God gave the children of Israel choices. One choice brought blessing; the other brought trouble. Right choices were a lifestyle that caused the blessing of God to overtake them. God explained to them up front that choices are loaded . . . with consequences.
Deuteronomy 30: 19 This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.
Helping our children see the result of their choices is critical. Train, explain, demonstrate; let them feel the results of their choices. That is how they learn. (more…)
Staying at home with my kids was a great joy when they were younger. Being a teacher, I enjoyed planning little learning lessons for them to do. Happy and busy, things would rock along fairly well. Then there would come times when things were not good at all. Selfishness can rear its ugly head at any moment. You learn to hear it in their voices—the tone, the stridence, the pain showing as anger.
We handled this in different ways at different times. When I knew they just needed space, I gave it to them. I just told them to do different things away from each other. Anna: reading time, Patrick: piano practice, William: reading, Judith: reading, Jean-Luc: blocks, Danny: nap. Fortunately, you know your kids, so you know the different activities each one can do alone.
When harsh words were spoken, I simply said, “When sweets don’t come out, sweets cannot go in.” That child would receive no sweet treats and no desserts for the rest of that day.
Keith’s mom told us once, “You don’t need to ‘see’ everything. So let them work some things out themselves.” Sometimes they can work it out; sometimes they can’t. What we didn’t want was for there to be no resolution and for resentment to grow. (more…)
Patricia stuck her head around the corner from the kitchen and said, “We have to talk.”
I was right in the middle of “helping” Danny with math homework. For some reason or another, Danny had a mental block with math. I was simply explaining to him that he had to concentrate, to apply himself, to put forth more effort. It was about 8:30 at night and he was tired. I was becoming more and more exasperated that he could not get it. That’s when Patricia stepped in and said, “We have to talk.”
For us, that meant that we had to go to our bedroom and discuss the current situation. As we entered the bedroom and closed the door, she said, “You’re not helping.”
I immediately became defensive. “He is not trying,” I said. “He is resisting, he is just being stubborn.” And so it went until we came to an understanding in the privacy of our own room. Then I went back to help Dan, who by now had fallen asleep on his notebook. I sent him to bed, and we both got up early the next morning to finish the work.
Patricia and I had agreed that we would not discuss the kids in front of them. (more…)
Randa Reaves was probably only nineteen years old, but she helped us become better parents. Randa was working as the receptionist/secretary at the church. Bright, friendly, competent, Randa had a relationship with the Lord that was evident. One day, Keith asked her this question: What did your parents do that caused you to follow Jesus?
After thinking a minute, she said something both simple and profound. “My dad read the Bible to us each morning before breakfast. However busy we were, however rushed, we took time to read God’s word.”
A simple routine profoundly affected Randa. (more…)