When we think about what’s valuable to us, we often think about material things… our home, car, investment portfolio. We think about business success. We think about getting praise… getting the credit… all temporary things. But we should value relationships above results; the process above the product; what’s “God-made” above what’s “man-made”; serving others above being served; giving others credit above receiving the credit; investing in people above investing in things. Why? Because these are what will last. And if we value them, then we’ll receive the kind of satisfaction that no amount of money will ever buy.
We have been encouraging my father to collect old pictures and put captions on them to preserve our family memories. We want to share them with our kids and grandkids. What about you?
Well before you dig out your old yearbook and start telling “in the good old days” stories about yourself, change your course. Get out videos and photos of your children when they were little. Make it an event. Pop some popcorn, gather everyone together and go back in time. Pass around photos, watch those videos, and talk about the cute and special things your kids did when they were small. If you can, focus on one child at a time and have a special viewing night for each.
You make lunch appointments with your most important clients to spend time with them and get to know their needs, so how about doing the same with your kids? Schedule a day where you can pick them up at school and take them out to lunch. Make it a restaurant of their choice and let them choose the topics of conversation. Your client that day might be a little younger than you’re used to, and may prefer a milkshake to a cappuccino, but the return on your investment will far outweigh any business deal.
Can’t do a lunch with your kids this month? Another great option is putting a note in their lunch box.
When your daughter forgets her lunch for the third day in a row, do you run it to school? When your teenager drives like a maniac, then wrecks the car, do you pay for the repairs? When they say their homework is “too hard” do you do it for them? Many loving parents with good intentions, me included, intervene between irresponsible behavior and its consequences. But over protection can develop lasting dependency and perpetual adolescence.
Sure, you can be there for your child, but you should sometimes allow him to experience a little pain when he makes bad choices.
No matter how old we get, we still enjoy hearing stories of things we did as kids, or about funny stories on family trips, or some of the stories of hardships and joys our family has encountered over the years. These stories bond us together with camaraderie and shared history. We tell these stories repeatedly at family reunions, around campfires, during celebrations, reminiscing at funerals and memorials, and at bedtime as the activities of the day quiet down to a peaceful reminiscent time before the enveloping of sweet sleep.
But it only takes one generation neglecting to pass down a heritage to the next generation for a way of life, family history, or a belief system to vanish. That chilling fact underlines the magnitude of our responsibility as parents and grandparents to share family, and Bible stories with our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, and for them to do the same: “One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts” (Psalm 145:4).
God specifically and repeatedly tells his people to pass down to future generations all the awesome wonders they saw him do because the younger generations weren’t there. New generations don’t know God in the same personal, experiential sense as their parents and grandparents, “Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of the Lord your God: his majesty, his mighty hand, his outstretched arm” (Deut. 11:2).
Nielsen Media Research reports that American households have an average of 2.77 televisions
but only 2.5 persons residing there. In other words, TV dominates the majority
of our lives. I’m not anti-TV. It’s a tool that can be used to bring families
together. But it needs boundaries. Make clear goals and rules about TV viewing
such as: no TV’s in bedrooms; keep the TV off during meals, on weeknights,
before school; or setting time-based limits. And, of course, pre-approve the
programs your children are allowed to watch. Call your cable/satellite company
about parental controls or consider a TV Guardian or other foul language filter.
Here is a reposting of a great article from Steve May:
PSALM 116:17Fulton J. Sheen wrote:
“An interesting phenomenon in children is that gratitude or thankfulness comes relatively late in their young lives. They almost have to be taught it; if not, they grow up thinking that the world owes them a living.”A friend once told me that she doesn’t want to force her son to say “Thank you” unless he really feels like saying it. She said, “If I teach him to say ‘thank you’ when he doesn’t feel thankful, I’m teaching him that it’s OK to be a hypocrite.”
That’s not even close to what gratitude is. Our feelings have nothing to do with why we express it or how we express it. Gratitude is not an emotion, it’s an action. The act of saying “thank you” is for the benefit of the other person. It’s about their feelings, not yours.
The same is true when saying “Thank you” to God. Gratitude is the proper response to the goodness of God. We say “thank you” because God is good all the time, not just because we happen to feel good at that particular moment.
That’s why the Psalms so often refer to the “sacrifice of thanksgiving.” It’s an act of obedience, not just an emotional outburst.
As David said, “I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord.” (Psalm 116:17)
Like children, believers must learn how to express gratitude. The truth is, most people are thankful. We just need to get better at showing it. Even when our feelings don’t cooperate, we can express gratitude with our words and actions. [SM]