Monthly Archives: November 2009

Thanks for Dinner Mom!


iStock_000008653718XSmall.Thank_YouTeaching entitlement comes without any effort.  Children in our culture automatically feel entitled to a mobile phone.

Teaching gratitude takes effort but it’s a very worthwhile endeavor.

Start with gratitude for everyday things like dinner. A negative statement about an item of dinner should be off limits. Make a negative statement and you are doing the dishes.

Every family member should be required to thank mom for making the dinner.

“Thanks for dinner tonight Mom” is a statement that acknowledges that someone, namely mom, went to the effort to get dinner on the table.

This gratitude campaign is best begun and enforced by dad. But it can be handled by anyone, even mom.

Remember, it’s not really for mom, it’s to teach gratitude.  Important? Gratitude just might be the attitude that gets your child’s marriage through a difficult season.  Teach it now and it will serve them later.

Thanks for Dinner Mom! 2009-11-25T09:41:58+00:00

Teaching the Extra Mile


iStock_000000434292XSmall unload truck 2As I walked toward the front door of our office I saw a pickup truck parked out front and a man carrying in boxes of groceries for our single moms’ ministry.  Walking by I grabbed a box to help him.

All of a sudden I realized I wasn’t alone.  Tyler, a twelve-year-old, was behind me carrying a box as well.  He was at our office that day because he had a day off from school and had come to work with his mom.

When I turned around to go get another box, Tyler beat me to the truck and never stopped until the truck was empty. When we finished he vanished into the building to find his mom. I had to track him down to thank him.

“No problem,” this twelve-year-old responded, “glad to help.”

This is a mom who has taught her child to go the extra mile.  Doing the extra, like not walking by an abandoned shopping cart in the grocery store parking lot. But instead go out of the way to help by pushing the cart inside since he’s going that way anyway.  Doing extra like that!  Things you don’t have to do… but you do them anyway.

This is also a mom who is raising an employable child. I want that kid on my staff when he grows up. He’s been trained to “get it”. He has been trained to go the extra mile.

Teaching the Extra Mile 2009-11-23T19:32:45+00:00

One of the Most Amazing Stories Never Told


iStock_000010355993XSmall - Psalm 100-4Thanksgiving has one of the most Amazing God stories. Years before the Pilgrims left England for America a slave ship cruising the coast of America captured several Native Americans. These captives were brought back to England where they were taught English so they could be questioned about the extent of the Indian tribes and the terrain in the new world.

Later one of these Native Americans, Squanto, earned his release and returned  to his tribal area in New England. Tragically, he was captured again, brought back to Europe and was purchased by Portuguese Monks. They lead him to Christ and once again Squanto gained the opportunity to return to the Massachusetts shore.

What appeared to be one tragic event after another actually turned out to be used by God to fulfill His plans for the Pilgrims and Squanto.  It was this English speaking Christian Native American that was the one to rescue the Pilgrims that first winter. He ended up being a missionary to them.

Thanksgiving illustrates that God does cause all things to work together for good (Romans 8:28).

One of the Most Amazing Stories Never Told 2009-11-23T14:02:59+00:00

We Need Thanksgiving (to Teach Gratitude)


iStock_000004249132XSmall Thanksgiving prayer

In a society of individuals that constantly want more, isn’t it important for parents to teach our children the concept of gratitude?  If a child doesn’t grow up in a home that teaches gratitude for what it has, this child will be at the mercy of every marketer he or she encounters.

Thanksgiving shouldn’t just be a title for a holiday.  Thanksgiving should be an action instigated by a Holy Day.  This Thanksgiving do it!  Give thanks!  Get your kids focused on the location of the thanks.

The Pilgrims didn’t lose their jobs they lost their family members.  Yet they had the sense to stop and give thanks to God for the fact that He was still in control and He alone could one day make sense of all they were dealing with (Romans 8:28).

Use this Thanksgiving to teach the giving of thanks.  Begin the process of teaching gratitude.

We Need Thanksgiving (to Teach Gratitude) 2009-11-20T00:56:21+00:00

Are You Using Thanksgiving Well?


iStock_000000832589XSmall refrigeratorThis year’s Thanksgiving just might be the most important day of the year.  It’s a day to teach our children gratitude.

The original Thanksgiving came at a time when the Pilgrims had just completed the worst year of their lives.  One-hundred-two People landed at Plymouth and almost half died that first year and yet they chose to do something different than you would expect.  The leadership of this little band of people chose to get their families focused on what they had rather than what they had lost.

A couple days before Thanksgiving get a large poster board and tape it to the refrigerator.  Write on top: Things I’m Thankful For.  Then be the first to write down something you are thankful for and then your initials.  Encourage everyone to put something down and take a moment at your Thanksgiving table to read the entries on the board.

In this economy it’s very important to get the kids focused on what they have rather than what they want.  There’s no mistaking the fact that God put Thanksgiving on the calendar one month before Christmas.

Are You Using Thanksgiving Well? 2009-11-19T18:07:18+00:00

Is “Yes Sir” in your child’s vocabulary?


I was sixteen years old and it was the beginning of summer school break. I was riding my bicycle down River Road when I noticed one of the tires was low.  I pulled into a gas station and began putting air in my tires (back when air was free).  A voice behind me asked, “Can I help you son?”

I turned around, looked at the man who was about my father’s age and said, “No, thank you sir.”

The man smiled and walked away, only to return to talk to me while I finished filling the tires.  I didn’t realize it was an interview.

After asking if I lived near by, he asked for my phone number so he could call my dad.  All I heard him say was, “It has been a long time since I’ve heard someone your son’s age say the words, ‘No thank you Sir.’ If it’s okay with you I’d like to offer him a job.”

I worked at Kenwood Shell each summer for the rest of high school and college.  Is “Yes Sir” necessary?  Only if you want to give your children a leg up on all the other children around them.  All of life is an interview of sorts.   Give them every possible advantage.

Is “Yes Sir” in your child’s vocabulary? 2010-08-20T10:21:26+00:00

Remember to “cheer” the correct behavior


Time to Cheer!

Billy and his older brother are in the family room arguing over the remote.  Before it gets too heated, younger Billy gets up and comes into the kitchen where mom is putting dinner on the table.

“Eddie doesn’t like me mom!  He took the remote again. Why does Eddie act like that?”

Instead of marching into the family room and getting the remote back from the older brother this is a time to cheer Billy’s effort to walk away.  The older brother can and should be dealt with later and in private.  We don’t want to teach Billy to get what he wants by tattling.

“Billy,” mom can begin, “I’m very proud of you for walking way.  There are times to stand your ground, but getting the remote isn’t one of them.  I’m proud of you for being the bigger man.  Come help me get this dinner on the table.”

Cheer the effort.

Remember to “cheer” the correct behavior 2009-11-11T08:49:33+00:00

Teach them how it feels to be “poked”


We have heard it said that a child who is picked on by their older sibling, learn to pick on younger siblings or other younger kids. That doesn’t have to be true.

Take advantage of the times when one child feels like his older sibling has been unkind.  When you have those bed time discussions with the child ask them how it felt to have their older sibling yank the remote out of their hand.  After they have attempted, with your help, to describe their pain, ask them how that should affect the way they treat others.

Use the pain to teach them not to inflict pain.  These are discussions that could change a child’s life.

Tomorrow: Cheer their efforts.

Teach them how it feels to be “poked” 2009-11-10T07:53:30+00:00

Empowering them to deal with sibling rivalry


There will always be people who bug us.  If we go through life thinking life must be fair, we will fight for some areas of “fair” that just aren’t worth the battle.

We need to teach our child to pick and choose wisely.  We must also teach them that they have the power to pick and choose.

Billy had to sit in a chair two times in a row because his older sibling kept bugging him and Billy kept screaming rather than moving.  Later that night, mom was lying down with Billy on his bed and she asked him if he was okay.

“It doesn’t seem fair, Mom.  It doesn’t seem fair that we both had to go to our chairs for five minutes just because Edie couldn’t leave me alone.  He started it!  I know I hit him but he started it.  I was sitting there and he came over and started leaning on me … again.  Why do we both end up having to go to our chairs?”

“It’s not so much about being fair” mom began, “as it is about you working this out.  You could talk to him. I know.  That doesn’t seem to work.  You could move or even get up and come in to help me with dinner.  This isn’t about me refereeing.  This is about you choosing.  Move or decide to scream and then sit on the chair for five minutes and that might not be so bad if it stops the problem.

The light seemed to turn on in Billy’s eyes.  Sitting there for five minutes and forcing his older brother to feel like a baby having to sit in his chair for five minutes, was sometimes worth it.  Fair wasn’t the most important issue.  Choosing wisely was. Either way Billy realized he had the power to decide to stay or walk away.

Tomorrow: Don’t miss teaching the other lesson.

Empowering them to deal with sibling rivalry 2009-11-09T08:48:56+00:00

The consequence didn’t seem to work


It’s didn’t work! They went right back to fighting.

The fact that the kids went right back to fighting doesn’t prove that the consequence didn’t work.  It does prove that they don’t believe you will continue to put them in their chairs.

When they finish their five minute consequence in the chairs and go right back to the battle, start the process all over again.  Go in and calmly give them their warning.  If they don’t stop or one doesn’t get up and find something else to do, go back in and say, “All right, back to your chairs.”

Every time they continue with the battle put them back in their chairs.  Don’t give up!  The goal is to train them that they are really the ones deciding whether they are going to their chairs.

Cynthia, a mom from Kansas City told me that she put her boys in their chairs four times in a one hour period.  Then she said, “All of a sudden they became believers.  They believed if they didn’t figure out how to solve this they were going to their chairs all night.  It took time but it worked”

The consequence didn’t seem to work 2009-11-06T08:02:17+00:00