Parenting is a conversation, not an event

Author Paul Tripp writes: “We must get away from the event mentality of parenting. We form a way of thinking through thousands of mini-talks.”  So true!  Communication is the lifeblood of any relationship, especially family relationships.  When conversation flows freely in your family, love and trust are the end result.  Conversations can be started with an easy phrase, like “what do you think about _____?”

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Setting the climate

It’s not something that’s in your job description at work.  It’s not something that you think about as a husband, wife or parent.  But it’s critical in any position of leadership.  It’s establishing the climate… the right kind of climate.  A mother or father establishes the climate when they walk through the door at night.  A worker sets the temperature for co-workers at the office.  A coach sets the climate out on the turf.  So, have you thought about how things feel when you’re around?  Who sets the climate in your home?  Is everyone comfortable around you or uptight?   Do others see you as caring and serving or aloof and self-serving?  Maybe it’s time for you to change the climate.

Be careful little eyes…

The dangers of this world are truly terrifying for moms and dads trying to safely guide their kids through the minefield of childhood. Pornography, drugs, sex, and violence are just some of the weapons that Satan uses in an attempt to gain control of your daughters and sons in their most vulnerable moments. But we will prevail if we keep turning to the original source of truth and power.

Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, gathered His disciples in a vineyard and prayed eloquently for them, saying, “I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one” (John 17:14–15).  In the same way, the world hates your children if they belong to God. Though we might wish that the precious little ones in our care could be spared from the evil influences in our immoral society, God has a purpose for their lives on this earth, and we must yield to His plan. Our task is to pray for our kids, to teach them the ways of God, and to protect them as long as we have breath in our bodies.

Are you a good listener to your kids?

A good listener?  Hardly.  But maybe a good lecturer.  So what does it mean to parent as a good listener?  Well, I’ll give you a couple of hints… its more than the absence of talking… and it doesn’t involve multitasking when your child is speaking to you.  Listening is the active process of hearing what our child is saying, looking at their eyes and body language for clues, processing it all to determine what’s really going on, and then asking follow up questions.   When we really listen, our child will feel, at least for that moment, like they’re the most important person in the world.

Famous last words

The last words a person utters can tell us a lot about what they lived for.  And what they say can be very meaningful to us and serve as reminders of life’s fragility.  Here are a few you might find interesting:

“How were the receipts today at Madison Square Garden?”
~ P. T. Barnum, entrepreneur, d. 1891

“I am about to — or I am going to — die: either expression is correct.”
~ Dominique Bouhours, French grammarian, d. 1702

“Is it the Fourth?”
~ Thomas Jefferson, US President, d. July 4, 1826

“I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis.”
~ Humphrey Bogart, actor, d. January 14, 1957

“All my possessions for a moment of time.”
~ Elizabeth I, Queen of England, d. 1603

“Beautiful.”
~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning, writer, d. June 28, 1861

“Oh wow…”
~ Steve Jobs, innovator, d. October 5, 2011

“It is very beautiful over there.”
~ Thomas Alva Edison, inventor, d. October 18, 1931

“I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have.”
~ Leonardo da Vinci, artist, d. 1519

Your time on earth will be over quickly.  Live well.

The gift of counter-pressure

On April 10, 1963, the nuclear attack submarine Thresher was no more. Its deep-dive trials southeast of Cape Cod came to a cataclysmic end and all 129 men aboard perished in 8,400 feet of water. The nuclear reactor probably shorted out and the sub did not have enough power to stop itself from sinking to the bottom and getting crushed by massive water pressure.  It was a tragedy.

It’s interesting to note that while a state-of-the-art submarine was crushed under immense pressure, there were thinly-scaled fish happily swimming around the accident site.  How is that possible?  Because the pressure inside the sea creatures was as great as the water pressure outside them.  They were equipped to withstand their environment.

What a great parenting parable.  Our goal is to make our children so full of faith and happiness on the inside that they won’t get crushed under enormous peer and media pressure on the outside.  We need to give them the gift of counter-pressure.

Is your family broken?

Divorce… infidelity… the devastating loss of a child or spouse… these things, and others, can shatter a family. So, how do you begin the rebuilding process? First, survey the damage. Talk about it with each member of your family… really listen to the feelings they express, and be open about your own. Second, seek help from a trusted advisor or pastor who can help you sort out your emotions. Third, be patient—with yourself and with your family—realizing that it may take a while for everyone to feel stable and secure again.  Learning how to face difficult times in marriage will strengthen your family in the long run.