Last year, we were fortunate to see Will marry Maria. At their wedding the photographer looked around for fitting backgrounds for the bride and groom pictures. In the chapel, outside, near the door, in front of trees, in front of fountains, and on and on. He took a lot of time on the background, but when the pictures came, we didn’t really notice the backgrounds. We noticed the couple.
Here’s the point: the background supported and focused on the real object of the picture, the bride and groom.
As Patricia and I grew and matured as parents, we realized that certain structures supported our relationships in the home. Order enhanced our lives together. We choose to call these background disciplines. These background disciplines are the unnoticed sentinels that maintain the peace and harmony within a home. The better you manage, the less you punish. (more…)
“By 1984, the California legislature had created an official self-esteem task force, believing that improving citizens’ self-esteem would do everything from lower dependence on welfare to decrease teen pregnancy. Such arguments turned self-esteem into an unstoppable train, particularly when it came to children. Anything potentially damaging to kids’ self-esteem was axed. Competitions were frowned upon. Soccer coaches stopped counting goals and handed out trophies to everyone. Teachers threw out their red pencils. Criticism was replaced with ubiquitous, even undeserved, praise. (There’s even a school district in Massachusetts that has kids in gym class ‘jumping rope’ without a rope–lest they suffer the embarrassment of tripping).” (more…)
We played Rook in college. It’s a card game and the trump card over everything else is the Rook. It’s the card everyone wanted and we used it to surprise our opponents, to strengthen our hands, and to fill in where our partners were weak. My roommate Dale loved to play Rook. But there was a problem; whenever he was dealt the Rook, he would caw. Yep! He would caw like a crow. Everyone knew who had the “bird.” It wasn’t a good strategy for winning the game.
We have also enjoyed playing Spades along the way. If we get the right cards, we can run the table and win all the hands. The key is to play our trump cards against the strong cards of our opponents until all they have left are their weak ones. Then we win.
As parents, we hold all the cards. We just don’t know how to play the game. We give away our secrets and then play our weak cards against the kids’ strong ones. (more…)
Little Billy was only three years old. It was nighttime, and we were going through our routine. First he had a fun, relaxing bubble-bath. Brushing teeth was next, then… time for a snuggly story. Prayer together–the last thing on the agenda. I was praying for him: “Thank you, Lord, that Billy is so kind to his brothers and sisters. Thank you that he loves them and shares with them.”
“No, Mom!” he stopped me. “I’m not that nice! Don’t say all those good things about me.” (more…)