Posted on March 15, 2014 by Doug Flanders
Protecting our children is one of the primary jobs of parenthood, and the list of dangers seems to be growing exponentially.
- There is BPA in your bottled water and hormones in your meat.
- There are predators on the Internet and cyber-bullies on social media.
- There are addictive drugs and addictive video games.
- There are terrorists hijacking our planes and the TSA hijacking our dignity.
It makes you long for the days when seesaws and merry-go-rounds were still allowed on playgrounds.
The fact is that new dangers are popping up every day, and it is impossible for even the most vigilant parents to keep up with them all.
That doesn’t mean you can’t protect your children. It just means that doing so will become increasingly complex and require some added intentionality.
There are three general principles that can help guide the process:
- SET THE EXAMPLE.
A culture of safety — whether at work or at home — starts at the top. If you want your kids to wear helmets when they ride bicycles, then you probably should, too. Same rule goes for seatbelts, overeating, cigarettes, alcohol, or anything else. Most values are “caught” not “taught.”
“Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity,and sound speech that cannot be condemned…”
- Titus 2:7-8 (ESV)
- SET THE STANDARD.
Talk with your kids. Point out the dangers as you become aware of them. Let them know what your expectations are. Set a curfew. Curfews aren’t tyranny; they are parents showing that they care! Then enforce the standards you have established. A rule that isn’t enforced is no rule at all.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6 (NASB)
- SET THEM FREE.
The ultimate goal of parenting isn’t to have large children, but to have fully functioning adults. The only way to achieve that goal is to gradually shift responsibility from your shoulders to theirs. This is probably the hardest, but most important, part of the whole process. You will never be able to make enough rules to protect your children. They must internalize safety consciousness themselves. They must make it their own. Making it their own often means making mistakes. It can be hard to watch as our children attend the school of hard-knocks, but sometimes “experience is the best teacher.”
“When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.” – 1 Corinthians 13:11 (NASB)
The temptation is to simply be “helicopter parents” — ones that are always hovering, always micro-managing, always trying to smooth the way and make the decisions and manipulate the circumstances — but that is a fool’s game. No parent can child-proof the world. A parent’s job is to world-proof the child.
Filed under: Family Life, Parenting, Uncategorized | Tagged: child-training, curfew, helicopter parents, parenting, responsibility, world-proof the child | 3 Comments »
Posted on February 7, 2014 by Doug Flanders
I commissioned my wife to do a little subway art for me this week. Here’s what she came up with:
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I thought it might serve as a good reminder for husbands that showing love to your wife is something you should do every day of the year — not just on special occasions.
Want to print a copy to keep? You can click on the image above to download a free printable PDF of the graphic.
You’ll find a matching “Respect Your Husband” graphic on my wife’s blog this week. Follow this link if you want to print that one.
Filed under: Holidays, Marriage, Uncategorized | Tagged: free printable, how to show love to your wife, love, loving your wife, subway art, valentines day | 2 Comments »
Posted on January 31, 2014 by Doug Flanders
This is a short but powerful blog, the lessons of which apply to parenting as well as ministry.
Originally posted on ctkblog:
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever been given in ministry came from a man in Houston, Texas named G.B. Shelbourne. He is a life-long missionary and has spent decades of his life working with people on the continent of Africa, and is a man I love and respect tremendously. He told me something one day that I’ve never forgotten, and I’d like to share it with you and invite you to be curious about how this might impact you.
G.B. and I were talking about ministry, and as a very young pastor, I was complaining about some of the more tedious tasks of ministry, and all he said was…
“When you build a house, people brag about the windows and the rooflines, not the foundation.”
Hey, nice siding!
As I asked him to explain to me what he meant, and I learned a lot in a short…
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Posted on January 14, 2014 by Doug Flanders
Jesus tells the story of a slave who was forgiven a great debt by his master. The slave went out and almost immediately began beating a fellow slave in an attempt to extract a much smaller debt. Needless to say the master was not pleased to discover the first slave’s merciless behavior.
Yet, how often do we act just like that ungrateful slave when it comes to sin?
Invariably, we want mercy for ourselves, but justice for everyone else. The things that ensnare us always seem SO minor compared to the heinous crimes committed by our fellow-man.
Jesus’s message was clear: Stop beating the other slaves! Learn to forgive, just as you have been forgiven.
Forgiveness is at the heart of the gospel and the heart of every healthy relationship. This is especially true of the marriage relationship. The sheer volume of time a husband and wife spend together — day after day, year after year — translates into ample opportunity both to offend and to take offense. Your marriage will not thrive, and it may not even survive, unless you learn to forgive.
A successful marriage, Ruth Bell Graham reminds us, “is the union of two good forgivers.” I believe that’s true.
What follows are six principles that have been helpful to me in seeking and extending forgiveness to both my wife and others:
When requesting forgiveness of anybody, we should always begin with God.
Ultimately, all sin is an affront to Him. We must go to Him first. The price has already been paid through Christ’s blood. We must repent of our sin and ask Him to help as we seek forgiveness from others. (Psalm 51:1-4; 1 John 1:9)
When seeking forgiveness from others, we must be prepared to make restitution.
Sometimes seeking forgiveness requires more than just saying I’m sorry. We should convey sincere remorse for the wrongs we have done, certainly, but we must also seek to make amends to the best of our abilities and to the degree that restitution is possible. (Numbers 5:7)
When extending forgiveness to others, we should work towards restoration.
Ideally, forgiveness is just the first step in restoring a broken relationship. When grudges are held, the relationship suffers or is non-existent. Forgiveness allows healing to begin. It is like draining an emotional abscess. The only true way to conquer an enemy is to make him a friend. (Luke 17:3-4; Galatians 6:1)
When restoration is impossible, forgiveness is still important.
Even if the person we need to forgive is dead or in jail, forgiveness still has its place. Learning to forgive others is as much for our own benefit as it is for theirs. Maybe even more. (Mark 11:25; Ephesians 4:31)
When walking in God’s forgiveness, we need to also forgive ourselves.
Sometimes this is the hardest thing to do. We may have asked God’s forgiveness and even made restitution, but we just can’t let it go. We must stop beating ourselves up! Self-flagellation is not only unhealthy on multiple levels, but it implies that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was insufficient. (Romans 8:1; Psalm 103:12)
To live a life of forgiveness, we must learn to forgive God.
This may seem like a strange concept, but look around. The world is full of people who are angry with God.
Perhaps they are angry about the way He made them: Too short or too tall, too skinny or too fat, ears too big or feet too small, no good at math or music or sports.
Perhaps they’re angry about their life circumstances (often understandably so!): Why did I get laid off from that job I loved? Why did my spouse leave me after twenty years? Why did my sister die so young?
They reason that if God is ultimately in control, then He is ultimately to blame. We may never have intellectually framed it in those terms, but emotionally we all need to forgive God for something.
Such forgiveness springs from the knowledge that God has a purpose and plan for our life and that He is able to work even bad things together for our good and His glory. If we are harboring bitterness and resentment against God for perceived wrongs of any kind, the real problem lies not in His actions toward us, but in our attitude toward Him. (Romans 9:20; Jeremiah 29:11; Romans 8:28)
And there we have come full circle. The list begins with God and ends with God, as all things do. (Revelation 1:8) The good news is that once we’ve learned to “forgive God,” we actually begin to trust Him. As our trust in Him grows, we one day find that we are learning to love Him just as He loves us. It is a love rooted in forgiveness, and that love and forgiveness can then spill over onto our fellow-man, so that these principles really start to become second-nature. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Filed under: Devotional, Uncategorized | Tagged: christian living, christianity, doug flanders, forgiveness, getting rid of bitterness and resentment | 3 Comments »
Posted on January 11, 2014 by Doug Flanders
My father-in-law used to watch a lot of television. He was a little hard of hearing, so he usually kept the volume turned up pretty loud.
My wife’s mother would sometimes try to talk over the television to tell him something, but instead of muting the program and focusing his attention on her, Dad would just cup his ear and lean in closer to the set. Rather than tuning out the TV, he tried to tune out his wife!
Although we don’t have a television at our house, my wife still catches me “tuning out” occasionally. She’ll be in the middle of telling me a story, and I’ll be staring off into space, mentally rehashing some event or conversation from earlier in the day. Whether the distractions are internal or external, our wives can easily tell when we’re not paying attention.
Calvin Coolidge once said, “It takes a great man to be a good listener.” And do you know what? He was right.
So how can we learn to listen better? Here are five basic things husbands can do to hone their listening skills:
First, minimize distractions.
Kids who are being boisterous should be made to settle down or sent to another room. Televisions and radios should be turned down or completely off. Laptops should be closed and cellphones pocketed. I normally place my phone or tablet face down beside me to physically demonstrate to my wife that she does, indeed, have my full attention.
Second, make eye contact.
It may feel awkward at first, especially if you are accustomed to staring at your shoes or at the newspaper, but this is essential to letting your wife know you care about what she has to say. Look into her eyes, even if it’s hard. One of our sons had a difficult time looking people in the eye when he was younger. Even so, we insisted he do it, because we realized his habit of avoiding eye contact would cripple his ability to communicate and might even make him appear untrustworthy. With practice, he was able to overcome that unconscious quirk and is now one of the most comfortable, confident, and outgoing young men one could ever hope to meet.
Third, give frequent affirmation.
Do you get what your wife is saying? Nod your head in understanding. Do you agree? Let her know that. Say positive things like, “Uh-huh” and “I see.” These things will communicate to her that you are paying attention and following her train of thought.
Fourth, ask questions.
If you don’t understand something your wife has just told you, don’t pretend like you do. Instead, ask insightful, intelligent questions. This allows you clarify any ambiguities in what you think you heard her say (and it also helps her know for sure when she’s gotten her point across).
Fifth and finally, summarize.
Repeat back, in a nutshell, what your wife just told you. This serves to cement what was discussed into your memory and reassures your beloved that she has truly been heard.
Although these five suggestions may seem difficult initially, they will begin to flow more naturally after you’ve gotten a little practice doing them. The best part is that, once you really begin to listen, you’ll be amazed at what interesting thoughts your wife has to share!
Filed under: Marriage, Uncategorized | Tagged: be a better listener, communication tips, list for husbands, listening, television | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 8, 2013 by Doug Flanders
This is a great article that really captures the “different parts of one body” concept we see described by Paul in the New Testament.
Originally posted on ctkblog:
Lead singer Jon Foreman was asked if Switchfoot is a “Christian” band. His response is worth pondering.
Switchfoot is going secular. Sort of.
“To be honest, this question grieves me because I feel that it represents a much bigger issue than simply a couple SF tunes. In true Socratic form, let me ask you a few questions: Does Lewis or Tolkien mention Christ in any of their fictional series? Are Bach’s sonata’s Christian? What is more Christ-like, feeding the poor, making furniture, cleaning bathrooms, or painting a sunset? There is a schism between the sacred and the secular in all of our modern minds. The view that a pastor is more ‘Christian’ than a girls volleyball coach is flawed and heretical. The stance that a worship
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Posted on November 25, 2013 by Doug Flanders
With all the recent discussion about so-called fourth-trimester abortions, I thought some statistics on life expectancy were in order.
Filed under: Current Events, Uncategorized | Tagged: abortion, alcoholism, life expectancy, longevity, risk factors, smoking, women | Comments Off