Tag Archives: parenting

Wisdom Wednesday: Mind Your Own Business

IMG_0415 Sally.viscious_smw

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

 

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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

 

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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.


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