Helping those who need help

Single parents can’t do it all for their kids, especially in times of hardship or crisis. They need assistance from friends, relatives, neighbors, and fellow believers who heed the call of Scripture: “Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow” (Isaiah 1:17). Most of all, they need to take their needs in prayer to their loving Lord, the “helper of the fatherless” (Psalm 10:14).


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.

Avoiding the lion

Here is a great thought from Shirley Dobson:

There’s no doubt that our culture’s assault on innocence is being engineered by Satan. The apostle Peter says that the devil “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). If you have a strong-willed teen under your roof, he or she could very well be Satan’s next target.

When a lion approaches a buffalo herd with the intent to kill, he typically avoids the healthiest members of the herd; rather, he spends his time scouting for a sick, injured, or elderly member to attack. Your strong-willed teen is like a vulnerable buffalo in some ways. Those who suffer from low self-esteem are more likely to fall under the influence of peers than their more confident siblings. Like the lion, the devil may very well single out your vulnerable son or daughter to attack with weapons such as drugs, alcohol, or sexual temptation.

To hold back the enemy, we suggest that you keep your strong-willed teen involved in healthy activities. Though constant busyness and overstimulation are equally harmful to any child, large quantities of unstructured time can be devastating for the naturally rebellious teen. Get him or her involved in the best church youth program you can find, and encourage participation in athletics, music, part-time work, and other activities. Scripture warns that “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” That can certainly apply to your strong-willed son or daughter.

Approach your kids’ adolescent years as a wonderful and exciting time to be enjoyed, but also recognize that it poses many risks and challenges to their spiritual and physical health. Do whatever you can during this brief period to get them through the minefield of evil through which they must walk. There is greater safety in the early twenties, when judgment and confidence will develop in your kids. Until then, invest yourselves in their welfare, and above all—stay on your knees!

Teaching your kids to look for those in need

Scripture tells us “A friend loves at all times, and is born, as is a brother, for adversity.” (Proverbs 17:17) In all likelihood there is someone close to your child who desperately needs a friend. In trouble and feeling emotionally isolated, they could minister Jesus’ love and be of tremendous help. Teach them to watch for those who need a friend.

The gift of humility

Our children will soon head back to school (some already have), and they’ll either ask – or answer – that natural question, “What did you get for Christmas?” Some children don’t get many presents.  Maybe their family can’t afford it.  Or they’ve decided to focus less on the material aspects of the holidays.  Either way, we can use this situation to teach our children a lesson in humility.  First, if they did get a lot of gifts, we can tell them how bragging makes us look bad and others feel worse.  And by not asking the question of their classmates, they might prevent hurt feelings.  Holiday gifts are wonderful… but holiday humility is even better.

Does your child want to quit sports?

It might be OK.  Many children want to quit playing because they’re simply not interested anymore. The main reason kids play sports is to have fun and be with their friends.  Winning isn’t as big a priority for them.  Parents should support them, encourage personal growth, and not unrealistically compare them to professional athletes when they do play.  And when they decide to hang up their cleats and go do something else, it might be best, but only under the right circumstances.

Learning from mistakes

Donald Trump is known for a lot of things. Making (and losing) riches is one of them.  One of Trump’s truisms is, “The second developer in is usually the one who makes the money.”  By this, he means the first developer made the mistake of purchasing a property, pulling permits, and laying pipe only to realize his cash flow projections were off.  So he sells for pennies on the dollar.  And moguls like Trump swoop in.

Mistakes are costly, in finance and in life.  But a willingness to seek counsel can help you minimize them. Teach your kids who to seek counsel from and encourage them to ask often.