Who’s Your Village?

Photo Credit: hans pohl Flickr via Compfight cc

I’ve come to learn that it really does take a village to raise a child. In fact, my dad and mom always said that their “success” in parenting really had more to do with the people they surrounded us with than anything they did. Not sure if I completely agree (I think they made some right choices along the way). Either way, they were certainly onto something. When I look back on my childhood I can remember the missionaries, the pastors, the small group leaders, the coaches of high character and integrity that surrounded my upbringing. It’s not surprising that all of us “children” grew up to serve God in various ways in full-time vocational ministry.

The adults in out lives were more than just friends. They were more than just people to hangout with and friends to have near while we tried to “survive the troubles of life”. They were influences. They were partners in parenting and childrearing.

Our life was not easy. We had struggles like every other family. We had times when we had “enough” and there were times when we struggled financially. There were times of health and times of sickness. Throughout my childhood, my parents kept the main thing the main thing. They raised us kids with a purpose in life that was beyond ourselves. It was beyond the “typical”. They raised us with the belief that God was calling us to more. He was preparing and leading us to make a difference in this world… to offer hope to people who were far from Him.

Aime and I are right in the middle of raising our six kids. They range from a senior in High School to kindergarten. We’re trying hard to surround them with key influences… people with strong character and an outspoken call on their life to make a difference. Sometimes this means we have to make the tough choices to change these influences by changing where we spend our time. These choices can be tough in the moment, but we’re banking on it paying out in the long run.

So, just a challenge here –

Who do you choose to surround your children? What kinds of people have influence in their life? What things are they striving after?

These are important questions because chances are …

Your kids just might grow up to look like them as much as they will you.

 

Feeling lost as a parent? Looking for a way to discover the purpose for your family? Wanting to establish family values, set goals, or just need a tool to help you keep the main thing the main thing?

We’ve got it for you (Right Here)

Navigating Parental Peer Pressure

Christian Parenting

Photo Credit: Curtis Cronn via Compfight cc

Your pre-teen is asked to go to the movies on a “group date” and you feel uncomfortable with it… but you know every other parent (who happen to be your friends) seem to be fine with it. What do you do?

Every year there seems to be a new strategy for overcoming peer pressure. When I grew up it was “Just say No!” Now it’s something like “Make a Difference” and “Stand Out”. Why is it that this always make sense to us when we’re talking with our kids, but when it comes to our own lives as parents we struggle.

Peer pressure is real…and it’s really tough on parents. Don’t believe me? Just take a walk through the mall and watch parents as they sheepishly following their kids from store to store shaking the heads is disapproval …and yet carrying armloads of bags filled with over-prices, under fabricated clothes that resemble something worn by Madonna. (Side note: when did parents become cool with Madonna?) Anyway, the point is simple and we all know it: we feel pressure to conform to other parents every day. So how do we handle situations where our gut is saying one thing and our mouth wants to say something else?

Here’s 5 things that should help

What’s the Purpose?

If you know me at all you know that I’m all about helping our kids have a purpose for their lives bigger than themselves. The very first line of defense in fighting parental peer pressure is to know whether or not this activity is even something you should be considering. I’ve been floored with the number of times I’ve spoken with parents about whether or not they should allow their 16 year old to drink or smoke marijuana. (You think I’m kidding, but I’m not!) Their line of reasoning? “Well they’re going to do it anyway, at least if they do it in my house I can make sure their safe and not driving or anything stupid like that.”

Ok… that’s just plain dumb. What do you know? Drugs are illegal and bad. It’s a no brainer. But what about a movie? “Whatcha going to see?” Generally, a lot of pressure can be relieved right away if you had a personal conviction on the kinds of movies you’re kids are going to watch and which ones they’e not.

How do I set these boundaries for my kids? Simple, we want our kids to be “Owned by God”. We value things like Integrity, Grace and Wise Choices (we actually have 12 core values as a family). If this movie pulls us away from our goal or values… it’s a No Go!

REBUILD – Protecting Your Family

Christian Parenting

Photo Credit: taestell via Compfight cc

 

The roof keeps everything below protected. Just as a bad foundation can cause the whole thing to collapse, a home without a roof won’t stand very long either.

So how do we protect what we have?

This is where we put our boundaries into action.

Luke 14:28

“For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?

See here’s the thing. A healthy family does more than just talk about values… they live them out every day. Too many parents claim to value things only to leave them here at the door as they walk out of the home. Here are 3 thing you can do to Protect your family:

Know your children

Each of our kids are unique. They need to be raised uniquely. Not only that, but they also have certain needs. They will respond to you as their parent differently depending on what stage of life they’re in. Each of our children are on a journey. We call it a Journey to Independence.

This is a journey that is good. It’s natural. It’s a great accomplishment. We all started this journey at a very young age age and we journeyed through so many crucial life stages. Early childhood, Elementary School years, Middle school, High School, and on into Adulthood. At each of these stages your child changes. They mature. They grow. Physically, cognitively, they change in how they respond to us. How they listen to us… or stop listening to us.

So here’s the journey we’re on as dad’s and mom’s. We’re journeying through phases of parenting. During each of these parenting phases we’re discovering that we’re having to shift how we parent, how we communicate with our children. Here’s what I mean by that: the way in which we just communicated, our “voice” with our children all of a sudden… doesn’t work any more. Here are the basic voices.

Early childhood – Protector

Elementary – Teacher

Middle School – Model

High School – Coach

Adulthood – Mentor

Know your child… Speak their language.

Rebuild – Framing it with Strong Values

Christian Parenting

Framing gives our homes their unique shape. When Aime and I moved back to Ohio, we looked at a ton of houses. One house didn’t have enough rooms, one house had enough rooms…they were just too small. One house was weird shaped and finally we found OUR home. It was just … US. It just fit us.

So let’s ask the question: What makes our family different? 

A few years ago, Aime and I sat down and had a great talk about just that. You see, although we both loved the homes we grew up in and loved our childhood, there were several things we determined we wanted to do differently. We call these our Family Values. We started to  ask questions like what do we want these kids to look like in 18 years? What’s our goal? What kinds of memories do we want these kids to have about their childhood. We decided to place the end goal out there and really shoot for it. Stephen Covey calls it “keeping the end in mind”.

You can check a couple of ours out (HERE) and (HERE).

Rebuild – Laying a Good Foundation

Christian Parenting

Photo Credit: Unhindered by Talent via Compfight cc

The role of the foundation of a home is hold the load of everything to come. When there is no foundation, the structure just can’t hold as much of a load. It’s the very first way we PROTECT our homes and buildings. Interestingly enough, when contractors build skyscrapers… almost half of the budget is spent on the foundation alone. The foundation distributes the load evenly. It put the weight and pressure in a solid place. Let me tell you, if you’re family really doesn’t have a good foundation. If you’ve thrown it together and find yourself winging it as you go along… You’re load capacity, what your family can handle, is going to be significantly lower than one with a strong foundation.

So what is God’s view of a healthy family?

Let’s take it back again to Deuteronomy 6:4-9

“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

First and foremost, at the very foundation of every home is disciplemaking. It’s all about discipleship: We have been called to raise these children with full knowledge of how awesome God is and how he longs to be close to each of us. Then, in return our children will spread that truth and pass it on to their children and grandchildren. It is the job of every person in this room to raise these kids to be warriors, ready to do battle in a fallen world.

James Bryan Smith calls the home “The Workshop of God.”