meme mocks Christianity by making us look superficial, and because they know me.  Thank you, Tim, Greg and others.

The meme bears three images with the heading “THANK YOU JESUS”.  The caption under my photo says, “For helping me find my car keys”.  Then there are two other photos, one of the professing Christian football player, Tim Tebow with the caption, “For letting me throw that touchdown,” and a third photo of an emaciated little boy bearing no caption.

While I was saddened to see the meme, I was not offended.  In fact, I was even grateful.  I’m saddened because the meme portrays Christians as being superficial and as Jesus not caring about the emaciated child, who it would seem has nothing for which to be thankful.  I am grateful, because the meme is a good reminder that people are suffering tremendously, and if the meme has moved even one person to act out of compassion, why should I be offended?

What can you do?  Give to an organization that helps people in need.  Give to and/or volunteer in a local soup kitchen or homeless shelter.  Does your church have a food pantry or benevolence fund?  Keep your eyes and ears open for people in need or suffering from a crisis.

Food for the Hungry (FH) is a Christian organization serving the poor globally since 1971 by reflecting the love of Christ in short-term emergency relief and long-term work.

Project Rescue provides physical, emotional and spiritual rescue and holistic restoration to women and children in sexual slavery.

Compassion International is a Christian organization that exists as a Christian child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults.


Thank You, God, Thank You

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Photo credit: Free stock photo – http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=1185533

This morning on my way to do some grocery shopping, I found my mind wandering, so I refocused and asked the Lord to use me while I was out.  I finished shopping, put my groceries in the trunk and remembered I’d forgotten something, so I went back into the store.  They didn’t have what I was looking for, so I walked back out.  An older woman, whose truck was parked beside my car, looked a little confused and distressed, so I asked if I could take her cart for her.  She said, “There’s a baby in that car,” pointing to the one on the passenger side of her truck.

“What? Is it alone? Is there anyone else in the car?” I asked.

“No, and the windows aren’t cracked open either.  Poor little guy.  He must be getting hot in there,” she replied.

We tried the doors, but they were locked.  Then she decided to go to the customer service desk to have the car owner paged.  While I waited for either the woman or the car owner to return, I prayed about what to do.  Should I call the police?  I decided to wait and see what kind of person the car owner was, and I’m so glad I did.  The first woman returned, and as we stood by the car, we heard the page over the speaker system.  Just then, a woman exited the store, and when she saw us, her countenance registered fear and dread as she hurried over.  She had not heard the page, but remembered her grandson was in the car when she saw us standing there.

Apparently, she had dropped off her daughter at work, which is something she rarely does, and because her grandson was so quiet in the backseat, she forgot she had him when she went into the store.  She felt horrible as she realized what could have happened.  She scooped him up car seat and all, took him out, held him tightly, and cried.  I hugged her as she held her grandson, and both the other woman and I told her it was okay.  Because she was so terribly shaken, I asked if we could help her put the groceries in the car to which she gladly accepted.  We reassured her that these things happen sometimes, and she was obviously a good Grammie.  I said, “God was watching out for you both.”  She looked up to heaven and said, “Thank You, God, thank You.”


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