Archive for September 25, 2011
- Constantly interrupt them when they speak
- Put our effort into making them understand us
- Put family members “in their place” when they get “too confident”
- Impatiently criticize them and minimize their effort
- Act as though their opinion is less important than our opinion
- Make constant demands on them but give very little
- Constantly complain that they “didn’t do it the right way the first time” or “didn’t do it good enough”
- Make rude comments, gestures, or facial expressions (eye rolls)
- Waste their time by being late or making them do what we could do ourselves
- Break our promises
- Listen intently and respectfully, without interruption
- Put more effort into understanding family members
- Encourage them with your words and actions
- Accept their opinion and even allow it to influence your behavior
- Do something nice for them
- Speak to them with kindness
- Volunteer to do their chore for a week
- Let them have the “shotgun seat” in the car
- Keep your promises
- Politely hold the door open for them
- Say “Thank-you” and “You’re welcome.”
- When the other person acts like a beast, do 1-11 anyway!
· Most adolescents, my daughters included, don’t seem to understand the great opportunity to learn from a parent’s mistakes and avoid the pain related to those mistakes. Instead, they want to make independent choices, suffer the same consequences, and experience the same pain. I can feel the anger boiling up inside me when they won’t accept a word of advice or turn my mistake into their learning… and then that still small voice whispers in my ear, “Love is not easily provoked.” In the wilderness of adolescence I’m learning that love practices self-control. Love remains in full possession of feelings, gives a blessing for an insult and practices kindness in the face of rudeness.
· I grow impatient waiting for my daughters to learn from the first and mostly insignificant consequences of some decision, to pull out of the downward spiral before they crash and burn. I even encourage them to pull out by pointing out the dangers. But, they keep trying to fix it. They want to make it right in their own way, with their own effort, by their own power. I find myself impatiently pacing the floor and worrying when I hear that “still small voice” speaks up again, saying, “Love is patient.” Love suffers long and is kind. How do I practice patience in dealing with an adolescent who grumbles about rules and limitation put in place for their own good? It is so difficult to practice patience as our adolescent walks a tightrope between potential disaster and fun? But “love is patient”…and “love hopes all things.” So, I practice patiently waiting in trust and confidence, believing that the seeds of wisdom that my wife and I planted will soon begin to sprout and trusting that their common sense will mature and take shape through the pruning that the simple consequences provide.
· That voice continues to speak in my ear, “Love believes all things.” It believes the best about our children. Love believes that they act with the best of intentions, not with the intent of hurting us or pushing us away indefinitely. “Love endures all things.” It remains present, through the good times and the bad. Love abides and tarries with kindness, even amidst frustration. Love perseveres even under trials.
This is no easy task. No, unconditionally acceptance is not easy but well worth the challenge. To give our family total and complete acceptance like Christ gave to us is no less than an act of grace. Will you show this gracious acceptance to your family members?
2. We give grace to our family when we give them our time. Show grace to your family by “tarrying” with them. Jack and I were watching the younger children play in the creek with their parents. They were having a blast, especially when someone caught a frog. The children gathered around to look at the frog and then carefully carried it from parent to parent with the desire to share their treasure. Because their parents were there, giving the gracious gift of time, they were able to share that moment and the treasured frog. Jack noted how much children enjoy these simple acts of togetherness. They don’t need us to make an extravagant show to entertain them or spend big money for fancy toys. We don’t need to rush them from activity to activity so they remain involved. Our children simply need us to “tarry” with them…to give them the gracious gift of our time. We can “tarry” with them in the backyard, in a park, near a creek, or in the living room with a board game. In fact, I have watched children have more fun with a cardboard box than many an expensive toy…and I remember doing the same. Thanks for sharing this with me, Jack. (This weekend, we even had fun putting a together a four-sided puzzle-see picture)
3. Keeping a healthy family takes diligence. Bob shared that during a campfire talk one night. Just like keeping a garden, raising a family takes diligence. Satan is out to destroy the family. He sends pests, weeds, and animals to break the family apart. We need to diligently protect our family from those outside forces that threaten to pluck our children up before they are mature enough to protect themselves. We need to fertilize our family with plenty of honor and grace, encouragement and discipline to promote growth and intimacy. We remain vigilant to any signs that little unseen pests like disappointment, discouragement, or fear are eating away at any family member. And, we come to their aid with love, support, and encouragement. We also keep the weeds of over-busyness from growing in our garden, keeping the garden clear and open so our family can enjoy the nutrients found in the soil of a simple, loving family. What a wonderfully rich analogy, Bob. Thank you.
4. We build our family through celebration. One of the things I love about Family Camp is the celebration…the times of worship celebration and the times of playful family celebration during free time. This year Greg led the worship with Cameron on guitar and Hanna on piano. They did a wonderful job…I could see the joy of worship in their faces. I really love to see the small children praising God with total abandon—singing, dancing, and enjoying the celebration of worship. It makes me smile and reminds of David dancing before God as he brought the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem. Thank you for those times of worship and celebration. They draw us closer to God and to one another.