A Little Secret to Raising Kids With Character

Kids become who they are for many reasons, not the least of which, is the grace of God. But just like negative, destructive influences can cripple a child’s growth, purposeful, nurturing ones can cause him to thrive.

There is something I’ve done with my children since they were very young, continuing it as they get older, that I believe has had a profound effect on their character.

It’s simple, really, but it’s done very deliberately. Not constantly, but periodically.

When one of them does something like goes out of his way to help or serve, I give him “the talk.” It goes something like this:

“Brooks, you are becoming a man right before my very eyes!” (I stop what I’m doing and place emphasis on the words.)

“Thank you so much for clearing the table without being asked. That is serving. I love the heart for serving the Lord has given you! Guys, did you see Brooks clear the table without being told? I appreciate you so much, Brooks.”

This talk varies depending on the child and the action. But stopping to deliberately “speak into their lives” about who you hope they are becoming, even at the slightest hints of that becoming, is powerful.

The encouragement is contagious too. I caught Ellia on the cabinet putting away the dishes from the dishwasher. She put every last one away by herself. I had “the talk” with her too, and she beamed. It’s  a small thing with big dividends.


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Diapers & Divine Appointments


I had already changed three dirty diapers today. But there was another one. Which meant an “interruption” in my lunch preparations.

His little face beamed up at mine from the bed. “It’s up to you”, he seemed to say. He depends completely on me for his most basic needs. And it’s then I remember…

“I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did it for me.”

I can change that diaper, with a smile and confident heart, knowing that what the world may call a menial task or an interruption, is an act of love toward my Savior. Isn’t that incredible!

The “interruptions” for a drink of water or a band-aid–those aren’t interruptions at all, but divine appointments to meet my Master’s needs.

And then my heart feels the pang for each time I do grumble as I serve. Do I forget it’s really Him? Yes, I do forget that I serve the King every day. And with whatever attitude I serve, that is what I offer Him.

Is it a privilege? Do I meet the demands of a busy home with a joy that comes from a station of “royal service”?

Let me be so consumed with loving Him that I find delight in the humblest opportunities to express it.

 


Are We Raising Teens Who are Barely Christian?

According to the National Study of Youth and Religion, only 8% of American youth are considered “highly devoted” Christians, possessing a faith that makes a significant difference in their lives.

Kenda Dean, author of Almost Christian observes:

“Even if teenagers immerse themselves in youth ministry programs, are involved in churches, and manage to dodge overwhelming counter influences, they are unlikely to take hold of a ‘god’ who is too limp to take hold of them. Perhaps young people lack robust Christian identities because churches offer such a stripped-down version of Christianity that it no longer poses a viable alternative to imposter spiritualities like Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.

The elephant in the room in the discussion about the National Study of Youth and Religion is the muddled ecclesiology of American churches, a confusion present, not only in young people but in congregations themselves.  We have forgotten that we are not here for ourselves, which has allowed self-focused spiritualities to put down roots in our soil. (Emphasis mine.)

It would be unlikely for teenagers to develop any religions framework besides superficial Christianity if churches have supplanted the gospel with a religious outlook that functions primarily as a social lubricant, with a ‘god’ who supports teenagers’ decisions, makes them feel good about themselves, meets their needs when called upon but otherwise stays out of the way.  If this is the god we offer young people, there may be little in Christianity to which they object, but there is even less to which they will be devoted.

By contrast, the God portrayed in both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures asks, not just for commitment, but for our very lives. The God of the Bible traffics in life and death, not niceness, and calls for sacrificial love, not benign whatever-ism. If the God of Jesus Christ is a missionary God who crosses every boundary–life and death and space and time–to win us, then following Jesus is bound to be anything but convenient.

We reap what we sow. We have received from teenagers exactly what we have asked them for: assent, not conviction; compliance, not faith. Young people invest in religion precisely what they think it is worth–and if they think the church is worthy of benign whatever-ism and no more, then the indictment falls not on them, but on us.”

In short, are we teaching real Christianity to our children? Are we living a life that has been transformed, in every part, by a faith in Christ? And are we espousing the same doctrine as the first century Christians, one that cost many their own lives? While most of us will never be required to give a fraction of that for Christ’s sake, are we willing to give up other things if discipleship deems it? Things that might cost us popularity, comforts, friendships?

Are we teaching a Christ worthy of losing all?

I would love your thoughts.


5 Things That Can Weigh Down Your Marriage (Darlene Schacht)

Darlene at The Time-Warp Wife shares some good words for our marriages. What are  you challenged by?

“About fifteen years ago my husbands brother won $25,ooo from one of those scratch and win cards. I don’t remember the details all that well, but I do remember this: the night that he won, he slept with the ticket under his pillow. He had to wait until morning to take the ticket downtown to the lottery building, and he wasn’t taking any chances on losing the ticket or having it stolen.

It makes sense that someone would guard a treasure like that, I probably would too. What doesn’t make sense is when we don’t guard our marriage. Perhaps we don’t realize how quickly it can be taken away or how easily friendship can be lost when we don’t care for another the way that we should.

What weighs down a marriage, and what can we do to combat it?” Read the rest at The Time-Warp Wife

 


Raising Children to Love Him: Don’t Miss This One Thing! (Live Interview-I’m Talkin’, Y’all)

 

Recently, Christian Heritage Online invited me to speak in a live webinar on the topic of Raising Visionary Kids. If you missed that, you can listen to the podcast HERE.

The interview addressed an important topic for all parents, but particularly the homeschool community, especially now as some of the foundations are being shaken with recent scandals among popular leadership. So I hope you find some time to listen in and I would love to talk more about this subject of  raising children who love the Lord, in the comment section.

We have to be wise and discerning as parents, carefully dividing the word of truth as we disciple our children. We talked about some good stuff in the broadcast that I hope will encourage you as you seek to do that.

By the way, the interview includes a rare “Green Room” discussion at the end and the producer, Daniel Craig, brought up a most important point addressing the responsibility of this generation in light of some of the conversation in the interview. I strongly encourage you to catch that.

Live webinar: Teaching the Reason Behind the Rules


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