Posted in Uncategorized

How to Have the Family You Always Wanted – Part 8

th

Put Others First

It’s not all about you.  In our “take care of number one” culture, this goes cross grain with our logic. Humans by nature tend toward self-centeredness. After all to give is to lose – right?  This philosophy can create such a fear of loss that if we aren’t careful, we can get swallowed in a vortex of selfishness.  Then, we lose sight of the simple fact that true joy comes from giving not from getting.  When we decide to put others needs before our own, something almost magical happens, our soul feels truly fulfilled.  Over the holidays we experience a microcosm of this truth as we exchange gifts, or when we hand out Christmas dinners at a homeless shelter.  Giving just makes us feel great.  The truth is, at the very core of our being we were designed to find our life when we give it away.  “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 6:25

So how does this apply in our family?  First, let me make it clear, I’m not talking about taking your kids to the homeless shelter, although that’s not a bad idea.  What I’m trying to bring out is, putting others first through random acts of kindness should start at home.  Nothing says, “I love and believe in you,”  like a demonstration of putting another family member’s wants, needs, and desires before your own. Maybe the next time someone in your family wants to go one place and you want to go to another, you could defer to them and put them first by doing what they’d like to do.  Here’s an assignment if this whole idea strikes a chord with you.  Take some time and jot down a list of ways you can put each member of your family first, and then start doing your list this week. You might be surprised to see a love revolution in your family.  Please share your best ideas with us so we can spread the love.

Posted in Encouragement, Leadership, Parenting, Success

How to Have the Family You’ve Always Wanted – Part 7

th

The Number One Key to Peace in Your Home

Be quick to forgive. Easier said than done until you realize the incredibly high price of a grudge.  Failure to forgive has destroyed more marriages, families, interpersonal relationships, and lives than any other single poor life-choice. Unforgiveness is a personal prison you sentence yourself to, and the good news is you are the only one who has the key to let yourself out.

For our family, holding a grudge against anyone for anything was not an option. This policy was one of the biggest keys to harmony and peace in our family. We called it keeping “short accounts.”

Forgiveness has nothing to do with how we feel, it is a choice we make. It’s not an emotional decision, it’s a heart choice.  Sometimes we have to make it, and make it, and make it, as many times as it takes until it sticks. Your choice will bring you the life-changing freedom that only true forgiveness can bring, if you stay consistent in making good choices in the thoughts you keep and the ones you discard.  Then you train your kids by your example.

We taught our kids that when they realized they did something unkind to one another, they needed to immediately go to the person involved and ask their forgiveness.  We taught them to say, “I was wrong for ________, will you forgive me?”  And hopefully the response would come back, “I forgive you.”   Remember, there is creative power in our words.  Important: once we forgave, we never brought it up again.  Just like Jesus.

We all lived by, when you blow it, man up and own it.  Ask forgiveness quickly so bitterness and unforgiveness never have the chance to take root.  “I was wrong, but you . . . “ just didn’t get it.  That was blaming – not owning in our household.  Any time you put a “but” in a sentence, you can forget anything that came before it.

Are you in a self-imposed prison of unforgiveness?  Now you have the key, use it and set yourself free.  Your example also holds the key to keeping your family free of this plague as well.

Posted in Uncategorized

Back to Basics

Some pundits tell us that the economy has turned around and we are in an economic upswing. All I know is that the number of children our congregation members adopted from our own congregation this year has increase five times over last year’s number. Doesn’t sound like much of an upswing to me. However, looking for the silver lining, no matter what state you find yourself in, there is always something to be thankful for. Maybe this is a good opportunity to pare back on the elaborateness of Christmas and just enjoy each other and have a simple old fashioned good time. Whatever happened to handmade gifts? Aren’t they the best kind, the ones with love in them? Corporate America flaunts the term that “Less is more.” Maybe we need to adopt that credo into our personal lives as well. What are some of your best holiday traditions, things that make you feel close as a family? If you have some please share them with us. What activities grow you closer as a family around the holiday season? We all need each other in the good times and bad. Let’s get simple again!