3 Barriers to a Child’s Heart

Building relationships is not easy, but the alternative is, in my mind, unacceptable. During my interviews with many 2nd Generation Christians for my forthcoming book, Lionproof: Keeping your Children from the Claws of the Devil, I learned many thing about what to do…and sometimes what not to do. I hope their words speak to your hearts like they did mine! (see below for more information about the book!)

Have you ever wondered if there was a missing element in most parenting philosophies?  Have you ever seen families who seem to have everything just right, and yet they still lose their children to the world?  Could there be something – some insidious practice or philosophy – that has crept in to these families to steal away their children?

Sometimes we put ourselves into a position where we make it easy for Satan to launch an attack.  Anything that puts a barrier or a wedge between you and your child is a potential area for deception, division, and finally consumption by the prowling lion!  If we’re not careful, Satan will come upon us, invade our homes, and take our children unawares.

Below are three ways my 2nd Generation Christians told me were very detrimental to their friends as they were growing up:

 

 

CRITICIZING AUTHORITY

Every one of the second-generation Christians I interviewed energetically agreed that it is detrimental to a child’s spiritual growth to criticize a spiritual leader in front of them.  Many of them told about friends whose parents complained about a Christian leader or someone else in the church.  In every case, it was damaging to the young person.  Dianne told me, “My older brother went away from the Lord.  It started in junior high, probably as a result of a split in our church.  Some of the deacons were saying bad things about the church, and it was nasty.  To this day, my mother thinks that all the complaints and criticism caused the church to lose ground in my brother’s mind.  He felt that my dad had been treated unjustly, and maybe he was.  Then to top it off, we went through difficult financial times because of the split, and I think my brother ended up with some bitterness through that whole ordeal.  He doesn’t serve the Lord at all today.”

 

PARENTAL ANGER

Even in secular circles, parental anger is well known to cause troubles in the family.  It comes as no surprise that Satan uses it as a platform for attack.   In fact, one of my respondents put it this way, “Anger is very destructive to a child.  There are two kinds of anger, good and bad.  When we as parents are angry in a good way, it is when we are angry at sin and bad things.  But when we become angry toward the young people themselves, it causes wrong discipline and a wrong atmosphere.  The spirit of the young person gets hurt, and their pain turns to bitterness.

 

NOT WILLING TO ADMIT WHEN YOU’RE WRONG

Lance remarked, “I remember a time when I was nine years old, and my dad got angry with me.  He corrected a problem too hastily without verifying, and later discovered that he had made a mistake.  But instead of ignoring it, he came back and apologized to me.  It was very helpful to me, because I knew I had been dealt with unjustly.  Instead of me becoming bitter, his acknowledgement and apology went a long way.  My dad was not afraid to apologize when he was wrong, and I learned a big lesson from that.”

 

 

Childhood and youth are not forever.  The little blades of tender hay appear in our homes, the young grass pushes up through the earth, and the little lambs are only young for a short time.  The Lord has given us this special time in their lives to feed them, strengthen them, and guide them.  If we do not look diligently to know the state of those little lambs in our “flock,” who will?  I often need to ask myself, How are those little lambs?  Are they healthy?  Do they know they are loved?  God has no hands but ours to show them His love.  Someday, they will rise up and be a blessing and encouragement to us.

He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child shall have him become his son at the length.  (Proverbs 29:21).

Would you like a son?  Bring up a servant delicately – carefully, gently, deliberately – and you shall have your son who will love and take care of you the rest of your life.  Though we may not be perfect, through God’s Grace and by humility, we can prevent our imperfections from adding poison by neglecting to apologize for our wrongs.

Always be mindful of the dangers of criticizing authorities, and recognize that anger and a failure to apologize is equally toxic.  These Barriers to a Child’s Heart may be just three points, but I think with the Lord’s help, we can use these encouraging words to turn our parenting – and even our lives – around so that Satan will not take our children and destroy them in his jaws.

QUESTION: How do you think the parents’ attitude toward authority affects the children? Also, how do you think parental anger affects the children?

Special Announcements:

  • I have many people who follow along on my Facebook page for daily encouragements, reminders, and exciting assignments! It’s a great group of folks – come join us!

  • The date for release of my new book, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil, has been changed from September to October. That will, Lord willing, allow enough time for us to implement some deals I have planned for you! 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!

Also, several folks have requested review copies of the book, but I’m having trouble connecting with you (I think it’s a case of technological retardation 😉 So if you have a blog and would like a review copy of the book, let me know, even if you already contacted me before. Email me at: lisaraub at rocket mail dot com, and I’ll give you the details. I only ask that when you’re done reading the book, you post about it on your blog!

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

 

5 Ways to Build Powerful Relationships with Your Children

I often need reminded of the important role I have in my kids’ lives. It’s so easy to get distracted with all the interesting things available, so building powerful relationships with my children is something I need to be reminded of regularly. Here are some things I learned from the 2nd Generation Christians I interviewed for my upcoming book, Lionproof: Keeping the Children from the Claws of the Devil, coming out in October.

“When I was growing up and we did something against the rules,” Rachel told me. “Sometimes privileges were taken away. More often than not, though, we just got a good talkin’ to. Mom or Dad would say, ‘I’m disappointed in you, for these reasons . . .’ and then go on to tell me what I did wrong and why it broke their heart.

“To me, those talks were worse than a whoopin’. It was a heart-wrenching sick-to-my stomach feeling when I found out I disappointed my parents. I guess when I hurt my mom or dad, it would hurt me.

“I think I got to the age where I realized that they wanted the best for me, and they loved me more than life itself. It was just heartbreaking to think that I would hurt someone who loved me so much. For me, the effect was that I would do almost anything rather than disappoint Mom and Dad.”

Thomas Edison, the great inventor, gave the credit for his success to his mother who deeply influenced him. “My mother was the making of me,” Edison explained. “She was so true, so sure of me; and I felt I had something to live for, someone I must not disappoint.”[i]

Edison’s mother influenced him in temporal things; how much better is the eternal influence of a godly set of parents?

Herein is your primary offensive weapon: have your child’s heart, and he or she will never want to disappoint you.

Here are a few thoughts on how to have your child’s heart:

    1. Keep Home Happy: Focus on the Yes’s rather than the No’s (98% said their childhood was happy)
    2. Beware of busyness – According to a recent UK study, the average working parent spends only nineteen minutes a day with his or her children.[ii]
    3. Kids need TIME, not things. Don’t try to load your children down with THINGS – it only clutters up their lives.  
    4. Pull together as a family– DO things together. Keep independent hobbies down to a minimum or eliminate them altogether.
      1. Sing together, work together, play together! Do yard work, clean the house (or other people’s houses!)
      2. Make memories together! Do something different, and it will be a vivid memory for your young people.
      3. Be approachable! Tell the young folks that you want them to come and talk to you, and then when they do, don’t react negatively.

Josh is a man of few words. His perception is as precise as his sniper bullets in the Special Forces. “I remember getting to a point where I was too big to spank,” he remarked. “That was about the time when I started to realize I didn’t want to disappoint my father. I was around thirteen at the time, and I just still did what Mom and Dad wanted me to do, because I loved them and didn’t want to hurt them.”

Leaning forward, Josh continued, “My dad wasn’t just a father…he was a friend.

Thank you, Josh. I needed to hear that.

Question: What are some other ways to build good relationships with our children? What works for you?


Special Announcements:

  • I have many people who follow along on my Facebook page for daily encouragements, reminders, and exciting assignments! It’s a great group of folks – come join us!

  • The date for release of my new book, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil, has been changed from September to OctoberThat will, Lord willing, allow enough time for us to implement some deals I have planned for you! 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!

Also, several folks have requested review copies of the book, but I’m having trouble connecting with you (I think it’s a case of technological retardation 😉 So if you have a blog and would like a review copy of the book, let me know, even if you already contacted me before. Email me at: lisaraub at rocket mail dot com, and I’ll give you the details. I only ask that when you’re done reading the book, you post about it on your blog!

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

 


[i]No author cited, September 2007, Samuel and Nancy Elliot Edison, http://www.nps.gov/edis/historyculture/samuel-and-nancy-elliott-edison.htm, Accessed April 2013

[ii]Barrow, Becky. July 2006, 19 Minutes – How Long Working Parents Give Their Children, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-396609/19-minutes–long-working-parents-children.html, Accessed April 2013

5 Ways to Show Consistency

When builders in India illegally constructed a six-story structure in Rajasthan in 2010[i], they made many errors, not the least of which was using inferior materials. Inspectors had been called in to look at cracks in the building, and within minutes after their emerging from the structure, the entire building collapsed in a shower of cement, dust, and rebar! The footage of the sudden destruction was incredible! Amazingly, and thankfully, no one got hurt.

In the parenting process, it is easy for everything to look just right on the outside, but on the inside be built with inferior or unreliable materials. When the barricade is erected to keep the Devil out, it is imperative to use high-quality materials in the workmanship.

The most integral material we must use to build our barricade is the glue of consistency. Without it, we are playing with a strong possibility of the collapse of the family structure, and death of the residents of our home.

None of us is perfectly consistent; otherwise, we would be in Heaven. Still, there are many ways we can show consistency in our parenting. In my interviews with 2nd Generation Christians, I came up with 5 of them:

  • Be faithful through the hard times.

“When I got older,” Brandon told me, “I often thought of my parents, and how consistent they were through trials and tribulations. They stayed true to what they taught, and I realized that if they could do it all these years, that’s what I wanted—even needed—to do.”

Joni and Friends and God is so Good Ministries are both excellent resources for suffering, difficulties, and hard times. Even if you have no one to walk the difficult road with you, don’t try to do it alone – get some encouragement online!

  • Be consistent in discipline.

In Steve’s childhood it made a big difference. “My parents were definitely not lax,” he said. “They were very consistent. Whatever they said, that was the way it was. I don’t think they were harsh, because there was a lot of love, but rules were very consistent (dress, attitude, motives) yet implemented with love. They were enforced consistently, too, all the way through my youth, till I was out of the house.

Focus on the Family and The Better Mom are great resources for helping us be consistent in discipline. And don’t forget the good old-fashioned Bible, God’s Holy Word, which can guide us into all truth, and show us our weaknesses!

  • Be consistent in your devotion to God.

Robbie said, “My dad preached about how important it is for a Christian to read his Bible and pray at the same time, same place every day. One week, I got up at 4:45 every morning to see if Dad was really reading his Bible like he said a Christian should, and sure enough, he was there—every single morning.” What you do speaks so much louder than what you say!

One of my favorite resources for Bible study is Bible.is, an app I downloaded to my Ipad that will read the Bible to me every morning. I also daily refer to Daily in the Word, where I get a great application of the Proverb of the day. Often I use my Olive Tree app and look up a commentary while I study, too.

  • Don’t relax as the children become teens.

Brittany told me the story of a dear friend of hers: “I had one friend that I was especially close to. Consistency, or lack of it, was an issue. My friend’s mother ran the home, and her father was weak. So when the kids got older and didn’t want standards, the parents let them slip. Finally they got out of church altogether. Every once in a while I hear from my friend, and she’s having some pretty tough marital problems. I know that lack of consistency is at the root of it.”

Frontline Moms has been a real eye opener when it comes to my teens. Reading some of Lisa Cherry’s posts helps me realize that I can’t back off or shy away from the difficult topics with my young people, and I certainly can’t afford to be inconsistent with them.

  • Don’t cater to a “favorite” child,

or let the youngest do something you wouldn’t let the other children do. “Inconsistencies in the parents kill spiritual desire in young people,” Larry said. “I’ve seen it many times. There are several ways parents can be inconsistent. Sometimes parents behave one way in church and another way at home, and sometimes they laugh at a child’s behavior one time, then spank him for the very same behavior later. But one of the most serious forms of inconsistency is when one parent wants the affection of a child and will undermine the other parent in order to win the child’s affection. We’ve seen it happen in our own home, and it was disastrous. Now that she’s older, our daughter simply dislikes both my wife and I, and is in an abusive relationship. It’s terribly heartbreaking.”

In essence, Larry was saying that those who try to win the affection of a “favorite” child do so because they themselves feel the need to be loved.

For me, the realization that no human can give me the affirmation that I truly need from the Lord is enough to help me not to seek it from my children. Neither they nor anyone else can do for me what God can.

Perhaps you’re like me, and you see areas where you need to shore up on consistency. I know I do. So I’m asking the Lord to help me be more consistent with my family. It may be a daily prayer, but that’s ok – I have a God who gives strength day by day!

Question: How important do you think consistency is for children? Can you think of any other areas where we can strengthen our consistency?

 

Special Announcements:

  • I have many people who follow along on my Facebook page for daily encouragements, reminders, and exciting assignments! It’s a great group of folks – come join us! This week I will probably not be posting anything, because I’m supposed to be on “vacation!” But if something really good pops in my mind… 😉

  • 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. 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

 


Selfish Parenting Vrs. Loving Correction

Through my interviews with godly 2nd Generation Christians, I learned so much about successful parenting. These folks had been raised in Christian homes and are serving the Lord even now, and raising their own children for the Lord.

Asking the right questions of the right people has really helped me. Today, I’m going to share their answers to the question, “How did your parents discipline you as a child?” Most of them told of how their parents did right, but there were some who told of CHRISTIAN PARENTING GONE CRAZY.

Larry, an older pastor in a mid-western town, told me how different his mother’s discipline was than his father’s. “I didn’t get many whippings from Dad, but when I did, it was a good one. But Mom was different. She was very impatient and yelled a lot. She was even what I would consider abusive. She beat us with anything she could get a hold of and on any part of the body. My younger brother picked up on Mom’s bitter spirit, and now he’s a sour person.”

Larry understood why his father disciplined him, but his mother’s irritation could only be interpreted as selfishness. The children reacted to her selfishness and frustration, and it created bitterness.

Selfish Discipline:

  1. The goal of the parent is his or her own comfort. “This kid is driving me nuts!”
  2. Punishment is performed out of frustration and anger.
  3. The parent merely bullies a young person into submission “because I said so!”  “I’m the parent around here, so just shut up and get over it!”
  4. Discipline is not connected in any way with the crime committed, but usually to the amount of inconvenience the parent experiences. “You made me get up to deal with you!” or, “You made me look bad in front of these people!”

Larry’s brother still feels the effects of his mother’s abuse. As a middle-aged man, he is an alcoholic who doesn’t like anybody, and I suspect that few people like him either.

Selfish Discipline is not Biblical discipline! It has never produced happy, productive, and godly young people, and never will.  It is Christian Parenting Gone Crazy!

Selfishness is basically the root of all sin and unhappiness. The Scriptures speak over and over again on the evils of selfishness. 

Selfishness is not happiness and will never bring happiness.”

~Cael Sanderson,Olympic Gold Medalist

Not surprisingly, this is not the way most of my godly second-generation respondents were raised. What method did their parents employ? I’m glad you asked! I call it:

Loving Correction:

Loving Correction is what almost all of my interviewees experienced. In fact, ninety-six percent of them reported that they were disciplined by their parents:

  1. Only when necessary

“I didn’t get many spankings growing up,” Abby explained thoughtfully. “It’s not that I was perfect or anything, I just never wanted to disappoint my parents.”

  1. Rarely in anger

I talked to Todd, a steady young pastor’s son, after church one Sunday in southern California. He spoke openly about his father’s very effective discipline. “I can’t think of a time my parents got angry. There were times Dad pulled me aside and talked to me, but he never yelled at me.”

Though some reported that their parents occasionally got angry, they explained that it was rare. Jamie was one of those people. “My dad sometimes got angry,” she said. “But he seemed to keep the line and not sin . . . preparing for trips, he would sometimes get uptight. Mostly, though, there were not a lot of angry outbursts.”

  1. Equal in proportion to the crimes committed

Sheila said meditatively, “We were never abused. Spankings were rare and consisted of usually about three to five licks, depending on the crime. Most often, though, there was a very stern rebuke.”

  1. With a goal of Gradual training in the habit of obedience

Tracy, a pastor’s daughter who is now a missionary’s wife, told me about the results of her early training in the habit of obedience. “We had many rules, very strictly enforced,” she said. Eventually, the effect of such discipline became evident. “If I was told to take out the trash and clean the bedroom, I would never think twice about doing it in the exact manner I was told.”

5.      Gradually enlisting the young person’s will to service and submission . . . “because it is right.”

Jay, who was quite a handful as a youngster, said, “I didn’t always like what my folks did, but I eventually understood what they were trying to teach me.”

   6. Decisively when the child is rebellious

Having been a rebellious teen himself, Robbie’s experience and wisdom are very helpful to us. “I started going down the wrong path with a bunch of friends,” he told me, “and I ended up hurting my dad’s heart. My dad dealt pretty harshly with me, but I deserved it. It broke my heart to realize that I had hurt my dad. I feared Dad, and it became a fear of God. At that point, God became very REAL in my life, and I decided I wanted to serve God on my own.”

His dad dealt quickly, strongly, and decisively with his son’s rebellion. It became the turning point in Robbie’s life.

Question: What do you think? How can you implement these 6 points? Today, just take some time to pray over the principles, and see if the Lord will show you some practical ways to deal with difficult situations, rather than selfishly.

Special Announcements:

  • I have many people who follow along on my Facebook page for daily encouragements, reminders, and exciting assignments! It’s a great group of folks – come join us!

  • 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. 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