This chapter was perfect timing for me!
Right now we have a cold/fever thing in our house that has been going around for over a month.
I of course have been lamenting this fact, seeing having sick kids is not fun.
Then I read the verses in this chapter about a thankful spirit. Ya, not always easy, but the best way.
As I reflected this chapter I thought of my dear mom. She has always been one who has had a thankful spirit no matter what her circumstances have been. Growing up we did not always have a lot of money or the nicest houses, but my mom always had a thankful spirit. Even though her friends and family around her told her she should demand better, she honoured my dad by choosing to be thankful no matter what her circumstances. This has spoken volumes to me over the years. And I wish I could say that I have followed in her footsteps in this area, but too many times I have fallen into the trap of complaining about my less than perfect circumstance and in many case guilting my husband into ‘making things better’.
I will never forget going to visit a friend who had just moved into a new home. I asked her if she was happy with the way things turned out. She answered “Yes, until I go and see someone else’s home that I like better.” This statement was one that I have replayed over and over again in my mind. I always thought “if only we could build our own home, then everything would be perfect.” But what isn’t perfect is the fact that I am a sinner and that I struggle with having a thankful spirit and being content in all circumstances.
So today was the day to say “Never again.” And with God’s strength I pray that I will learn to be content in every circumstance that I am placed in day to day.
Thanksgiving is good; thanks-living is betterWhat did you learn from this chapter?
What do you think makes your child(ren) feel secure?
Is it being fed great food everyday, is it getting nice clothes, is it getting the neatest toys, is it having friends?
Actually your child’s security is in knowing that you love your spouse. Knowing that Dad and Mom love each other makes a child feel secure.
Because having children keeps us busy we often times can forget as a couple to make sure we make time for each other. It can be so easy to make our children, instead of our marriage, the center in our home. Yet what our children want to know is if Dad and Mom love each other.
So what can can a couple do? Well, make sure you take time for each other. Try sitting down for a few minutes every day while your children are still awake, just to chat with each other. Now if you have little ones this may prove to be a little challenging. If your children are used to being the center of attention, they may not take to this very kindly at first. But as time goes by, they will come to appreciate that fact that Dad and Mom love each other enough to take time to sit together and enjoy each other’s company.
We have heard testimony and seen first hand how this simple practice can even help to cure sleeping problems in children. Parents who have had their children wake up often in the night have said that if they purpose to spend time together every day, in front of their children, that it has cut out the night time problems. Why does this work? Because this is a child’s security, seeing Dad and Mom together. If they are unsure of your relationship they will do anything to make sure that you are ‘okay’. Even to the point of risking being punished if it means that you will work together to solve the problem. You may say, “We do spend time together every night after we put the kids to bed.” This is great, the only problem is, your kids don’t see you doing this. They need to see that Dad and Mom love each other. This can be done throughout the day through other means as well, but like I said before, we often get so busy with our kids, that we forget to spend one on one time together. That is why the tool of purposing to sit down every day for a few minutes can be helpful in demonstrating to our kids that we love each others company.
Taking time out for a date with our spouse can also say a lot to your kids. It seems strange, but we have seen in our family how our kids benefit from us going out together just as a couple. Be it only for an hour or two, if our kids see that their Dad and Mom want to be together, it makes them feel secure. We go as far as even telling our kids when they ask if they can come along, “No, Dad and Mom are going alone. This is for your good.” And we are not apologetic about it, because we know this will help them understand how much we love each other. Our older kids will often remind us to go out together. Even for them it helps to know that we are commited to our marriage.
So today, show your spouse (and your kids) that your marriage is important to you, spend some time together!
Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends By: Sarah, Stephen and Grace Mally
This book is all about (as you would guess at seeing the title) how to become best friends with your brothers and sisters. It covers how we need to love and serve them, how to make peace in the midst of arguments and a whole bunch of other means of becoming best friends with your siblings.
What Sarah, Stephen and Grace are trying to get across in this book is that you don’t have to feel tension, bitterness and annoyance towards your brothers and sisters, you can totally and indefinitely become best friends. You can want to spend time with them more than any other friend and you can help each other out in their walk with God. In thinking of how to apply this principal to my life I have found that there are many ways to become best friends with your siblings. Here are a couple of ways.
I think one of the most important things is to be humble. When you are humble you don’t think of yourself first, you think of others or in this case your siblings.
Another important thing to be is a servant. This is a really hard one for me to do, I always want to do my own thing instead of thinking of others and doing things for them when I am busy. But when you don’t be a servant, and think of others interests before your own it shows your heart and it ain’t very pretty!
Not becoming annoyed and flat out yelling at them when they are, is also a hard one. But I need to pay attention to what they might be trying to say to me instead of telling them to go away.
Also being a peacemaker is very important. Stephens definition to an argument is “ When two people are trying to get in the last word first.” (pg. 139) And I think that is so true! I find myself always wanting to put the last nasty comment in, when I should say something to try to stop the argument, and remember it takes two people to argue.
Asking forgiveness when you have done something to hurt or damage your relationship is extremely important, this is also an aspect that for me is really hard to do, because I have to totally humble myself before that person and confess that I have done wrong whatever it may be. But it is all worth it to restore your relationship and clear your conscience.
Lastly I have to be sensitive to my siblings feelings. I love teasing, and while it sometimes may be okay, I have to be really sensitive that (especially if I am in public) I don’t embarrass them or hurt their feelings.
We as a family have always believed that our brothers and sisters are our best friends because (as they mention in this book) that when you are with your friends you are running a sprint race. Simple words, you aren’t going to know them forever. While with your siblings you are running a marathon. You are going to know and have relationship with them for as long as you live. This book has helped me to try harder to enhance those relationships.
The authors were extremely convincing in getting their point across, they did an excellent job of putting everything plainly and making sure that they got their point across. They also added a lot of real life stories and humour to the book which was great!
This book was swamped with scripture and there was a biblical explanation at the end of each chapter. It was very scripturally accurate. The thing that impacted me the most was probably not the book itself but rather the way they set an example by writing the book together so well. That must have taken quite a lot of work to work together like that. It was a terrific example to me.
The authors were definitely people that I would like to get to know. If there was a rating for the book I would give it the highest number. I would recommend this book to every person who has a brother or sister.
I think the best verse that summarizes this book is…… Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; Ha, Ha, Ha, just kidding! There were many verses to be used to summarize this book but I will pick one. Col. 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.
Since we are going through our parenting course again this year, I thought I might try to give little tid-bits throughout the course.
This week we discussed our goal as parents should not be to have our kids morally 'looking good' on the outside, but that we would train them also to be moral on the inside.
The question often is asked, 'So and so had Christian parents, was brought up in the church, went to Sunday School, Youth and attended all the church activities, why did they rebel when they left home?'
Well this course teaches, and we believe also, that these children were taught how to act moral on the outside but were not taught to process why they believe what they believe. They are not taught to think outside themselves and to the preciousness of others. They know moral action, but they do not know moral principle. They became moral robots.
Moral training begins with us as parents. If we don't know why we believe what we believe, why we do what we do, how can we teach our children? If the principles of moral conduct are not in our heart as parents, we will not be able to train our children in them.
Too many times we give our children parental instruction without giving them the moral reason why. eg. Little Timmy is in the store and he is moving the price tags around on the shelves. His mom tells him to stop doing that OR ELSE! Next time they go to the store Timmy does the same thing again. She tells him to stop OR ELSE again. Next time, same thing. What has happened? Timmy's mother has trained his outward behavior, he stops because he know the "OR ELSE" will not be a pleasant experience. But what his mother has failed to do was provide him with the moral reason why. She should have said something like this, "Timmy, when you move the price tags around, the people who come behind us will not know what the price of the groceries are, because you have mixed them all up." Right away she attatched a moral to her command. At home he was taught the preciousness of others. Next time Timmy comes to the store, he has a deeper reason not to move the price tags, and if his mother happens not to be arouind one time, he will know what to do, because it is not just his outward behaviour that was trained, he will have a moral reason in his heart.
When you train your children to be moral on the inside you give them a tool with which to decide what is right and wrong. You move them beyond just 'yes' and 'no' and they begin to understand the 'whys'. But too often parents are more concerned about suppressing evil in their children than elevating good.
This is not saying that there is a moral reason for everything we tell our children to do. There is nothing moral about brushing your teeth, it is practical. As a general rule, situations concerning people require a moral reason where as situations concerning things requires a practical reason why. But with this comes a warning, that parents do not need to provide an explanation on demand, there are also times the reason will be just because "I said so". This is especiallly true in the toddler years.
So as parents we need to study and know God's morals that He teaches us in the Bible. His word is absolute and teaches us the why's. eg. Phil. 2:14-15 says, "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe." Here is given the command and the why, so that we may be a light shining. In order to teach our children God's morals, we need to know them ourselves.
But we need to be careful not to become legalistic, remembering to put things into context. Not to be black and white. eg. Your children may not be allowed to run after church in respect to the people that are there, but what about when people are not? We need to see the context of the moment. If no one is around, maybe it is okay to run in church? Context will help you to avoid becoming a legalistic parent.
So my challenge to you is, when you read the Bible, read it thinking about God's moral laws and the reason why. To train your child how to think morally you must think in accordance with biblical values. This thinking is crucial in the process of raising a morallly responsible child.
Well I finally have a few minutes to shout a belated blog birthday wish to Caleb.
He is now 9 and I can hardly believe it!
Our episode a little over a year ago, made us realize that we don't know how much time we have with our kids, and in a moment things can change so quickly. So we are so glad to once again be able to send a birthday wish to a special son 'Caleb'!
We are so blessed to have Caleb in our family.
He is the artistic type and many times gets us to stop and see things in a 'different' light.
He enjoys to study how things are made. He likes to draw, make things out of wood. lego or anything else he can get his hands on to build with.
He has a soft spot for little kids and we often find him playing with Mikaya or Brooke.
We have many fond memories so far of the years we have had Caleb in our lives.
One of the things that stand out in our minds are his 'toilet' episode. You know how most little kids will take it upon themselves to play in the toilet. Well for Caleb that wasn't good enough, he rather liked to climb right inside the toilet. We wondered how he could enjoy that since we thought it might be kind of cold and uncomfortable, but it must have been an exciting thing for him because he did it over and over again!
So that's our Caleb. Happy Birthday big boy! We love you!
Wow, life has been full and fun. We've had another birthday which I hope to post about soon.
Some of the things we have been up to:
Getting potatoes and carrots out of the garden. Have you ever heard that if you play constant music to your vegetables they will grow bigger? Well I had a radio out there to scare off the raccoons from my corn in the night. And I am not sure if this is a coincidence or not, but the carrots that were beside the music are HUGE. I mean 10 inches long and 2 1/2 inches in diameter. And the carrots on the other side of the garden were normal and some even small. Hmmmmm. What do you think?
We also helped Mark's parents move and mudded and painted their garage. It amazes me what a work force we have here. Many hands make light work. I think we should go and build a house in Mexico or something :)
Getting ouy our winter clothes, snow suits, togues, mitts, boots. Ugggghhhh.....something I have to force myself to have a good attitude about every year. S0 I am now on the boots. Only mitts left to go, yeah!
Yard clean up, still not done, doing a little every day. Hoping for some sunshine today!
Getting some cows home from the pasture. I think Jen is going to blog about that so I will save the details for her.
Organizing this years parenting class "Along the Virtuous Way". We hope to start in a couple of weeks. We are looking forward to getting together with other parents and supporting each other in the most important ministry we have: Raising our families.