6 “Secrets” to Improve Your Parenting

 

Many of us struggle as parents. It’s a huge job! One of our biggest struggles is, “Am I doing this right? Am I being the best mom I can be?” “How can I improve my parenting?” And some of us are just hoping we can get our children to adulthood without resorting to duct tape! 😉

From the many interviews I’ve conducted over the years, REALNESS is the single most important factor in raising children. In fact, it’s so important that one woman wrote,

“Mom taught us to be real. This is perhaps the main reason why each of us attends church or is in the ministry today. The Mom we watched at church as the pastor’s wife was the same person we saw at home. Christianity was not a game we played on Sundays and Wednesdays. It was who we were. We did what we did, not because people were watching us, but because what we did was the right thing to do.

Mom taught us these lessons and many others, not by telling them to us, but by living them in front of us each and every day of her life; and they are lessons that I will never forget.”[i]

No matter how good (or awful) your parenting is today, you can improve it dramatically.

Here are six quick “secrets” to improve your parenting by tomorrow morning!

  1. Don’t be a hypocrite – a hypocrite says one thing and does another…and sends people to an eternity of horror in the process.
  2. Be real with yourself – Don’t fool yourself into thinking we are something we aren’t. See previous post on 3 Great Parental Delusions)
  3. Be real with God – admit where you’re wrong and see His forgiveness. Don’t bother trying  to put on a front. God is with you all the time, and sees everything you does, so there’s no use trying to pull the wool over His eyes! As a result, your life is the same whether you’re out at the store, at home, or in church.
  4. Be real with your family – Our families desperately need to see a consistent testimony for the Lord. If we just “put on” like we’re some wonderful super-Christian while we’re at church, and then yell at and beat the kids at home, then we’re not showing them the reality of God in our lives.
  5. Be real with your circumstances – When we’re struggling with something, pray, and ask our families to pray for us. It may be a sin, or depression, or perfectionism. When we’re in a dangerous position, pray – and watch God protect! When we’re in need (financially, physically, emotionally,)  don’t be afraid to let it be known. Gather the kids and you can all talk to the Lord about it. Be honest with Him, and humbly ask Him for His help. Then, when the kids see God move in miraculous ways, don’t forget to point that out to them and praise God together! Young people desperately need to see God at work somewhere. What better place than at home?
  6. Don’t try to be perfect – you can’t do it, and your family and friends already know you’re that. Just try to be REAL.

 

I promised 6 things, but just think of these as a BONUS!

What is Realness?

  1. Realness is imperfection transparent
  2. Realness is not having a perfect, problem-free life; it is having problems and really, truly, casting them upon the Lord.
  3. Realness is not working ourselves half to death in an attempt to prove our perfection; it is acknowledging our weaknesses and allowing Him to work through us.

Take these “secrets” to heart, and I’m certain that your parenting – and your whole family – will improve!

Question: What are some other things you can think of that will help us improve our parenting?

Special Announcements:

  • Stay glued to the Facebook page for daily encouragements, reminders, and exciting assignments!

 

 

  • Keep your eyes out for the upcoming release of my new book on this topic, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil, coming in September! In this book, there will be:
    • Not just information telling parents why kids are going astray, but proven parenting practices that have worked for generations that are successful in raising godly children.
    • Dozens of interviews from those 2nd generation Christians who KNOW what their parents did RIGHT.
    • Charts and graphs detailing the results of the interviews
    • Assignments to help the reader implement these principles in their own parenting.
    • And much, much more!

If you have a blog and would like a review copy of the book, let me know! All you have to do when you’re done reading it is to post about it on your blog! Leave a comment here or email me, and I’ll get in touch with you.

Resources:

DONE: What Most Religions Won’t Tell You About the Bible, by Cary Schmidt– a free download on a Kindle device, excellently explains a true and vibrant relationship with God.

Authentic Beauty, by Leslie Ludy – Leslie, as her usual self, frankly tells us that  true beauty is beauty of the heart in its vibrant relationship with God.

The Holy Bible, KJV – the most accurate piece of ancient literature ever written, which has many authors, but one theme – our relationship with God, and His with us! It is God’s Written Word.

i. Christian Womanhood Magazine – I quoted from the April 2010 issue.

For your information, I get nothing from recommending these resources. They are just great books that I’ve read and I think are very helpful.

Linking up with: Monday: Alabaster Jar, The Better Mom, and Moms the Word,
and Happy Wives Club

Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage

Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

3 Great Parental Delusions

 

19 year old Hannah Sabata may very well go down in history as the dumbest criminal EVER! After she robbed a Waco, Nebraska Bank, she fanned out her money on Youtube, showing the camera a note that says, “Then I robbed a bank with a gun, a pillow case and a note.” Her plan was to go on a shopping spree, but her binge was short-lived; police caught up to her within a few days and put her behind bars.

Perhaps she thought she wouldn’t get caught. Or perhaps she just wanted to have some fun. Either way, I don’t think she was planning on doing time in the clink!

As thoughtful human beings, we can sometimes be very stupid. In fact, we often seem to believe that we are the exception to the rules. Sometimes that means we feel that we can get away with something, or that we’re invincible. If you don’t think you’re this way, just wait until you discover your first gray hair!

We as parents easily fall prey to the same delusions. We tend to think, deep down, that it’s the “other family” that has problems, or that have their young people go prodigal. But the facts prove that this is not the case. In fact, the vast majority of our “Christian” young people leave home – and God – at the same time, breaking their parents’ hearts into shivers. (some folks think the attrition rate is as high as 94%!!)

What are some Delusions we parents fall prey to?

1.       “My kids will be fine. As long as they’re not bothering me, they’re ok.”  I think my parents thought the same thing when I was about 4 or 5 years old and a 15 year old neighbor boy took me to the woods to play a “game.” Thankfully I was a feisty little girl, and when his “game” began to hurt, I pushed him away.  But nowadays young people are getting into things – online relationships, dangerous and addicting video games, drugs, etc. – all without their parents’ knowledge. No, our kids are NOT fine just because they’re not bothering us.

2.       “Oh, the church and the youth group will take care of my young person’s spirituality. I don’t have to do anything.”  The church and youth group are wonderful extensions of parental teaching and training, but can never replace it. What we do at home teaches the children much more emphatically than what is taught for just a few hours from a pulpit every week.

3.       “What my kids need is more “stuff,” and lots of activities. Hey, I work hard to give my kids whatever they need. Isn’t that enough?” Don’t fall for this one. Kids don’t need stuff, they need YOU.

It’s easy to think “Oh, that won’t happen to me,” and have our hearts broken. By the same token, we don’t want to be paranoid, but to have a realistic approach to life. Let’s face it, in our society today, there are more distractions than ever, so we must be vigilant.

Let’s not fall into these ruts of wrong thinking, or we may end up with – not just a jail sentence, but decades of heartache.

Over the next few months, I’m going to write about child training. Specifically, I’m going to write about raising godly children, based on interviews I’ve conducted with dozens of young people who have chosen to serve the Lord.

QUESTION: What other parental delusions have you seen? Leave a comment and let me know!

Special Announcement:

 

Keep your eyes out for the upcoming release of my new book on this topic, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil, coming in September! In this book, there will be:

  • Not just information telling parents why kids are going astray, but proven parenting practices that have worked for generations that are successful in raising godly children.
  • Dozens of interviews from those 2nd generation Christians who KNOW what their parents did RIGHT.
  • Charts and graphs detailing the results of the interviews
  • Assignments to help the reader implement these principles in their own parenting.
  • And much, much more!

Other Helpful Resources:

  •   Raising Modern Day Joseph, by Larry Fowler, an excellent book which takes the view of “how to do it successfully,” rather than just documenting why our young people are leaving our churches.
  • Jumping Ship, by Michael Pearl – Pearl is a very polarizing author – either you love him or hate him, but his advice in this book is excellent.
  • Already Gone, by Ken Ham – By talking to many, many 2nd generation Christians who have left the church, Ham has discovered that the majority of young people have their direction set long before they reach 18. It’s a must-read for anyone in ministry, or any parent.
  • The Barna Group, a Christian research organization which provides vital statistics for the Christian home, and many valuable resources.

For the record, I don’t get any kickback for recommending these books. They’re just books I’ve read on the subject, and that I think are excellent.

Linking up with: Monday: Alabaster Jar, The Better Mom, and Moms the Word,
and Happy Wives Club

Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage

Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

 

 

 

 

3 Simple Steps to Looking Good and Feeling GREAT!

Today we’re wrapping up our series on A Lasting Marriage! Just wait till you see what comes next! I’m pretty excited about it, but I’m not going to tell you – yet – what it will be! Anyway, if you missed any of the posts in this series, you can find them all here.

You may remember Megan from my story last week. I only told you part of the story; the other part is just as sad. Like any young wife, I’m sure she didn’t start her marriage hoping it would fail. She probably worked hard to catch her man, and even resorted to incredible means to look good. But after a few years into marriage, she became what she was when I knew her – an overweight, greasy, dirty (shall I say it??) slob. Not only did she not care for her home or her baby, she also neglected herself. And through that one act of neglecting to care for her own body, she went a long way to sabotaging her very own marriage.

Ladies, let’s face it. We’ve got to work to keep ourselves looking good. As we get older, it gets harder, too! Maybe that’s why young women tend to neglect that part – they don’t really have to work that hard, so they don’t work on it at all! But I think there are three reasons for that neglect:

1. We get busy taking care of the kids, and forget to take care of ourselves. A very understandable reason, and one that I was in myself, raising my 7 children. See  my fitness story here for the whole scoop!

2. We get comfortable with our husbands, and decide to “let our hair down.” The girls and I have certain baggy clothes we wear when we want to lounge around and be comfortable which we affectionately call our “Homeless Woman” outfits! 😉 That’s fine sometimes, but if we’re ALWAYS in our Homeless Woman outfits, something’s wrong.

3. We simply don’t think we deserve being cared for. We feel unloved, and so we don’t care for ourselves either. Scott of ChoosetoTrust.com commented on last week’s post “For Megan, seems the house was outward fruit of something inward. Hopefully she’ll work on her identity and not hoping for a relationship to fulfill her.” He is so right!

OK, I’m going to step on my soapbox here. Ladies, whether we like ourselves or not is immaterial. The actual science of the matter is that, if we don’t take care of ourselves, we will slowly deteriorate, and that can be very painful. Soon we’ll be too tired and achy to take care of our husbands and our families. We owe it to them to take care of ourselves. Let’s quit psychoanalyzing this subject and get off our duffs and get a little exercise! (Thank you, Lisa, that was good.) I’ll get off my soapbox now! 😉

Now, for the remainder of the time, I’m going to just rattle off a few things I’ve learned over the years of studying fitness and nutrition. It’s a hobby of mine which I enjoy learning about, so I’ll pass on some thoughts to you.

EXCERCISE:

1. It matters little what you do, as long as you do it! You may hate running, but like to walk on the treadmill. You may love to play outside games with your children, but hate an official exercise program. It doesn’t matter. Just do something to “bless your heart”every day. Check out the Mayo Clinic’s suggestions, as well as WebMD and my personal favorite, Crossfit.

2. Mix up your routine. Your body gets used to the same thing every day, so vary it. Keep your body guessing. Lift weights one day, walk the next, play tag with the children the next day, etc.

3. Repeat steps one and two the rest of your life! There is no bandwagon, so there’s nothing to fall off of. If you get sick (or one of the kids gets sick) and you can’t exercise for a week, that’s ok. Just don’t give up, and keep on going.

NUTRITION:

1. Avoid empty calories of white sugar and starches. Breads, pastas, donuts, and desserts are the big things that makes us tired and sick. If you need a chocolate fix, get some special dark chips and chew them slowly. Yum! For more nutrition  info, check out Trim Healthy Mama & the Crossfit website.

2. Eat real food. If it comes in a package, be wary. Meat, eggs, vegetables and fruit do not come in boxes or bags. Build your menus around them as your focus.

3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for the rest of your life! There are a million ways to make wonderful veggie dishes and meats, and fruit makes a great dessert.

Following those simple steps will pull your body out of its lethargy and put some real spark into your marriage. Try it  yourself and see! I must tell you, it made a world of difference in my own.

For more info, see LisaRaub.blogspot.com and look under the exercise and nutrition headings. And as always, keep your eyes peeled for daily Destinations on my Facebook page! We’re going to move a little more this week.

What do you do to take care of yourself?

Next week, we’re starting a new series on how to Lionproof your children – keeping them safe from the claws of the Devil! Our young people are leaving our churches at alarming rates. What can we do to help them choose to serve the Lord? My new series will outline successful parenting practices that have been effective for many generations. I’m so excited to share this with you!

Linking up with: Monday: Alabaster Jar, The Better Mom, and Moms the Word,
and Happy Wives Club

Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage

Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

3 Things That Make Your Hubby LOVE Coming Home!

 

Being in military ministry, we work closely with young military families. Megan and her husband Mark had been married about two years, and had the cutest little 14 month old boy, Josiah. Megan was the typical young army wife, who married with stars in her eyes and ended her marriage with daggers in her hands. But at sometime between the stars and the daggers, we had the privilege of working with them for a few months.

I stopped by Megan’s house one day to visit. Brushing the crumbs off the couch, I sat and began to talk about the Lord. I tried not to notice, but toys and trash mingled together on the floor, and the coffee table was a mountain of who-knows-what. Her boy walked around clad in typical Tarzan fashion, in a diaper – a very smelly diaper! That was in itself not too bad, except after a time it started to bother me that no effort was made to change the boy. But the dog was very interested in the contents of the diaper, going up to little Josiah and licking the edges of his diaper at every chance he could. Of course, the family pet turned and licked the boy’s face!

Though that was disgusting enough, soon the boy found a long-lost bottle of mysterious liquid (complete with floaties of unknown origin!) and walked around drinking it!! While Megan’s back was turned, I relieved the boy of his bottle and took it to the kitchen sink, where I’m sure it remained for quite some time.

No wonder they were having marital trouble!

Someone once said “Cleanliness is next to godliness,” and after that experience, I began to believe it!

Want a happy marriage? Keep your home in order. Or at least WORK on it. Never just “let it go.” I’m preaching to myself here, because these things are a real challenge for me. My sister, who grew up sharing a room with me, could tell you how horribly messy I am/was, but the Lord has done great things for me. Here are some things I have learned:

Keep your home CLEAN! Or a semblance of clean. Divide your home into 4 zones and clean each zone during its week. That way, your whole house gets a good cleaning at least once a month. And if you don’t get to all of it this month, no worries – it will come around again. For ideas for creating your own house cleaning schedules, see HouseCleaningTips.com, and for a template and printable, see this great article from Money Crashers.

Keep your home NEAT! Work on organizing and putting things away. All of these points are a struggle for me, but especially this one. I am the Queen of Clutter. My son told me once that I was the most “organized dis-organized person” he knows! But through systems such as the Flylady system, the Lord has helped me to make a lot of progress. In fact, I really got a blessing the other day when we had a bunch of people over for Memorial Day and my daughter commented, “You guys are so organized! You’re doing such a good job making this huge meal for a big crowd!” I would never have been able to do it pre-Flylady!

Keep your home nicely DECORATED! It doesn’t have to be a Martha Stewart home, but there’s a lot you can do with thrift store items if you know what to buy and where to put it.

I am Decoration-Challenged, so I try to get some help for this one. My oldest daughter is really good at it, as are some of my friends, so I ask them for help. Generally, I just let them come up with ideas and I do it, knowing that I know nothing of decor! But you probably don’t have that problem. Maybe you’re really good at it, so here’s your chance to let your creativity shine!

Pinterest is probably your best place to get decorating ideas! Though I’m not on myself – I know I’d be swallowed up and never heard from again – I’ve stalked it a few times myself!

I didn’t mention this before, but your body is another “house” you need to take care of. Even the smallest effort to eat right, get some exercise, and dress up for your honey will be appreciated. Check out these posts here for some pointers, as well as some ideas from Trim Healthy Mamas and Crossfit Mom.

Beware perfectionism – don’t turn into Mrs. Law! I can hear it now: “What??!?” (voice rising) “You left your COFFEE CUP ON THE END TABLE??!!!??!” No, no, no! This is to be an IMPROVEMENT for your family, not a DESTRUCTION! Get the kids in on the clean up, and sit and enjoy your nice place, but let The Man be The Man. Believe it or not, he will eventually see the effort you are making, and begin to clean up after himself.

Don’t let your stars become daggers! Make the extra effort to work on your home and marriage, even just a little bit each day, and you’ll see tremendous benefits!

Don’t just take a journey…take a COURAGEOUS journey!

What systems do you use for cleaning and organizing your home? Do you have any decorating pointers we can use? How about some ideas for better fitness and nutrition?

Also, check our Facebook page for “Destinations” (assignments for the day) to pump up your journey!

Linking up with: Monday: Alabaster Jar, The Better Mom, and Moms the Word,
and Happy Wives Club

Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage

Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

8 Ways to be Your Husband’s Best Friend

It’s been great to write about A Lasting Marriage! I hope you’ve had as much fun reading it as I have writing it! This week, I found some really great articles about “Being Your Spouses Best Friend” in my preparation for this week’s blog post. Michael Hyatt wrote an excellent article on How to Become Your Spouses Best Friend which gives a lot of food for thought. Danielle Peters, in Fancy Little Things, wrote 7 Ways to Become Your Spouse’s Best Friend – a great article that gives more wonderful suggestions. And even if you’re not military, Veterans United has a great post on Beyond Loving Your Spouse: 25 Ways to be a Best Friend.

Here are some more ideas:

1. Accept your husband – dirty socks, gas, burps and all! One of our great desires is to be accepted as we are. Shouldn’t we do the same for our best friend?

2. Have fun together! Have a date and make sure there is some play time, too!

3. Feed him! It’s still true that “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” …even after 30 years! Make his favorite dishes and desserts. As he gets older, we may need to modify these for health’s sake, but don’t modify them so much that they become unrecognizable! Apple pie should never become rhubarb sauce…

4. Dress up for him. Of course, morning hair is going to happen, but if you’re still wearing your morning hair when he gets home from work, that’s a problem. Don’t get caught in your rollers and pjs in the afternoon! Dress nicely for him, and when you go out on a date, wear something that’s nice.

5. Flirt with him. Yes, even after all these years, still flirt with him. Wink at him across the room, or raise an eyebrow at him. Drape a bare thigh over his leg (when no one’s watching, of course) or lay a pair of your underwear on his shoulder as you walk by. Ah yes, you can get quite creative! It makes life very interesting.

6. Find his love language and speak love to him. According to Gary Chapman, author of 5 Love Languages, they are: 1) Touch, 2) Giving, 3) Serving, 4) Talk, and 5) Time. Find out your hubby’s, and plan to love him the way he perceives love.

7. Get upset only at true sin. Dirty socks are not a sin, nor are farts or shoes on the steps. Eating ice cream out of the carton is not a sin, either. Pornography, on the other hand, is a sin, as is adultery and spiritual neglect. Take the things that may personally irritate you to God, but don’t blow up at him because he left his shoes on the steps. And if true sin is involved, approach him with meekness, “considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”

8. Learn to forgive. This is a big one, ladies. The only way I learned to forgive was when the Lord brought me face-to-face with my own faults, and I learned that mine are just as big and horrible, but different. It’s the same with you. Your sins may not be as glaring, but they’re still there. Learn to forgive, because you’ll need to be forgiven often yourself.

You may have only been married a year, or 20 years (or you could be like us…going on your 30th year!!) but you can still be best friends. You’re already taking a journey…now, make it a COURAGEOUS JOURNEY! Give it all you’ve got and watch exciting things happen!

Are you and your husband still great friends? Tell us about it! How do you maintain a close friendship with your spouse?

Check our Facebook page for “Destinations” (assignments for the day) to pump up your journey!

Linking up with: Monday:
Alabaster Jar,
The Better Mom,
Raising Arrows
What Joy is Mine

Tuesday:
Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, http://www.messymarriage.com/

Wednesday:
To Love Honor and Vacuum