Tuesday, July 21, 2009

When It's Time to Let Them Go

From the time they are born, our greatest goal is to raise them to become productive, well-balanced and happy adults that can conquer the battles of life with relative ease. Going to school, eating well, washing their hands after they use the toilet, looking both ways before they cross the street, saying please and thank you and tying their shoes can take up so much time that we forget that we are to be shaping character above all.

And the best way for character to develop is for each of them to learn to make their own choices, and to be true to themselves - especially when they reach the teen and young adult stage when decisions can be so much more life changing. As heartrending as it may be when they don't jump at the opportunities that we think are so "right" for them, it's so much more painful to try and force them to be what they are not, and then see the situation explode before our eyes.

Here are some things I've learned and have worked well so far over the years:

!. Show your soon-to-be adult, that you believe in him/her, that you see the great potential just waiting to be developed
2. Find out what they truly feel about the direction of their life and what they want. Make sure you keep what YOU want out of the picture.
3. Encourage honesty and sincerity - with themselves, with you and with God.
4. Help them sort through any confusing or conflicting feelings or thoughts without pressuring them to fit your mold.
5. Pray with them and teach them to pray, to ask God for His guidance and to fight back against all the negative feelings he or she may have. When your child learns to depend on God, wants Him to be Lord of his life and develops a close bond of trust with Him, the rest will fall into place without any pushiness on your part.
6. Back off and practice what you preach. Trust God to do what is now out of your hands - turning your child into a new creature for His glory.

You didn't think you could control them forever, did you?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Random Myths that Need Busting

Myth: It is unfair, unhealthy and unethical to be asked to work more that 40 hours a week.

Fact: When you are working at something you love, and something that you know will bless your life, extra hours put in on the job are a joy and should be seen as an investment with great returns.

Myth: You should not speak about unpleasant subjects such as death, war, abuse or the occult in front of your children or they will be traumatized.

Fact: You'd better speak to your children about all of the above! They need to hear the truth about how God views all of them from your mouth before they start forming their own opinions based on what they see on TV. If you are scared or upset about any of these, they will be as well. If you understand the freedom and authority God gives us over all evil, than these subjects can turn into beautiful discussions of how much we can help others who are suffering. They will feel so secure and happy knowing that there is a power greater than whatever they may fear.

Myth: When dividing the workload among coworkers, you should stick to what you have been assigned to. If you ever help to fix someone else's problems without being asked, you are bordering on sainthood. Keep track of how many times you have done extra to make sure you don't get taken advantage of.

Fact: Giving cheerfully and freely is a sure way of receiving from God much more than you gave. If your kindness is done with a grudge, nothing will come of it, just extra calories spent. But if it's done purposefully in faith, with a willing heart, be ready for the blessings to roll in! "If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away." (Mat. 5:40-42)

Myth: If you suspect that others misunderstand or dislike you, shrink out of sight as much as possible. Speak and appear as little as possible. The less they know about you the less they'll have to say, and might forget you're even there.

Fact: If you suspect others misunderstand you, and it is important that you all get along well, prove them wrong! Interact with them if you can, share your thoughts and sincere feelings, your sense of humor, and best of all, ask them for advice. Even the crustiest, unfriendliest, thick-skinned person loves to have their opinions valued. Hiding only reinforces their suspicions that there might be something fishy about you.

Myth: Be aware of your status, compare yourself and the work you're asked to do with others around you. If you feel like you are on the bottom of the pile - you are! Be sure you show your resentment at being given demeaning and humiliating jobs.

Fact: There is a good chance that others around you are doing tough and unpleasant jobs as well, but have chosen to see them in a positive light so that they can excel and move on. You can choose to love the tasks you are given, unless you are convinced your job is not worth your time - then quit and find another. Otherwise, "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ." (Col. 3:23)

Myths and legends are not just in fairy tales, they creep into real life a little too easily!