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Ways Parents Can Pray for Themselves

A friend found this on the Bible Study Fellowship International website and I wanted to pass it on.  What a great way to add to our prayer life and strengthen our families.  The author suggests concentrating on one point per month…might be a good resolution for the new year!

Ways Parents Can Pray for Themselves

Many Christians who previously have neglected to make time for consistent daily prayer find themselves kneeling before God asking for His wisdom, strength and grace to parent their children. Parents often pray for their children’s safety, health, actions and decisions. Yet the Holy Spirit characteristically begins to open our eyes to ways of praying for our own needs and weaknesses.

God encourages the believer to seek Him if they lack any good thing (Psalm 34:10). The following suggestions and Scriptures might be helpful as you pray for yourself in your role as parent. Consider concentrating on one point a month. Within a year, you will have consistently prayed for this entire list. As you pray, ask God to reveal other areas where you need His help and transforming power.

1. Convict me of any personal hypocrisy lived out before my children, which contradicts what I say by what I do. When appropriate, compel me to admit my sin to my children (Matthew 7:3-5).

2. Allow my words, looks and actions to clearly reflect to my children that my mate is loved, honored and cherished (Proverbs 31:10-12; Ephesians 5:25, 28).

3. Help me recognize individual limitations, respect individual differences and have realistic expectations for each child (Colossians 3:21; Ephesians 6:4).

4. Uphold me so I am never too tired, angry or negligent to discipline my children wisely (Proverbs 29:17).

5. Enable me to be a peacemaker, diminishing jealousy and irritations among my children, and allow my example to encourage them to be peacemakers (Proverbs 17:14; Philippians 2:3; Matthew 5:9).

6. Restrain me so I do not spoil my children with too many possessions nor too few expectations and responsibilities (Psalm 37:16).

7. Enable me to shield my children from premature association with sexuality, sophistication in ideas and dress and unfruitful knowledge of the world (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 17).

8. Strengthen me to resist the enticement of popularity for my children and be willing for our family to be different from the world’s standards (1 Samuel 16:7; Psalm 37).

9. Soften me so I am generous in expressing appreciation and approval while holding back reminders about my children’s past failures and mistakes (Psalm 78:38-39; Proverbs 25:11).

10. Give me wisdom to know when to step in and take charge of a situation for my children and when to step back and let them learn for themselves (Proverbs 16:9).

11. Mature me so prayer is my immediate response to family joys and crises (Ephesians 6:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18).

12. Encourage me to remember daily my own need to be taught by God’s Word and filled with His Spirit so I reflect the joy of the Lord before my children (Psalm 16:11).

The day will come when your mature children make their own choices. You may painfully watch them make willful or rebellious decisions. Your years of effort and prayer may seem fruitless. Satan stands ready with taunts and accusations to belittle and mock your efforts of Christian parenting. If this time comes to you, recall your sincere prayers to God for yourself as a parent; remember how He has answered. Trust God even in the most difficult situations. Be strong in prayer and take courage! Christian parents can claim with comfort God’s promise that “the one who believes in him will never be put to shame” (Romans 9:33)

https://www.bsfinternational.org/c/document_library/get_file?uuid=25dafa78-c42d-45ee-9278-04dce5e7cf2e&groupId=10157


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Courage to be Significant

Reposted from http://www.lifeingraceblog.com/2015/03/dont-need-change-world/

Texts: Psalm 126, Gen. 21:1-21, Mark 6, 35-56, Luke 15:16

“He was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.”

When I left my job as a family doctor and became a “stay at home” mom for the first time ever, I was determined to figure out how to put dinner on the table.  Mostly because EVERYBODY IS ALWAYS HUNGRY at my house.  They want dinner.  As in, EVERY single night.  And breakfast and lunch and snacks.  FORTHELOVE.

But how hard could it be, right?

MmmHmm.

REALLY hard is how hard, as all you moms can surely stand up and shout a hearty AMEN.  And despite the fact that I write about feeding my family quite a bit, I still struggle with it some days.  A lot of days, actually.

​But slowly over months and years I became pretty proficient at feeding us. And somewhere along the way I realized that as simple as it sounds, feeding my people is part of God’s work for me.  It’s a beautiful and sacred thing. It’s so ordinary and necessary and life-giving and humbling and rewarding.

But it also drives me crazy—thinking of new things to make, the constantly dirty kitchen, the millions of dishes, the sheer amount of times you have to handle the food by the time you’ve eaten it and are cleaning it up. It’s easy to dream of a bigger purpose for my life. Wasn’t I made for more than this? 

I don’t know if I was or not but I do know that Jesus spent His life feeding people and caring for their most basic needs.  The God of the universe thinks so much of feeding people that the night before He died, when He gave His last will and testament, he told his disciples to carry on the sacred work of feeding His sheep.

In the prodigal story, the younger son is in the far country and he’s squandered everything he received from his father’s estate.  He’s so hungry that he’d take pig’s food. And no respectable Jew would ever have considered that.

But the scripture says, no one gave him anything. That verse haunted my dreams at night when I was studying the prodigal story last year. No one gave him anything.  He’s outside the fold.  He has wandered from the pasture, like all sheep do.  Like you and I constantly do.  He is in dangerous territory because he has rebelled against the one person who always made sure he had food—his father.

And there’s more feeding in Mark’s Gospel today where a crowd shows up for Jesus.

5,000 men and their families.  And they’re hungry.  The disciples want to send them away but Jesus simply says, “Give them something to eat.”

We are the sheep of God’s pasture and it’s not our job to change the world. It’s our job to stay in the pasture and eat.  And eat and eat and eat some more.  To receive His Word, to receive the Supper, to stay close to the Shepherd.

Then mostly by our fumbling, we can lead other lost sheep to the bounty of God’s table so they can eat too.

Our job is to eat and then share that good food with our neighbor, starting with the ones who live in our houses.

You don’t need to change the world.

Just make dinner.

It’s practically the same thing.

 

 

 


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Fostering good behavior in children

Reposted from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kenneth-barish-phd/15-rules-to-foster-good-behavior-in-children_b_5563673.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000037

 

15 rules to foster good behavior in children

1. Play (and work) with them often.

This is the best way to teach children cooperation and self-restraint. The best way to help children learn to cooperate, when there is work that needs to be done, is to work with them.

Every moment of interactive play with an admired adult offers an opportunity for children to learn rules and limits. In the course of this play (and work), children come to understand that rules are necessary — for safety and for living with others. To the dismay of many well-intentioned parents, most children do not learn good behavior from repeated talks or lectures.

A generation ago, developmental psychologists Eleanor Maccoby and Mary Parpal instructed parents to play each night with their children in whatever way their child wanted to play. Just two weeks later, these children more readily cooperated when asked to clean up their toys.

Since then, the importance of interactive play has been repeatedly demonstrated — in clinical interventions for oppositional and defiant children, in preschool and kindergarten educational programs and in neuroscience research. I will discuss this research in more detail in future posts.

2. Express enthusiastic interest in your child’s interests, even if these are not the interests you would choose.
Enthusiastic interest in our children’s interests is a first principle of strengthening parent-child relationships — and of fostering cooperative behavior. At the risk of being somewhat crass, we can think of enthusiastic interest as the deposit that we draw on when it is time to set limits. (Or, as the behavioral psychologist Alan Kazdin points out, the effectiveness of our time-outs depends largely on the quality of our time-ins.)

3. Repair moments of anger and misunderstanding.
When feelings of anger and unfairness linger, children are far more likely to become irritable, uncooperative and disrespectful. We should therefore set aside some time, every day, to repair angry interactions.

4. Engage them in problem solving.
Most common behavior problems are best solved proactively. Place the problem before your child and ask for her ideas. (For example, “We seem to have a problem every morning, when it’s time to get ready for school. What do you think we can do about this?”) Then, together, develop a plan. When we enlist children in solving problems, we have changed the channel. Instead of thinking about how they can get what they want, they begin to think, even if just for that moment, about how to solve a problem.

5. Teach them a language of emotion regulation and emotional intelligence.
Children behave well when they have learned to handle (or, as we now say, “regulate”) the anxieties, frustrations and disappointments of everyday life — when they come to learn that disappointments are disappointments, not catastrophes. They develop this ability through emotional dialogue.

Acknowledge their disappointments and frustrations. Talk with them about your own frustrations and disappointments — and how you coped with them.

6. Teach them to wait.
Pamela Druckerman, in her entertaining account of parenting in contemporary Paris, observed that French parents, from a very early age, do not immediately meet a child’s demands. Instead, they stress the importance of teaching children to wait. And, unlike American children, French kids don’t throw food.

7. Offer encouragement, not criticism.
When you need to criticize, criticize thoughtfully and gently. Persistent criticism breeds resentment and defiance, which then undermine a child’s initiative and sense of responsibility.

If we are frequently angry and critical, our children will not be well behaved, no matter how much discipline we provide.

8. When you have to say “No,” say “No” calmly. Then, insist that they speak to you calmly.
Our mantra should be, “Johnny, when you’re calm, we can talk about this.”

9. Begin your sentences with “When…” or “As soon as….”
Too often, we begin our sentences, “If you don’t….” This simple change of tone and grammar often makes a dramatic difference in the cooperativeness of young children.

10. Compromise.
Compromise is not giving in. When we compromise with children, we teach them to compromise — to think about how their needs and the needs of others can be reconciled. Is there a more important lesson for children to learn, for all their future relationships?

11. Give them responsibilities.
Across cultures, children who are given responsibilities (for example, when they have chores or teach younger children) show more helpfulness and caring behavior toward others.

As a side benefit, they also begin to experience our point of view. They learn, firsthand, how annoying it is when you are trying to get things done and someone doesn’t listen.

12. Teach them the importance of other people’s feelings.
Respect for the needs and feelings of others is the foundation of moral behavior.

In a series of important studies, psychologist Ross Thompson and his colleagues found that the mothers of children with strong moral development spoke to their children in an emotion-rich language and made frequent references, not to rules and consequences, but to other people’s feelings.

13. Let them know when their behavior is over the line.
Then, take a brief time-out. But it is really a time-out, with an opportunity to start over, to try again, to do better the next time.

14. Let them know that you are proud of them.
Especially for the good things they do for others.

15. Take time to listen.
Hear their side of the story. Tell them what is right about what they are saying or doing before you tell them what they are doing wrong.

When children feel that their concerns and grievances have been listened to and understood, they will make fewer, not more, demands. And we will have an easier time when it is time to say no.


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Courage to be Passionate–February 6th Meeting Recap

After what feels like a long break from our usual routine, it was great to see everyone again at our meeting today!

A big thank you to all of you who donated items for our Tickets for Treasure event and/or gave of your time to help make it all come together. It was a huge success. We not only raised more than last year but exceeded this year’s fundraising goal by enough to add another childcare worker next year.  It is a blessing to have our fundraising needs taken care of for another year.

Sandy led us in a wonderful devotional based on a blog post found on Momastery.com about what it means to be brave.  According to the blogger, brave is not always saying “yes” to something. Instead, “no” is often as brave of an answer as “yes”, even (or especially) when it disappoints other people or in the face of peer pressure.  Listening to yourself and trusting yourself to make the right decisions for you is brave too.  Caution is often a sign of courage.  We should learn–and teach our children–to please our own internal voice before pleasing others.  Brave people answer to one voice from within.

To read the full original blog post click here:  http://momastery.com/blog/2014/09/24/this-is-what-brave-means/

Sandy took it a step further and referenced the verse Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.” She encouraged us to be still and let God be the voice inside of us that we are listening to.  She finished by giving us all a copy of this prayer:

“O God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Following our devotional we made a fun Valentine themed craft.

Stay tuned for more on the courage to be passionate at our next meeting on February 20th.

DSC00420


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Humor

Taken from the Huffington Post

“Yes, your happiness is important, but the moment you gave birth, your happiness took a backseat to that squalling bundle of joy. You’re not a teenager anymore. It’s not about you. Your self-actualization and self-esteem need to move over and make some mac and cheese.”


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Courage to be a Brave Parent

5 Reasons Modern-Day Parenting Is in Crisis, According to a British Nanny

By Emma Jenner

I generally am quite an optimistic person. I tend to believe that everything will work out for the best unless the evidence is overwhelmingly to the contrary, and anyone who knows me will tell you that I am not prone to drama. That’s why when I say that modern parenting is in serious trouble — crisis, even — I hope you’ll listen, and listen carefully. I’ve worked with children and their parents across two continents and two decades, and what I’ve seen in recent years alarms me. Here are the greatest problems, as I see them:

1. A fear of our children.
I have what I think of as “the sippy cup test,” wherein I will observe a parent getting her toddler a cup of milk in the morning. If the child says, “I want the pink sippy cup, not the blue!” yet the mum has already poured the milk into the blue sippy cup, I watch carefully to see how the parent reacts. More often than not, the mum’s face whitens and she rushes to get the preferred sippy cup before the child has a tantrum. Fail! What are you afraid of, mum? Who is in charge here? Let her have a tantrum, and remove yourself so you don’t have to hear it. But for goodness’ sake, don’t make extra work for yourself just to please her — and even more importantly, think about the lesson it teaches if you give her what she wants because she’s thrown a fit.

2. A lowered bar.
When children misbehave, whether it’s by way of public outburst or private surliness, parents are apt to shrug their shoulders as if to say, “That’s just the way it is with kids.” I assure you, it doesn’t have to be. Children are capable of much more than parents typically expect from them, whether it’s in the form of proper manners, respect for elders, chores, generosity or self-control. You don’t think a child can sit through dinner at a restaurant? Rubbish. You don’t think a child can clear the table without being asked? Rubbish again! The only reason they don’t behave is because you haven’t shown them how and you haven’t expected it! It’s that simple. Raise the bar and your child shall rise to the occasion.

3. We’ve lost the village.
It used to be that bus drivers, teachers, shopkeepers and other parents had carte blanche to correct an unruly child. They would act as the mum and dad’s eyes and ears when their children were out of sight, and everyone worked towards the same shared interest: raising proper boys and girls. This village was one of support. Now, when someone who is not the child’s parent dares to correct him, the mum and dad get upset. They want their child to appear perfect, and so they often don’t accept teachers’ and others’ reports that he is not. They’ll storm in and have a go at a teacher rather than discipline their child for acting out in class. They feel the need to project a perfect picture to the world and unfortunately, their insecurity is reinforced because many parents do judge one another. If a child is having a tantrum, all eyes turn on the mum disapprovingly. Instead she should be supported, because chances are the tantrum occurred because she’s not giving in to one of her child’s demands. Those observers should instead be saying, “Hey, good work — I know setting limits is hard.”

4. A reliance on shortcuts.
I think it’s wonderful that parents have all sorts of electronics to help them through airline flights and long waits at the doctor’s office. It’s equally fabulous that we can order our groceries online for delivery, and heat up healthy-ish food at the touch of a button on the microwave. Parents are busier than ever, and I’m all for taking the easy way when you need it. But shortcuts can be a slippery slope. When you see how wonderful it is that Caillou can entertain your child on a flight, don’t be tempted to put it on when you are at a restaurant. Children must still learn patience. They must still learn to entertain themselves. They must still learn that not all food comes out steaming hot and ready in three minutes or less, and ideally they will also learn to help prepare it. Babies must learn to self-soothe instead of sitting in a vibrating chair each time they’re fussy. Toddlers need to pick themselves up when they fall down instead of just raising their arms to mum and dad. Show children that shortcuts can be helpful, but that there is great satisfaction in doing things the slow way too.

5. Parents put their children’s needs ahead of their own.
Naturally, parents are wired to take care of their children first, and this is a good thing for evolution! I am an advocate of adhering to a schedule that suits your child’s needs, and of practices like feeding and clothing your children first. But parents today have taken it too far, completely subsuming their own needs and mental health for the sake of their children. So often I see mums get up from bed again and again to fulfill the whims of their child. Or dads drop everything to run across the zoo to get their daughter a drink because she’s thirsty. There is nothing wrong with not going to your child when she wants yet another glass of water at night. There’s nothing wrong with that dad at the zoo saying, “Absolutely you can have something to drink, but you must wait until we pass the next drinking fountain.” There is nothing wrong with using the word “No” on occasion, nothing wrong with asking your child to entertain herself for a few minutes because mummy would like to use the toilet in private or flick through a magazine for that matter.

I fear that if we don’t start to correct these five grave parenting mistakes, and soon, the children we are raising will grow up to be entitled, selfish, impatient and rude adults. It won’t be their fault — it will be ours. We never taught them any differently, we never expected any more of them. We never wanted them to feel any discomfort, and so when they inevitably do, they are woefully unprepared for it. So please, parents and caregivers from London to Los Angeles, and all over the world, ask more. Expect more. Share your struggles. Give less. And let’s straighten these children out, together, and prepare them for what they need to be successful in the real world and not the sheltered one we’ve made for them.

 

View the original post here:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/emma-jenner/modern-day-parenting-in-c_b_5552527.html