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Posts Tagged "Parenting"

Fostering Conversation: Keys to Parenting, Discipleship & Other Mysteries of Life

Posted by on Nov 6, 2015 in Parenting

In the early days of this blog I offered advice on parenting. At the time I had younger kids that were relatively compliant. Parenting in that season yielded challenges most parents encounter.

It seemed that daily we were addressing issues like irresponsibility, disobedience, or lack of respect for others. I wouldn’t suggest it was on a chronic scale. Just typical opportunities to teach our kids how to be responsible, how to care more about others, how to respect authority, etc, etc.

Today we parent teenagers.

You’ll notice I haven’t offered parenting advice on my blog in quite a while.

Maybe I will AFTER I’m done parenting teens. Then again, maybe not.

Parenting teens is different.

It’s kind of funny because when I review the list above, it isn’t as if you no longer address those issues. Actually, you lean into them more. The difference with parenting teens is you’re always navigating the relationship in such a way that you keep the door to their hearts open.

And that can be tough to do.

You see, we strive to raise adults who can make wise decisions for themselves no matter what they face in life. At some point they have to learn how to make decisions for themselves. And allowing them space to do that while they are still in our home is the best time. The stakes are lower right now. They can mess up and the consequences are not as severe.

But creating this culture within our home requires consistent conversation. And introducing conversation in the elementary years is the best way to establish that culture.

Spiritual development is not a singular event. It’s not a say-a-prayer, get-’em-dunked, one-and-done moment. It’s a series of conversations, moments, and experiences that help a child adopt a faith that impacts their every day life. An every day faith.

And an every day faith involves constant conversation.

Not a monologue.

Lord, have mercy. Don’t monologue! (I’ve tried… it doesn’t work.)

Talking implies an exchange. You talk, they listen AND they talk, you listen.

And you’ll be far more successful establishing a pattern of conversation with your teens if you start when they are in elementary school.

That’s why I really like Brian Dollar’s new book, Talk Now and Later.


Brian does a great job establishing why conversation is so critical to helping our kids grow into healthy adults. In fact, the book addresses some key conversations you want to have with your kids about hot topics like Sex, Self-Image, Divorce & Friendships.

These are tough conversations every parent is likely to encounter with their kid. Brian does a great job offering help to navigate them.

You can grab a copy of his book on Amazon or visit the book site here. You’ll find it’s a great resource for your parenting journey.

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SuperNanny? not so much

Posted by on May 21, 2015 in My Life

I’m no Clair Huxtable either.

I’m more like Seinfeld’s Elaine with a moral bent.

So when fellow parents request parenting advice from me I feel like I must offer a disclaimer… a little “fine print” that lets them know that I’m on the journey as well… and I don’t have all the answers.

But I do have some suggestions when it comes to teaching kids how to have a right heart.

So many times as parents, we can teach kids the response we expect.  However it’s obvious when they’re just giving us the response we expect yet their heart is not in the right place.  How do we address the heart issue?  This isn’t something you can beat out of them(err, I mean) This isn’t something you can reach inside and change.  🙂

But there are a few things you can do that address the issue and teach your child over time how to do their own ‘heart check’.

**these are in no particular order**
  1. Right vs Wrong This is one of the best books I’ve read about the reasons I want to teach my kids the character of God.  Why?  B/c relating back to the character of God draws our focus back to the image in which we were created.  Character gets to the heart of the issue.  I want my kids (and myself) to learn to act in ways consistent with God’s character b/c that’s who He created me to be.
  2. Gods Word – Pray His Word over your child.  This is different from praying with your child.  Pray scripture over your child.  Why?  B/c Isaiah 55:11 tells us that God’s Word does exactly what He purposes for it to do.  And Hebrews 4:12 tells me that His Word “…is sharper than a double-edge sword… that discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart.” So, if it’s a heart issue then it’s really not our job to change it.  That’s God’s domain.  Our role is to actively speak His Word into their lives so that His Word can dissect, discern and develop the heart of our kids.

There you have it… my “not-so SuperNanny… nowhere-near Clair Huxtable… yet so-much-better-than Elaine” parenting advice on how to address the heart issue of your child.  Enjoy

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“Every moment is a…

Posted by on May 21, 2015 in Ministry, My Life, Parenting

…teachable moment.”

That’s what I was always told. And I believed it for a long time. That’s why conversation at the dinner table looks a little like this…

Keegan: “I had the most FUN at Enrichment Class today!”

Mom: “Really, honey. Don’t talk with food in your mouth. So, what did you do?”

Keegan (swallowing): “We builded this cool tower out of these fat, flat sticks.”

Mom: “The word is ‘built’, buddy. Not builded. That’s cool. Do you mean you used tongue depressors?”

Keegan: “No, mom. They were flat, fat sticks.”

Mom (chuckling): “They are tongue depressors, son.”

Keegan: “Oh”

Everyone returns to their meal. Keegan is corrected in the proper etiquette of table manners, and the correct term for those ‘flat, fat sticks’. But we heard nothing about how the tower was built, why he enjoyed making it so much and what else he thought he could make with those ‘fat, flat sticks’.

Not every moment is a teachable moment. Sometimes you just need to let things slide. Would you enjoy talking to someone that constantly corrected you? Probably not.

Kids give you numerous opportunities to teach them.

Pace yourself.

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Cherry Limeade, Christmas & the Facts of Life

Posted by on May 20, 2015 in My Life

My kids and I made a Sonic run the other day. If you live anywhere near Oklahoma, you know the lure of Sonic Cherry Limeades. Make it “happy hour” and it’s hard to resist. 🙂

Driving back, my two oldest are talking about where they’ll live in college and who they’ll live with. Keegan (10) is patiently explaining to Josie (7) that she’ll live in a dorm room at college and have a roommate.  Perplexed, Josie confirms, “Mom, can my roommate be a girl and not a boy?”

The conversation that ensued was comical, at best.  I listened as Keegan tried to explain that boys can’t live with girls and girls can’t live with boys b/c that might lead to “making out and other inappropriate things”.  I sat at the wheel trying not to laugh out loud.

At this point I stepped in to direct the conversation a little.  You see, I want my kids to grow up with a healthy respect for sex.  Though I’m a little spooked that my 10 year old understands that there is more to do than just ‘making out’… I’m not going to freak out over it.  I’m not going to teach him to fear it.  I’m going to teach him to cherish it.

Cherish – (verb) to hold or treat as dear; to care for tenderly

For the next 5 minutes I talked to them about kissing, hugging and other things that married people do to share their love.

But these are only for when you’re married.  Why?  Because it’s a special gift only for that person.  A lot like a Christmas gift.  What happens when we open our Christmas gift a week before Christmas?  It spoils the surprise!  There are special things that are only for your husband or wife.  Special gifts that are spoiled if you open them too early… like before marriage.  It’s our job to protect and cherish this gift until God brings the right person to receive that gift.

My hope is to set the stage for open dialogue with my kids about appropriate boundaries, healthy perspectives and the gift of sex.

Likely the first of many ‘facts of life’ conversations over a Cherry Limeade.  🙂

How would you explain this to your kids?

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Building Faith Skills in Kids (4 of 5)

Posted by on May 20, 2015 in Orange

Talking about the 5 skills to establish faith in our kids.  Catch the first 4 here.

Faith Skill #4: Articulate Faith

Create a safe place to discuss and wrestle with what kids believe.  This is key for our kids to make their faith their own.

Not just as parents, but as individuals, we can fear doubt.  We are scared of questions.  Sometimes it freaks us out when people question their faith.  We think we might lose them forever.  They might go off the deep end.

“Just have more faith.  Have more faith!”

I’m not discounting faith.  It’s a vital component to your relationship with Jesus.  But in order to make something your own, sometimes you’ve got to wrestle it down yourself.   I appreciate a good sermon, but I value scripture more when I labor through, question and digest it myself.

Give people in your home the space and the safety to question.  Have less faith in your explanations of God… and have more faith in the work God is doing in the midst of the wrestle.

Some of the best parenting advise I’d ever heard came from a 23 year old single man.  He said…

Talk less.  Pray more.

Do questions make you uncomfortable?  Do you allow people to question and wrestle with their faith?

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