29 Ways to Affirm Your Children – #6

29 Ways to Affirm Your Children, Thoughts
#6  Minimize sibling rivalry.  One of the values in our home when the kids were young was to go beyond just teaching our children to "get along".  We wanted to stretch them to the next level of actually enjoying and being an encouragement to each other.  We did this through a variety of approaches; all designed to take the offensive in minimizing sibling rivalry. First, we emphasized generosity over fairness in our home.  We wore out the Quigley Village VCR tape of the parable of the landowner who hired laborers at different times of the day and then paid them each the same amount.  The parable ends with the landowner saying, "Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own?  Or is your…
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29 Ways to Affirm Your Children – #5

29 Ways to Affirm Your Children, Thoughts
#5  Nip the self-criticism.  Words have power, even our own words to ourselves.  And it is important to teach our children not to talk poorly about themselves.  But wait a minute.  Don't we also want to instill a little humility into our kids?  We don't want them thinking too highly of themselves, do we?  Welcome to the balancing act called parenting. Yes, we want to teach humility to our children.  And this is where - by knowing your child - you know which extreme they tend toward.  But remember, humility is not a talented person thinking themselves unskilled, or a smart person thinking themselves foolish, or any other way we depreciate what God has given us.  It is a false humility to deny God's good gifts to us.  True humility is not…
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29 Ways to Affirm Your Children – #4

29 Ways to Affirm Your Children, Thoughts
#4  Give everyone an opportunity to speak.  It is natural for the conversation at your house to be dominated by the talkative types.  Depending on the age range and personality of your children, it may take a purposeful effort on your part to get everyone in on the discussion.  Children need to know that their thoughts are a contribution and be encouraged to join in. One of the ways we drew our children into the dialogue at our house was to ask specific questions around the dinner table.  One of our favorites was, "What was the high point of your day?"  Or, "What was the low point of your day?"  These conversation starters were a direct window into the hearts of our children.  We often took time at dinner for all…
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29 Ways to Affirm Your Children – #3

29 Ways to Affirm Your Children, Thoughts
#3  Give your children choices.  Children are empowered by the opportunity to choose.  Children are affirmed by the choices we give them.  And the power to choose often eliminates those showdowns over what really start as insignificant issues.  For example, Junior says he does not want to get dressed in the morning.  After some prodding from Mom, Junior digs in his heels and the ensuing meltdown has us chasing Junior around the house in his diaper.  Why is he laughing when I am about to boil over?  Or what about the other end of the day when Junior announces he does not want to take his bath and you find yourself trying to pry a three-year-old's fingers off of the bathroom door jamb? We have found that these encounters can be…
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29 Ways to Affirm Your Children – #2

29 Ways to Affirm Your Children, Thoughts
#2  Be sensitive to your child's thoughts and feelings.  How many times have you tried to enter a conversation and were abruptly ignored or passed over as if you weren't even there?  How did it make you feel?  Hurt or insignificant with nothing to contribute?  A steady diet of this would clearly influence our opinion of ourselves. It is the same way with kids.  And in a busy household of overbooked schedules and homework and meals to prepare, it takes an intentional effort to take the time required to treat your child's thoughts and feelings with respect.  Remember, the long term goal is to build a relationship. Our children feel validated as a person when their thoughts and opinions are heard by the ones they desire to please the most; their…
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29 Ways to Affirm Your Children – #1

29 Ways to Affirm Your Children, Thoughts
"By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge the rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures" (Prov 24:3-4).  The wisdom part of building a spiritually healthy home is learning from and teaching God's Word to our children.  It is developing a faith focus in our family through reading the Bible together and serving Christ together.  It is teaching and demonstrating to our kids biblical principles such as "love supersedes knowledge" and a hundred other counter-cultural ideas found in Scripture. The understanding component of building our homes comes from paying attention; knowing our children.  It is observing, thinking, being alert to danger, discovering your child's personality, gifts, and inclinations.  Putting the wisdom and understanding together leads to knowledge that brings the reward of…
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The Power of Affirmation

29 Ways to Affirm Your Children, Thoughts
I used to view the New Testament as basically a how-to manual for living the Christian life.  But I have since come to realize the message is much deeper.  It is less a to-do list and more an explanation and affirmation of who we are in Christ.  The New Testament writers consistently explain who we are and then launch into, "This is how we are to live in light of our new identity and new power over sin." So, how does knowing our new identity affect the life we live?  Let's start with who we are.  As a believer in Christ, we are citizens of His new kingdom, children of God, joint-heirs with Christ, the dwelling place of God the Holy Spirit, a new creation, holy and beloved, blessed with…
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Love is the Unifier

Church Life, Love is ..., Thoughts
"I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph 4:1-3).  Love is the unifier in the bond of peace. Pastor Ray Stedman summarized theses verses well in his book, Body Life.  "The church is never told to create unity.  There is a unity that exists in the church by virtue of the simple fact that the church exists.  It can only be produced by the Spirit of God.  But once produced, Christians are responsible to maintain it.  And maintain this unity through Christlike love." All the…
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