I recently ran across a NY Times article from 2009 that I first read in grad school. It’s titled When a Parent’s ‘I Love You’ Means ‘Do as I Say’ (it’s still available online if you want to read the whole thing). I’ve got two kiddos on the way, so I’m as keen as ever to learn vicariously and soak up parenting advice now before I’m too tired and overwhelmed to understand it. A quick re-read gave me not only food for thought regarding the value and risks of using attention, encouragement, and isolation as child-rearing tactics, but also a reminder of why God’s love is so much better than an earthly parent’s.
Here’s an excerpt:
… The talk show host Phil McGraw tells us in his book “Family First” (Free Press, 2004) that what children need or enjoy should be offered contingently, turned into rewards to be doled out or withheld so they “behave according to your wishes.” And “one of the most powerful currencies for a child,” he adds, “is the parents’ acceptance and approval.”
Likewise, Jo Frost of “Supernanny,” in her book of the same name (Hyperion, 2005), says, “The best rewards are attention, praise and love,” and these should be held back “when the child behaves badly until she says she is sorry,” at which point the love is turned back on.
As a parent-to-be, and (as much as I hate comparing kids to animals) a pet-owner, I can relate to this kind of thinking. It’s pretty simple, and seems to make sense. Reward good behavior so the child will repeat it. Punish or ignore bad behavior so it won’t be repeated. Except it doesn’t actually work that way at all. Continue reading
“So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.” Romans 5:11
Do you want to make a difference? In the world? In your family? In your school? In your work place? In your home? In your own personal life?
As a Christian, the difference you may make while you are on earth is all about your relationship with Jesus Christ. Not only that, but the life you live in eternity is all about your relationship with Jesus Christ.
You can not be the person God desires for you to be and become if you are not building on the foundation of your relationship with Jesus Christ. Through you many things are possible. But through Christ all things are possible!
Want to move beyond beyond saved and satisfied to a fully devoted disciple of Jesus Christ? It starts in your relationship with Christ.
Devote time to your relationship with Jesus Christ. Chew on his word daily. Show up at church consistently. Jump into a ministry and serve joyfully. Pray regularly. As you make a habit of doing these things, your relationship with Christ will deepen.
As your relationship with Christ deepens you will begin to desire the things that Christ desires.
A lot of times we are so focused on discovering God’s will for our lives, that we completely miss it. Why? Because his will begins through the relationship we have with him. Often we are missing the will of God because we are not deepening our relationship with God.
Live in God’s presence. Trust in his love and power. Remove the barriers that keep you from enjoying authentic fellowship with him.
Everything you are going to be and all the difference you are going to make hinges on your relationship with Jesus Christ.
I’m not much of a diary-keeper, but years ago April gave me a little brown suede journal that I treasure, and I find occasion to write in it from time to time. This week I flipped through it and ran across a random scribble that I made early this summer: a short list of words titled “God has blessed me with…”
I don’t remember what exactly inspired me to jot the note, but it seemed appropriate to share it today, just before Thanksgiving. So here it is: a list of things I’m thankful for, and things that I’ll bet he’s blessed you with, too.
- People: I’m surrounded by awesome people. A wife that inspires me. Friends that support me. Family that loves me unconditionally. Colleagues and mentors that teach me. And millions of strangers in whom there lies potential for all of the above: inspiration, support, love, and lesson after life lesson.
- Things: I’m cautiously thankful for the many material things I’m privileged to enjoy – my car, house, Fender Stratocaster, charcoal grill, and french press, for example – but I know those things don’t last and that I could be perfectly happy without them. What I’m even more grateful for are the view of Pinnacle Mountain from Odom Boulevard North just as you’re turning the curve into my neighborhood; the memories I have of growing up on a farm in South Arkansas; and April’s smile. I might survive without them, but I wonder whether I could thrive.
- Talents: I enjoy this world more when I’m contributing something to it, and so I’m thankful that God blessed me with talents like writing, playing music, talking to people, and creating art. It’s hard sometimes not to be proud of myself or use those things to get attention, but in my clearer moments I know that my talent is squandered when it’s used for any other reason than to try to bring others closer to God.
- Burdens: It’s an age-old question: why are we here? I’ve learned – slowly – that the answer changes from day to day. Maybe right now I’m just here to rest. Tomorrow I might be here to save a life or give somebody some perspective or to call a friend. I’m thankful for every burden I’m given that shows me what I’m here for today.
- Himself: It’s pretty cool that the creator of everything everywhere makes himself available to me. I’m thankful for that. Eternally.
- Time: To enjoy all of the above.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
(P.S. We’d love to hear what you’re thankful for, or what you think I left off my list, in the comments.)