Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from a Syriac Orthodox, Jacobite and Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Quad Centum (Issue 400) Souvenir Edition

Volume 7 No. 400 March 1, 2017
 

Chapter 22: Family - Parenting Issues

The Purpose of a Godly Parent

As a parent, you have a very important purpose in the life of your child. You are there to teach them right from wrong, provide for them, and lay a foundation in their life. ...

Seven Ways to Teach Your Kids Respect

We live in a day where respect of others is a dying character trait. Why do we think that bullying and social media rants are so pervasive in our culture today? There's no respect of others. Really, it's just the opposite–most people only think of themselves. Yet, it doesn't need to be this way. ...

The Value of a Godly Mother

Mothers play a vital role in our society. Mothers not only impact their children--they impact their grandchildren and maybe their great-grandchildren. Some impact generations even after they are in heaven because of the truths they passed on. ...

Most Common Disciplining Errors

Disciplinary action influences behavior; anger does not. When it comes to boys and girls, in fact, I am convinced that adult anger incites a malignant kind of disrespect in their minds. ...

Four Worst Compliments You Can Give Your Kids

Parents bear the burdens of the family and hold themselves responsible for their children's successes and failures. There's a lot of pressure on the job: everything we say and do as parents has a tremendous impact on our kids. ..

Why Parents Cover For Their Kid's Problems

Children need more than a parent who will talk about boundaries. They need a parent who will be boundaries. This means that in whatever situation arises, you respond to your child with empathy, firmness, freedom, and consequences. ...

Command and Teach These Things To Your Kids Early

Grab the reins of authority early in your child's life. You must train, mold, correct, guide, punish, reward, instruct, warn, teach, and love your kids during the formative years. ...

Chapter 22: Family Parenting Issues

The Purpose of a Godly Parent

by Greg Laurie

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them.
 - Psalm 127:4–5

As a parent, you have a very important purpose in the life of your child. You are there to teach them right from wrong, provide for them, and lay a foundation in their life. Most importantly, your job is to lead your child to Jesus Christ.

Psalm 127:3 says, "Children are a heritage from the LORD." The word heritage could be translated as "gift." So another way to say it is: children are a gift from God. What a great privilege it is to have children. I will tell you something else: kids need their parents.

Kids need their parents to nurture them and point them to Christ. It is your job as a mom or a dad to train your children and to bring them up in the way of the Lord. Kids don't need Mom and Dad to be their best friends. Sometimes you read about celebrities that go out and party with their children. That's so absurd. Don't do that. Be a parent--and be an example. Friends come and go, but parents are for life.

Remember, teaching your children is a daily thing. It is a lifestyle. The best thing a man can do for his kids is love his wife. And the best thing a woman can do for her children is love her husband. Show your children what real love looks like.

And live a godly life. Your child should be able to measure their relationship with God according to their relationship with you. My son Christopher once told a friend that he knew he was right with God when he was right with his dad. He said the thing that brought him back to Christ was knowing that I loved him unconditionally and that he could always go home. And he did come home.

If you are a parent, ask God today for His help to be the best parent you can be.

Copyright (c) 2017 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.
Source: Greg Laurie Daily Devotions 

Seven Ways to Teach Your Kids Respect

By JT Waresak

We live in a day where respect of others is a dying character trait. Why do we think that bullying and social media rants are so pervasive in our culture today? There's no respect of others. Really, it's just the opposite–most people only think of themselves. Yet, it doesn't need to be this way.

I believe that respect is only found when there is love. If we live and teach our children the two greatest commandments–to love God and to love others, respect of others will become intertwined within their developing character traits.

As dads, we can raise a generation of girls and boys that respect others. Yet, it starts with us and our willingness to proactively engage the hearts and minds of our children. Here are seven ways to teach our children how to respect others that I've gleaned from friends and my own parenting experiences.

7 Ways to Teach Our Kids Respect:

1. Teach them that all of human life is created in God's image and is precious.

This is an essential teaching we must communicate to our children at a very young age and is paramount to learning and living a life that loves and respects others. It also establishes in their own minds that they are uniquely created by God with His fingerprints all over them, and God doesn't make mistakes. This is why I love Steven Curtis Chapman's song, Fingerprints of God (every child is a masterpiece of God). If you've never listened to it with your children–do it. I would sing this all the time to my kids, which reminds me it's been too long since I last serenaded them. If our children value their own lives and the lives of others, love and respect will be a natural outflow of who they are and how they live.

2. Live it.

Like everything else in life, our children will learn to respect others by watching our lives. Dads, if we treat our wives disrespectfully, our children will follow suit. Sadly, this generational cycle of sin is repeated too many times in our marriages. This also holds true for how we treat all people. Regardless of our differences with the surrounding culture or certain individuals, we are called as Christians to carry ourselves like Christ–embracing and exuding both grace and truth. If our children witness this first-hand on a regular basis, it will become their foundation as well.

Dads, words are cheap. Our actions mean everything. As I remind myself often, God doesn't want me to beat myself up. He wants me to look more like His Son on a daily basis. One verse that drives this reality home for me is Ephesians 5:25. If my children see me loving my wife as Christ loved His church, they will begin to understand what it means to respect someone.

3. Never discipline your child through anger.

Always discipline your child through love. This is not an easy one. I've failed with this one many times over the years. However, my adult children in their 20's know without a doubt there is nothing they can do to lessen or increase my love for them. They know that after God and then my wife, they are the greatest loves of my life. Every son and daughter needs to know this. As shared, that love is interwoven within the fibers of what it means to respect someone. As Christians, this is who we are and one of the greatest life lessons we can teach our children.

4. Don't negate or make light of your child's feelings.

This is yet another area I constantly need to watch when helping my children through difficulties or challenging moments in their lives. My wife does this very well. She bleeds empathy for our kids and has taught me a lot over the years. I often joke with my older children that they helped make me a better dad for my younger ones. Yet, even now when my six-year-old is crying over something that seems trivial to me, I need to remind myself that, to her, it's a big deal. I need to take the time to just listen to her express her feelings (not necessarily try to fix it). I have learned that after listening to her, a hug is often what she needs most from me!

5. Look for ways to build them up.

One of our memory verses we continually revisit as a family is Ephesians 4:29, "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." (ESV). This hits at the core of what it means to actively respect someone. It's our jobs as dads to build our kids up in Christ. It's a lot easier to respect others when you've been raised in a household that fosters an environment of encouragement. This is another reason why memorizing Scripture is a must for every father out there. Speaking God's Words into the hearts and minds of our sons and daughters is one of the best ways to build them up, i.e. train, encourage and equip them. See "10 Verses Every Dad Should Know by Heart" and "12 Things My Kids Need to Hear from Me."

6. Teach them the joy in serving others.

By focusing on the needs of others, our children learn that life is not all about them. It's hard not to show respect to someone if you're looking out for their best interest. I also believe God has wired us to enjoy helping others, especially when we're using our unique gifts and skill sets. We do our best to include our children in age-appropriate chores around the house–washing the dishes, taking out the garbage, cleaning their rooms, etc... We have also taken our children along on ministry events through our church and also our own ministry opportunities, i.e. short-term mission trips, community outreach, and ministry conferences/retreats. Over the years, they've learned first-hand the joy that comes when we serve others.

7. Pray with your children and for your children.

Another core trait, alongside love, that compels the ability to respect those around you is humility. Without love and humility, our children will never learn how to respect others. Through our prayer life, we demonstrate to our children that we are totally dependent upon God. In a very real way, the act of prayer demonstrates our greatest respect for God as we humble ourselves before Him. At bedtime, I pray with my children and then I pray for them. I want them to hear my neediness before God and their father's blessings upon their lives. I specifically pray that God will work in their hearts and minds to make them children that love Him and love others.

I always tell people that the man that raised my eldest son, now 23 years old, is not the same man that is raising my six-year-old daughter. I am a different man. By God's grace and the help of my wife, older children, friends and mentors, my little girl will know a dad that pursues these seven examples and many more on a regular basis. I'll never get it all perfect, but I will do my best to teach her how to love and respect others, and perhaps God will use her someday to change the world.

"But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect."
- 1 Peter 3:15 ESV

About The Author:

JT Waresak has been involved in family ministry for the past decade and serves as the Digital Director at Family Talk. He is a graduate of Grace Theological Seminary and has authored several books on the topic of fatherhood, marriage and missional living.

The Value of a Godly Mother

by Greg Laurie

Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: "There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!" Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.
-
Proverbs 31:28–31

Think of the things we've learned from Mom over the years. For instance, our mothers taught us about anticipation when they said to us, "Just wait until your father gets home!" Our moms taught us about logic when they said, "Because I said so. That's why." Moms also taught us about prayer when they said, "You better pray this will come out of the carpet."

Seriously though, mothers play such a vital role in our society. Mothers not only impact their children--they impact their grandchildren and maybe their great-grandchildren. Some impact generations even after they are in heaven because of the truths they passed on.

Paul wrote about the impact Timothy's mother and grandmother had on his life. In 2 Timothy 1:5, he said, "I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you." It shows us the importance of a godly heritage.

Sometimes as moms you might feel like you didn't do your job all that well. In fact, you may have young children today and they're . . . a project. They are a work in progress. Just understand, you need to keep praying and never give up because your impact is greater than you may realize.

Our first president, George Washington, said, "The greatest teacher I ever had was my mother." And President Ronald Reagan said, "From my mother I learned the value of prayer, how to have dreams and believe I could make them come true."

If you have been a godly mother and you have done your part to raise your children in the way of the Lord, you are a treasure and a blessing. Your value is "above rubies," as Scripture would say.

Copyright (c) 2017 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.
Source: Greg Laurie Daily Devotions 

Most Common Disciplining Errors

By Dr. James Dobson

Question: What is the most common error made by parents in disciplining their children?

Answer: I would have to say it is the inappropriate use of anger in attempting to manage boys and girls. It is one of the most ineffective methods of attempting to influence human beings (of all ages). Unfortunately, most adults rely primarily on their own emotional response to secure the cooperation of children. One teacher said on a national television program, "I like being a professional educator, but I hate the daily task of teaching. My children are so unruly that I have to stay mad at them all the time just to control the classroom." How utterly frustrating to be required to be mean and angry to do a job year after year. Yet many teachers (and parents) know of no other way to manage children. Believe me, it is exhausting and it doesn't work!

Consider your own motivational system and your own response to the anger of others. Suppose you are driving your automobile home from work this evening and you exceed the speed limit by forty miles per hour. Standing on the street corner is a lone police officer who has not been given the means to arrest you. He has no squad car or motorcycle; he wears no badge, carries no gun, and can write no tickets. All he is commissioned to do is stand on the curb and scream insults as you speed past. Would you slow down just because he turns red in the face and shakes his fist in protest? Of course not! You might wave to him as you streak by. But his anger would achieve little except to make him appear comical and foolish.

On the other hand, nothing influences the way you drive quite like seeing a black-and-white vehicle in hot pursuit with nineteen red and blue lights flashing in the rearview mirror. When you pull your car over to the curb, a dignified, courteous officer approaches the window. He is six-foot-nine, has a voice like the Lone Ranger, and carries a gun on his right hip.

"Sir," he says firmly but politely, "our radar unit indicates that you were traveling sixty-five miles per hour in a twenty-five-miles-per-hour zone. May I see your driver's license, please?" He opens his leather-bound book of citations and leans toward you. He has revealed no hostility and offers no criticism, yet you immediately go to pieces. You fumble nervously to locate the license with that ugly picture on it. Why are your hands moist and your mouth dry? Why is your heart thumping in your throat? Because the course of action that John Law is about to take is notoriously unpleasant. It is that action that dramatically affects your future driving habits. Alas, children think and respond in much the same way you do.

Disciplinary action influences behavior; anger does not. When it comes to boys and girls, in fact, I am convinced that adult anger incites a malignant kind of disrespect in their minds. They perceive that our frustration is caused by our inability to control the situation. We represent justice to them, yet we're on the verge of tears as we flail the air with our hands and shout empty threats and warnings. Let me ask: Would you respect a superior court judge who behaved that way in administering legal justice? Certainly not. This is why the judicial system is carefully designed to appear objective, rational, and dignified.

I am not recommending that parents and teachers conceal their legitimate emotions from their children. I am not suggesting that we be like bland and unresponsive robots who hold everything inside. There are times when our kids become insulting or disobedient and our irritation is entirely appropriate. In fact, it should be revealed, or else we appear artificial and insincere. My point is merely that anger often becomes a tool used for the purpose of influencing behavior. It is ineffective and can be damaging to the relationship between generations. Instead, try taking action that your children will care about. Then administer it with cool.

From The Complete Marriage and Family Home Reference Guide by Dr. James C. Dobson

About The Author:

Dr. James Dobson is the Founder and President of Family Talk. He is the author of more than 30 books dedicated to the preservation of the family, including The New Dare to Discipline; Love for a Lifetime; Life on the Edge; Love Must Be Tough; The New Strong-Willed Child; When God Doesn't Make Sense; Bringing Up Boys; Marriage Under Fire; Bringing Up Girls; and, most recently, Head Over Heels.

Four Worst Compliments You Can Give Your Kids

by Brent Rinehart

Every so often, you can stumble across lists online of the most stressful jobs in our country. Usually topping the list - and deservedly so - are those jobs that require someone to put his or her life on the line in the servitude of others: jobs like military, firefighters, or police officers.

I've always thought that full-time parents should get some love on these lists. It's certainly a taxing and stressful job to care daily for young children. Parents bear the burdens of the family and hold themselves responsible for their children's successes and failures. There's a lot of pressure on the job: everything we say and do as parents has a tremendous impact on our kids.

Much has been written about parenting styles across generations. Some say the current "millennial" generation is entitled, due largely to how they were raised. They were given "participation trophies" and complimented about everything. But, does it really make that big of an impact?

Focus on the Family writes that "By and large, youngsters aren't hurt by over-inflated praise. Our obvious delight in their stick-figure drawing is exactly the response our little one was hoping for.

But as our children mature, we need to give a little more thought to how we praise them, and how our praise impacts them. Heaping well-meant but ill-conceived praise on kids of elementary age and older can backfire, having the very opposite result parents intended. As it turns out, kids need just the right kind of praise."

The words we say do matter. When we praise our children, here are four types of compliments I feel we should avoid as parents.

1. Compliments that compare them to other children.

To be clear, I think it's important to instill confidence in your children. Especially as a father, it's important for me to tell my daughter how beautiful she is. But, any compliment that compares my child to her peers has the danger of encouraging arrogance and a sense of superiority. Kids who constantly receive this kind of praise go on to view themselves as better than everyone else, largely because they've been told they are. In actuality, it should be the reverse. We are to be humble and teach our kids to be, as well. "Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves" (Philippians 2:3).

2. Compliments that are not genuine.

Lately, my daughter has been having some honesty issues. She'll often misrepresent, or outright lie, about silly things of no consequence. Of course, she receives her due punishment, as honesty is not only the best policy, it is the policy in our house. But, am I living by my own policy? When we compliment our children, is it always genuine and truthful? Kids are smart, and I believe they can see through empty praise. Over time, they may lose trust and not believe our genuine compliments if they've heard too many that weren't.

3. Compliments that focus on talent or results over effort.

In the movie Talladega Nights, Will Ferrell's character Ricky Bobby talks of his father teaching him that "If you ain't first, you're last." There's nothing wrong with encouraging your child's competitive spirit. That is, if we are encouraging them to always try their best. When a child only hears compliments about positive results, he or she may believe our love is dependent on how they perform.

4. Compliments that focus on outward standards over inward character.

"The LORD doesn't see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7). God is more concerned about what's on the inside than what the world sees on the outside. When our children make choices that exemplify strong character, it's a prime opportunity for us to reward them with praise. Those are the things we should focus on.

Parenting is stressful. We are responsible for leading and molding our children into the adults they'll eventually become. For that reason, it's important that we choose our words carefully. At the same time, it's important to remember that we have some pretty impressive backup for the job. We have an all-knowing Father there to help us raise our children, we just have to ask. "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you" (1 Peter 5:7).

A Prayer for Parents

Father, thank you for the opportunity you have given us to be a parent. When we are down or discouraged, or when it seems like we don't know what we are doing, please guide us. Give us the words to speak into the lives of our children. Help us to know the exact way we should encourage them, so they grow into the people you would have them to be. Amen.

About The Author:

Brent Rinehart is a public relations practitioner and freelance writer. He blogs about the amazing things parenting teaches us about life, work, faith and more at www.apparentstuff.com. You can also follow him on Twitter.

Source: Christianity.com Daily Update

Why Parents Cover For Their Kid's Problems
 "In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold."
-Ephesians 4:26-27

Children need more than a parent who will talk about boundaries. They need a parent who will be boundaries. This means that in whatever situation arises, you respond to your child with empathy, firmness, freedom, and consequences. This is how God handles his children, and he is our model. But, sometimes parents contribute to the problem by trying to justify their kid's behavior, rather than addressing the issue.

Setting boundaries with kids isn't about "making" your child do anything. It is much more about structuring your child's existence so that he experiences the consequences of his behavior, thus leading him to be more responsible and caring. Use the following three key steps to help begin the process with your kids:

Step 1: Acknowledge that your child is not perfect.

All kids are immature sinners; this is our human condition. Some parents have difficulty with this first step. They deny their child's behavior. They rationalize genuine problems. For example, smarting off becomes a cute sense of humor. Laziness becomes fatigue. Intrusiveness becomes high-spiritedness.

Parents rationalize their child's problems for many reasons. Some do it to avoid guilty feelings. Some don't want their own perfectionism challenged. Some feel as if their child is being victimized. Others don't want to be embarrassed. Still others don't want to go through the effort of disciplining. Parents need to look at the possibility that they might be sacrificing their child's well-being to protect their own sense of comfort and well-being. God never denied our craziness, and he went through the ultimate discomfort to solve the problem. Be a parent.

Step 2: Identify problems that aren't really problems.

After acknowledging that your child isn't perfect, the next step is to identify that some of your child's behavior problems aren't really the problem. The action or attitude driving you crazy isn't the real issue. It is the symptom of another issue, which in many cases is a boundary problem. Your child's behavior may be driven by something broken or undeveloped within her character. The symptom alerts you to the inner problem.

Don't just react to the symptom, or you will be guaranteeing more problems later. Parents often have a knee-jerk reaction in a crisis, then back off from their job when the crisis resolves. A boundaryless child will have symptoms until she develops boundaries. Here are some examples of problems that aren't really the problem:

Outward Problem:
Bad Grades
Control other kids
Doesn't listen to instruction
Defiant attitude

Boundary Problem:
Lack of concern about consequences
Lasck of respect for other's boundaries
Lack of fear of consequences
Lack of boundaries or entitlement

Step 3: Realize that time does not heal problems

The third step you will need to come to terms with is that time does not heal all. Many parents avoid addressing boundary problems because someone told them, "Just wait it out. They'll get older." Yes, your kids will get older. But, how many 42-year-olds do you know who are getting older but still have no boundaries? Time is only a context for healing. It is not the healing process itself. Infections need more than time; they need antibiotics.

In fact, avoiding dealing with problems in your child simply gives the Devil more opportunity to stunt his growth (see Ephesians 4:26-27). Time is a necessary but not sufficient condition for boundary growth and repair. You also need lots of love, grace, and truth for your child. Get involved in the repair process. With nothing but time, things do not improve, but break down further.

The words "parenting" and "problems" sometimes seem to be redundancies. You may simply be preventing problems in your child. Or you may have a troublesome situation that is breaking your heart. Yet, God has anticipated it, is fully aware of it, and wants to help you to help your child develop boundaries. He has provided hope for your and your child's future that is real and helpful.

Don't give up on your child, even as they enter adulthood. You are the only mom or dad they will ever have; no one in the world has the position of influence in their heart that you do.
 

Command and Teach These Things To Your Kids Early
Scripture: 1 Timothy 4:11

A pediatrician received a telephone call from the anxious mother of a six-month-old baby. "I think he has a fever," she said nervously. "Well," the doctor replied, "did you take his temperature?" "No," she said. "He won't let me insert the thermometer."

Isn't it amazing that a child, who only a few months ago was helpless and dependent, is capable of defying the big adults who would try to control him? The truth is, we human beings are born with a rebellious nature. Babies are not innately "good," as some believe. Those who support this theory say that bad experiences alone are responsible for bad behavior. Scripture indicates otherwise. King David said, "In sin did my mother conceive me" (Psalm 51:5, kjv). Paul tells us that sin has infected every person who ever lived: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Even from birth we are naturally inclined toward rebellion, selfishness, dishonesty, and the like, with or without bad associations.

For this reason, we urge you to grab the reins of authority early in your child's life. You must train, mold, correct, guide, punish, reward, instruct, warn, teach, and love your kids during the formative years. Your purpose is to help shape and develop their inner nature, and especially in the case of strong-willed kids, to keep it from tyrannizing the entire family. Do your best; then trust that your children will turn over their souls to Jesus to cleanse them and make them "wholly acceptable" to the Master.

Before you say good night…

Do you expect your kids to learn responsible behavior on their own?

How can you help each other to properly use parental authority?

Father, help us to mold those aspects of ourselves and our children that make us more like You. Show us how to choose the right response to each family situation, ultimately preparing our children to turn their lives over to You. Amen.

From Night Light For Parents, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

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