Posted in Encouragement, Leadership, Parenting, Success

HOW TO HAVE THE FAMILY YOU’VE ALWAYS DREAMED OF – PART 3

th#3 –  BE the Real Deal – Because They’ll Become Who You Are

Our children become who we are, not what we tell them they should be.

Reality is, we are our kid’s first glimpse of God so what we do is just as important as what we say.  When our kids see us, they need to see Jesus. How they perceive us is how they will perceive God. 

If we’re angry all the time, they see God as angry. If they can never achieve enough, they get a B and you think they should have gotten an A – then they will see God as someone who is impossible to please.

I always felt loved by my Dad.  I knew I was his little girl.  However, at the same time I always felt like I never quite measured up no matter how hard I tried.  I was an only child and I’m not sure if the fact I was a girl disappointed him or what.  I just always was haunted with the feeling I wasn’t good enough,  I remember one time I got all As and he asked if my school gave A+s.  I must admit I struggle to this day with the fear that God sees me as not measuring up.

Our job is to train, model, coach and be an example in qualities like faithfulness, forgiveness, respect for authority, honesty, responsibility, and gratefulness.

Training is instruction and demonstration with a specific result in mind.

Our intended result is seeing that the character of Christ is formed in our kids, and that they have a personal relationship with Him and  learn how to make wise life choices.

I think this passage from the Message says it so well.

‘So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.’ Romans 12:1-2 msg

As parents and leaders, we are influencing everyone we encounter.  Someone is watching our life.  The question is not am I influencing someone?  It’s how am I influencing them?

When we first became Christians our best friends thought we were crazy and just on another hair-brained wild one.  Over the next 3 years we saw them now and then and always showed them the love of Jesus, but didn’t preach at them.  Finally Debbie agreed to go to church with me an during one of the songs fell into my arms sobbing as she accepted Christ.  They had watched us those years and saw that the changes God had made in us were real.  They both came to Christ and follow Him to this day.

That’s the power of influence and being genuine.  People are watching you.  Your kids are watching you.  That does not mean you have to be perfect. But you should be growing in the right direction. You should always be improving yourself, reading, listening to teachings, serving, spending time in God’s presence, and keeping yourself stirred up in the Lord. When you do these things, you’ll find you initiate the butterfly effect.  The Butterfly Theory was developed by Edward Norton Lorenz a mathematician and meteorologist who was on of the first to propose the chaos theory. Lorenz speculated that if a butterfly flapped its wings in South America it would effect the weather in Texas.  This is how our influence effects our kids the small things we do or don’t do, good or bad, have huge ramifications on their lives.   Live like their lives depend on it, because they do.

 

Posted in Encouragement, Leadership, Parenting, Success

How To Have The Family You’ve Always Dreamed Of – Part 2

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Last time we talked about the power of our words and we asked ourselves “What are we naming things?”  Today, we’re going to discuss another important principle.  Are you ready for principle number two?

#2 – Implement the 90/10 Principle

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to get focused on the things your loved ones do wrong?  I believe one of the most common reasons is wrong focus (thinking) or self focus (thinking). Most parents realize that their kids are a reflection of them, and if their kid looks bad, they look bad.  This may even be at a subconscious level.

In any case, this can make you focus on the 10% of their behavior that’s wrong instead of the 90% of their behavior that’s right.  Let’s call that the 10/90 Principle. Its the little voice in your head that’s screaming, “You’re making me look bad with that 10%.”  Here’s the problem with that.  Whatever you focus on becomes the focus.  It gets bigger.

Think of your own life, when someone, a parent, a spouse, a boss, tends to focus on what you do wrong and never or rarely praises for what you do right, what happens?  You feel defeated!  Right?  It either makes you feel mad or it makes you want to give up. That’s why the Word says in

Ephesians 6:4 – Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master. msg

While you can’t ignore disobedience, and we’ll hit that one at a later date,. you need to focus far more of your energy on encouraging and coaching them in what they are doing right.  There are already enough sources telling them everything they do wrong. Besides, when we focus primarily on what they do wrong, it creates a defeated spirit and can ultimately lead to rebellion.  When we focus on the 90% right, the 10% usually self corrects. So make a choice to affirm what they do right daily and tell them.  Here’s an assignment: Pray and ask God to show you all the great qualities in your child, or your spouse for that matter, and then make a list of them and thank God for them everyday. It will reprogram your thinking and get you out of this rut. Decide to implement the 90/10 principle today!

Posted in Parenting

How To Have The Family You’ve Always Dreamed Of – Part 1

thEarly on we had a revelation that our children were going to become who we were, not who we told them to be. and that our influence would be directly proportional to our obedience.  We were in agreement that we wanted to raise our kids God’s way.  So, we dove into the Word, especially Proverbs, and soaked it in . . . we were clueless, all we knew is if the Book said it, we’d should do it.  Proverbs 22:6, really stood out to us.

Proverbs 22:6

Point your kids in the right direction—when they’re old they won’t be lost. msg

As we studied, we began to see our job as not regulating but coaching and training.

Over the years, we adopted these principles into our parenting and they were huge, so I want to pass them on to you over the next few weeks.

# 1 – The Name It Principle

“Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.”  Proverbs 18:21 Message Bible

God shows us his intentions for mankind in the Book of Genesis.  He had just finished creating virtually everything.  He did not need any help, yet he assigned Adam the creative task of naming all the animals.

Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.

Genesis 2:19 NKJV

Here God gave us the “Name It Principle” (The principle of creation.)  Remember, we are created in His image just like Adam.  Whatever Adam named the animals, that’s what they were called.  God was teaching the created how to create.  This is the same principle that God used when He created everything.  When He gave it to Adam, He gave it to us.

What do you name it?

Here’s an example:

God brings an opportunity to one man and says, “What do you name it?”

The man says, “That’s impossible. it can’t be done, it is way too hard.”

Then He brings the exact same opportunity to someone else and asks the same question, “What do you name it?”

This guy says, “This is the opportunity I’ve been looking for for years!  I can’t believe how lucky I am.  I can do this!!!”

The same opportunities, vastly different results.  It’s the way you think that makes the difference.  It all starts with a thought.

Let’s take this principle to our parenting.  God gives you a child and says, “What do you name him?”

Do you name him “Can’t you do anything right?”  or “What is wrong with you? I’ve told you 1,000 times.”  or possibly worst of all, “I wish you’d never been born.”

And realize, sometimes it is not the direct words you speak, but how your child filters what you say that makes it reality for them.

On the other hand, you could name your child what the Bible says:

You’re the head and not the tail.

You are more than a conquerer

You are made for greatness.

You have the mind of Christ.

“God has an amazing plan for your life.”  He is going to use you to change the world and impact thousands of lives.”

What you focus on (think about), and what you say is what you get.  A thought gives birth to words, and words give birth to actions. It’s the principle of creation at work.

So why do we sometimes speak words that kill instead of words that give life?

Posted in Encouragement, Leadership, Parenting, Success

The Winner’s Edge

It’s that time of year again when the diamonds we dream about are made of dirt and chalk.  Which reminds me of a subject I’m pretty passionate about, competition.  A little competition is a good thing.  A lot, not so much!

Tenacity is a great quality, but when carried to the extreme it produces driven people.  You know the kind, the ones who don’t care who they run over or hurt to achieve their goals.  This kind of determination usually has it’s root in pride or insecurity (the other side of pride).  And as we all know, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”  Proverbs 16:18  Pride can disguise itself in any number of subtle ways, but in the end, it always brings destruction.

Teach your children to be winners, but not at the cost of compromise. Compromise brings a shallow and short lived sense of victory.  Teach them to work hard and not to be a quitter. Find something they love more than their penchant for giving up.

My daughter had a tendency to give up when things got hard.  One of her great loves in life is horses.  She’s been horse crazy since she caught her first glimpse of one.  To help her with this character flaw, the quitting not the horses, we gave her riding lessons at a very exclusive stable who trained kids for the Olympic Equestrian events.  I’ll never forget the day that her horse stopped short of the jump and she not so gracefully launched over his head and took the jump without him.  As she lay there on the ground, an erie sense of expectation gripped everyone watching.  It was as though we were all holding our breath, instinctively knowing we were about to witness a life-impacting decision.  Would she get up and get back on the horse, or would she quit?  As she got to her feet there was that hushed expectation as we waited for her reaction.  As she placed her foot in the stirrup and started to pull herself up, there was an audible sigh of relief from the spectators as we witnessed her good choice.  That moment was a turning point in her life that broke the syndrome of giving up when the going got hard.

It’s important that we teach our kids to meet challenges head on, and to go to the principles of the Word for answers to these challenges.  Then, they will always be a winner.  Sometimes the one who comes in first is the winner, but sometimes it’s the one who comes in last.  Appearances can be deceptive.  Winning at the inward qualities is not always as easy as preparing for a foot race, but it is exactly what Paul likens it to.  He talks a lot about running the race and finishing his course, and he ponders the outcome of giving up and not finishing the race.  There is only one race that has eternal consequences, and that’s the where we want to teach our children to focus their greatest energy.

How many great football heroes, champions in their fields such as, scientists, noble prize winners, world figures, and movie idols will stand before the world as victors and before the Judgement Seat of God a failure? Think about that the next time little Johnny’s Little League teams looses a game over an error or a bad call.  Think about the insignificance of that game in light of eternity before you tell the umpire just what you think of his eyesight, or before you bad mouth the coach all the way home in front of your child.  Either one of these acts will have a far greater negative impact on your child than the loss of one game, even if it is the Championship.

Teach your childrenth-2 to be a winner, even when they lose. Their attitudes will determine their tomorrow.  Sometimes it is easier to gain Godly character in a losing situation.  We are not being realistic if we think we will never be faced with trials or difficult circumstances.  If they don’t learn how to handle the loss of a little league game in a Godly manner, how will they deal with more difficult challenges later in life?  Use every circumstance as a learning situation and a teaching moment.  That is how you can turn defeats into victories every time.  Your child will not only gain Godly character, but a more positive outlook on life and a truly humble spirit.  “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

 

Posted in Encouragement, Leadership, Parenting

Parenting Through The Mirror – Add This To Your Parenting Arsenal

51aBbw-RY6L._AA160_As a parent, have you ever felt like a deer in the headlights? You find yourself asking questions like “Why do our kids act like that?” You’re sure you’ve done everything right. After all, you work hard, provide them a nice home and food on the table, furnish them with all the latest technology, and make sure they are safe. But instead of adorning gratitude and devotion, you get Miss Smart-mouth and Mr. Know-It-All. How can you encourage them to be grateful or at least respectful?

Parenting at times can be confusing, frustrating, and even defeating. That correction technic that worked so well on little Sally doesn’t even faze Jimmy, it only makes him more defiant. Where can you turn for help?

For decades people have asked us, “How do you do it? You have such an awesome family.” It is this question that encouraged me to write “Parenting Through the Mirror.”

In this book, I’ll share with you how I learned through the school of hard knocks, and the original book on parenting, that the best place to start fixing your kids is right in your own mirror. That’s right, the person staring back at you is the perfect place to start. You see, our children become who we are not what we tell them to be; and a lot of who they become is caught as much as taught. The good news is, you do possess the power to change you, it’s a choice. While we can never change another person, we can choose to change ourselves. The result is an empowered you who no longer has to react to whatever life and your kids throw your way, a new you who responds in a peaceful, loving and productive manner to all life’s challenges.

You’ll also learn you don’t have to be perfect to be a great parent. I dare you to take this “Mirror Challenge” I promise it will change your life and the lives of all those in your circle of influence and beyond.

available at amazon.com

Posted in Encouragement, Leadership, Parenting

How A Child Spells Love

A cookie valentine In today’s culture of busyness and materialism, it seems that many of us have lost sight of the simplicity involved in showing real love to our family. How do you spell . . . love? Is it nonstop A.C.T.I.V.I.T.I.E.S? Is it in all the latest S.T.U.F.F. I think we’ve all had times when long work hours and an endless flurry of activities frazzled our last nerve and caused us to lose our joy and peace. While your kids may beg for the latest and greatest gizmos and want to be involved in an endless array of activities, the truth of the matter is, that it is a rare kid who does not spell love T.I.M.E. Nothing contributes more to a child’s sense of self worth than your undivided and complete attention for an extended period. Whether it’s reading them a bedtime story, playing games as a family, or just having real conversation over dinner, your time is the most valuable commodity you have to give. What greater way to show your child they are loved and valuable than with the gift of your time? Every person has the same 24 hours each day, and once it’s spent it’s gone. Time is the great equalizer, it crosses all social, economic, and ethnic boundaries. The amazing thing is, it is our choice whether we spend or invest it. If you spend all your time to gain things that have no eternal value, you’ll end this game called life the same way you came in, empty. However, if you invest it into the lives of those God has called you to serve, your time will reap a great reward both now and in future generations. The choice is yours.

Posted in Leadership, Parenting, Success

The Power of Influence

 

 

 

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Our children become who we are, not what we tell them they should be.  I remember one afternoon, my mom sat me down to give me “the lecture” on why I shouldn’t smoke.  My mom smoked 6 cigarettes while she gave me the “why you shouldn’t smoke lecture.”  I smoked until I got saved at age 22. The reality is, we are our kid’s first glimpse of God, so what we do is just as important as what we say.

When our kids see us, they need to see Jesus because, how they perceive us is how they will perceive God. If we’re angry all the time, they see God as angry. If they can never achieve enough, they get a B and you think they should have gotten an A – then they will see God as someone who is impossible to please. Our job is to train and model by our example qualities like faithfulness, forgiveness, respect for authority, honesty, responsibility, and gratefulness.

Training is instruction and demonstration with a specific result in mind.  The result we want is to see the character of Christ  formed in our kids.  We also want the assurance that they have a personal relationship with Him, and that they are learning how to make wise life choices.

2 Corinthians 3:18 “And all of us have had that veil removed so that we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more.”

As parents and leaders, we are influencing everyone we encounter.  Someone is watching our life.  The question is not, am I influencing someone?  It’s how am I influencing them?  Sometimes appearances can be deceptive, but know they are watching and we are always influencing.   We are like books read by all those around us.

At Erik’s high school graduation, he had a guy come up to him and say, I just want to thank you, it’s because of your life that I am a Christian today.  Erik had never met the kid.  It seems he had seen Erik in Junior High when he was going through his rebellious period, and then he went to the same high school when Erik got his life right with God.  He had just watched quietly in the distance and saw the change in his life and behavior.  When he went to a camp, he was convinced that Jesus was real because of what he’d witnessed in Erik’s life and gave his heart to Christ.

That’s the power of influence and a life well lived.  People are watching you.  Your kids are watching you.  The people at your job are watching you, everyone you come into contact with is watching you. You won’t be perfect, but you should be growing and improving yourself by reading, listening to teachings, serving (doing the Word)  Spending time in God’s presence, and  keeping yourself stirred up in the Lord.

 

Posted in Parenting

New Year’s Special

From January 1-5, if you purchase a copy of my new book, Parenting Through the Mirror, and send me a copy of the receipt and your address and contact info, I will send you a free copy of my children’s book Iggy and the Volcano a $14 value.

Parenting Through the Mirror

As a parent, have you ever felt like a deer in the headlights? You find yourself asking questions like, “Why do our kids act like that?” You’re sure you’ve done everything right. After all, you work hard, provide them a nice home, put food on the table, furnish them with all the latest technology and make sure they are safe. In return you get Miss Smart-mouth and Mr. Know-It-All instead of the adorning gratitude and devotion, you expected. How can you encourage them to be grateful or at least respectful? For decades people have asked us, “How do you do it? You have such an awesome family.” It is this question that encouraged me to write Parenting Through the Mirror. In this book, I’ll share with you how I learned that the best place to start fixing your kids is right in your own mirror. That’s right. The person staring back at you is the perfect place to start. While we can never change another person – we can choose to change ourselves. The result is an empowered you, who no longer has to react to whatever life and your kids throw your way. I dare you to take the Mirror Challenge.

Iggy and the Volcano

Iggy and the Volcano is a fiction meets science story.  It’s the delightful tale of a lonely little rock, named Rocky, who wishes for a friend and receives one in a most unexpected way.  His new friend, Iggy, teaches him how he was formed in the heart of the earth, and then blown out in a volcanic eruption.  This highly entertaining story will teach children how igneous rocks are created, the parts of a strato volcano, and how volcanos are formed. It’s a learning experience children will want to revisit again and again.  This book is an excellent introduction to earth science in a fun and engaging way, for preschool and elementary children.

Both are available at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.  51aBbw-RY6L._AA160_

Posted in Encouragement, Leadership, Parenting

Help Me Spread the News

More than at any other time, parents today are struggling in their efforts to raise healthy whole kids. Our family disfunctions are snowballing on us. I wrote Parenting Through the Mirror to help parents get themselves and their families on the road to healthy and on to optimum health. Can you help make a difference in the lives of others by passing this on to others in your network? Some of you have already done this and it is working! Together we can heal a lot of hurting people and further equip those who are already doing great!51aBbw-RY6L._AA160_