Honoring father and mother

Honoring your father and mother must be important if it’s listed as one of the Ten Commandments.  You probably do pretty well on the commandment to not kill, but how often do you esteem your mother and father as you should?  It’s not optional.  And it is the greatest gift a child can give his or her parents.  Our kids will learn to honor us by the way we honor our own parents.

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Embracing adversity

As strange as it seems, easy living and a stress-free existence can be disadvantageous for animals and for us humans. Think about the big male lion lying in a cage at the zoo. All his needs are met, and his hunting skills are useless. His muscles turn flabby, and he yawns his way through the day. Meanwhile, the lion that’s roaming free on the plains of Africa, stalking and competing for his next meal, remains fit and strong because of the challenges and dangers he faces.

Within limits, adversity is beneficial to you and your children, too. Troubles that require comforting leave you better able to comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:3–4). Physical suffering, when endured in the name of Christ, makes it easier for you to say no to sin (1 Peter 4:1). Hardships due to your faith lead to restoration and strength (1 Peter 5:9–10). Trials also produce perseverance, character, and hope (Romans 5:3). There are many other examples of this “adversity principle” at work in Scripture.

Human beings who have survived hard times are tougher, more resilient, and more compassionate than those who have never faced difficulty or pain. You might remember that the next time your family is battling adversity in the jungle of life.

Being kind to others

A little act of kindness goes a long way.  A simple smile aimed at someone who looks sad, a simple heartfelt question of concern can do a lot to change another’s disposition.  How gracious God is to us; we need to pass that along (Ephesians 4:32). Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Sacrifices worth making

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Never throughout history has a man who lived a life of ease left a name worth remembering.”  So true.  And this principle is most clear for good parents.  Good parenting is synonymous with sacrificing.  A parent gives up a certain amount of temporary happiness for his/her’s  family’s future joy.  These “sacrifices” include privacy, excessive TV watching, and, sometimes, a cool car.   When you make these choices, you set yourself and your kids up for unparalleled happiness down the road.

Creating confident kids

In the movie, The Pursuit of Happyness, Will Smith plays a single father facing some tough stuff, along with his son.  Yet, Smith’s character maintains his self-confidence. He is determined to create a better life for himself and his son.  As a parent, it’s so important to have a strategy to build confidence in our kids in a world that constantly tells them they can’t. First, start by listening to your child.  They just want to be heard.  Second, be their number one encourager. Take time to attend their activities and tell them how proud you are of them.

Teaching good manners

Good manners don’t grow on trees, nor do they attach themselves to kids without some deliberate teaching and modeling by the adults at home and at school. It’s our responsibility to “train children in the way they should go,” as the proverb suggests.

Here’s the pay-off: once learned, good manners make everyone’s life more pleasant. For an added bonus, if your kids have well-practiced manners, they’re going to get hired first when it’s time to go to work, and they’ll likely be more successful on the job. Societies that function on a high level are called civilizations for a reason; civility is a prerequisite.

Likewise, families that learn to practice good manners don’t only function smoothly on the outside, they experience more positives and reduced conflict internally.  It’s a direct result of practiced civility.