What is the greatest weakness in most families? According to Dr. James H. Bossard, a former professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania who spent 40 years probing what he called "neglected areas of family life," it is the way parents talk in front of their children.
After studying extensive recordings of table talk, he wrote, "I had no idea I would discover a real pattern in the [mealtime] conversation of families. I just wanted to learn what families talked about, but to my amazement I have found that family after family had definite, consistent conversational habits, and that the critical pattern was the most prevalent.
"These families rarely had a good word to say about anyone. They carped continuously about friends, relatives, neighbors—almost every aspect of their lives, from the lines of people in the supermarket to the stupidity of their bosses.
"This constant negative family atmosphere had a disastrous effect on the children, because a high percentage of [these families'] children were antisocial and unpopular. And this pattern of the family's hostility many times turned to quarreling amongst themselves. Without fail, their meals were a round of insults and bickering. The children absorbed that pattern, and it caused the children trouble.
"Long ago," Dr. Bossard continued, "a great Teacher pointed out that what comes out of the mouth is a great deal more important than that which goes in to it." That Teacher was Jesus, and that wisdom is found in Matthew 15:11.
Words flowing from a soul filled with God's Spirit of love will have a magnetic quality that will draw others. When the heart is burning with divine love, you don't need to try to put pathos or tenderness into your conversation. All your words will have a savor and a power that comes from an inner depth.
The root of the problem isn't actually the tongue, but the heart. Words only convey what's in the heart. "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things" (Matthew 12:35).
There is no way under the sun to change the quality of our words except to change the spirit from which those words flow. There has to be a change of heart.
If you need such a change of heart, begin by praying. Then as you spend time with Jesus, the fountain of all goodness and kindness and gentleness, you'll soon find your words to be a greater influence for good in the lives of those nearest and dearest to you.
By Virginia B. Berg, courtesy of Activated magazine. Used with permission.
Parenting has never been easy, but all parents have one great thing going for them from day one: Their children love and look up to them more than anyone else in the world. This is an important part of the grand scheme of things, because while your children are a gift from Heaven, they are a work in progress. It’s your job to help them grow into loving, responsible adults.
The love and respect your children feel for you are inborn, but they aren’t static. They increase or diminish day by day according to how you interact with your child, so don’t betray their trust. Set the kind of example they will be proud to follow.
If you want your children to be outgoing and genuinely concerned about others, be that way yourself. If you want them to be unselfish, be unselfish. If you want them to be honest, be honest. If you want them to be optimistic and solution-oriented, let them see you approach life’s challenges and disappointments positively. If you want them to have thankful hearts, thank and praise God for His goodness at every turn.
Try to set a good example.—not of some kind of a perfect, sinless saint which your child may feel he could never measure up to, but of an honest, happy, humble example of a friend and loving parent, someone whom kids can look up to and trust. You have to try to be what you want your children to be.
Children are great mimics, and this is largely how they learn, by imitation. Children seldom forget what they see. They go more by what they see than by what they hear, more by your actions than just your words. Children will learn more from your actions and even your attitudes than they will from what you say! Think of what you would like to be in the eyes of your child and be that parent!
Courtesy Aurora Productions / TFI. Used with permission.
Excellent parenting tips that can apply to children of all ages. Courtesy of Tommy's Window.
My grandpa used to say, "If you see well-behaved children, you can be sure that someone is using both hands in bringing them up—the right hand of love and the left hand of discipline." In the 25 years that I have been a teacher, that maxim has been a cornerstone of my daily interactions with my students.
Perhaps you've heard the analogy that likens youngsters to small plants. Plants need water and sunshine, but they also need attention in the form of fertilizing, pruning, fumigating, transplanting to larger pots, etc.—attention that requires work on the part of the gardener and can be a temporary shock for the plant. In the case of young people, that means giving them tender loving care first and foremost, while not neglecting the other things that are necessary parts of character building, like providing a healthy environment for their social development and emotional and spiritual growth, setting limits, teaching them to take responsibility for their actions, and allowing them to learn through suffering the consequences of their own poor decisions, if necessary. These more difficult aspects of parenting and mentoring are usually also the ones that are the most difficult for young people to accept, especially in the beginning, but we owe it to them and to God, to whom they and we will ultimately need to give account of our lives.
There is a lot of talk these days about troubled teenagers and the exponential impact they have on society as their influence spreads to their peers, younger children, and eventually their own children. And the same questions keep being asked: How did we get in this state? And how do we get out? Can we steer our ship back on a godlier course, or is it too late?
I believe there is always hope, with God's help, because all things are possible for Him (Matthew 19:26). But He can't and won't do it alone. He needs us parents, teachers, and other adults to be mentors and role models for our young people. Our part is to buck the trends of passiveness, permissiveness, and a general lack of definite moral standards that sadly have become norms in parenting and education today. But if we will each do what we can, God will do what we can't. He will bring about the inward changes that our children need and help them want to do their part, to do the right things with the right motivation. With time, they can become forces for positive change themselves, but it starts with us adults. We need to take the reins—with both hands.
Children seldom turn out the way we expect. Then again, neither did we.
Difficult children, like difficult laundry, can turn out great if given special attention before the stains set.
Share your strength with your children when they are young, and they will share their youth with you when your strength runs out.
Of all the things we give a child, our words must be the most carefully wrapped.
Children are like water: Bottle them up and they stagnate; let them run wild and they make a mess; guide them and they bring life to all they touch.
Love does to children what sun does to flowers.
If parents do only two things—love their children and pray for them—God will more than make up for everything else.
If we try to spare our children every disappointment and difficulty when they are young, we rob them of the opportunity to learn and mature and grow strong enough to face and overcome disappointments and difficulties that will come when they’re older.
Show your children love, tenderness, gentleness, patience, and respect, and they will treat others likewise.
Train your child as if you were preparing a prince for his future reign, for he will grow up to be one of the forces that shapes the future of mankind.
Look for five things on which you can compliment your children today.
You can’t take it for granted that because you know you love, appreciate, and value your children, that they know that. Tell them so!
Love has creative power. In the home, love does its magic by engendering unselfish acts and helping each family member to see the others in a positive light.
It’s easy to inadvertently make children feel unloved or unappreciated, but a little forethought and courtesy can have just the opposite effect.
You will never regret spending time with your children, but you will regret it if you don’t.
Maintaining an open line of communication with children when all is going well will make it easier for them to accept constructive criticism or even reproof when it’s needed.
A few minutes of quality time with your children at the start and end of each day—a hug, a story, a prayer—will go a long way toward helping them feel loved and secure.
Parenting has never been easy, but all loving parents have one great thing going for them from day one: their children love and look up to them more than anyone else in the world.
While your children are a gift from Heaven, they are also a work in progress. It’s your job to help them grow into loving, responsible adults.
Excerpted from "Mottos for Success" desktop quotebook, by Aurora Productions.
Love has creative power, and in the home love does its magic by engendering unselfish acts and helping each family member see the others in a positive light. Everyone wants to be understood, accepted, and loved for who he or she is, and the home is a God-created environment where these things can thrive.
There are also things that work against love in the home—enemies of love, if you will. Disagreements between children and parents and sibling rivalries are a couple of the obvious ones, but there are other problems that are more subtle and therefore even more dangerous—selfishness, laziness, indifference, criticalness, nagging, taking each other for granted, and thinking and talking negatively about one another, to name a few. These usually begin with small, seemingly innocent incidents—finding excuses to not help out, squabbles over petty issues, little putdowns and sarcastic remarks—but unless you recognize these as attacks on your family’s love and unity, they will develop into bad habits that will take a terrible toll on your family.
It’s not enough to simply save the moment by sending the feuding parties to their separate corners, silencing the sarcastic, or pressing the shirker into service. That’s dealing with the symptoms, not the root problem, which is a lack of love. The only thing that will cure a lack of love is love itself, so ask God to bring more love into your home. Then cultivate that love through loving thoughts, words, and actions.
Children remember things very clearly and are directly affected by their parents’ attitude and how their parents feel and think about them. So if you’re constantly speaking faith and positive things about your child, either to him or to others, and if you’re thinking positive things about your child, this will have a good, faith-building, positive effect on your child, and he’ll become more like what you think of him and expect from him. But if you are thinking or speaking negatively about your child, either directly or indirectly to him, it will have the effect of making him think negatively about himself and hinder his happiness and self-esteem, his performance, and the way he sees himself. Faith begets more faith; positive attitudes foster more positive attitudes in both yourself and those around you. It takes faith in someone to bring out the best in them.
© Aurora/The Family International. Used with permission.
As every parent knows, raising a child is not cheap. However, most of us tend to forget just how much we get in return. This presentation is a good reminder that the cost of having and raising a child is nothing in comparison to how much we get back. Enjoy!
Courtesy of Tommy's Window.
Your love and care for your children won’t go unrewarded. Every diaper changed, every spill cleaned up, every meal prepared, every lesson taught, every mistake forgiven, every tear shed, every word of encouragement given, every hug, every kiss, every bit of sacrifice, every prayer-all of these are helping to make them children that you can be proud of.
Although they may not always say so or act like it, they’re proud to have a mother like you. They don’t understand how you can keep loving them when they feel they least deserve it, but they want it and appreciate it and know they need it.
Raising a child is like painting a masterpiece. As the painter applies layer upon layer to her canvas, day by day you shape the life of your little one.
The artist doesn’t begin with the smallest details, but uses broad strokes to map the basic shapes of her painting. Then, with patience and great care, she adds new tones and a little more detail each day, until finally she can step back and admire her handiwork-a finished product she can be proud of.
So it is for mothers: Patiently and with tender loving care, mothers help transform little children into mature men and women.
One day you will step back and admire your work of art. Others will never fully understand or appreciate the years of hard work and loving care it took to produce your masterpiece, but you will know that it was worth it all!
Old-fashioned motherhood never goes out of style because it’s all about love. Mothers are the embodiment of love and care and tenderness-love that even the tiniest baby can feel and respond to.
So if you think you’re missing out or living in the past because you’re stuck at home “just” caring for a baby or raising children when you could be pursuing a career, think again. Love is the best thing in life! It’s the most important lesson anyone can ever learn and the greatest gift anyone can ever receive-and mothers teach it and give it like no one else. Life would go on fine without many things, but not without mothers. Old-fashioned motherhood is here to stay!
Courtesy of "From Jesus with Love - for Her" by Aurora Productions. Used with permission.