BEatitudes = Attitudes To Be


BEatitudes:

When I was in college in Atlanta, we traveled over 30 miles on Tuesday night to a Bible study that sometimes had over 400 in attendance.  There was a three-piece band and a speaker.  Simple music, simple truths.  The concept was, “if you teach them, they will come” and we did.  We studied the Bible a passage at a time.  I remember it was the first time I heard the phrase “the Beatitudes are Attitudes to be”.  Most of what God has to teach us and our children is simple truths.  We just like to complicate them.

As parents or workers with children of various ages, we know “attitude”.  We probably get several doses a day.  Have you ever thought about teaching children a conscious attitude; attitudes to be?  Jesus did and gave a wonderful lesson that we should teach to our children early on.

English lesson:

BEatitudes!

TO BE verb and auxiliary verb

  • present singular 1st person: am(I am)
  • 2nd  person: are(you are)
  • 3rd person:  is(he/she is)

Attitudes are something you ARE.   You choose to BE.  It is a decision.  Very early on you must teach children that they are choosing their attitudes and those decide how they act and those actions have consequences.   At the first sign of an inappropriate attitude you look them straight in the face and say, “you need to make a decision.  Make a good one.  If you continue in this ____ (name it – action or attitude) then YOU are DECIDING and CHOOSING this consequence (name it).”  You have to teach them as early as two that they are ‘asking’ for consequences by their choices.  If they are acting out they choose to be punished.  Do not let them blame you.  Encourage them to choose wisely and receive good consequences.

I hear mom’s say, “he/she’s in their terrible two’s” or, “oh, he/she’s carried the terrible two’s into the terrifying three’s”.  Don’t CLAIM it for goodness sake.  Do something about it.  You do not let children control you or your home.  I know I have said it under other sections, but, let me say it again.  Parenting is a SMALL minuscule picture on earth of our Heavenly Father’s relationship with us.  Remember what happens when you try to control your life; you try to control God?  Makes a mess of things doesn’t it?  Well, why are you allowing children to control you and the home?    I see toddlers in control of large adults 4x’s their size and I shake my head and think, “when did you hand them the keys?”  Most turn over control before they are two believe it or not.

I won’t mention which daughter, but one of mine wanted something in the checkout line and I said, “no”.  To which I received a tantrum, her first.  I looked at her and told her she was embarrassing herself and me and that was no way to behave in a store.  I told her to make a decision or I would have to embarrass her.  She continued to scream.  So I dropped to the floor and threw a tantrum.  She was mortified.  She told me I was ‘mbearinsing her’.   I told her I would stop if she did.  😀  Quit laughing, it worked.  We were in Winn Dixie and a mom looked at me and said, “Oh, if I only had the courage to do that.”  There were no more tantrums in the store.  There are those that say not to humiliate your child in public.  HOGWASH! (<~ I have become my mom, it was her fav word).  Half of what is wrong with children is we are protecting them from good child rearing techniques for fear of what others will say or think.  Or worse, what some ‘professional in the world’ says will hurt the child.  The world is not in charge of raising your child.  The truth is, you answer only to God for how you turn out your kids.  Any child still living at home and you pay the bills, is your responsibility, your stewardship under God’s eyes.  I am sorry to say that an out of control teenager did not wake up that way one morning.  It started years before when someone stopped parenting and handed over the keys. It is very hard, but not impossible, to get those keys back and start over.  God expects you do to just that.

He gave you a manual on teaching attitudes to yourself as well as your children.  These are simple Bible truths that Jesus taught in Matthew 5. (This is greatly simplified due to BLOG constraints – everyone should really do a thorough study of God’s attitudes TO BE.)

  • 3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (our BEatitude is recognizing we OWE all to God) God is teaching us and we need to teach children, that we are blessed by Him and stewards of all that we have; we should have a humble and thankful spirit and not a proud and greedy one
  • 4“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (our BEatitude of SORROW  for sin that brings repentance, recognizing when we do wrong and REALLY being sorry) God is teaching us, and we need to teach children, that we should be sorrowful over sin and wrong doing; that we are dependent on the Holy Spirit to walk daily in Him and that we cannot do so without Him. Teach them to yield to that conscience; yield to the tugging of the Holy Spirit.  We know when we are doing wrong and we know when we are ignoring that tugging on our conscience.  If we ignore, the Holy Spirit within us grieves.  We ignore that, we harden.
  • 5“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (our BEatitude of  SUBMISSION to God) God is teaching us, and we should teach our children,  to be quiet and rest in Him, to not get upset when we are wronged but to turn the other cheek and show His love to others as He has shown it to us.  We are to be patient with others as God is with us, that includes being patient with the children you are teaching patience!
  • 6“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (our BEatitude is one of SENSING our need for God and striving to be more like Him) God is teaching us, and we should teach our children, through two things the human body can understand, hunger and thirst.  These needs keep us alive and our hunger and thirst for righteousness are vital to our spiritual life just as food and water are to our physical body.  Priorities must be set and followed.  Putting God first makes everything else fall in line.
  • 7“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Our BEatitude is one of SHOWING our Christ in our actions) God is teaching us that when we hunger and thirst after Him, our ACTIONS will show Him.  This is our testimony in action.  We show love for others as He has loved us.  For a long description of LOVE see my “For The Greatest Of These is Love” post.  We give forgiveness as we are forgiven.  We show compassion, pity, patience, just as we have been shown them by Him.
  • 8“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Our BEatitude is one of seeking His Holiness) God is teaching us, and we should teach our children,  to put away the world and seek only that which is pure.  God cannot look on iniquity so having it in our heart separates us from Him.  To see God, we must have a pure heart.  Pure hearts come from what we put in our minds through our eyes and ears.
  • 9“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God” (Our BEatitude is one of SOLVING not creating problems) God is teaching us, and we should teach our children, to strive to get along and find good in others and situations.  To establish Peace through Him.  Our light in a dark world should bring comfort and peace.  As the old saying goes, “if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.”  When actions display God in us and not us in the world, then we are part of the solution.
  • 10“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”(Our BEatitude is one of SELFLESSNESS) God is teaching us, and we should teach our children, that when we take on all of these BEatitudes, the world will not understand.  Sometimes you will be walked over, made fun of and some will even give their lives.  This is hard for us as adults and certainly not something little children can grasp.  We simple must teach them that sometimes, even though we are doing right, bad things are going to happen; people are going to hurt us.  This is when it is even more important TO BE the BEatitudes through His strength in us.
  • 11“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me”(Our BEatitude is one of STEADFASTNESS standing strong in the Power of the Blood).  In America today, Christians are being picked apart and ridiculed.  You and children will face more and more verbal, if not physical, persecution for standing in the testimony of Christ. During these times our resolve may weaken, or we may become apathetic if we do not stand in His Power.  There are times when I just get quiet and pray, “Lord, by the Power of the Blood, for the Victory that HAS BEEN ONE, I bind satan from this situation.  What is bound on earth is bound in Heaven. (Matthew 16:18)  I claim this VICTORY.”  And then I move in His Power, not my own.

Learn the BEatitudes and pass them on to your children.  What’s your BEatitude today?

Ouch! That hurt!


No amount of good parenting takes away all the owies from your child’s life.  Whether by accident, or part of growing up or even self-inflicted,  they will have pain in life.  Teaching your child to sort through the pain and growing from it can be a monumental task at times.  The common sense ones we have no trouble with like, ‘I told you the stove was hot’ or “see, what did I tell you about running on concrete?”  These daily accidents, although sometimes self-inflicted, result in pain that brings many lessons in life.  The pain of touching the hot stove after you told them not to is an obvious lesson and quickly learned because of the quick consequences.

But, what about the ‘stuff’ we push back and do not deal with until it is too late.  As adults we do this in our life, waiting, procrastinating, deciding it will not matter.  What you have to remember is that you are passing on this pattern to your child.  They are always watching.  How you deal with situations in your life is a daily lesson to them.  I was thinking about this while working in my yard this weekend.  The scripture Romans 1:19-20 came to mind:

Romans 1:19-20

“19For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”

Get rid of your life's weeds.

This is a great way to teach your child a Biblical truth.  Your child is watching and observing you with situations in your life every day.  What  are they learing?  Do you wait until it causes excruciating pain to deal with the issue?

Consider spring yard work, or storm clean up to illustrate my point.  This past winter we had months of bitter cold instead of a couple of weeks.  The unusual hard winter killed most of my yard, and what it did not kill, it severely crippled.  This past weekend I finally got around to the last area.  I had put it off because from the street it looked fine.  There was plenty of green and flowers covering the winter damage.  My procrastination became evident when I started pruning back the area that had been left to its own wild growing.  Underneath were long, leggy stalks with no support that would have soon withered and not passed along nutrients to the beautiful outer growth and blooms.  Near the ground was rotting debris from the storm that had not been dealt with.  Eventually, the plants would have withered and died and I would need to replace them completely if I had waited much longer.  Amazing how all around us in nature are lessons and truths from God.  We have to deal with circumstances as they arise so that we teach our children to do so as well.  Otherwise, we end up with root rot and wild unhealthy growth.

Of course there is the pain of growing up.  Sometimes through no one’s fault, life happens and it hurts.    The death of a pet, or worse a love one; financial hardship that takes away their piano lessons or football camp, these pains all hurt.  A friend moves away, a teacher over looks them on awards day, these hurt.  There are so many hurts as they grow that need to be handled.  They will ask why, just like we ask God why when we lose a job, a love one or get sick.  Life hurts.  The Bible tells us that the trials and tribulations are  testing:

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith— of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire— may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
I Peter 1:6-7

Pruning. What's it doing for you?

Trials build character, patience and faith.  That is hard to teach a child in concept if they are young.  However, the way you yourself react to similar pain is how they will learn first.  Are you patient?  Does the situation make you mad and you explode?  Mad is an emotion (my girls always hated this next phrase), “No one can make you mad.  You have to choose to be mad.”  It is true, you choose how you respond.  How are you teaching your child to react to the pain in their life?

Sometimes though, our pain is self-inflicted.  We have been away from Him in our walk for so long that the ‘pruning’ finally has to happen for us to survive and it is severe.  Only you know if your season of pruning is simply growth in the Lord, a testimony for those watching you or if it is because you have gone your own wild way.  What’s hurting you and why?  Your kids are watching.

Practical Lessons


Today I have spent time adding a new tab to my blog, Practical Lessons.  It is summertime and rather than allow your children to vegetate in front of some electronic device, find ways to teach them about God.  I had an adult S.S. teacher that called this “I SPY GOD”.  It is good for all of us to constantly see God in all that we do and arm ourselves against satan’s attacks.  There is so much to learn about God, from the kitchen to the shore, to the back deck and more.  (I know, but I love to rhyme).  I hope you enjoy the few lessons I have put up and will add to them from time to time just as I add to Gwen’s Pen and Dinner Time.  ENJOY!

PS: These are excerpts from my book and are copyrighted (sorry, have to throw the legal jargon in – see my copyright notice for blog at bottom as well).

Consequences


Actions = Reactions

I am amazed at the lack of ability for people to see that their actions affect anyone other than themselves.  Consider the angry driver that speeds out of sight as the two cars they swerved through head for ditches; the over-eating, over-drinking or over-smoking family member that says it only hurts them; or the teenage who swears it is their life to mess up and none of your business. As you are reading those scenarios you can easily find the consequences.  Yet, everyday we act without seeing the long-range effect on those actions.   The ‘lecture’ on consequences is one of my most discussed with students.

Children often need to be reminded that their actions have consequences, good ones and bad ones.  It is important to give them examples of both so they know it is good actions that everyone benefits the most from.  In teaching this concept you can take a  bucket of water, a tub, pool or lake and hand them something  to toss in the water.  Ask them to toss it in so that the water cannot be disturbed.  Impossible.  No matter what they do, they will not be able to pass the object through the water without disturbing the surface.  The bigger the action, the bigger the reaction, or consequence.  Choices, we make them everyday and our actions always have reactions or consequences.   What defines our actions?

  1. What we read, hear, see = our thoughts
  2. What we think = attitude
  3. Our attitude = character
  4. Our character = actions

If someone’s actions are negative they cause negative reactions which means we must change what they read, hear and see.  It is important to show the flip side of the coin by praising positive actions that equaled positive reactions.  For example, studying, doing homework, etc. = better grades.  Or, showing respect and consideration = receiving respect and consideration, which results in more privileges and responsibility.

Unfortunately, we are in a world ruled by sin.  Sin is a huge pebble thrown in the pond and its ripples are the consequences that are far-reaching, even into the next generations.  In 1 Samuel 3 the Bible tells of Eli’s penalty for not stopping his sons’ actions.  Eli paid the price of ‘in-action’ over his sons ‘actions’.

11And the Lord said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle. 12At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end. 13For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons made themselves contemptible, and he failed to restrain them. 14Therefore, I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’”

Eli’s sin was allowing desecration of the house of the Lord.  He knew about what his sons were doing and did nothing.  Makes you wonder doesn’t it?  I know parents who have thrown in the towel over their minor children and said, “what can I do?”.  EVERYTHING you can, is what God expects.  God holds mothers and fathers responsible for how their children act, what they read, hear and see.  The problem is, parents allow things to slip by until the children are so out of control it will take a war to win.  Some say they pick their battles, but that usually means they finally exit the war.  Raising children is spiritual warfare and the other side is not sitting idle.

Inaction IS an action.  I recently heard two boys discussing hitting back over a senseless killing.  I could have kept walking the class room and ignored them.  Trust me, it is easier.  However,  1) I knew they saw I heard them, and 2) that ‘feeling’ you get inside when you know you are supposed to speak and want to choose not to was choking me to get out.   So I went back and looked at the young man and asked, ‘What will that do’?  He said, “It will get even, I can’t just do nothing”.  I looked at him and said, “You cannot throw a rock in the water and not expect a splash.”  Blunt statements that seem senseless usually get their attention.  I then asked him, “What if they get even and ‘hit’ you back?”  He said, “We all gotta die sometime.”  Death is not a feared consequence any more.  We have desensitized a whole generation.  I asked him if he thought someone would get even for him, he thought they would.  I then asked him, “What if it’s your grandmother, or your mother, or baby sister they hit next and how will those left behind feel then?”  I had his attention.  First, death is not the end of anything, even if you do not believe in afterlife.  Second, there are those left behind after a shooting, suicide, death or self-inflicted cancer.  Even if you die, someone is forced to live with your action’s consequences.

The Bible says in Matthew 7:16-20 ,

16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

Your actions define what kind of tree you are.   What will your actions cause today?

Nobody’s Business


No Body's Business

What Are You Telling Your World?

Once a week we try to go to the beach to enjoy peace and quiet and unwind a little.  We choose a beach that is ‘smoke free’, has a life-guard (keeps the noise down of wild partying) and one that has great fishing and shelling.  Yesterday when we arrived there were less than 1/2 dozen people on the beach.  We settled in about 10 feet from shoreline for the view.  The birds were singing, waves lapping and a nice gentle breeze had the trees whispering.  That lasted maybe an hour before a woman settled in between us and the shore.  I never have understood why when there is a whole couple of football fields of beach to choose from, people set right down on top of you.  She not only was blocking the view, but she proceeded to light up (smoke free beach) which meant we had to ask her to put it out.  The signs are everywhere, however, we are the bad guys?   Then her friends showed up to give her some beers.  They did not stay long so she was left with her beer and nothing to do with her hands but use the cell phone.  She  pulled out her cell phone and began to talk and drink her beer.  The more she drank the louder she became.  The beach had added a few more families by this time but, she did not mind her conversations or language around these small children.  Her business became everyone’s as we had no choice but to listen to all her personal calls to her friends.  I do not understand why people forget that when they are in public talking on their phone, others are listening, even if they do not want to.  Her first call began with her congratulating her friend on being added to the list of  ‘his exes’.   Evidently children were involved because she continued to tell her to explain to them they were a ‘dysfunctional family’.   The details she exposed us all to were unbelievable.  She continued down her list of friends to call and went over a myriad of soap opera scenarios.  This woman was probably in her late 50’s or early 60’s.  You would think she would know better than to ‘air the dirty linen’ as our generation was supposedly taught.  I am sure I will be accused of stereotyping, but you can just see this woman in her living room with her beers, cigarettes and tabloids while watching her soaps.  All of these reference materials make her highly qualified to be handing out advice it seems.

There is a time and place to discuss situations and none of those involve strangers.  Talk shows and yellow journalism have done away with any sense of discretion.  They have coined phrases to use as crutches like “dysfunctional” and “ex”.  The generation being raised in the shadows of all these public disclosures are being so conditioned and desensitized to sinful lives that they are not going to know sin when it slaps them.  God says we are to guard our speech and our minds.  (Colossians 3:2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”) As parents we need to teach our children as we raise them about guarding their minds and their speech so that when they are grown it will be automatic.   We have become a world of gossiping and everyone believes they have the right to know each others business as well as share theirs.   The Bible says in Matthew 12:35-37, 35 The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. 36I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

What ‘business’ are you sharing?

One Step At A Time …


I have fond memories of Bill Weston and his father whom we all called “Dad Weston” coming to our church on various occasions while I was growing up.  If memory serves me correct, they worked with the early years of Youth For Christ.  They taught us a song, that I believe they wrote.  I have not been able to find it anywhere but, it went something like this:

One Step At A Time
Only One Step At A Time
That Is The Way The Lord Will Lead You
One Step At A Time

One Step At A Time

Take That One Step Carefully
Take That One Step Prayerfully
For That Is The Way The Lord Will Lead You
One Step At A Time

Just a simple child’s song, but it has stayed with me my whole life.  Amazing how God brings it to mind during troubled times.  Psalm 119:11 says, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”  Children should be taught the word of the Lord.  By memorizing verses as well as through song.  Most of us raised in the church remember little songs like, “Only A Boy Named David”, “I Will Make You Fishers of Men”, “This Little Light of Mine” and others.  Simple truths taught through simple children’s songs.  The mind, like the body, needs to be filled with healthy food.  Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

We are what we think on ...

What Goes In

  • What we read, see and hear become our thoughts and what we think on (Video Games, TV, Movies, Books)
  • Our thoughts become our attitudes
  • Our attitudes become our character and
  • Our character becomes our actions (Proverbs 16:3 “Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed.”)

Do not allow ‘junk food’ to enter your child’s mind.  Watch what they see, hear and read.

Got Time?


Make Time For Family!

Family that plays together ...

Today I watched several families at church interact and it brought to mind several years ago when my husband and I went out to dinner to celebrate my birthday.   We had a great view of the ocean in a quiet corner.  There was soft music, candlelight, and good food, everything conducive to paying attention to each other.  Shortly after sitting down a family of seven was seated nearby consisting of two grand-parents, two parents and three children.  The youngest was small enough to need a booster seat and the middle child was about 9 or 10 years old.  The oldest was probably 14 or 15 years old.  Everyone was barely in their seats before all the electronics were pulled out.  The smallest had a portable DVD player with ear phones and was watching the latest Barbie movie.  The middle child, a boy, pulled out a hand-held video game player and was furiously working his thumbs.  The oldest girl had her cell phone out and was texting away.  I watched off and on throughout the dinner.  The children were quiet, it was true, but with three generations sitting together there was no interaction among the different family members.  It was clear that electronics had long been the babysitter, their parent and best friend.

Dinner time.  Brings back so many memories doesn’t it?  You gathered every night at the table, everyone talking at once.  Stories of the day at school, a meeting or work.  Fellowship, camaraderie, socializing … just being a family.   Some of my fondest memories are reunions and church gatherings with plenty of food and places to sit and talk.   But then came the gadgets, the electronics that made our lives simpler so we could spend more time together.  Right?  Sadly, it has not turned out that way.   We have lost the ability to communicate and function.   No one can function without their electronics.  We live and breathe by them.  If we have a power failure we will not know what to do.

The term dysfunctional family is tossed around like seeds to the ground hoping they will take root and grow into something.  The truth is that we need to make our families function again as God intended.  It saddens me to see families ‘together’ without being together.  We are going to have to take action.   Somewhere the keys of control were handed over to the children to the point that no control reaches them.  They all function autonomously.  I doubt that you will be the most popular parent when you take the reins and slow things down.  You must start by taking back the controls so that you can function again as a family.  Saying ‘no’ is harder than allowing them to go their merry way.

I believe that by allowing them to run their lives free of control, parents are setting an example for their spiritual life as well.  There is a place for control in everyone’s life.  We all need to control ourselves, self discipline is so important to turning over our lives to the Lord.  You cannot be successful in a  friendship, relationship, or family until you are successful in your relationship with Christ.   You will have to bring everything to a full STOP.  Control cannot be taken over at 100 miles an hour without a wreck.  STOP.  Look to the Bible and see what God says.  “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) and ” Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger (James 1:19), are good verses to apply in handing over the reins to God.  Children need to be trained from early on about control, boundaries and self discipline.  For those who started late you simply have to start small with your children.  You will have to teach them control, self discipline and applying the truths of the Word in their life through the example of your own life.

In thinking about meal time I have decided to start another page solely for meals.  My daughters call me from time to time for recipes and hints about shopping and cooking.  So notice my new tab “What’s For Dinner” and let me know what you think!