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Category: Parenting

Faith 7

Do you see me crying?

 “Do you see me crying?  When you see me crying, you can cry.”

The first time I heard my dad say this to my little nephew Max, I was offended, to say the least. What did he mean?  Of course Max was crying; he was 2 1/2 and had just gotten in trouble.  Why shouldn’t he cry?  But that wasn’t the last time we heard that comment from dad: “When you see me running through the church, you can run through the church.”  “When you see me jumping on the couch, you can jump on the couch.”  I completely disagreed with this treatment, but because I respected my dad greatly, I didn’t say a word about his “cruel” comments. After all, I didn’t have any children, so what did I know?

Then I started my own family and began to see what Dad was talking about. My dad would never cry or throw a fit in public, so why should Maribelle (or any child.)  I would never throw spaghetti on the floor during dinner, so why should little Lissa?  I began to understand that even from the youngest age, I was the model for my children. In a sense, Dad was giving the kid version of Paul’s request to “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”

Through trials (and many errors) I discovered that the number one rule of parenting is this:  You can only reproduce who you are.  If you want kids who are kind, that’s who you need to be.  If you want children who don’t lie and treat others fairly,  you will have to do the same.  Conversely, if you want children who yell and scream or punch holes in the wall, well, that is an option, too.

My one goal as a mother has always been to have children who seek God with their whole heart, so from my very first baby, I would wake up every morning (and still do) to study the Word of God and sit in the presence of Jesus.  I do this hoping and praying that my children will follow my example—not as a manipulative tool or an activity to check off the list, but because I want my kids to have the kind of blessed life described in Psalm 91.  Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” My children are not grown yet, but so far I feel like they are “turning out.”

As a parent, what do you want for your children?  Who do you want them to be? Think about it and pray over it.  Ask God to give you a vision for your life and for your children.  Ask for a chapter in the Bible from which to lead.  Because, like it or not, when your kids see your actions, there is a tremendous chance that they will follow.

If you think you’ve already messed up and your kids are lost for good, there is still hope.  God is the great God of hope, forgiveness, and second chances.  He can restore everything that has been lost with your child, but that is a story for another post.

God bless you as we raise the next generation!

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Parenting 2

So you want to raise a monster. . .

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It seems parents everywhere are racing to create the most horrendous monster on the block.  I’m not sure why, because when I was young, parents wanted to make sure children were enjoyable, hard-working, and God-Fearing.  But if you are one of the parents who wants to raise a monster, here is my advice:

  • Let your child be in charge—have them choose the restaurant, vacation location, what to cook for dinner, or whether they will do chores or not. Never discipline your child when they tell you no or hit you—and make sure to laugh at how cute it seems in the moment. (e.g. “Listen, Linda”)
  • Constantly tell your child how great and amazing they are at everything, and be sure to lie to your child by saying they can be whatever they want to be. When your daughter brings you an ugly picture, don’t say, “What is this?” Instead, act like the drawing will be the next to hang in the Louvre.  Also, do not be honest about your child’s natural talents or gifts.  If your son is uncoordinated and slow, I’m sure he can still be a pro football player if you say it enough times.
  • Instill in your child the idea that they are better than everyone else and should always come first. Make sure your child has lots of t-shirts that brag of their superiority and accomplishments.  You might also buy your child several shirts that put others down—just for good measure.
  • Make sure your child spends all of their extra time involved in activities and entertainment so they will never discover a passion that could actually turn into a career. Fill every waking minute with fun and games  so that when your child graduates from high school, they won’t know how to work hard for an extended period of time, nor will they have any idea where their useful, productive talents lie.  This will assure that your monster is on your payroll for much longer.
  • Make sure your child always has a screen available. Make it possible for them to watch TV or play games anywhere at anytime: church, the line at the grocery store, driving 10 minutes across town, or when visiting with their grandmother.  This will insure your child has a 60 second attention span, learns conduct and morals from TV stars, and is incapable of conversing with adults.
  • Raise your child on cliches and slogans instead of the truth. Here are some useful ones:
    • When God closes a door, He opens a window.
    • What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
    • If God leads you to it, he’ll lead you through it.
    • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (of course this is a real scripture, but just remember, it has nothing to do with sports.)
    • And maybe the best one: Everything happens for a reason.

 

This, of course, is not an all-inclusive list, but it should get you started on the best beast on the block.

Sarcasm aside, as parents, one should always ask, “What does this action or attitude look like when my child is 16 or 36?”  Because after all, there is no magic day when your child will “wake up” and be a grown up.  Becoming an adult is a process that begins as soon as a child is born.  As parents, we must always remember that we are raising our children to be successful and enjoyable adults– not monsters.  

Parenting is a challenge, but it’s the best job on earth.  Stay tuned for great ideas for raising your child into an outstanding adult instead of a horrendous beast.

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