Calm Parenting University Workshop Session 2 Recap

My journey as a Christian, husband, and father has been filled with earth-shattering sorrows and life-giving joys, humbling defeats and overwhelming victories, with less and less of myself while I become more and more.

Perhaps you were as surprised as I was that the first things we need to do as parents to change our homes and lives is to take care of ourselves. My earliest years as a parent were filled with my search for methods that would change my children’s behavior, but the truth is that I first needed to change my own behavior.

I pray that you have been able begin applying the first ten strategies and have been working on the three action steps from session 1. I am continuing to pray for you as we continue to grow into the parents God has called us to be so that we can raise the twenty-three year old, healthy, well-adjusted adults God has called our children to be.

CPU Workshop Session 2 Recap

Key Idea:

Most of us have tried escalating consequences, bribing, begging, threatening and yelling to get our kids to behave… but nothing changes. This week, our focus is on building the lifelong character trait of self-control in our children.

Key Principles:

  1. Discipline is something you do FOR your child, not TO your child.
  2. Disciple is NOT punishment, discipline is teaching.
  3. Discipline is love.

10 Strategies to Discipline & Get Your Kids to Listen:

  1. Rewind and replay.
  2. Give kids tools to succeed.
  3. Give kids choices and ownership (if you were there, think pots and pans example).
  4. Take action. Act with integrity.
  5. Practice impulse control.
  6. Lead without fear.
  7. Establish proper boundaries between parents and children.
  8. Do not allow tantrums to work.
  9. Get to the root of the issue. Come alongside.
  10. Call your child’s bluff.

Key Scriptures:

  1. Proverbs 29:17
  2. Hebrews 12:6
  3. Hebrews 12:11
  4. Matthew 5:37
  5. Hebrews 4:16

Action Steps:

  1. Take time to reflect on how you were disciplined as a child.
  2. Practice one new discipline tool this week.
  3. Give your kids tools.

May God bless you richly this week as you move forward to becoming more of what God created you to be so your kids can become more of what God created them to be.

 

Submit to Your Spouse

February is upon us, and with it comes one of the most intimidating and daunting days of the year. Awkward teenage boys fear this day while young women everywhere anticipate its arrival with great excitement. Wives all across our nation are heartbroken by a plague of men who NEVER understand the meaning and importance of this day.

Valentine’s Day, February 14th every year, is coming and it will bring a surge in the sales of chocolate, roses, and Kleenex. A friend of mine suggested one time that Valentine’s Day was created by a couples’ counselor who needed extra work.

In reality, Valentine’s Day is a remarkable time of year for us to celebrate the most important relationship God has given us (with any person). Whether married, engaged, courting, or “just friends,” this is a day in which we can intentionally pour honor, love, respect, and appreciation upon that one special person in your life.

When a Christian couple is dating, courting, or engaged – the primary purpose of that relationship should be the preparation for marriage. When a couple is married, the marriage relationship should be the most important interpersonal relationship. Period. Your spouse is a gift from God (Proverbs 19:14), fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), for you to love, honor, cherish, adore, and submit to (Ephesians 5:21-33).

Yes, husband, your wife is to submit to you, but you are to submit to your wife as well. Husband, you should honor your wife, sacrifice yourself for her, love her, cherish and nourish her, and give yourself up for her. What does this mean in your relationship? I don’t know, but your wife does. Ask her.

Wives, yes I know that your husband can sometimes be an insensitive jerk. Often, he doesn’t even seem to respect your time or ideas. How can you submit to someone you are having a hard time respecting? How can you respect a man who doesn’t seem to respect you? By choosing to serve him in love. By choosing to appreciate what he does for you, rather than resent what he doesn’t do for you.

Marriage is a difficult relationship for us, sinners, to get right. Thank God for His Son, gifted to us so that through His life, death, burial, and resurrection we might become the righteousness of God and learn to live this life well. Thank God that at the cross, He gives us hope for marriage.

Men often ask how it is that they can love a wife who does not respect them. Women often ask how they can respect a husband who does not love them. The answer for both is the same: Lead in love, choosing to submit yourself to your spouse out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21) because He loves you. And maybe Valentine’s Day this year can give you an excuse to practice.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Fruit of the Righteous

Autumn is arguably my favorite season of the year. As the air begins to chill and the trees begin to fill out with a rainbow of colors, a crisp aroma fills the air. The sun sits a little lower in the sky, and the days begin to shorten. I love this time of year! Everywhere I turn, I am blessed to witness the glory and majesty of God’s Creation with all of my senses.

Of all the blessing that come with the end of summer, perhaps my favorite is the ripening apples. Sweet and soft, tart and crisp, or anywhere in between; I love apples: whole apples, fresh apple cider, pies, cobblers, dumplings, and more. Apples are, perhaps, my favorite fruit.

In Pennsylvania, we had three apple trees in our back yard. Our first year in the home, the nearest apple tree produced a sizable crop of apples. For each year following, this particular tree produced fewer and fewer apples. Two autumns ago, it produced very few apples. That winter, during a snow storm, the entire tree was uprooted and fell. It was dead. The fruit it produced was an indication of the health of the tree.

Psalm 1:3 tells us that the righteous are like “a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season.” (ESV) Jesus tells us that He is the living water. In John 7:37-38, Jesus says “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me,… Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (ESV)

Jesus is the source of living water. When we abide in Him, we are like trees planted by streams of water. In another analogy, Jesus compares Himself to a vine and tells us “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit.” (John 15:5, ESV)

But what fruit should the righteous life produce? In the vine and branches analogy, Jesus follows His words “go and bear fruit” with the words “love one another.” In one sense, the visible fruit of a righteous life is love for one another. Another measure of the fruit produced by the righteous life is given to us by the apostle Paul in his Epistle to the Galatians.

In Galatians 5:22-23, Paul writes “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” Note that when Jesus talks about the living water in John 7:37-38, John goes on to explain that the Holy Spirit is the living water. As such, the righteous in Christ are filled with the Holy Spirit. Like trees planted near a stream, they bear much fruit: love, joy, peace, patience…

This autumn, as we enjoy the bountiful harvest of apples and other fruits, please take some time to prayerfully ask, “Am I bearing much fruit?” If not, please repent, turn to Jesus, and abide in Him. He is waiting and ready for you to abide in Him, and He in you. He loves you, as do I.