|Monday, February 3, 2014|
|Age-Appropriate Chores for Children|
It was interesting to see how a recent post on Facebook caused a storm in a teacup. It was entitled 'Age-Appropriate Chores for Children' by Maria Montessori. Some parents supported the concept of giving chores to children, many others were horrified at the idea, and another group of parents said the list was impossible to achieve and their children would simply refuse to do it.
Has the word 'chores' really got so many negative connotations? A chore is a routine task, usually a general household one. So what's the big deal? Don't we all need to learn how to keep a home clean and in good repair?
Teaching your child that keeping a home is a team effort is important not only for their 'skill set' but for their future relationships. Fear of treating our kids like servants actually has the effect that we instead become their servants. We encourage their egocentricity and then wonder why teenagers become narcissistic.
Training your child does not mean that you don't treasure them, it actually means you do. You value their long term happiness enough to teach them important life skills.
Here is the list that Maria Montessori came up with. What do you think of it? Are there other skills you think children should be taught?
|Tuesday, November 19, 2013|
What have you taught your children about communication?
Your daily words and actions provide your child with a communication model. They will be influenced by other factors too but the primary place that they will learn about communication is in your home. What you do will speak much louder than what you say so make sure you are presenting a correct model.
If you yell they will yell
If you don't speak to each other with respect they won't speak to each other with respect
If you don't listen they won't listen
If you talk over one another they will talk over one another
If you refuse to say sorry they won't say sorry either
Pause and think about how you would like your children to communicate. Ask God to help you become a Godly role model and to implement the changes you need in your behaviour first.
Remember that the most important communication they will learn is how to talk to God. Make prayer part of your lifestyle!
|Tuesday, July 2, 2013|
|Don't throw the baby out with the bath water!|
Everyone approaches parenting in their own unique way. Roy and I were overwhelmed with the sense of responsibility we now had. We could no longer be self focused because there was a tiny (yet rather loud) new life demanding from us.
All through the pregnancy a number of maternity magazines graced our coffee table. Although they offered some great health advice they also promoted a number of "must haves" which we of course went out and bought. My Mum would frequently say things like, "We didn't use that in our day." or "What a waste of money, why don't you just do it the way we did".
As I look back I realize that I highly valued the weight of the 'experts' and ignored the 'expert' who had raised me! I was guilty of throwing the baby out with the bath water.
Our eldest son is now 20. It is hard to believe that I am now one of those out-dated people who don't know all the new gizmos and gadgets on the market. Roy and I are not up to date on the current parenting theories but we are incredibly blessed to have three wonderful children who have survived our parenting skills.
Dad and Mum thank you for everything. We can't remember the advice from the magazines but we value the principles you taught us.
- Pray for your children daily
- Don't just teach them about God help them find a relationship with God.
- Don't preach… live it.
Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
|Thursday, September 13, 2012|
|Parents for Life|
If you are a parent one thing is certain, you will be parents for the rest of your life. Yes it’s true that the expression of your parenting will change as your children mature and progress through the different stages of life but you will still be their parents and will still have a significant role in their lives.
A good parent will be available for their children at all stages of their children’s lives. Available to give advice (when asked) and available to help in times of need. However a good parent will be careful to make sure that they do not make themselves indispensible to their children. It is incredibly important that as we raise our kids we equip them with the skills to succeed in life. We fail our children if we make them dependent upon our advice constantly as they try and navigate the rivers of life.
|Wednesday, February 1, 2012|
|The Purpose of a Parent|
Ever felt that parenting is difficult? That some how you are just on a treadmill with no end in sight and no clearly defined destination? I do, often. But then I remind myself of a key point that I discovered when Lainey and I trained to teach the "Parents for Life" course. A key point that helped me keep parenting in context and helped me to decide which, of all the many, spinning plates is important to keep spinning. The key point is simple, as parents we are not called to raise godly children, we are called to raise godly adults.
The key point is simple, as parents we are not called to raise godly children! We called to raise godly adults.With this in mind I have been able to understand my goal in parenting. I'm not just here to provide a roof and food for my kids, but also an education that develops their character so that eventually they will be godly, trustworthy, moral individuals in this world. Through my parenting I can see that I have an opportunity to change some of what I see as being wrong in this world. I can affect bad moral principals and reduce the injustice I see around me by raising my children in a way that they become part of the solution rather than part of the problem for the next generation.
All of a sudden my parenting has gone beyond providing a better childhood for my children than I had, to developing my children into being better people than I ever was. Now I have a goal and a context for my parenting. I also have a measure to see if I have succeed as a parent.
|Tuesday, August 30, 2011|
|Crying over bread rolls|
Have you ever found yourself doing something pretty mundane but it triggers an unexpected emotion? I was shopping for the family in my usual auto-pilot mode when I discovered I had put five bread rolls instead of four into the bag. I suddenly realised that I was shopping for our daughter Beth who has just moved to Northern Ireland to study.
Standing in the supermarket with tears running down my face did not seem at all appropriate nor did it seem appropriate to cry about something so silly. I realise however that grief comes part and parcel with the process of releasing our children into their destiny.
- Grief is a natural response to loss. We can feel guilty for grieving when we feel that we should be celebrating a success but the reality is that we feel loss when our loved ones move away.
- Grieving is personal. Each person has a different way in which they process grief, sometimes husbands and wives have conflicting beliefs on how to grieve, or whether to grieve at all. It is important to communicate how you feel and empathize with your spouse and how they are dealing with change.
- There is no normal timetable for grieving. Be patient with yourself and be patient with your spouse it can take time to come to terms with radical change within the home.
- Don’t allow your grief to become manipulative. It is important that the release of our children is healthy. They must be given the freedom to make choices based on the direction their life needs to take without having to worry about our emotional health.
- Give it to God. That doesn’t mean ignoring it. Acknowledge your grief and ask God for help as you transition into this new stage of parenting.
- Don’t let the pain of loss stop you from feeling. It is important not to build walls in your relationship with your children. Joy is an open door which welcomes our children back for visits, support, counsel and friendship.
God wants to give us the “oil of joy” instead of mourning. When we praise Him for the wonderful privilege of parenting He gives us joy as we release our children to Him.
|Thursday, June 16, 2011|
Yesterday marked the end of another school year. We were waiting for the last day with almost as much enthusiasm as the kids.
- We really like our kids and miss them when they are at school.
- It is great being able to spend more time with them. We enjoy the fact that the evenings won’t be filled with extracurricular activities and homework in the summer.
- We can enjoy a slower pace of life; no more 5:30am starts in the morning or races to the bus stop or last minute forms to be filled in.
- We have time for conversations rather than headlines.
- This is a time to build memories that the children will appreciate for years to come.
Many parents stress about school holidays. They declare that the kids drive them crazy. They rant that they will have to find things to entertain the kids. Which category do you fall into? If you fall into the stressed parent category take a few minutes to think about the positive side of having the kids at home.
If you are struggling to find anything positive try taking a Parents for Life course this summer. It will make the world of difference! Try approaching this summer with a different attitude. Your children are a gift!
Psalm 127:3 Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him.
|Monday, March 21, 2011|
|Have We Become a Spectator Church?|
On any given evening drive down the streets of your neighborhood and see how many TVs are glowing through windows. Almost every home, no doubt, has at least one TV on at that time. I remember when we were little (yes, it’s going to be one of those “back in the day” stories) there was no TV. We’d gather around the radio and listen to comedies or dramas that required the use of our imagination to “see” the story. When I was eight years old, our neighbors got the first TV I had ever seen. It was a huge piece of furniture that housed a TV screen that was about a foot square. Of course everything was in black and white, but it was awesome to enjoy right in a home what we had only experienced previously in theaters.
I remember we could only watch one show and then we had to go out and play. As such, TV was a rare treat. We spent the rest of our time out in the fresh air riding bikes, roller skating, or playing tag or hide and seek. Life was active and somehow we survived it without helmets or knee pads. We climbed things, we jumped off of things, and sometimes we just sat on things and talked late into the evening when we all got called home. We lived life, we didn’t watch it happen.
No one felt any obligation to keep us entertained. If we got bored, someone found work for us, not entertainment. The special moments of entertainment at the movie theater or in front of the TV were few and far between. That made them more special and we enjoyed them thoroughly.
Since those “olden days” things have changed greatly. Entertainment is a top priority today and almost everything, including church, is judged by what people get out of it. People flock to the latest and greatest speakers, teachers, and musicians. Their goal is not so much to participate as to spectate. I’ve often wondered if Jesus would be considered entertaining if He walked the earth today.
In the midst of this type of culture, the Lord has asked us to come and join Him for a week in April. No flashy speakers or big name draws. No powerful entertainment. Just a time to meet with Him and hear what He wants to share with us all about the days to come. To many that probably doesn’t seem very spectacular. It may even sound boring.
For those of us planning the convention, it has also been a challenge. Everything in us wants a schedule and topics and events. That’s what we’ve always done. Yet each time the Lord reminds us that this is His agenda. We are taking note of the things He is laying on our hearts so we know how to precede topic and time wise, but we also know that He has complete freedom to change anything He desires. It has been a challenge to stay so loose with planning, but we are already experiencing a deeper and deeper hunger for what He has planned.
If you’re up for the challenge, we’d love to have you join us. Together we will talk and share, question and listen. Together we will hear from the Lord as we spend time with Him. We will leave the world of passive entertainment and enter into active participation with Him. Hope you can be a part of it.
My beloved spoke, and said to me: “ Rise up, my love, my fair one, And come away." Song of Solomon 2:10
|Sunday, March 20, 2011|
|What is Romance?|
When we think of romance pictures of flowers, soft candlelight, or a stroll on the beach at sunset may spring to mind. Our youngest son, Jason, just got engaged and it has been a blessing watching him romance his love. Romance seems to come more easily during courtship, and sometimes wanes as years of marriage go by. Yet most of us love being romanced. It makes us feel cherished and desired. It means we are valued and that the one who loves us has taken time and effort to show love in a special way.
Our convention this year is called The Great Romance. Jesus, our future Bridegroom, is romancing us right now. He gave His life for us, paid the highest price, to show us how much He loves us. Each day He sends us beautiful reminders of His love--a gorgeous sunrise, wild flowers breaking through winter ground, birds chirping His praises--all around us we have evidence of the romance in His heart.
One day He will return for us and take us to His home for our wedding feast. Until then, He has given us marriage as a covenant relationship reflecting His union with us. Very often, because of this comparison, we speak of what marriage should be and how it should mirror our covenant union with Jesus. As we have been preparing for Convention, though, the realization of His awesome love for us has been deepening in our hearts. As we have pondered it, prayed about it, and experienced it, we are coming to realize that God gave us His relationship with us as a role model for marriage because there is simply no other way to experience the depth of marriage He intends.
In the Garden of Eden, the first man and woman had God's nature. They loved as He loves. There was no such thing as "human" love because God's love was expressed through each of them to the other. After the fall, though, human nature and self took over. People loved each other as best as was humanly possible. For some that meant great faithfulness and honor and for others it was merely fickle emotions. Not until Jesus came, died, and rose again in victory was it possible to love again with God's love. The only way to be truly married now is to be in covenant with Christ and also in covenant with each other.
Marriage has been given to us as a relationship that requires God's unconditional, agape love to thrive. Human love only takes us so far. Some days it is strong and other days it is gone. If it is our only source of love, we are like the world. When we separate and divorce, give up on each other, we are like the world. The love of God that lives within us never gives up, never despairs, never stops loving--deeply and faithfully loving. There is no sin too big for that kind of love. There is no human being too tough for that kind of love.
It is time for the Body of Christ to shine forth on the earth as faithful, covenant lovers. Marriage gives us that opportunity. It is time the world sees Jesus' heart through us. It is time that we partake in the Great Romance, not only as the Bride-to-be, but as those who demonstrate that unfathomable love to each other.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1 John 4:7,8
|Tuesday, February 15, 2011|
|One potato, two potato, three potato, four...|
Recently I had a peel a lot of potatoes for an elderly people’s lunch. Peeling potatoes is somewhat mindless and gives you opportunity to think – and for God to talk to you....!
I was aware I had bought cheaper quality potatoes and trusted they would be ok. The first potato (out of 27 lb/12.5kg) out of the bag was squashy, putrid and smelt awful. It smelled so bad I couldn’t leave it in the peelings pot and had to throw it away in the bin outside. My heart sank as I thought of all the potatoes I had yet to peel. How many others would be like this? Had I made the wrong decision to buy this cheaper brand? It turned out that the first potato was the ONLY one that was bad – and YET I automatically thought the worst. How many of you also think the worst, or have a negative or “glass half full” attitude. The more we use this, the more we carry on using it.
Whilst peeling the potatoes, I had a very useful phone call from a friend. She did not know about my task but she rang exactly at the midpoint. I believe God gave me a rest at that time.
When I bought the potatoes I wasn’t sure how many to get, so got a few more than I was asked to and thought I’d keep the rest if they were needed. I was then told the day I peeled them that there would be 56 people needing 3 or 4 roast potatoes each, plus 20 pieces for helpers. When I peeled them I thought I’d count the pieces I cut batch by batch to give me a feeling of progress. I counted the pieces bag by bag and they totalled 215 pieces. I then did the maths from the information I had been given about the attendees and that came to 216 pieces. God is not in the business of getting things wrong! I had no idea that the pieces I cut could be so close to the needed amount!
God can teach us so much through the everyday things of life!!