Will They Be Like You?


We recently learned that our youngest daughter is expecting a boy in December.  We have two wonderful granddaughters by our oldest daughter so this will be the first grandson.  Well of course I had to go walk through the baby department to see what is out there for boys.  As I was browsing I heard this loud voice and I looked and there was this very tall, athletic man on a Blue-tooth talking away.  He had a little 7-8 year old girl tagging behind.   They were in the little girls department next to infants so I could hear and see the whole incident.  Obviously dad had her out to look for things for her.  Maybe mom had the little one’s at home, maybe it was his weekend … it really did not matter, it simply was not ‘her time’.  The conversation went like this, “yeah man, it was like that game when the Bucs (Tampa Bay’s football team) played … you know, the year before they won the Superbowl”.   OK, time reference here … the man is discussing a game circa 2001.  His little girl probably was not born.  I wanted to shake him and say, “look at her face … see your child … what are you doing?”   I wanted to go to the little girl and tell her to pull up Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s In The Cradle” and play it for her dad.

Where is your focus?  Children know when they are not getting your best.  God’s word says in Matthew chapter 6, that He loves us and cares for us.  He knows our every need and want and He takes care of us.  As Christians we are to mirror God’s parenting as we parent our children.  I do not see God with a cell phone in His hand, watching His favorite TV show, or reading a book.   He is not out playing some sports game, or going to some event at our expense.  Our children get their value of themselves from us.  We tell them by our actions how valuable they are.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing things for yourself as long it is not at your child’s expense.  No matter if you chose to be a parent at this time or not, you are the parent.   The child comes first.

I remember growing up watching a relative with their kids and comparing them to my parents in my head.   If there was a cake to be divided that parent would always make sure they got a piece,  the biggest piece.  Yet if there was dessert on our table, my mom (who LOVED dessert and would eat it at the beginning of the meal  if she could) always made sure we got some and then if any was left she had some.  One time  my dad gave mom the money to go buy herself a new coat, TWICE.  After she returned from the store twice with things for all her five children, the third time dad drove her to the store and stayed until she bought herself a coat.  She taught us how valuable we were.  It was not just ‘things’ either.  She spent time on her knees for us; she made our favorite foods; she went to the school events; was PTA and band booster presidents.  She invested her life in us.  She was a mom first, and “Gwen” … well, after all others’ needs were met.

My goal was to grow up to be a mom like her and to raise children that felt loved and valued and then they would pass it on to the next generation.   Throughout the Old Testament (like in Leviticus and I Samuel) there are stories told of ‘sins of the fathers’ being passed on to generations.  Basically, this means sin begets sin.  A drunk raises drunks; a thief raises a thief, a liar a liar …  an adulterer raises an adulterer; and an inattentive and unloving parent raises another generation of inattentive and unloving parent.  The cycle stops when someone in the chain makes a conscious decision to repent of the pattern of sin in their family and chooses to move forward in God’s strength leaving the past sins of the father’s behind.  Then and only then, will God heal the family.

Leviticus 26:39-43 (New International Version)
39 Those of you who are left will waste away in the lands of their enemies because of their sins; also because of their fathers’ sins they will waste away.
40 ” ‘But if they will confess their sins and the sins of their fathers—their treachery against me and their hostility toward me, 41 which made me hostile toward them so that I sent them into the land of their enemies—then when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they pay for their sin, 42 I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land. 43 For the land will be deserted by them and will enjoy its Sabbaths while it lies desolate without them. They will pay for their sins because they rejected my laws and abhorred my decrees.

Your kids, they’re going to grow up to be just like you!  Scared?

Failing Our Kids

The research is piling up.  In an age when we are more technologically advanced than ever before; when technical advantages exist to enhance educating our children at every age level, the children are becoming less educated.  A short Bing.com or Google.com of dumbing down in American schools will provide you with books and articles that will shock you when you see what is happening.  But, you may already know these facts from shopping.  People cannot ring registers, count back change or help you figure pricing on a sale.  I have friends that would starve without a microwave or drive through window.   They seriously cannot even boil water (Bless Their Hearts – all you Southerners know what that means :-D.)  Guys grew up in years gone by tinkering on cars.  Other than filling their gas tanks, many cannot take care of their car.  Change a flat tire?  HOW?

Electronics and time-saving services and devices are not bad in themselves.  However, they have slowly taken over and replaced cognitive learning skills and even parenting.   Electronics should not be the parents.  We have devices for everything from a quick meal, tooth brushing and singing the baby to sleep.   There is nothing wrong with any of them until we rely solely on them for raising our children.  They couldn’t make something to tie their shoes for us so Velcro was invented.  Using these devices are great time savers but what do we do with the time we save?

Children become dependent on electronics from the cradle on.  Take back your parenting, take back your children, give them their childhood.   Bake with them, draw chalk drawings and hopscotch on the sidewalks.  Get them OUTDOORS in un-organized activities … it’s called playing.

REALITY CHECK:  How many hours are your children (or you) on iPod’s, cell phones, in front of a computer, a DVD or video game.    If your schools are using so many electronic devices that your children cannot read, write, add or spell then it is your responsibility to see they learn.   As parents God expects US to teach our children by example as well as teaching them directly.  Children are not even learning how to write because of texting and emails.  I would have my children practice printing and/or cursive writing.   I would have them make flash cards then play games with them.   AND I would make sure and take time to teach them the Bible.   The Bible says:

Isaiah 54:13 “And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children“.

Are your children being taught “of” the Lord, “by” the Lord and “for” the Lord?  The school year has just started.  Put into place hands on learning in all subjects including His Word!

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!