Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from a Jacobite and Orthodox Perspective

Malankara World Journal
Penta Centum Souvenir Edition
Volume 8 No. 500 October 14, 2018


Chapter - 24: Family - Parenting

A Parenting Guide For The Perplexed By Rabbi Y.Y. Rubinstein

Children have to make their own way, and that way is unlikely to be a replica of their parents' way. It won't necessarily conform to the outcome they would have chosen for their child.  ...

Advice To Parents by Saint Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)

The gospel tells us, that a good plant cannot produce bad fruit, and that a bad one cannot produce good fruit. A good father brings up good children. But, if the parents are wicked, how can the children be virtuous? It is very difficult to find children virtuous, who are brought up by immoral parents. ...

Is Your Child Depressed? By Dr. Meg Meeker

Parents of teenagers can have difficulty differentiating normal teen separation behavior from depression. Here’s how you can do this. ...

Living as Sons and Daughters, Not Slaves by Os Hillman

Satan wants us to see ourselves as slaves and orphans, not sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. The marketplace wants to make us slaves living from performance instead of our heart. ...

Bear with one another charitably and love your Children by Fr. Tommy Lane

 A woman once asked Mother Teresa, asked, "You have done so much to make the world a better place. What can we do?" Mother Teresa smiled and simply said, "Love your children."  "There are other things you can do, but that is the best. Love your children. Love your children as much as you can. That is the best." ...

How to Raise Your Son by God's Design by Whitney Hopler

God has created boys according to His good design. As the parent of a son, your sacred duty is to help him grow up to manhood in ways that honor that divine design. ...

Christian Parenting by Edward Bickersteth

The inconsistencies of Christian parents in their conduct and conversation, have a most pernicious influence over their children. The spirit of the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, manifested by a parent - are eagerly and most naturally imbibed by children. They are creatures of imitation in all things - but they have a natural aptitude in imitating whatever is wrong. ..

12 Truths I Want My Daughter to Know before She Enters College by Cindi McMenamin

These are 12 things I wanted my own daughter to know before she entered college – and 12 things she is still, by the grace of God, holding fast to today..

Setting a Parental Agenda by Paul Tripp

 Parenting teenagers is a difficult responsibility. We don't have to deny the reality that as a person passes from childhood into adulthood, the transition can be tumultuous....

The Idol of Appreciation by Paul Tripp

Children should appreciate their parents. Yet, hear me now mothers and fathers - being appreciated cannot be our goal. When it becomes the thing we live for, we'll unwittingly look with hyper-vigilant eyes for appreciation in every situation. ...

Parenting - The Idol of Success by Paul Tripp

"This isn't the way it's supposed to be. We tried to faithfully do everything God called us to do as parents, and look what we ended up with! I ask myself, if I knew that this was the way it would all turn out, would we have ever chosen to have children? I can't describe how disappointed and embarrassed I am." ...

Ben Franklin's Biggest Regret By Craig Ballantyne

In 1736, Ben Franklin, long an opponent of inoculating children against Smallpox, lost his son Franky to the disease. Losing a child must be the greatest burden a parent could bear, but to do so in this manner surely yielded extra heartache to Franklin and his wife Deborah, who had born no other children. ...

Chapter - 24: Family - Parenting

A Parenting Guide For The Perplexed

By Rabbi Y.Y. Rubinstein

Most humor contains a touch of cruelty. After all, watching someone slipping on a banana peel is watching someone getting hurt. I always liked the joke about the grandfather who says to his grandson, "You know, son, I'm eighty-three today and my memory is just as good as when I was your age, touch wood!" The grandfather knocks twice on the table and then looks up, startled, and says, "Come in!"

Since last month, when I had to find an assisted-living facility for my eighty-six-year-old mother, that joke doesn't seem so funny anymore.

I love my mum. Perhaps because I am an only child I am especially close to her. And there are so many memories that I can retrieve so very easily, of her holding my hand when we visited the dentist or drying away tears when I was hurt or scared. And now, when I take her for walks, she has to hold my hand, and she's as vulnerable and reliant on me as I was on her all those years ago.

Our Sages point out that the tablets that Moses brought down from Mt. Sinai had the Ten Commandments split into two distinct categories (Mechilta, Exodus 20:13). On the first side were our obligations to the Almighty — don't have other gods, don't take His Name in vain, etc. The second five deal with people's relationships and their obligations to each other — don't steal, don't kill, don't commit adultery. It is among the first five, among those commandments, where you find "Honor your father and your mother."

It's on the wrong side, in the wrong column!

Our sages say the reason it appears there is because ultimately the one who put you with those two human beings — your mother and father — was none other than the Almighty. He matched you to them and, just as importantly, them to you.

When a young wife first informs her husband of the most exciting piece of news he will ever hear, that he is going to become a father, he is elated. The young couple can look forward to months of anticipation and planning, from the name they are going to give this new child to what sort of stroller would be the best. One thing that is not likely to change in any significant way is their personalities. Who they were before the news of the new arrival was confirmed is who they'll be after the baby is delivered. Both as individuals and as a couple, they possess many strengths. They have been born with character traits that make them shine: kindness, perhaps, generosity, and many others, too. And, like every other human being, there will also be deficiencies in those same personalities and characters. They may be a little selfish or insecure; they may be indecisive or angry. The combination of factors and traits that made them who they were before the baby was born will be identical after their baby is born. Parenthood does not bestow perfection.

That will be the baby's first challenge, the first challenge any human being faces — learning to deal with the human beings who brought him into the world. The child will have to learn from both their strengths and their weaknesses.

In just a few words, King Solomon encapsulated the most essential ingredients for successful child-rearing: "Educate your child according to his or her own way" (Proverbs 22:6). There is much to say on those few words.

All parents have ideas and aspirations for their children. They feel (often correctly) that they know what is best for the child. Ultimately they will apply their own upbringing and background as their point of reference. Most will want their children to "follow in their footsteps."

But their upbringing might well be out of date, no longer appropriate to the world in which their children are growing up.

How a mom and dad were brought up may have worked well for their personalities and those of their parents, but it may not work at all for their children.

I knew of two brothers who were once asked by an uncle what they wanted to be when they grew up. Their father was a very strong personality and beamed when his oldest son replied that he had several ambitions. He wished to become a stockbroker. Later he went on to become a stockbroker. He wished to develop a talent in public speaking, and he went on to do exactly that. He also aspired to be a rabbi, and eventually he became a rabbi, too.

The uncle turned to the younger brother and said, "And you, David, what do you want to be when you grow up?" The boy did not share his older brother's confidence or determination. He replied hesitantly, "I think I want to become an actor." The father smiled benignly, leaned forward, and said, "'s pronounced doctor!"

Although I agree with the father that medicine is an infinitely better choice than the one his son contemplated, the father's approach might need refining according to King Solomon's prescription.

Children have to make their own way, and that way is unlikely to be a replica of their parents' way. It won't necessarily conform to the outcome they would have chosen for their child.

I wanted all my sons to be rabbis. One is a rabbi. Another is a successful photographer, one is an architect, and one works in computers. All are devoted Torah Jews.

Isaac chose a different path in Torah from his father, Abraham. Jacob chose a different path in Torah from his father, Isaac.

The Torah has all the advice necessary for getting it right when it comes to raising children. The account in this week's Torah reading, Vayeishev , illustrates the likely outcome of showing favoritism to one child above another.

Jacob famously made Joseph a "kesones passim." The world translates this as a "coat of many colors." The foremost commentator, Rashi, explains that passim means "fine wool." The Alshich HaKadosh says that the meaning of kesones becomes apparent from a careful reading of the verse that reports his brothers removing it from him after they took him from the pit in which he had been imprisoned: They took the coat, the fine woolen coat, from upon him. (Genesis 37:23)

A coat does not sit on a person. Nor does a jacket or a shirt. The only garment that a person wears that is literally "on" him is an undershirt.

So the thing that caused all the conflict among the founders of the Jewish nation was a woolly undershirt!

It almost seems laughable. It was hardly the most extravagant or luxurious gift, yet it was enough to spark jealousy and hatred among the brothers. The lesson is that parents must never show favoritism even if (which is very likely) they have a favorite.

I know someone who was sitting shivah (mourning) with his six brothers for their father. I knew the father well; he was a pious Jew and one of Rabbi Dessler's disciples.

His life story is worthy of a book in its own right; it was filled with astonishing drama and adventure (he had worked for the British Intelligence Agency MI5 during the Second World War). In the course of the week, when the sons were reminiscing about their father, they came to an amazing discovery. Each one had believed themselves to be their father's favorite!

That was a brilliant parent indeed. He had made the effort, despite an astonishingly full and hectic life, to make each son think that he was getting special treatment.

Some parents, like this father, are geniuses at child-rearing. The frequency of genius, however, is by definition very rare. Some are very poor and obviously most parents (like me) are average — sometimes getting it right and sometimes getting it wrong, too. And most of us are quite convinced that we could do a much better job at being a parent than our parents...until we actually become parents, that is.

I recall one of my sons coming to see me while he was experiencing a major crisis. The wing had broken off his toy airplane.

He opened my door when I was reading a letter I had just received from my bank manager. He required me to put money into my account, and I did not know how I would find the sum demanded.

My son started to explain the disaster that had just occurred in his life and held up his stricken toy to bring home the scale of the crisis. I shouted at him in exasperation to leave me alone. "Can't you see I am busy?" As soon he left the room I felt guilty and full of remorse.

Immediately I recalled an almost identical event that had occurred in my own boyhood. The arm had come off my teddy bear. I rushed to my father to seek immediate first aid. He, too, shouted at me to leave him alone, and I distinctly remember leaving his room thinking what a disappointment he was as a parent.

Of course, as a little boy I had no way of estimating whether my father was struggling with a letter from his bank manager or with some other worry that had left him at the end of his tether.

We all think we could make better parents than our own.

One of the things that the prophet Elijah is supposed to achieve when he reveals himself at the dawn of the messianic age is "to restore the hearts of the fathers to their sons and the hearts of the sons to their fathers" (Malachi 3:24). The much-discussed generation gap is hardly a new phenomenon. Apparently it will only end through supernatural intervention. It can be minimized before that, though, with some simple steps.

A wise rabbi once asked what the Torah means when it says that the Jewish people stood at Mount Sinai and "saw the sounds" (Exodus 20:15). How do you see a sound?

He provided a brilliant and novel answer. You may manage to send you son or daughter to the very best school to acquire the very best education possible. But when your child returns home at the end of the day and does not "see the sounds" he has heard in school, the entire educational endeavor will be in jeopardy.

Children spot hypocrisy and dual standards a million miles away, and it aggressively corrodes the respect and admiration upon which the ideal parent-child relationship is built and sustained. That is one step to bridging the generation gap.

Second, it is essential to remember that as much as you were chosen for them, they were chosen for you. No one was better suited to look after them. For most of us, that truth might seem very remote from the reality of our day-to-day interactions and struggles with our children and teenagers. It is then that you have to seek allies.

Long before psychotherapy and counseling became major industries, generations of Jews have known that it is not a sign of failure to admit that you need a fresh pair of eyes to look at a problem that is leaving you staring into an impenetrable mist. It takes more than parents to successfully raise a child. You need the support and help of teachers and family as well as other parents and grandparents.

When I go to visit my mother in her care home, I often think back to my childhood. Sometimes I ask myself, "Was my mum a genius at raising me?" The answer is a very definite no. She was just average, but now that she holds my hand and looks to me to look after her, I so clearly recall the thousands of times she looked after me and helped me in countless ways and I'm grateful to Hashem because He gave her to me.

JWR contributor Rabbi YY Rubinstein is a world renowned educator, lecturer, radio broadcaster, and seasoned author whose articles have appeared in Hamodia and other periodicals. His newest book, That's Life: Torah Wisdom and Wit to Live By, published by Targum Press, is available at Jewish bookstores and at .

Source: Jewish World Review
© 2011, Rabbi Y. Y. Rubinstein
Advice To Parents

by Saint Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)

Saint Alphonsus expounds on the privilege and responsibilities of parenthood as a special vocation from God. The wisdom of this holy man has guided and fortified Christian for over two hundred years.

The gospel tells us, that a good plant cannot produce bad fruit, and that a bad one cannot produce good fruit. We learn from this, that a good father brings up good children. But, if the parents are wicked, how can the children be virtuous? Our Lord says, in the same gospel, Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? (Matt. 7:16). So, it is impossible, or rather very difficult, to find children virtuous, who are brought up by immoral parents. Fathers and mothers, be attentive to this sermon, which is of great importance to the eternal salvation of yourselves and of your children. Be attentive, young men and young women, who have not as yet chosen a state in life. If you wish to marry, learn the obligations which you contract with regard to the education of your children, and learn also, that if you do not fulfill them, you shall bring yourselves and all your children to damnation. I shall divide this into two points:

1. I shall show how important it is to bring up children in habits of virtue

2. I shall show with what care and diligence a parent ought to labor to bring them up well.

A father owes two obligations to his children; he is bound to provide for their corporal wants, and to educate them in the habits of virtue. It is not necessary to say anything else about the first obligation, than, there are some fathers more cruel than the most ferocious of wild beasts, for these squander away in eating, drinking, and pleasure, all their property, or all the fruits of their industry, and allow their children to die of hunger. Let us discuss education, which is the subject of this article.

It is certain that a child's future good or bad conduct depends on his being brought up well or poorly. Nature itself teaches every parent to attend to the education of his offspring. God gives children to parents, not that they may assist the family, but that they may be brought up in the fear of God, and be directed in the way of eternal salvation. "We have," says Saint John Chrysostom, "a great deposit in children, let us attend to them with great care." Children have not been given to parents as a present, which they may dispose of as they please, but as a trust, for which, if lost through their negligence; they must render an account to God.

One of the great Fathers says that on the day of judgment, parents will have to render an account for all the sins of their children. So, he who teaches his son to live well, shall die a happy and tranquil death. He that teaches his son...when he died, he was not sorrowful, neither was he confounded before his enemies (Eccl. 30: 3,5). And he will save his soul by means of his children, that is, by the virtuous education which he has given them. She shall be saved through childbearing (I Tim. 2:15).

But, on the other hand, a very uneasy and unhappy death will be the lot of those who have labored only to increase the possessions, or to multiply the honors of their family, or who have sought only to lead a life of ease and pleasure, but have not watched over the morals of their children. Saint Paul says that such parents are worse than infidels. But if any man have not care of his own, and especially of those of his house, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel (I Tim. 5:8).

Were fathers or mothers to lead a life of piety and continual prayer, and to communicate every day, they should be damned if they neglected the care of their children.

If all fathers fulfilled their duty of watching over the education of their children, we should have but few crimes. By the bad education which parents give to their offspring, they cause their children, says Saint John Chrysostom, to rush into many grievous vices; and thus they deliver them up to the hands of the executioner. So it was, in one town, a parent, who was the cause of all the irregularities of his children, was justly punished for his crimes with greater severity than the children themselves. Great indeed is the misfortune of the child that has vicious parents, who are incapable of bringing up their children in the fear of God, and who, when they see their children engage in dangerous friendships and in quarrels, instead of correcting and chastising them, they take compassion on them, and say, "What can I do? They are young; hopefully they will grow out of it." What wicked words, what a cruel education! Do you hope that when your children grow up, they will become saints? Listen to what Solomon says, "A young man, according to his way, even when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6). A young man who has contracted a habit of sin, will not abandon it even in his old age. His bones, says holy Job, will be filled with the vices of his youth, and they will sleep with him in the dust (Job 20:11). When a young person has lived in evil habits, his bones will be filled with the vices of his youth, so that he will carry them to the grave, and the impurities, blasphemies, and hatred to which he was accustomed in his youth, will accompany him to the grave, and will sleep with him after his bones are reduced to dust and ashes. It is very easy, when they are small, to train children to habits of virtue, but, when they have come to manhood, it is equally difficult to correct them, if they have learned habits of vice.

Let us come to the second point, that is, to the means of bringing up children in the practice of virtue. I beg you, fathers and mothers, to remember what I now say to you, from on it depends the eternal salvation of your own souls, and of the souls of your children.

Saint Paul teaches sufficiently, in a few words, in what the proper education of children consists. He says that it consists in discipline and correction. And you, fathers, provoke not your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and correction of the Lord (Ephes. 5:4). Discipline, which is the same as the religious regulation of the morals of children, implies an obligation of educating them in habits of virtue by word and example. First, by words: a good father should often assemble his children, and instill into them the holy fear of God. It was in this manner that Tobias brought up his little son. The father taught him from his childhood to fear the Lord and to fly from sin. And from infancy he taught him to fear God and abstain from sin (Tobias 1:10). The wise man says, that a well educated son is the support and consolation of his father. Instruct your son, and he will refresh you, and will give delight to your soul (Prov. 29:17). But, as a well instructed son is the delight of his father's soul, so an ignorant child is a source of sorrow to a father's heart, for the ignorance of his obligations as a Christian is always accompanied with a bad life.

It was related that, in the year 1248, an ignorant priest was commanded, in a certain synod, to make a discourse. He was greatly agitated by the command and the Devil appearing to him, instructed him to say, "The rectors of infernal darkness salute the rectors of parishes, and thank them for their negligence in instructing the people; because from ignorance proceeds the misconduct and the damnation of many."

The same is true of negligent parents. In the first place, a parent ought to instruct his children in the truths of the Faith, and particularly in the four principle mysteries. First, that there is but One God, the Creator and Lord of all things; secondly, that this God is a remunerator, Who, in the next life, will reward the good with the eternal glory of Paradise, and will punish the wicked with the everlasting torments of Hell; thirdly, the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, that is, that in God there are Three Persons, Who are only One God, because They have but One Essence; fourthly, the mystery of the Incarnation of the Divine Word, the Son of God, and True God, Who became man in the womb of Mary, and suffered and died for our salvation.

Should a father or mother say, "I myself do not know these mysteries," can such an excuse be admitted? Can one sin excuse another? If you are ignorant of these mysteries, you are obliged to learn them, and afterwards to teach them to your children. At least, send your children to a worthy catechist. What a miserable thing to see so many fathers and mothers, who are unable to instruct their children in the most necessary truths of the Faith, and who, instead of sending their sons and daughters to Christian doctrine, employ them in occupations of little account, and when they are grown up, they do not know what is meant by mortal sin, by Hell, or eternity. They do not even know the Creed, the Our Father, or the Hail Mary, which every Christian is bound to learn under pain of mortal sin.

Religious parents not only instruct their children in these things, which are the most important, but they also teach them the acts which ought to be made every morning after rising. They teach them first, to thank God for having preserved their life during the night, secondly to offer to God all their good actions which they will perform, and all the pains which they will suffer during the day, thirdly, to implore of Jesus Christ and Our Most Holy Mother Mary to preserve them from all sin during the day. They teach them to make, every evening, an examination of conscience and an act of contrition. They also teach them to make every day, the acts of Faith, Hope and Charity, to recite the Rosary, and to visit the Blessed Sacrament. Some good fathers of families are careful to get a book of meditations to read, and to have mental prayer in common for half an hour every day. This is what the Holy Ghost exhorts you to practice. Do you have children? Instruct them and bow down their neck from their childhood (Eccl. 7:25). Endeavor to train them from their infancy to these religious habits, and when they grow up, they will persevere in them. Accustom them also to go to confession and communion every week.

It is also very useful to infuse good maxims into the infant minds of children. What ruin is brought upon children by their father who teaches them worldly maxims! "You must," some parents say to their children, "seek the esteem and applause of the world. God is merciful; He takes compassion on certain sins." How miserable the young man is who sins in obedience to such maxims. Good parents teach very different maxims to their children. Queen Blanche, the mother of Saint Louis, King of France, used to say to him, "My son, I would rather see you dead in my arms, than in the state of sin." So then, let it be your practice also to infuse into your children certain maxims of salvation, such as, What will it profit us to gain the whole world, if we lose our own souls? Everything on this earth has an end, but eternity never ends. Let all be lost, provided God is not lost. One of these maxims well impressed on the mind of a young person, will preserve him always in the grace of God.

But parents are obliged to instruct their children in the practice of virtue, not only by words, but still more by example. If you give your children bad example, how can you expect that they will lead good lives? When a dissolute young man is corrected for a fault, he answers, "Why do you censure me, when my father does worse?" The children will complain of an ungodly father, because for his sake they are in reproach (Eccl. 41:10). How is it possible for a son to be moral and religious, when he has had the example of a father who uttered blasphemies and obscenities, who spent the entire day in the tavern, in games and drunkenness, who was in the habit of frequenting houses of bad fame, and of defrauding his neighbor? Do you expect your son to go frequently to confession, when you yourself approach the confessional scarcely once a year?

It is related in a fable, that a crab one day rebuked its young for walking crookedly. They replied, "Father, let us see you walk." The father walked before them more crookedly than they did. This is what happens to the parent who gives bad example. Hence, he has not even courage to correct his children for the sins which he himself commits.

According to Saint Thomas, scandalous parents compel, in a certain manner, their children to lead a bad life. "They are not," says Saint Bernard, "fathers, but murderers, they kill, not the bodies, but the souls of their children." It is useless for parents to say: "My children have been born with bad dispositions." This is not true, for, Seneca says, "You err, if you think that vices are born with us; they have been engrafted." Vices are not born with your children, but have been communicated to them by the bad example of the parents. If you had given good example to your sons, they would not be so vicious as they are. So parents, frequent the Sacraments, learn from the sermons, recite the Rosary every day, abstain from all obscene language, from detraction, and from quarrels, and you will see that your children follow your example. It is particularly necessary to train children to virtue in their infancy, Bow down their neck from their childhood, for when they have grown up, and contracted bad habits, it will be very difficult for you to produce, by words, any amendment in their lives.

To bring up children in the discipline of the Lord, it is also necessary to take away from them the occasion of doing evil. A father must forbid his children to go out at night, or to go to a house in which their virtue might be exposed to danger, or to keep bad company. Cast out, said Sarah to Abraham, this bondswoman and her son (Gen. 21:10). She wished to have Ismael, the son of Agar the bondswoman, banished from her house, that her son Isaac might not learn his vicious habits. Bad companions are the ruin of young persons. A father should not only remove the evil which he witnesses, but he is also bound to inquire after the conduct of his children, and to seek information from family and from outsiders regarding the places which his children frequent when they leave home, regarding their occupations and companions. A father ought to forbid his children ever to bring into his house stolen goods. When Tobias heard the bleating of a goat in his house, he said, Take care, perhaps it is stolen, go, restore it to its owners (Tobias 2:21).

Parents should prohibit their children from all games, which bring destruction on their families and on their own souls, and also dances, suggestive entertainment, and certain dangerous conversations and parties of pleasures. A father should remove from his house books of romances, which pervert young persons, and all bad books which contain pernicious maxims, tales of obscenity, or of profane love. He should not permit his daughters to be alone with men, whether young or old. But some will say, "But this man tutors my daughter; he is a saint." The saints are in Heaven, but the saints that are on earth are flesh, and by proximate occasions, they may become devils.

Another obligation of parents is to correct the faults of the family. "Bring them up in the discipline and correction of the Lord." There are fathers and mothers who witness faults in the family and remain silent. Through fear of displeasing their children, some fathers neglect to correct them, but if you saw your child falling into a pool of water, and in danger of being drowned, would it not be savage cruelty not to catch him by the hair, and save his life? He that spares the rod hates his son (Prov. 13:24). If you love your children, correct them, and while they are growing up, chastise them, even with the rod, as often as it may be necessary.

I say, with the rod, but not with a stick; for you must correct them like a father, and not like a prison guard. You must be careful not to beat them when you are in a passion, for you will then be in danger of beating them with too much severity, and the correction will be without fruit, for then they believe that the chastisement is the effect of anger, and not of a desire on your part to see them amend their lives. I have also said, that you should correct them while they are growing up , for when they arrive at manhood, your correction will be of little use. You must then abstain from correcting them with the hand; otherwise, they will become more perverse, and will lose their respect for you. What use is it to correct children with injurious words and with imprecations? Deprive them of some part of their meals, of certain articles of dress, or shut them up in their room. I have said enough. Draw from this discourse the conclusion, that he who has brought up his children badly, will be severely punished, and that he who has trained them in the habits of virtue, will receive a great reward.

You are encouraged to read this article more than once as the valuable advice that it entails needs to be deeply embedded in the mind of parents. It would be pleasing to God and you would be storing up treasures in heaven by ordering many copies of this article and distributing it to as many parents as possible because this is sound instruction that all parents need in the difficult task of raising children.


Is Your Child Depressed?

By Dr. Meg Meeker

Don’t Wonder, Find Out. Here’s How

Parents of teenagers can have difficulty differentiating normal teen separation behavior from depression. Here’s how you can do this. Below are two lists of behaviors: one shows symptoms of depression (in teens and younger children) and the other shows “normal” teen behavior. If your child had more than 5 of the symptoms in the depression column for longer than two weeks, he may be depressed and need help.

Depression Symptoms

1. Irritable or depressed mood
2. Decreased interest or pleasure in normal every day activities
3. Weight loss when not dieting or sudden weight gain
4. Insomnia or hypersomnia (sleeping too much)
5. Psychomotor agitation or retardation (body is hyperactive or very slow compared to normal)
6. Fatigue, feelings of worthlessness, or a sense of inappropriate guilt
7. Decreased ability to think, concentrate or increased indecisiveness
8. Recurrent thoughts of suicide or death

Kids who have a family history of depression or who have prior bouts of depression are at increased risk for getting depression.

Normal teen separation behavior occurs with the following behaviors

1. Irritability that comes and goes or that is directed at only on person
2. Desire to spend time alone in room for a few hours per day, alternating with engagement with family
3. Increased sleep
4. Staying up at night more than usual
5. Fatigue that will go away if child increases sleep on weekends
6. Desire to exclude parents from personal conversations
7. Doing things that he knows parents disagree with behind their backs
8. Speaks contrary to parents and is argumentative

The main difference between depression and normal teen behavior is the severity and length of the symptoms. All teens can be irritable but this should come and go and alternate with nice behavior. Depressed teens can’t “snap out of” bad behavior. Also, all teens need more sleep and are tired a lot, but once they have a chance to catch up on sleep, the fatigue goes away. Fatigue doesn’t go away if a teen is depressed.

If I suspect that a teen is depressed, often simply ask them. Having someone come right out and ask won’t make them depressed and many times teens feel relief when someone recognizes that they are struggling.

If your teen has 5 or more of the symptoms under the depression column or if your gut tells you that he might be depressed, take him to your internist or pediatrician. They are very familiar with depression and should be more than willing to help your teen get back on track.

About Dr. Meg Meeker

Pediatrician, mother and best-selling author of six books, Dr. Meg Meeker is the country’s leading authority on parenting, teens and children’s health.

Dr. Meg writes with the know-how of a pediatrician and the big heart of a mother because she has spent the last 25 years practicing pediatric and adolescent medicine while also helping parents and teens to communicate more deeply about difficult topics such as sex, STDs and teen pregnancy. Her work with countless families over the years served as the inspiration behind her new groundbreaking book, The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers, Reclaiming Our Passion, Purpose and Sanity out from Ballantine Books.

Dr. Meg has also spoken nationally on teen health issues, including personal appearances on numerous nationally syndicated radio and television programs. Additionally, Dr. Meg lends her voice to regular features in Physician Magazine and Psychologies (UK) and was a contributor to QUESTIONS KIDS ASK ABOUT SEX: Honest Answers for Every Age, The Complete Book of Baby and Child Care (Tyndale House Publishers) and High School Science text, Holt-Rhinehart and Winston, 2004.

Dr. Meg is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics as well as the National Advisory Board of the Medical Institute, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics and Human Development at Michigan State University; Munson Hospital Family Practice Residency Training Program 1998-present

Living as Sons and Daughters, Not Slaves

by Os Hillman

"I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters," says the Lord Almighty.
(2 Corinthians 6:18).

Satan wants us to see ourselves as slaves and orphans, not sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. The marketplace wants to make us slaves living from performance instead of our heart.

In Luke 15 we find the story of the prodigal son. Jesus tells this story of a son who asked for an early inheritance, then floundered it away through a sinful life. Once he realized his sin, he repented. The father welcomed him back and did not even make mention of his sin. He rejoiced over the return of this son. This is a picture of the unconditional love of our Heavenly Father. His brother, however, was a picture of a son living as a slave. He lived to please the father through his performance. His works made him feel entitled to preference and he was angry with the father's unconditional acceptance of the wayward son. His pride revealed that he was not living as a son, but a slave. We are all susceptible to this attitude.

Before we were born again into God's Kingdom we were all slaves and orphans. However, all of us are adopted as sons and daughters when we receive Christ into our lives.

"Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, 'Abba, Father!' Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ"
(Galations 4:1-7).

Living as a son is the key to living a victorious Christian life. Joseph lived as a son, not as a slave. His father Jacob doted on him. In fact, his father gave too much favoritism to his son, attracting spirits of envy and jealousy which almost resulted in murder. Even when Joseph was made a slave in Egypt, he still lived as a son. A slave would have become bitter and would have retaliated for his circumstances. However, Joseph entrusted himself to his Father as evidenced by his behavior. He was thrown four difficult tests and he passed each one of them with flying colors. He passed the test of betrayal by forgiving God and his brothers. He passed the sexual temptation by fleeing from Potiphar's wife and going to prison for his righteousness. He passed the perseverance test when he was forgotten after giving a dream interpretation to the cupbearer. And, he passed the stewardship test when he refused to repay all those who had betrayed him and became a faithful steward over the resources of Egypt. Joseph lived 81 years after being elevated from the prison cell. He could never have passed those tests had he not lived as a son. The one thing he always wanted more than anything else was to see his father again. The father-son connection was strong in Joseph and this is why he was successful in his trials.

"And God sent me before you to preserve posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of his entire house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt"
(Genesis 45:7-8).

When God delivered Joseph from prison, he took him from prison to the pinnacle of power. Many of us have taught that Joseph was second in command to Pharaoh. Actually, Joseph was over his entire household. He may not have had the title of Pharaoh, but from a spiritual position, Joseph was over the entire nation. However, a closer examination of scripture tells us two very important things about his advancement. The purpose of Joseph's deliverance was "to save the lives of his brothers for the sake of a new nation" and for Joseph to "spiritually father Pharaoh."

How could it happen that a 30-year old would father someone possibly twice his age? It is because it was a spiritual relationship. Joseph never lost sight of who he was. He never lived as an orphan or a slave. He could be a father to Pharaoh because he was a good son first. He was able to forgive and see a larger story to his life because of his position as a son that he never rejected. This allowed him to operate from an intimate relationship with his Heavenly Father, to have dreams and interpret dreams and to gain super-natural marketplace strategies that would give him favor among the leaders of government because he was a problem solver, not just a religious person. This is also why he did not succumb to the temptations that come with power and influence and wealth. He remained a steward of God's purposes on the earth for the nation of Israel and Egypt. This is why many marketplace leaders cannot be entrusted with wealth and influence today. They still live as orphans and slaves by seeking to achieve value through their accomplishments rooted in performance, workaholism, money and fear of failure.

Joseph lived a life that others were attracted to. His life was rooted in his position as a son of his Heavenly Father and his father Jacob. Joseph's fondness of his father was expressed many times in the scriptures. The one thing he longed for more than anything during those years of separation was to be reunited with his father. This is a picture of the spiritual son to father relationship.

Below is a comparison of what it means to live as a son, versus a slave.

Living as a Son

And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ
(Galations 4:6-7).

Believes and experiences the unconditional love of the father.
Experiences sonship as an heir based on his position to the father.
Rests in the security of his father's provision.
When I fail I am still loved.
I'm a steward of what my father entrust to me.
I love my dad's character. (unconditional love)
Value is totally based on position as a son.
Love is experienced.
Receives gracefully.
Recognizes sins, repentant
Lives from the heart
Believes he/she is loved
Operates in the inner and outer court as both king and priest
Godly Kingdom lifestyle defined by grace and redemption
Lives under God's authority

Living as a Slave

Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep
(Psalm 127:1-2)

Believes he must perform to gain the father's love.
Believes becoming an heir is tied to performance, not his position as a son.
Believes provision is only through performance.
When I fail I believe I deserve judgment.
I am entitled to a share of anything I do.
I resent my dad's character. (wants conditions)
Value is only based on what I do and how well I do it.
Love is earned.
Expects an entitlement.
Self-righteous, prideful
Lives from legalism
Believes he/she is defective (shame)
Operates only in the outer court of performance as a king
Worldly kingdom perspective defined by performance and posturing
Rejects God's authority

God Disciplines His Sons and Daughters

"If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness" (Hebrews 12:7-11) .

In order to be a legitimate son or daughter we must allow our Father to discipline us at times. Discipline is always for our profit. God's desire is that we all become more like His Son, Jesus. That requires "pruning the branch" along the way. And God doesn't prune dead branches, only those that are alive and yielding fruit. This was true of His own Son. "Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered"
(Hebrews 5:8-9).

So, are you living as a son or daughter, or an orphan? God wants to demonstrate His love to you as your Heavenly Father. Why not ask Him to show you how to live as a true son or daughter?

About The Author:

Os Hillman is author of Change Agent and TGIF Today God Is First daily email devotional.

Source: Live It Devotional

Bear with one another charitably and love your Children

by Fr. Tommy Lane

In August 1999 an article was published in Readers Digest commenting on the difficulties of parents. In the course of the article the author remarked that she still remembers a piece of advice she heard some years earlier which continues to inspire her to give her best to her children. It was given by Mother Teresa. Mother Teresa had given a speech about her work with the sick and dying and orphans in India. Afterwards, a member of the audience, who seemingly wanted to assist her in her great work, asked, "You have done so much to make the world a better place. What can we do?" Mother Teresa smiled and simply said, "Love your children." Not pleased with her answer, the questioner was about to speak again when she raised her hand and said, "There are other things you can do, but that is the best. Love your children. Love your children as much as you can. That is the best."

That is indeed beautiful and inspiring advice. Not only is it beautiful and inspiring advice for parents but for everyone because we are all called to love. You might ask, "How do we love?" There are many possible answers but one answer is given to us in our second reading today where Paul writes,

"I…implore you to lead a life worthy of your vocation. Bear with one another charitably, in complete selflessness, gentleness and patience. Do all you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together."
(Eph 4:1-3)

Paul implores us to lead a life worthy of our vocation. Our vocation is to love. That is the vocation of a Christian.

In the words of Paul I could say,

"Lead a life worthy of being a parent, a wife or husband, a son or daughter."

A good parent, or spouse or child is one who builds up and gives encouragement. Parents give money to their children but good parents give their children something more. What do good parents give their children more than parents do? The following (edited version of the original whose author I do not know) gives some of the answer:

If children live with criticism,
They learn to condemn.

If children live with hostility,
They learn to fight.

If children live with ridicule,
They learn to be shy.

If children live with shame,
They learn to feel guilty

On the other hand when we uplift and encourage children we help them for life:

If children live with tolerance,
They learn to be patient.

If children live with encouragement,
They learn confidence.

If children live with praise,
They learn to appreciate.

If children live with fairness,
They learn justice.

If children live with security,
They learn to have faith.

If children live with approval,
They learn to like themselves.

If children live with acceptance and friendship,
They learn to find love in the world.

That advice is also beautiful, not only useful for parents, but useful for everyone in all of our dealings with others:

If we encourage people, we will boost their confidence.
If we praise people they will be more appreciative.
If we treat people fairly they will experience justice.
If we approve of people they will not feel inferior.
If we accept people and are friendly with them, they will be loving.

Paul says, "Bear with one another charitably" (Eph 4:2), in other words, love each other. Is everything we do done to love and help others? Or do we sometimes try to put other people down and hurt and injure them by what we say, or by our attitude? Some years ago someone described a country parish in a way that I have not forgotten just as the writer in the Readers Digest did not forget the advice for parents. The definition of a rural parish in Ireland that I heard is this, "We have the faith but we’re no angels." In various different parishes around the country you would hear about dreadful hurtful things being said at public meetings. Sometimes you would even get the impression that some people don’t enjoy a public meeting if there is no quarrel. We have to solve problems but inciting quarrels is not the way of love, not the way of a Christian. Our second reading states,

"I…implore you to lead a life worthy of your vocation. Bear with one another charitably, in complete selflessness, gentleness and patience. Do all you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together."
(Eph 4:1-3)

If we encourage people, we will boost their confidence.
If we praise people they will be more appreciative.
If we treat people fairly they will experience justice.
If we approve of people they will not feel inferior.
If we accept people and are friendly with them, they will be loving.

"I…implore you to lead a life worthy of your vocation. Bear with one another charitably, in complete selflessness, gentleness and patience. Do all you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together." (Eph 4:1-3)

copyright © Fr. Tommy Lane 2001-2011.

How to Raise Your Son by God's Design

by Whitney Hopler

Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Dr. Gregory L. Jantz and Michael Gurian's, Raising Boys by Design: What the Bible and Brain Science Reveal about What Your Son Needs to Thrive (WaterBrook Press, 2013).

Boys are often misunderstood and devalued in our culture. Their energy can be seen as disruptive, their competitiveness as presumptive, their tenacity as arrogance, their resilience as uncaring, and their inquisitiveness as disrespect for authority.

But God has created boys according to His good design. As the parent of a son, your sacred duty is to help him grow up to manhood in ways that honor that divine design.

Here's how to raise the son (or sons) that God has given you according to His design for how boys should grow into men:

Recognize that male and female differences complement each other.

Boys aren't meant to act like girls, since God has designed the genders differently so that they will complement and mutually benefit each other. Rather than expecting your son to behave like the girls you know, give him the freedom he needs to be himself – the way God made him to be.

Examine your gender biases and ask God to help you change them.

Reflect honestly on the stereotypes you may have about boys and how you may be biased against them.

Do you assume that boys will be disruptive, messy, inattentive, insensitive, disrespectful, unable to follow directions, tough, or unfeeling? If certain boys don't act in those ways, do you think that they're weak since they don't fit your image of macho behavior? Ask God to show you which attitudes you currently have about boys that are inaccurate, and then pray for the Holy Spirit to renew your mind and give you the right perspective on boys.

Teach your son lessons he needs to learn from a mother or other caring people who can be maternal influences in his life.

Give your son what he needs from maternal influences by assembling a team of people (including his mother, if she's available) to invest in his upbringing by: bonding with him for long periods of time through shared activities, providing hands-on and needs-based attachment whenever possible, emphasizing multitasking in his development, helping him express his emotions in words, practicing and teaching direct empathy, providing an example of relinquishing personal independence to meet his needs, promoting his character development through communicating with words, and helping him feel his emotions and learn how to comfort him after he goes through stress.

Teach your son lessons he needs to learn from a father or other caring people who can be paternal influences in his life.

Give your son what he needs from paternal influences by assembling a team of people (including his father, if he's available) to invest in his upbringing by: bonding with him for short periods of time through shared activities, teaching him how to think in orderly and sequential ways, downplaying emotion and emphasizing performance, promoting risk taking and independence, teaching him how to fight against negative thinking from his peers, promoting respect for positive authority, encouraging him to build confidence through learning how to do things well, and helping him feel stronger – but not necessarily better – after he goes through stress.

Encourage your son to develop the character of a hero.

Boys and men are naturally drawn to the hero archetype, since God has placed the desire for greatness within every male. If you view the word “hero” as an acronym, you can list key character traits that heroes develop: honor (adhering to truth, values, and principles beyond self), enterprise (working at important things, whether they seem or large), responsibility (carrying important people and things throughout life), and originality (being a dreamer, a thinker, and explorer in the world). Another key character trait of a hero is self-discipline, which will help your son build confidence as he disciplines himself to work toward his goals.

Help your son process his emotions in ways that fit his male design.

Study your son's emotional life for at least a week, noting the feelings he expresses about interactions he has with other people and the circumstances he goes through in various situations. Then consider how you can help him process his emotions in ways that can work best for males, such as: releasing stress through physical movement like exercise, using an object or a story to help express the emotions he feels, withdrawing from people so he can think more clearly about his emotions, or searching for a solution to the problem that has elicited challenging emotions. Be sure to give your son the freedom he needs to cry, as well; crying is a sign of strength, not weakness, because it signals healthy emotional processing.

Teach your son how to develop a healthy sexuality.

Talk with your son openly about sex, answering all of his questions honestly and always presenting information from the perspective that his sexuality is a good part of the way God has made him (rather than something dirty that should make him feel ashamed). Explain the many benefits of saving sex until marriage – as well as the physical, emotional, and spiritual consequences of ignoring God's design for sex – so your son will understand why it's important to wait. Encourage your son to use physical exercise as a way of releasing pent-up sexual energy and don't worry about masturbation, but try your best to keep him away from pornography, since porn can be very dangerous for him.

Help your son do his best in school.

If you home school your son, make sure that his active mind is engaged and challenged. If he attends school elsewhere, serve as your son's advocate with his teachers and school administrators to help him be engaged and challenged, and give him the support and encouragement he needs to do his homework well.

Encourage your son to use technology for good purposes.

While you should limit your son's daily screen time (in front of screens such as computers, television, and video games) since too much screen time will stunt his development, you should also encourage your son to use technology in ways that help him pursue his interests, learn new skills, and put his God-given talents into action.

Help your son measure his progress toward manhood.

Talk with your son about what it means to become a man and what steps he can aim to take along the way to manhood. Celebrate his progress with some rites of passage, such as an event through your church or a special trip or outing that you take with him.

Lead your son to an active faith.

Pray often for your son to enjoy a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. Keep in mind that, for faith to be relevant to males, it should be part of a heroic and wholehearted adventure for Jesus in which they continually submit their own wills to God's will. Join a church in which your son can actively participate as He grows, and aim to be the best role model you can be for him through your own relationship with Jesus.

Adapted from Raising Boys by Design: What the Bible and Brain Science Reveal about What Your Son Needs to Thrive, copyright 2013 by Dr. Gregory L. Jantz and Michael Gurian. Published by WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, Inc., Colorado Springs, Co.

About The Authors:

Gregory L. Jantz, Ph.D, is a nationally certified psychologist with a doctorate in counseling psychology. The author of more than 20 books, he regularly counsels parents and children of all ages to develop communication strategies, strengthen family bonds, and raise healthy kids.

Michael Gurian, a marriage and family counselor noted for his secular expertise in brain science and his bridge-building in faith communities, is a New York Times best-selling author of 25 books, including The Wonder of Boys.

Whitney Hopler, who has served as a contributing writer for many years, is author of the new Christian novel Dream Factory, which is set during Hollywood's golden age.

Source: Live It Devotional

Christian Parenting

by Edward Bickersteth

"These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. You shall teach them diligently to your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."
Deuteronomy 6:6-7

"The Lord's curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous."
Proverbs 3:33

The republication of Legh Richmond's "Domestic Portraiture" is a favorable opportunity for prefixing a few remarks on Christian education, a most important part of every parent's duty, and the root of innumerable future blessings. In doing this, the writer hopes, in some measure, to concentrate within a short compass, the many truly valuable exhortations and pressing entreaties to his children, by his honored and beloved friend, Mr. Richmond, which this volume contains.

It is common to hear complaints, that the children of pious parents disappoint the expectations which are usually and naturally formed; and it is true that this is too often the case; and that in some instances children piously educated, will, when they break through the restraints of education and habit, become excessively wicked—and they may, even like Eli's and David's children, perish in their wickedness. In these extreme cases, there has probably been either some serious neglect of parental duty, or the formation of unhappy friendships with others. At least, every Christian parent is mute before God under such awful dispensations, and is feelingly alive to the conviction of his own sinfulness.

But, after all, the mass of Christian piety in a country will be found to be in the generation of the pious; and though God shows his own sovereignty in sometimes raising up an eminent instrument of good from among the most wicked, he also shows the riches and the faith fullness of his own promises: "The generation of the upright is blessed." "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."

It may be of use, briefly to notice some causes of lack of success, and also to touch upon the means of a successful Christian education.

In considering the causes of lack of success, we must first notice the disregard of one of the most important religious principles—a due knowledge of which lies at the root of all success in this work—that all children are by nature born in sin, and are children of wrath. They inherit from their parents, a carnal mind, which is enmity against God. However pious the parent, his nature is corrupt, and descends to his children. From us they derive that nature, and all success in education must be owing to God's blessing our efforts, and giving them his grace, that they may gain dominion over their natural and inbred corruption.

The Christian parent will ever be watchful to detect the workings of this corruption, even in those things which may appear to the eye of the world, pleasing and delightful. That alone which is the fruit of the Spirit—that alone which is superior to nature, will satisfy him. While he will forward and cultivate whatever is lovely and of good report, he will be, above all, anxious, that everything of this kind should proceed from Christian principle, and not from the mere love of human praise.

The indulgence of parents, proceeding from an idolatry of their children, is one of the most common sources of ill-success. This was the ruin of Eli's and of David's children, and it is a cause which is constantly operating in a vast variety of forms; such as indulgence in appetite, in dress, in pleasures, in yielding to any obviously improper requests, and in seeking rather to gratify their present wishes, than to secure their future, their spiritual, and their highest good.

The inconsistencies of Christian parents in their conduct and conversation, have a most pernicious influence over their children. The spirit of the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, manifested by a parent—are eagerly and most naturally imbibed by children. They are creatures of imitation in all things—but they have a natural aptitude in imitating whatever is wrong. The bad tempers, the haughtiness, the self-will of the parents—are very soon indeed, copied by the child. Their admiration of riches, or rank, or talent—naturally engenders similar inordinate views and feelings in their children. Thus, our sins punish us in our offspring.

Improper friendships which children are allowed to form with others, whether of a similar, or of an older age, but especially of the latter—often ruin the best laid plans for education. Children are so soon captivated by delusive and spurious appearances of superior wisdom, and by the vain promises of liberty and pleasure; that one evening spent amidst the fascinations of worldly society, may unsettle and permanently injure their young and inexperienced minds.

Amid the common complaints of lack of success in the bringing up of children, complaints which are often heard from Christian parents—it is pleasant to contemplate those instances which sometimes occur, as in the families of Mr. Richmond, where more gratifying results have been realized.

The inquiry is most interesting, and most important—whence arises this difference?

A customary resource for consolation, and almost for justification, in cases of an unhappy description, is the doctrine of the sovereignty of God.

Often, however, this great and solemn doctrine is brought in as an excuse for parental neglect, when it would be just as reasonable to assign it as an excuse for exposing your child to a pestilence, or for leaving him, in sickness, without medical aid.

The cases above alluded to, and others quite numerous enough to form a rule, and not an exception, show that when certain means are used—the corresponding results may be expected to follow; and that the failure of the parent's hopes—may generally be traced to their own deficiency in their conduct.

In speaking however of means—a word perhaps inadequate—it is desirable to use that word in its utmost extent—to look upon it not merely as comprehending a certain routine of duties, but as embracing the whole obligation of the parent to the child.

The first and main obligation is Love. It is to be feared that the real root of the mischief of which we are speaking, little as it may be suspected, lies in a deficiency here.

Parents are lacking in a deep sense of the real worth and danger of their children's souls! They wish and hope that they may be serious and godly; but it is a sort of faint, ineffectual wish; not that ardent desire, that unceasing anxiety which filled Mr. Richmond's mind; not that love which made Paul exclaim, "My little children, of whom I travail in birth again, until Christ is formed in you."

From these feeble hopes and languid wishes, flow cold and formal prayers, offered as a duty—not as the inmost desire of the soul. There is no wrestling for the children, with the "I will not let you go except you bless me!" of Augustine's mother. Nor are these the prayers of faith; nor can they be expected to bring down blessings—since the promise is, "Whatever you shall ask, believing, you shall receive." They are often offered up from a mere sense of duty, without any expectation, and almost without any sincere desire, that they should be answered. With such weak and faint impressions of heavenly concerns, we may expect to find their children clinging firmly to the world. Just in proportion as the one is undervalued, the other is sure to be overestimated. The interests of the present life are eagerly sought after, the affairs of eternity postponed: hence all manner of temptations creep in.

A Christian parent had once, led by prospects of worldly advancement, placed his son beyond the reach of the public means of grace, and in the midst of manifold temptations. The son was shortly after on a visit to his father; and the parent prayed, in his family worship, that the boy might be preserved, amidst the various perils of his situation. The youth reflected, "Why does my father put me into the devil's mouth—and then pray to God that the devil may not be allowed to swallow me up?" Surely to have occasioned such a reflection from a child, must have been very painful to the parent?

The result of this line of conduct, half-Christian, and half-worldly, is to bring up a race of young people acquainted with the truths of religion, but without any effectual feeling of its power. They are thus in a worse situation than even the more ignorant—since the sound of the gospel can hardly reach the latter without some awakening of the conscience—whereas on the former everything that can be said falls as a mere repetition of what had been fully known for years, but never deeply or effectually felt.

The spirit of Mr. Richmond, then—his fervent love for his children's souls, his never-ceasing concern, his constant watchfulness, his daily and hourly prayers, not of form but of faith—furnish unitedly a model, to which the attention of Christian parents may be most advantageously directed.

Resting in the form of godliness without its life and power—is one of the great dangers to which the church is peculiarly exposed in this day of general profession. And parents had need be very watchful that they do not unawares foster the most dangerous self-deception in their children, by giving them credit for genuine regeneration and conversion, where there has been nothing more than excited natural feelings without any real spiritual change. When the young possess nothing more that what naturally amiable dispositions under religious culture may easily produce, they are soon overset in the rough sea of this world's trials and temptations. Let parents beware of too soon speaking peace and rest to an awakened mind, or a troubled conscience.

The NATURE of a successful Christian education is next to be noticed. And we would not here dwell on subjects which are generally acknowledged, such as prompt obedience and the honoring of parents—but would rather point out things which are too often neglected.

1. The first thing is rightly to know the true foundation of our hopes of success. This is nothing less solid than the sure promises of God's Word, many of which are very precious to a Christian parent's heart. To know rightly this foundation, and humbly and simply to build upon it in the acting out of these promises, which through faith, and prayer, and consistent conduct, patiently waiting on God to fulfill them in his own time—constitute an important first step to successful education.

2. We must join with this a clear view of the only governing cause of success; the free and rich grace of God our Father. All his children are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man—but of God. Here is the origin, here is the maintaining and continuing strength, here is the final triumph of all our efforts; and to cultivate a habit of constantly looking to, and habitually depending upon God, in daily prayer, in every instruction, and in every plan, formed for our children—is a main principle for obtaining their spiritual good. The faith and prayers of a parent are specially prevalent with our gracious Redeemer—Mark 9. 23, 24.

3. Another important point is, to let our eye be single in seeking primarily their spiritual welfare. An all-directing and controlling principle in education should be, to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, for our children. This should influence us, as to the place in which we fix them, the company to which we introduce them, the books we wish them to read, the situation we desire for them, and in short, as to everything we do concerning them.

4. The diligent and right use of the means of grace, is a most important help for children—such as daily reading the scriptures, prayer, habits of self-examination, regular attendance on public worship. But besides all these means, the most important, perhaps, is that constant inculcation of divine truth, to which we are so plainly directed in the scriptures, "These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. You shall teach them diligently to your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates." Deuteronomy 6:6-9

Particular instruction of the children by themselves, and a mother's private and individual conversation with them, are also of great import.

5. Discipline is a matter of constant necessity. A well-disciplined child is the best gift which a parent can bestow on his country. While children left to themselves, and with no settled habits of patient and steady application, are likely to be sources of much trouble to their fellow-creatures. Discipline will seek constantly to restrain, check and subdue all that is wrong—or leading to wrong—and to animate and encourage all that is right. Every day brings fresh occasion for its exercise, with regard to appetite, pleasures, temper, coveting the things of others, neglecting duties, disorderly practices, and indeed all the varied events of life.

6. Punishment must not be withheld—but must be varied according to the degree of fault. It is important also that the scale by which we measure the degrees of wrong should be Scriptural. Sins directly against God, and moral faults, such as falsehood, passion, and taking anything that does not belong to them—call for the severest punishment, and should never be passed by without chastisement. While accidents from carelessness, though they may occasion us a serious injury—yet should be visited with a lighter penalty, as not being intentional faults. On the mode of punishment, the reader will find valuable remarks in this volume.

7. Foster and encourage, by wise and Christian approbation, everything that is lovely and excellent. Much may be done in forming the character, by due attention to this—all truth, sincerity, generosity, self-denial, and love to others; all diligence and application in good pursuits—should have the parental smile of favor—as all those things which are opposite to these, should be discouraged by marks of disapprobation.

8. Earnestly watch against seeking great things for your children. Oh! the inexpressible folly of aiming to gain for them, high connections, in classes of society above them; and for this end placing them in situations of danger, that they may form associations with their superiors! What havoc has this made among the children of pious parents! "Do not seek great things" should be our plain rule. "Should you seek great things for yourself? Seek them not!" Jeremiah 45:5.

May God give us grace to attend to these clear directions of his Word. If we trust him, his providence will call our children to those scenes in which they may safely and honorably serve others, and glorify his name; and we shall be preserved from the anguish of seeing them bring reproach on the gospel of Christ.

9. The last thing that I would notice, is our own consistency of conduct, as essential to the full effect of a Christian education. If Christian parents act inconsistently with their blessed principles—if they are irritable, selfish, proud, disorderly, passionate, and covetous, what can be expected—but similarly evil tempers in their children! But if they are poor in spirit, meek, mourning for sin, and hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and possess and manifest the other graces of a Christian, it is an immense auxiliary to all their religious instruction. In fact, it is one just retribution of our evil ways—that our children soon manifest similar evil ways. While on the other hand, an exhibition of holy conduct enforces every pious exhortation, and strengthens every solid principle, which we endeavor to communicate to them.

The Editor adds a little sketch of principles of education, by which he has desired and endeavored that his own conduct should be governed.

Points to be kept in view, in a Christian education.


1. Pray for them.

2. Continually instill Christian principles.

3. Act in the spirit of the gospel towards them.

4. Watch over their friendships with others.

5. Teach them to govern their tempers.

6. See that they diligently attend the means of grace.

7. Remember the incessant activity and subtlety of Satan.


1. Exercise is to be regularly taken.

2. Temperance in diet is to be observed.

3. Things injurious to health, are to be avoided.

4. Early in bed—and early to rise.

III. MENTAL Cultivation.

1. Their minds should not to be too much pressed.

2. Their minds should be strengthened by reading solid books.

3. Habits of reflection should be formed and called forth.

4. See that they understand their lessons.

5. Habits of self-denial should be formed.

6. Useful things should be especially attended to.


1. Kindness is to run through everything they do: their morals, school, play, walks, behavior to other children and adults.

2. Kindness is to have its true foundation in Christian principle.

3. Kindness to others, is a victory over our natural selfishness.

4. Endeavor to promote the happiness of all around us.

V. TALENTS and Accomplishments.

1. Talents are of a secondary value.

2. Talents should be a means of relaxation.

3. Talents should commend piety to others.

4. Be sure that talents are innocent.

5. Guard against those talents, which will lead them into the world.

VI. The SAVIOR is all in all.

1. In every point—show them Christ. He is the root of spiritual prosperity. He is the Physician of body and soul. He is the Giver of all of our blessings. He is altogether lovely in all his ways. He is full of gifts and full of grace.

2. Let everything turn the mind to Jesus. In every walk, in every lesson, in every event, in every sin, in every mercy—speak of Christ!

3. Let Christ be the sun and the glory of every day.


1. "My grace is sufficient for you."

2. "He will give his Holy Spirit to those who ask."

3. "I am your God, I will strengthen you, yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness."

Source: gracegems

12 Truths I Want My Daughter to Know before She Enters College

by Cindi McMenamin

It's happened way too fast. Your girl is grown and she's heading out on her own.

I imagine there are still things you want to tell her that you haven't. There are values you've taught her that you are hoping will stick. And there are hopes and prayers you have for her that you're not sure how to express.

Rather than remain silent and fear the worst or quietly hope that you've done your job thus far, here is something you can share with her. Or, better yet, find a way to say these things in your own way. These are 12 things I wanted my own daughter to know before she entered college – and 12 things she is still, by the grace of God, holding fast to today:

1. Life is fleeting; number your days.

Although you feel invincible, as if you'll live forever, life passes by quickly and it won't be long before you'll be saying these same words to your own son or daughter one day. Psalm 90:12 instructs us to "number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom," and that's the best way to live without regrets. Live as if each day is precious and you'll never get it back again.

2. People will come and go in your life but there is One who will never leave (Hebrews 13:5).

So, investing time in your relationship with God is an investment that you'll never regret. Don't forget Him – or blow Him off – if others around you have. At the end of the day – and at the end of your life – He is the One who has always loved you the most.

3. God's opinion matters more than anyone else's.

It's easy to fall into the trap of trying to impress others. But the bottom line is, God's opinion of you is the only one that really matters. And He already thinks the world of you. Therefore, set your heart on pleasing Him first. You'll find it simplifies life and makes you less of a people pleaser.

4. Think long-term, not short term.

You will often hear from others, and even professors, that you should seize the day and "live for the moment." But the things that seemed SO important to us in our 20s we can barely remember in our 40s. Living wisely and well today always pays off tomorrow.

5. Don't waste time worrying about what you can't control.

The Bible tells us in Philippians 4:6: "Don't worry about anything; instead pray about everything...." Life is just too short to worry about things when God is more than able to carry those burdens for you.

6. God is the only One who satisfies, so don't ever look to a man to do for you what only God can.

There's a reason He tells us in Isaiah 54:5, "For your Husband is your Maker, the Lord God of hosts...." Too many women look for a husband to be god in their lives, instead of looking to God to be their spiritual husband.

7. Every man you date is a potential life partner.

So whether or not he's a mature follower of Christ, or doesn't know Christ IS a huge deal. Scripture commands us in 2 Corinthians 6:14 not to be "bound together" with unbelievers. That doesn't just apply to marriage. I know many a wife who wishes it was more important to her during her dating years that her boyfriend be a strong Christian.

8. Don't look for validation in anything or anyone but God.

You are loved immensely by your Creator and given the awesome privilege of serving the Savior. If you ever doubt who you are or what you've been given, read Ephesians 1. And take Ephesians 2:10 to heart: "For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago" (NLT).

9. Choose carefully what you expose yourself to.

The things we allow our eyes to see, our ears to hear, and our minds to process have a way of sticking with us far longer than we had imagined. Romans 12:2 tells us to "not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind...." That renewal of the mind happens when you clear it of the junk this world will bombard you with.

10. Develop wise financial habits now.

They will be a safeguard for you as you get older.

11. Purity is rare and priceless.

Guard it with your life. (And regardless of what the tabloids say, righteousness will never go out of style.)

12. Everyone fails, but your failures don't define you.

We are defined, instead, by God's words that include unforgettable" (Isaiah 49:15), "sought after" (Isaiah 62:12) and "chosen" (Ephesians 1:11). God specializes in giving us another chance. Take your failures, shortcomings, heartaches, and mistakes to Him and He can redeem them into something beautiful and meaningful in your life.

About The Author:

Cindi McMenamin is a national women's conference and retreat speaker and the author of 15 books, including When a Mom Inspires Her Daughter and her newest, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom. For more on her books and ministry, or to download free resources to strengthen your marriage, parenting, or individual walk with God, see her website:


Setting a Parental Agenda

by Paul Tripp

Let's face it - parenting teenagers is a difficult responsibility. We don't have to deny the reality that as a person passes from childhood into adulthood, the transition can be tumultuous. However, we should be shocked and saddened by the cultural cynicism toward our teens; they're portrayed as hormonal creatures that need to be controlled and restrained. This view is wholly unbiblical.

So what is a biblical view? In this Article, I want to suggest four verbs that can set the agenda for parents who want to model Christ with their teenagers.

1. Accept

The first verb is accept. We must greet the sin of our teenagers with the accepting grace of Christ. Not acceptance that compromises God’s high standard or his call for confession and repentance, but acceptance that leads to change. This acceptance holds God’s standard high, but in the context of the hope found in the cross of Christ.

Our jobs as parents isn't to condemn, judge, reject, or break relationship. Our job is to function as God’s instruments of change, and the most powerful tool we have is our relationship with our teenagers. We want to conduct this relationship in such a way that his work will thrive in the midst of it.

2. Incarnate

The next verb is incarnate. As Christ was called to reveal God in the flesh, we're called to reveal Christ. As parents, we're called to incarnate the love of Christ in all of our interactions with our teenagers. We reveal his love, patience, gentleness, kindness, and forgiveness as we respond with the same toward our children (see Colossians 3:12-14). This must be one of our highest goals – that Christ, his character, and his Gospel work would be depicted in the way we relate to our teenagers.

3. Identify

The third verb is identify. Hebrew 2:11 says that Christ isn't “ashamed to call us brothers” because he suffered the same things that we suffer. He's able to identify fully with the harsh realities and temptations of life in this fallen world. He went through the process that we're now enduring. If Christ can identify with us, how much more should we be able to identify with our teenagers!

Often parents of teens communicate that they're not at all like their teenagers and, in fact, have real difficulty relating to them and their struggles. However, we're the same. There's no struggle that our teenager might have that we haven’t had or aren’t still having.

Like our teens, there are times when we want to shuck our responsibility and forget the things that we don’t like to do. There are times when we are willful, wanting our own way. There are times when we are defensive and unapproachable. There are times when we think we know more than we do. Parents, you're more like your teenagers than you are unlike them!

We share a fallen nature with our teenagers, and we share progressive growth unto holiness with them. We must not act as if we're people of a different sort or stand self-righteously above them. We must stand alongside them as the older brother and sister and point them to the only place of hope – Christ. We must communicate that there's no answer we give them that we ourselves don’t need.

4. Enter

The final verb is enter. As Christ entered our world and spent thirty-three years getting to know our experiences, we must take the time to enter the world of our teenager (see Hebrews 4:14-16.). That means spending as much time asking good questions and listening as it does speaking. In fact, our speaking to our teenagers would be much more loving and insightful if we took the time to get to know the people, the pressures, the responsibilities, the opportunities, and the temptations they face every day.

One of the tragic things that happens to parents and teens is that they quit talking meaningfully, honestly, and personally. All of the correction, instruction, discussion, debate, and discipline is done on a platform of ignorance.

Take time to enter the world of your teenager. Know what they face every day, know how they're emotionally and spiritually gripped by those experiences, know where they're being tempted and where they're succumbing. Understand what the worlds of home, school, work, and leisure look like for them.

Let them know that their world and the way they experience things is important to you. Find ways to let them know that you're on board, that you understand, and that you care. When they say that you don’t understand, ask them to explain what needs to be explained so that you will understand. Ask them not to be frustrated when they think that you don’t understand, but to give you help so that you would.

Teenagers whose parents have accepted them with the grace of Christ, who have incarnated the love of Christ, who have identified like Christ, and have entered their teenager’s world following Christ’s example won't have teenagers who are trying to get out of home as soon as they can.

Rather, they'll be drawn by the powerful love and grace that has been their daily experience. They'll tend to treasure the one human relationship in which they've been consistently loved when they deserved it least. This will give their parents the freedom and the time to prepare them just a little more for their important entry into the world where they will stand with God on their own.

© Copyright Paul Tripp Ministries • All Rights Reserved

The Idol of Appreciation

by Paul Tripp

Last week we looked at a common idol that we worship as parents - the idol of success. Many times, without even knowing it, we begin to look at our children as our trophies rather than God’s creatures. We secretly want to display them on the mantels of our lives as visible testimonies to a job well done.

This week, I want to look at another common idol - the idol of appreciation. Let me first say that I don't have any problems with Mother's Day. I think we should be proactive in honoring our mothers and fathers, but because of sin, when good things become ruling things, they become bad things.

We've been there when the calls have come from school. We've been there in the wee hours of the morning when the nightmares have hit. We've changed the bed that had been wet once again. We've gone out in pajamas and slippers to the all-night drugstore for medicine. We've made the special skateboard-shaped birthday cakes. We've cleaned up vomit from the bedroom carpet. We've sat in on meetings with the principal. We've spent hours making the papier-mâché volcano.

We've sat through scores of painful recitals, spent thousands on memorable vacations. We've walked miles and miles in the aisles of supermarkets so mouths would be fed and stomachs filled. We've trudged hours through malls looking for "cool" clothes. We've washed enough clothes to fill the Grand Canyon! We've given up our dreams to pay for musical instruments and braces. Isn't it about time that we get some credit?

I can't tell you how many times I've heard parts of this list recited to me by parents, always with that same final punch line - "isn't it about time that we get some credit?" It seems so logical, so harmless, so right. Children should appreciate their parents. Yet, hear me now mothers and fathers - being appreciated cannot be our goal. When it becomes the thing we live for, we'll unwittingly look with hyper-vigilant eyes for appreciation in every situation.

Your children won't burst in the door at the end of the day and say, "Do you know what I was thinking about on the bus ride home today, Mom? I was thinking about how much you and Dad have done for me over the years. You've been with me and for me from the very first moment of my life until now. On the bus I was flooded with gratitude and I just couldn't wait to get home and say thank you!" (If this happens to you, erect stones as a lasting memorial or light an eternal flame!)

Very few fathers have headed to bed only to hear sobbing coming from their teenage daughter's bedroom and had this conversation:

"What's wrong, Dear?"

"Oh, I was just thinking about you and Mom and how unthankful I've been. I feel so guilty that I haven't appreciated you more, and I've committed myself to demonstrating that I appreciate you every day!"

On the contrary, the trend for teenagers is to be much more filled with self-orientation and self-interest than to be filled with an awareness and appreciation of others.

You see, if parents have forgotten their own vertical relationship with God as they've ministered to their children, if they think of it all as an "I serve, you appreciate" contract between the parent and child, they'll struggle with lots of discouragement and anger during parenting.

Parents, you need to ask yourself again - "Why am I doing what I'm doing? Who am I serving? What are the things that I've come to expect and demand? Whose desires rule the moments of opportunity with my child - God's or mine?"

© Copyright Paul Tripp Ministries • All Rights Reserved

Parenting - The Idol of Success

by Paul Tripp

I listened as the father said to me in the presence of his teenage son, "Do you know what it's like to go to church and know that everyone there has been talking about and praying for your rebellious son? Do you know what it's like to enter a service with all eyes on you, knowing that people are wondering how it's going and how you and your wife are coping?"

He continued. "This isn't the way it's supposed to be. We tried to faithfully do everything God called us to do as parents, and look what we ended up with! I ask myself, if I knew that this was the way it would all turn out, would we have ever chosen to have children? I can't describe how disappointed and embarrassed I am."

That afternoon, with his son listening, that father spoke what many parents have felt but never verbalized. You see, we tend to approach parenting with expectations as if we had hard-and-fast guarantees. We think that if we do our part, our children will become model citizens. We tend to approach parenting with a sense of ownership, that these are our children and their obedience is our right.

These assumptions pave the way for our identity to get wrapped up in our kids. We begin to need them to be what they should be so that we can feel a sense of achievement and success. We begin to look at our children as our trophies rather than God's creatures. We secretly want to display them on the mantels of our lives as visible testimonies to a job well done.

When they fail to live up to our expectations, we find ourselves not grieving for them and fighting for them, but angry at them, fighting against them, and, in fact, grieving for ourselves and our loss. We're angry because they've taken something valuable away from us, something we've come to treasure, something that has come to rule our hearts: a reputation for success.

It's so easy to lose sight of the fact that these are God's children. They don't belong to us. They're not given to bring us glory, but him. Our kids are from him, they exist through him, and the glory of their lives points to him. We're only agents to accomplish his plans. We're only instruments in his hands. Our identity is rooted in him and his call to us, not in our children and their performance.

As parents, we're in trouble whenever we lose sight of these "vertical realities." Whenever parenting is reduced to our hard work, the child's performance, and the reputation of the family, it becomes very hard for us to respond with selfless faithfulness in the face of our child's failure.

God-ordained moments of ministry will become moments of angry confrontation filled with words of judgment. Instead of leading our needy child to Christ once again, we'll beat them with our words. Instead of loving, we'll reject. Instead of speaking words of hope, we'll condemn. Our feelings will be flooded much more with our own embarrassment, anger, and hurt than with grief over our wayward child's standing with God.

I want to ask you today to be honest. Examine your own heart. Do you have an attitude of ownership and entitlement? Have you subtly become ruled by reputation? Are you oppressed by thoughts of what others think of you and your child? These questions – no, let me rephrase that – these idols need to be confronted if we're ever going to be the parents that God has called us to be.

So be honest. Confess to areas of parental idolatry. But be filled with hope, because Christ died to break the back of our self-absorbed idolatry. God is intent on owning our hearts unchallenged. His goal is that our lives would be shaped by our worship of him and nothing else. And, hear this: while God is at work in your own heart, at the same time, he has sent you to be his ambassador in the heart of your child.

© Copyright Paul Tripp Ministries • All Rights Reserved

Ben Franklin's Biggest Regret

By Craig Ballantyne

In 1736 the unthinkable happened. Ben Franklin, long an opponent of inoculating children against Smallpox, lost his son Franky to the disease. Losing a child must be the greatest burden a parent could bear, but to do so in this manner surely yielded extra heartache to Franklin and his wife Deborah, who had born no other children.

Years later in his autobiography Franklin wrote, "I long regretted bitterly and still regret that I had not given it (smallpox) to him by inoculation. This I mention for the sake of the parents who omit that operation, on the supposition that they should never forgive themselves if a child died under it; my example showing that the regret may be the same either way, and that, therefore, the safer should be chosen."

Why did this happen?

Franklin's stance stemmed from an old publishing rivalry back in Boston against the preacher Cotton Mathers. Whether Franklin truly believed at the time inoculation was a bad idea, or whether he simply wanted to provoke controversy to sell more newspapers, is of debate.

Over the years Franklin changed his stance on inoculation and became an advocate of the practice. Alas, Franklin found himself so busy with work and organizing his various causes, he never arranged for young Franky to receive the vaccine.

Scientists writing in the journal Quality & Safety in Health Care, argued Franklin's choice was not easy. Inoculation carried a 2% mortality risk, and young Franky was often in poor health, and thus would not have been a good candidate for the treatment. Inoculation was most important when a smallpox infection was occurring, and the one in Philadelphia happened fast and Franklin did not act fast enough. But in the end, Franklin was too busy focusing on his Vision for America than his vision for his family. His neglect to vaccinate his son would haunt Franklin for the next forty years. After this incident, Franklin became "the most eloquent advocate of smallpox inoculation."

I sincerely hope no ETR reader ever loses a child. Let's not even think about that. But you likely share in Franklin's fault, and a lack of a clear vision for your life is robbing you of time that could be spent with your children and your spouse, or even your friends, health, and hobbies.

Without a vision, you let the world control your day, you let the chaos of the afternoon conquer your plans, and you come home too tired to concentrate on what counts at night. With each unnecessary email that you read, each useless meeting you attend, each distraction you allow into your life, you waste your days, getting home late for dinner, and missing out on the things that really matter to you in life. Every minute lost from this lack of control over the chaos of the day robs from your child, your health, your love, your home, and your heart.

This ends now.

You know what you need to do. You need to Control your mornings. You can do that by getting up 15 minutes earlier each day. You need to Conquer the chaos of the afternoon. You will do that by scripting your day and having cut-off points for meetings, telephone calls, and time spent in your inbox.

Finally, you must create a clear vision to Concentrate on what counts at night. First you must know what really matters to you. You must be clear with your vision for your life, family, wealth, health, and social self. Your Vision will allow you to set your goals, your goals will allow you to build the foundation for your life with strong pillars set in sturdy rock. Your foundation allows you to strongly create your code for living. Through your Vision you will come to Victory.

Your Vision is the roadmap for your life. It is the anchor keeping you safe. It is the foundation on which you build the rest of your life and the good habits that move you towards your big goals and dreams.

Vision inspires action. Action leads to habits. Habits lead to making the tough decisions and actions easier. Your vision comes from you, not from anyone else. It must be true to your heart, it must work as the foundation of your big goals and dreams, not what others want to plan for your life.

When you create your Vision, you can lead a full life, create a long-lasting legacy, and still have time to socialize and spend with your family at night. Learn how to create your Vision here =>

[Ed Note: Craig Ballantyne is the editor of Early to Rise and author of Financial Independence Monthly. His no-nonsense, sometimes "politically-incorrect" advice has helped millions of people transform their lives both physically and financially. ]

Source: ETR
Copyright © 2014 Early to Rise, LLC.


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