CHAPTER 5: PARENTING AS ONE FLESH
"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." Genesis 2:24
Too many husbands and wives don't "unite." They are too interested in being right. Kids are too good at finding your weak spots and if the mother and the father aren't in this together, the kids will use that to their advantage.
"Husband/wife must trump father/mother." (p. 118)
"...nothing makes a child feel more secure than feeling his or her parents' marriage is rock-solid." (p. 121)
My own parents were not tremendously lovey-dovey, but any time I did see them hug or kiss, it made me feel very good. Kids may act like this is "gross," but secretly they love it.
"...make sure they do not get so wrapped up in their kids that they lose their identities and fail to meet their own needs." (p 126)
"...give [yourself] permission to pursue interests and relationships that do not include [your] children." (p. 127)
You definitely can't be selfish when you're a parent and your plans or wants get put on the back burner, but you still need to find time to take care of yourself so that you can come back to your child energized.
"These are parents who were of "one flesh" with their children for the entirety of their child-rearing years. As a result, they have forgotten how to be of "one flesh" with each other. Another way of saying the same thing: They don't know how to stop being parents. Being parents gives meaning to their lives. If they have to stop, meaning will drain out of their lives and they will have to confront the brokenness in their marriages. to avoid that unpleasantness, they seize upon every opportunity to do what they have learned to do best: protect, enable and defend their kids." (p. 128)
I have seen, first hand, couples that were so invested in their children, that when the children finally left home, they had no idea who they were married to and very soon after divorced.
1. Imagine a household that isn't child centered. What five things would be different? What should you be doing differently?
2. Are you parenting as one? If not, what cultural and social forces have influenced you in that regard?
3. Have you become so consumed with child-rearing responsibilities that your own needs have been neglected?
CHAPTER 6: CHARACTER FIRST
"These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Deuteronomy 6:6-7
"To have God's commandments 'upon your heart' means that as a parent you are to live your life according to the model laid out in the Bible, thus being a living example to your children of what is always and forever right and proper. Your example is to be a constant, consistent presence in their lives. The Bible says that you should take every possible opportunity to talk to your children about the difference between right and wrong and guide them toward doing what is right according to the commandments, directions, and instructions God has given us. You should explain to them why you are doing what you are doing, and in your explanation you should always be able to refer to God's Word, the gold standard." (p. 131-132)
"...tell children that beyond the third birthday, tantrums, sulking and petulance are not allowed and will be punished." (p. 136)
You would be amazed with the tantrums I see even in 5th grade. Parents are shocked when I don't put up with it and how differently their children behave in my classroom compared to at home. A lot of parents have forgotten that they are the parents.
"The lower our expectations concerning children, the more we tolerate behavior that should not be tolerated, and the more undisciplined children will become." (p. 137)
I see this the most with young parents (not all but most). I had older parents and my siblings and I tend to parent "old school." We don't put up with talking back, attitude and rudeness. Young parents tend to be more of a friend to their children.
"Are you the number-one influence in your child's life? Make a list of the influences in your child's life (television, music, after-school activities, teachers and so on) and rank them from most influential to least influential. If you and you family aren't at the top, make a second list of things you need to do in order to reclaim that important role." (p. 140-141)
I may be your child's teacher and see them 6/12 hours a day, but you are much more important then I am. You are their first teacher. They need you more then they need me.
"....possessing high self-esteem and being a person of character are incompatible.....high self-confidence is fine as long as it's tempered by realistic self-assessment.....people with high self-esteem tend to think they are capable of excelling at anything and everything...In overestimating their aptitudes, people with high self-esteem tend to be boastful and take foolish, often life-threatening, risks....Humility governs self-confidence; without humility, self-confidence is potentially hazardous to self and others....The opposite of high self-esteem is humility, modesty, and "meekness" (strength under control)." (p. 142-143)
I feel it is just as important for children to know what they are not good at, as it is to know what they excel in.
Meekness does not mean you allow others to walk all over you, but it is patient and humble. I may sound like I am 105, but I feel modesty is a virtue that is lost on today's teenagers. The clothes they wear, the music they listen to, their speech: it is embarrassing, profane and rude.
I love to teach in elementary school because once you hit middle school children forget they are children. I love talking to kids....as long as they aren't rude. By the end of the year my students know to hold doors for others, apologise even when it's for something they didn't intend, say please and thank you, listen while others are speaking and to use proper English.
1. Do you think you have been sufficiently attentive to the need to discipline your child's thoughts?
2. Have you been reluctant to correct something your child said, even though it was definitely wrong?
3. Are you the number one influence in your child's life, or have you allowed other influences to eclipse your own?