Tag Archive for serve

Jesus Did It For His Family. Will You?

way to the GodThe religious leaders had determined to kill Jesus several months ago, right after He raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:53). Months before that, Jesus had begun telling His disciples that He would be crucified and buried. Now the time had come. The leaders had paid a traitor to identify Jesus in the garden. They had arrested the Son of God and tortured Him in preparation for His crucifixion. More than enough time had elapsed for Jesus to grow bitter in response to the constant traps, manipulation, and name-calling; but, He did not. He could have allowed resentment to rise up in His heart in response to the lies, the mockery of a trial, and the total disregard for His life; but, He did not. When they mocked Him, beat Him, and spit on Him, He could have blown up in a righteous rage, called down ten thousand angels to exact a righteous judgment and stood in victory over the defeated rubble; but, He did not. Instead, Jesus, an innocent, appeared to be broken before His accusers—beaten and bloodied, surprisingly humbly, and silent.


We would understand it and even been sympathetic if He had muttered curses at the people who watched Him carry His cross; but, He did not.  He could have cried out against the character of those contributing to His death, cast an angry glare at those yelling hateful names and cursing epithets at Him; but, He did not. I would have expected somebody in His shoes to harbor a silent desire, for revenge and carefully contemplate how to execute a host of malicious acts upon His enemies after His resurrection…but, He did not!


No, Jesus did not respond with anger, wrath, bitterness, or harshness. Instead, He revealed kindness and compassion. Rather than utter threats, His speech revealed kindness and truth to the one man who had the power to crucify Him (John 19:11). When soldiers beat him, He said nothing. He simply accepted their hate and committed Himself to “the one who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:23). When a convicted criminal recognized the justice of his own punishment and repented, Jesus responded from a tender heart of compassion and promised him, “Today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). As Jesus’ mother stood nearby weeping in the arms of a disciple, Jesus did not think of His own pain and isolation but offered words of comfort and care to His mother—”Woman, behold your son” and to His disciple, “Behold your mother.” In the midst of personal pain and suffering, He saw the pain in His mother’s heart. He reached out to her in compassion and assured her needs would be met. Jesus even looked with compassion at the crowd that mocked Him and spat upon Him; and, rather than condemning their actions He prayed for their forgiveness: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

cross against the sky

Even while enduring the humiliation, pain, and despair of crucifixion, Jesus acted in way that put flesh and blood to Ephesians 4:31-32: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”


He gave us an example of kindness, compassion, and forgiveness to follow in our own lives. He showed us how to do it under the worst of circumstance…during the absolutely worse day of anyone’s life! Following this example begins in the home…in relation to our spouse and our children. Just as Christ showed us kindness, compassion, and forgiveness, we need to show our family kindness, compassion, and forgiveness.  You will have days that seem to go from bad to worse in your family. Your family will have disagreements and arguments in which you or some other family member will make harsh comments. A curse word may slip out. Bitterness may threaten to rise up in your heart or anger lash out in your speech. Temptations to say something harsh about your spouse’s character or your children’s intention will arise. Your children may even slander your character. This is the perfect time to follow Christ’s example…to “be kind and compassionate…forgiving…” Jesus did it for His family. Will you?

Start a Revolution for Valentine’s Day!

“You say you want a revolution, well, you know…we all want to change the world.”–The Beatles
I have an idea…a revolutionary idea. It is not a new idea. On the contrary, it is an ancient idea written to the Ephesians some 2000 years ago by Paul, a wise Jewish evangelist. His words of love are revolutionary, even today. Implementing his ideas this month will enhance your Valentine’s Day as they revolutionize your relationship with your spouse. Even more, I believe that implementing these words in our homes will spark a revolution that will not only change our families but the world. Yes, this revolution does begin at home. It begins with a personal change in how I respond to my family. This revolution has several components; but I only want to speak of one today. This first component begins the revolution; and it sounds…well, rather revolutionary by today’s standards. Let me explain.
We begin a revolution to change the world by surrendering to the influence of our spouse. You heard it right–give up your individual rights and entitlements and accept the influence of your spouse. Surprisingly, a compliment under this revolutionary love will sound like this: “You are a wonderfully submissive person” or “I really admire how you let your spouse influence your decisions.” I know that goes against the grain of our society, but it is supposed to be revolutionary. It even goes against the grain of our personal sense of entitlement. But, this attitude of surrender and submission can change your family for the better! When we accept the influence of our spouse (and even our family), we remain open to them. We voluntarily and gracefully keep an attitude of cooperation in the forefront of our mind. We constantly look for ways to surrender our personal desires to satisfy their desires. We accept their ideas and opinions. We listen closely, looking for areas of compromise and areas in which we can surrender our rights for them. We constantly seek to lift them above us in having needs met. We become their servant. This revolutionary concept—submission—begins the revolution!
To accept the influence of our spouse and family may be as simple as changing how we squeeze the toothpaste or hang the roll of toilet paper. It may prove as simple as whether we leave the toilet seat up or down—submitting our desire to our spouse’s desire. However, it can also become more complex when we discuss issues like where to go for vacation, where to live, or what job to take. In these complex areas, we will have to open up to our family, listen carefully to their words, understand the emotion behind those words, and value them enough to accept their opinion. To accept the influence of our spouse and family means that we allow their opinion to influence our decision. It all sounds great, life changing…but challenging to accomplish. Still, “you say you want a revolution….” And so it begins!

Carry the Beauty of Christmas into Next Year!

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas filled with family, joy, and peace. Many people enjoyed receiving presents during the Christmas season…I know I did. Even more, I enjoyed giving presents to others. I love to see peoples’ faces light up in response to a well-chosen gift. But, Christmas is more than merely exchanging material gifts. Christmas commemorates and celebrates God’s gift of His Son, Emmanuel—a gift that humbly reveals God to us. I find it amazing that God, the All-Knowing All-Powerful Creator, did not reveal Himself as the Majestic King of Heaven, the Almighty Creator of the Universe, or a Conquering Warrior, but as a servant, born a Baby in humble circumstances. That Baby, God Incarnate, grew to become a humble Servant. Jesus, God’s gift to us, “made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant…” when He came to earth. We celebrate Christmas because on that first Christmas day God gave us a gift—Jesus, His humble servant. Jesus came into the world to humbly serve mankind (Mark 10:45) and spent a lifetime doing so. We can follow Jesus example of serving as we start a new year; remembering that, in God’s eyes, the humble actions of a servant are acts of beauty and love. In His Kingdom, acts of service represent true greatness. They reflect His image. Our acts of service, like those of Jesus, humbly reveal God to the world.
We can carry the true beauty of Christmas into the next year by continuing to reveal the beauty and love of God to our family and neighbors through humble acts of service. By serving others, we reflect the servant nature of the Christ whose birth we celebrated on Christmas day. We reveal the God who made Christmas possible. We reflect the image in which God created us. So, how can we serve others this year?
     ·         First, serve your family. Serve your family breakfast in bed. Serve your family by taking over a family member’s chore for a day. (As I write this, my daughter—who had her wisdom teeth pulled earlier today—asked, through swollen cheeks and a “pain-medication-induced-confusion,” if I would pour her a drink. How could I say no?)

·         Buy presents for a less fortunate family or for children in an orphanage or other type of residential placement.

·         Help serve food at local soup kitchen or homeless shelter.
·         Take a plate of cookies to shut-ins or a local nursing home.

·         Visit with the elderly—play games with them and sing some songs.

·         Arrange to visit children in a local children’s hospital.

·         Participate with a well-known organization that serves those less fortunate. Angel Tree, Operation Christmas Child, or Toys for Tots are organizations that help provide Christmas presents for needy children and families. Compassion and World Vision are two organizations that help provide support to needy families throughout the year.

·         Take an inventory of any extra coats, boots, clothes and toys in your house. Gather them up and take them to a local facility that serves the needy.

·         Deliver homemade bake treats for local firemen, policemen, emergency response crews, nurses.
The Spirit of Christmas is more than just the exchanging of gifts. The Spirit of Christmas involves the giving of ourselves in service to others, just like Christ served us by giving Himself to us in obedience to His Father. As I write this blog, I realize the need to remind myself of this message more than anyone else. In fact, I need to hear the words that a Storyteller once used to end a great story of serving. After telling of a man who served with all he had, the Storyteller tells His audience to “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37). Will you join me?

4 Gifts Children Hate to Love

My birthday is this month. That means another year older (wiser?) and an opportunity to enjoy a couple of birthday traditions. One, we eat lasagna and cheesecake for my birthday. I love lasagna and cheesecake. Although my doctor may not agree, I think it is a great tradition. Two, I give gifts to my family. Nothing big—just something to let them know I love them and keep them in mind. Interestingly, they seem to forget this tradition every year. They always look surprised when I give them a gift. I like that. In a sense, I give myself the gift of watching my children’s face light up when I give them a “birthday surprise.” Although I enjoy giving gifts on my birthday, I think we give gifts to our children gifts all year.  Not necessarily tangible gifts, but important gifts all the same. For instance, here are four gifts I believe our children benefit from all year round. These gifts change their lives for the better, help them mature, and improve their relationships.
First, give your children the gift of responsibility. Your children may balk at this gift, but it is a gift. By giving your children chores and responsibilities, they learn that their actions have meaning. They have the privilege of making a meaningful contribution to the home and family. Making a meaningful contribution enhances their sense of personal value. Yes, the gift of responsibility will keep on giving, contributing to a life-long positive self-concept and strong work ethic.
Second, give your children the gift of accountability. Although this gift is a tremendous gift, it does come with a cost to you and your child. That cost involves discomfort. To hold children accountable for their actions, we must allow them to experience the discomfort of negative consequences for inappropriate behavior. Watching children squirm in the consequences of their negative behavior usually means feeling discomfort as a parent. Most parents really do hate to see their children suffer. But, truly giving the gift of accountability will mean allowing your children to suffer discomfort at times. The true gift of accountability results in learning the difference between right and wrong, wisdom and foolishness. Accountability teaches our children to make wise choices, engage in mature behavior, and use wholesome, uplifting speech.
Third, give your children the gift of opportunity. I don’t mean just any opportunity. I am talking about the opportunity to sacrifice for others and to serve others. We often get wrapped up in giving our children every opportunity to learn, participate in community activities, and experience stimulating environments. These are good opportunities, but our children need more. They need significant opportunities, like the opportunity to serve and to sacrifice. Sacrificing for others can be as simple as giving up the last cookie or as significant as giving up time to help at a food kitchen. Service can be as simple as clearing the table after supper or as significant as a mission trip to a foreign country. Either way, the opportunity to sacrifice and serve begins at home. Build a home environment that supports and encourages sacrifice and service in your family and let it extend from your family to the community at large. After all, the opportunity to sacrifice and serve builds character, humility, and compassion. What a wonderful gift to impart to our children!
Fourth, give your children the gift of anonymity. I know, this sounds strange. We need to acknowledge our children. We need to make sure they feel recognized and accepted for who they are…value and cherish by their parents. However, they do not require praise for every little thing they do. In fact, too much praise can actually make children doubt the sincerity of the praise and, as a result, doubt their own ability. Sometimes, the gift of anonymity is just the thing they need to learn the value of their effort. The gift of anonymity teaches children to complete chores, engage in kind deeds, and work their hardest for the internal satisfaction of knowing they did well. So, praise children for their effort, encourage their work and progress. But, don’t overdo it. Allow them to succeed under the cover of some anonymity as well. Balance your praise with the gift of anonymity.
Quite the gifts, right? Parents can give these gifts to their children all year round. Our children may hesitate in unwrapping them, but they will eventually rejoice in the benefit these gifts offer—the benefit of becoming mature adults who know how to make responsible, wise choices and find joy in serving others.

Keep Your Child on the Path of Maturity

I read an interesting fact about sheep recently. (You might wonder why I read anything about sheep…I really don’t know, it just happened.) At first, I did not believe what I read. Then, I heard the same fact again, this time on TV (Dirty Jobs). Intrigued, I began to investigate and discovered the fact was true. What was the fact? When a sheep gets turned onto its back, it may have difficulty turning upright and standing. Shepherds call this sheep “cast.” The “cast down” sheep will lie on its back, struggling to turn over. If the shepherd does not help the sheep turn over and stand upright, internal gases build up and the sheep can die. 
That got me thinking…our children can “get knocked down” or “knocked off their feet,” discouraged and “cast down” for several reasons. Failure can lead to a “cast down” child who is discouraged and afraid of trying again, of “standing on my own two feet.” Self-indulgent behavior can lead to selfish, lopsided living that will eventually “knock their feet out from under them” and “cast them down.” Disobedience brings consequences that can leave a person “flat on their back,” fearful of losing support and love. Ridicule and teasing can knock a child down, leaving them discouraged and doubtful about themselves. Even just feeling misunderstood can bring us down and result in our feeling “cast down,” hopeless and helpless. A child who feels discouraged and “cast down” becomes vulnerable to the world. Other children prey on the discouraged and “cast down” child. Drugs and sexual intimacy become more alluring to the discouraged, “cast down” child. In fact, if not rescued quickly, the “cast down” child becomes at risk for all sorts of dangerous behaviors. What is a parent to do? What lesson can a parent learn from the “cast down” sheep? How can a parent successfully shepherd a “cast down” child? Here are 5 lessons of a “cast down” sheep.
     1.      Be vigilant. Remain attentive of your children, “keep an eye” on them. Vigilant parents remain aware of their children’s friends, interests, and even moods. They are observant of any changes, especially abrupt changes, in friendships, interests, and moods. As parents remain attentive and aware of their children and their children’s lives, they can recognize when their children become “cast down.”  They can then respond quickly and appropriately to help their children get “back on their feet” as soon as possible.

2.      Provide gentle, loving correction. Parents help their children “stay on their feet” by replacing harsh, crushing punishment with loving discipline and correction. Remember, the purpose of discipline is to teach appropriate behavior, not crush inappropriate behavior. Make sure the discipline teaches your children and strengthens their moral muscles, enabling them to “stand on their own two legs” amidst any pressures that arise. Rather than coercing them to behave a certain way, assure that the consequences of misbehavior are more uncomfortable than the consequences of positive behavior. Teach them the benefit of rules.

3.      Become an encourager not a faultfinder, an advocate not a critic. Look for opportunities to praise your children for their effort and their progress. Encourage their appropriate behavior. Even when you have to offer criticisms, preface the criticism with some acknowledgement of positive behaviors. Keep criticism constructive, not destructive. Lift your children up with your encouragement rather than “casting them down” with your discouragement.

4.      Provide opportunities for your children to serve in the home and outside the home. Your children are a member of your family’s household and, as such, they have the responsibility to help maintain your family’s household. Do not rob them of that responsibility and allow them to become self-indulgent. Instead, maintain an expectation that everyone contributes to the household and then provide opportunities to do so. Give your child responsibility to complete meaningful chores in the home. Create opportunities for you and your child to work together on projects around the house or in the community. Encourage their participation in these service projects. Celebrate their involvement and the completion of each project.

5.      Be your child’s ally. Support them in pursuing interests. Defend them in difficult circumstances. When they experience failure, lift them up. When they disobey and suffer consequences, help them get back on their feet. Assist them in learning from those mistakes and in learning how to make better decisions in the future. Express faith in their ability to learn and grow. Brace them up when they face challenges and reinforce their positive efforts.
Our children, like sheep, can become “cast down” by a variety of circumstances. You, their parent, have the best opportunity to return them to the appropriate path of maturity. Be vigilant, provide loving discipline, encourage, create opportunities to serve others, and become your child’s ally. Happy Shepherding.

The Full Extent of Love

Preparing for a Sunday School lesson based on John 13 caused me to pause…and think. John 13 describes the story of Jesus washing His disciples’ feet. One reason He washed their feet was to “show them the full extent of His love.” As several of my friends like to say, “That raises a question.” What would I do to show the full extent of my love for my family? I do love my family…no doubt. I would do anything for them. I believe I would die for them if need be…but would I wash their feet?
·         I would work long hours to make sure they live a comfortable life…but would I clean up their dirty dishes or change a dirty diaper?
·         I would encourage them to use their talents and improve their abilities…but would I offer a simple thank you when they open a door for me?
·         I would sacrifice time and energy to watch them perform as part of a musical group or sports team…but would I sacrifice the same time and energy to patiently go over a tedious 6-month schedule of activities ahead of time? Or sacrifice the last piece of cheesecake by giving it to another family member?
·         I would shovel the driveway and salt the steps so my family can safely go about their day…but would I think to ask them about their day and then take all the time necessary to listen to their answer?
·         I would do anything to promote their eternal joy and emotional strength…but would I willingly suffer the pain I feel when following through on some necessary discipline?
·         I would gladly sacrifice my own pleasures to give my family every pleasure…but would I pick up all the little toys, socks, and gadgets with the same pleasure?
·         I would teach them my favorite activities and introduce them to my favorite shows…but would I just as willingly let them teach me about their favorite music, show, or activity?
·         I would willingly and even joyfully mow the lawn and grow fresh vegetables so we can enjoy our yard in summer…but would I joyfully take out the garbage?
·         I would sacrifice a day of work and rest to enjoy a day at Kennywood with my family…but would I clean the kitty litter without complaining?
·         I would give my life to protect my family…but would I “sacrifice” the favorite chair in the living room or the “shotgun” seat in the car?
It’s easy to show our love by doing those things we enjoy or those things that make us look good. Even though those things show our love, it’s the daily, menial acts of service, honor, and grace that show the full extent of our love. So, the question remains…I’m sure you would give your life for your family, but would you wash their feet?

Family Bank of Honor

“Easy come, easy go” rings true, doesn’t it? We work hard to save money. We put a portion of every paycheck aside (when we can) and it collects a little (very little these days) interest. Then the furnace goes out, the hot water heater breaks, a fender bender necessitates a new rear bumper, or the kids outgrow their clothes. We dip into savings to meet that need and those deposits disappear. One withdrawal drains us of multiple deposits. Now that I think of it, “easy come, easy go” is only partially true. Perhaps it should read “hard to come, easy to go.”
At any rate, the principle of “easy come, easy go” holds true in the “Family Bank of Honor” as well. We rarely speak directly about this bank, but we act on it all the time. We make regular, daily deposits into the “Family Bank of Honor” by practicing daily acts of kindness, respect, grace, and celebration. Every time we listen and respond in love, we make a deposit into the “Family Bank of Honor.” When we speak to one another with kindness or give encouragement and praise, we make a deposit into the “Family Bank of Honor.” A hug, a kiss, or even a loving slap on the back, represents another deposit into the “Family Bank of Honor.” Sometimes, the deposits are obvious; other times, they are subtle and less clear, like honoring one another’s efforts to connect by responding with energy and attention. Whether obvious or not, we make multiple deposits each day into the “Family Bank of Honor.”  With each deposit, we enrich our relationships and accrue more emotional savings in the “Family Bank of Honor.”
Then the furnace breaks–an argument crops up, a misunderstanding flares, an irritable day turns into a nasty remark. You know the times. We all have times when we make withdrawals from the “Family Bank of Honor,” times when we act dishonorably. Unfortunately, that single withdrawal drains multiple deposits from the “Family Bank of Honor.” One heated disagreement, occurring on a day of irritation, drains our account. We remember the one dishonorable word spoken during a heated exchange more readily than the five sentences of praise spoken in moments of calm. Hopefully, we have made enough deposits of honor, both great and small, to maintain a positive balance in our “Family Bank of Honor.”
One marital researcher, John Gottman, reports that happy couples have at least five good exchanges for every one negative exchange during an argument. He also noted that “master couples” have as many as twenty positive experiences for every one negative experience when they are normally engaged. In other words, happy couples have at least five more positive feelings and interaction than unhappy couples, five to twenty deposits for every withdrawal. So, here is the basic two-step plan for investing in the “Family Bank of Honor:”
      1.      Take every opportunity to make a deposit into the “Family Bank of Honor.” Every day, make as many deposits as possible.
      2.      Focus on making deposit rather than worrying about withdrawals. Make five to twenty deposits for each withdrawal. When you do make a withdrawal, apologize. A sincere apology becomes a deposit that puts you back on the road toward accruing savings in the “Family Bank of Honor.”
With this ratio of deposits to withdrawal, we begin to build a home environment of honor. But, the question remains, exactly how do we make a deposit of honor? Here are a few simple ideas:
·         Listen to family members and accept their suggestions
·         Keep family members’ in mind–their interests, desires, quirks, tender areas, and strengths.
·         Seek out ways to serve one another
·         Sacrifice your own desires to do something that interests a family member
·         Use kind and encouraging words
·         Be polite
For more ideas for making deposits in the “Family Bank of Honor,” see the “Family Bank of Honor” section and click on Honor, Grace, or Celebrate.

Intentional Gratitude

Gratitude comes easy when life is good, love is easy, and family relationships running smooth. But, when life becomes rushed, love stressed, and family members disappointing, gratitude becomes more difficult. During such times, we must intentionally become attentive of our family and make a purposeful effort to show them gratitude. Why make the effort? Let me share three of the many reasons gratitude is worth the effort, even when times are difficult.


Gratitude protects us from temptation. One author suggests that a lack of gratitude laid the foundation for Adam and Eve to sin in the Garden of Eden. Could it be that a lack of gratitude for the abundant blessings available in the Garden allowed Satan to tempt Adam and Eve with the one tree they were told to avoid? Perhaps an expression of gratitude for the extravagant abundance available in the Garden would have staved off the temptation to eat the “forbidden” fruit.


I find this principle true in marriages as well. When a couple stops expressing gratitude for one another, they lay the foundation for a potential affair. The one who does not express appreciation for their spouse may find themselves tempted to partake of the “forbidden fruit” that deceptively appears “greener” than the fruit in their own house. And, the one that feels unappreciated may find themselves drawn to someone outside the marriage who expresses gratitude and appreciation for them. Gratitude protects us from temptation.


Gratitude reduces stress and gives us courage. A lack of gratitude leaves us dissatisfied with our past. It leads to grumbling and complaining. Perhaps Israel wandered the wilderness for forty years partly in response to a lack of gratitude. After all, they had experienced God’s protection during the plagues in Egypt, His deliverance from Egypt, and His miraculous power as they crossed the Red Sea. They survived on God’s provision of food and water as well. In spite of these opportunities to give thanks, they grumbled and complained. They focused on what they did not have rather than focusing on God’s miraculous provision. In their midst of grumbling, they sent a reconnaissance mission into the Promise Land. Most of the spies returned fearful of the Promise Land. Their lack of gratitude for God’s miraculous provision led to self-induced fear, mistrust, and a future with no vision. As a result, they spent 40 years wandering the wilderness.


It comes as no surprise that when a person grumbles, they feel more stress. Grumbling focuses on dissatisfaction and worry. Complainers feed off others who complain. Grumbling escalates and the focus on the worst case scenario grows stronger, fear increases, courage falls away. Gratitude, on the other hand, sets our focus on those things that have gone well and those blessings we have received. It lends itself to a peaceful acceptance of what we have today. It grants us courage, based on the gracious joys of yesterday, to accomplish our vision of tomorrow. As an unknown author stated, “gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”


Gratitude keeps love alive and growing. Without gratitude, love fades. When we feel stressed, irritated, or rushed, we often project those feelings onto those around us. These are the times when we do not feel like expressing gratitude. Instead, we take people and things for granted. Our interactions become more harsh, hurried, or even rude. I have met many children, teens, and young adults who misbehave in an effort to elicit some expression of emotion from others. If they can not elicit the joy of gratitude and appreciation, they will accept the connection of irritated anger and frustration. As this continues, love fades and attention-seeking misbehavior grows. Lest you think this only relates to children, consider what happens in your marriage if you feel that your spouse does not appreciate you. Love fades and attention seeking behavior grows.


Gratitude, on the other hand, expresses that you value the other person enough to attend to and appreciate them. In fact, gratitude becomes a gift of appreciation. It sparks the embers of affection and fans the flame of love. It pleases the heart and endears us to one another. Gratitude creates the foundation of joy today that becomes a vision tomorrow. Gratitude keeps love alive and growing.


So, how can we remain grateful when we are frustrated, stressed, disappointed, or feeling rushed? Here are a few ways to intentionally make gratitude a part of your family life:

  1. Volunteer as a family to help those less fortunate.
  2. Take time to recall and list as many qualities as you can think of that you have appreciated about each family member in the past.
  3. Make a daily list of three things you appreciate about each family member.
  4. Make a weekly list of 3-5 things each family member has done to help strengthen family relationships.
  5. Make a point of sharing one item from your list with each family member each day.


A Pandemonium of Honor

This week I am going to suggest my family play a new game. Perhaps your family would like to play this game as well. I believe the competition will prove intense. There will be no half-hearted, weak attempts to win, only full-fledged, over-the-top competition.  I usually do not compete with all my energy, but this time I’m out for the win. What game will we play?  An all-out, no-holds-barred game of “Gung-ho Honor” that some describe as a pandemonium of honor. The simple instructions for “Gung-ho Honor” were recorded long ago in a letter to a group of Romans—“Outdo one another in showing honor.” That’s it, the total instructions—“Outdo one another in showing honor.” Some people have trouble getting started; so, here are a couple of suggestions.
Imagine that your family members are royalty. They are kings, queens, princes, and princesses. Throughout the week, speak to them like royalty. Fill your speech toward your royal family with polite words, affirming words, and loving words. Take note of some task they finish and praise them for their effort. Affirm the special strengths they exhibit. Acknowledge the special talents they have. Appreciate acts of kindness. Even a simple “thank-you” or “you’re welcome” will score major points in this game of “Gung-ho Honor.”  
Treat your family members like royalty as well. You be the servant and whole-heartedly serve your family with abandon.  Each day, do something nice for your royal family members. Serve them breakfast, treat them to a massage, or do their chore for them.  Give an extra hug to each family member, especially if they feel down. Make it your goal to affirm and encourage them with your actions. Hold the door open, clean up their dishes, let them have the last cookie. Whatever it takes let your actions reveal how much you value your family.

I believe the competition will prove fierce. I will play with unrestrained abandon and encourage each family member to throw their heart and soul into the game as well. What will be the outcome of such intense competition? Parents will smile to see sons and daughters honoring one another—helping one another with homework and chores or encouraging one another during challenging tasks. Children will feel more secure as they witness their parents honoring one another with words of thanks and deeds of kindness. Everyone will feel more affirmed and valued. Confidence will increase. One kind deed will inspire another and an atmosphere of honor will begin to blossom.  At the end of the week, we will determine a winner. And, the winner will find their picture on the fridge. The rest of us will honor them as “ruler” for the day. Of course, everyone knows that a great ruler graciously affirms and serves his subjects. Oh my, the game goes on. The pandemonium of honor continues. “Gung-ho Honor”-let the games begin!

Keep Your Mother Off Your Back

Have you ever wanted to get your mother off your back and get more of what you want? Well, here’s a simple 3-step plan.

First, do what’s expected. I mean do the bare minimum.  We all have a responsibility in making our household a good place to live, a happy place to hang. So, do what’s expected of you in keeping the house running smooth. If you don’t know what to do around the house, ask. “What do I need to do to keep our house a happy place?” Have your mother sit down before asking—just in case she faints.

Second, do just a little bit more than expected. I know this sounds like a sale’s pitch, but wait…when you do just a little bit more, you earn “brownie points.” That’s right, you gain bargaining power. When you do just a little bit more than expected, your mother will smile and feel pride. And, you will have a better chance at getting what you want.

Third, remember that honey tastes better than vinegar. Parents get vinegar all the time—whining, complaining, arguing, ignoring. If you really want to keep your parents off your back, give them some honey. Thank them for the work they do around the house. Thank them for the things they do for you—like washing clothes and cooking supper. Tell them how good supper tastes. Do something nice for your parents—draw them a picture or make them a card. Start up a conversation with them. Here is a little formula to remember—it takes five tastes of honey to outweigh one taste of vinegar. So, pour on the honey.

Finally, use your bargaining power. When you do what’s expected, you keep your parents off your back. When you do just a little bit more than expected and pour on the honey, you’ve gained bargaining power. You’ve worked to build trust. Now you can ask for that special favor. Stay on this 3-step plan and you’ll be surprised at how nice your mother becomes.

« Older Entries Recent Entries »