Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Heart of a Father

I believe that the reason why children are a reward from God is because children help us to experientially know the heart of Father God like no other parable can.

Having children is compared to arrows in the hand of a warrior (Psalm 127.4). When you send an arrow out to hit its mark, you release it, and you need to let go of it in order for it to fly towards its intended target. Continuing the parable of life to enable you to know the heart of God better, after you send out your arrows, it is you and your bride or bridegroom again.

The same is true spiritually. You are given spiritual children that you help along life’s road too. Training both your physical and your spiritual children helps you to know the heart of God better. You stay connected to the Lord by seeking Him as you seek to train those that are under your care.

For example, God’s desire is to give us, His children, His power to work within us, and to do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]... God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others  (2 Cor 9.8 NLT).

As parents, having been freely loved, we are free to love.[i] Having been forgiven much, we are free to forgive.[ii] Having learned to follow, we are equipped to lead.[iii] Having been given things so freely, we are free to give.[iv] We are ready to look out not only for ourselves, but also for the good of others,[v] as we sacrificially demonstrate the love that God has for us.[vi]

When you release both your physical or spiritual children, you release them into the hands of God. You may see your arrows hit their mark. You may experience the heart of the Father of the prodigal son as you watch wayward children make mistakes and go down wrong roads. Through it all, you depend upon the Lord and the parable of your life spurs you to connect and relate to your Lord even more as you trust Him with the welfare of your most loved possessions.

That is why no matter what you sacrifice to raise children, they always give more back to you, because they compel you to know the heart of God in an unselfish way that only a parent can know. You begin to see that Human life is as short-lived as grass… (Psalm 103.15), …but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life abides (remains) forever. (1 John 2.17) God has put a sense of eternity in people’s minds (Ecclesiastes 3.11).  And this is the real and eternal life: That [we] know… [t]he one and only true God, [a]nd Jesus Christ… (John 17.3)

Don’t let the wise brag of their wisdom. Don’t let heroes brag of their exploits. Don’t let the rich brag of their riches. If you brag, brag of this and this only: That you understand and know me. I’m GOD, and I act in loyal love. I do what’s right and set things right and fair, and delight in those who do the same things. These are my trademarks. (Jeremiah 9.23-24 MSG)

Excerpt from soon to be released book, How to Build Children With Integrity, by Karen Budzinski, © WestBow Press and Karen Budzinski.

[i] 1 John 4
[ii] Ephesians 4.32; Colossians 3.13; Matthew 18.21-35
[iii] 1 Corinthians 11.1
[iv] Matthew 10.8
[v] Philippians 2.4
[vi] John 3.16; Romans 8.32

Monday, March 20, 2017

When Sharing ISN'T Caring...

(This is an excerpt from a book I am writing on raising children. It is from the chapter, "It Doesn't Always Have to be About ME!")

While in Florida recently, it was so fun to observe the young moms in the pool with their little children and their children’s belongings. Every day a child would take something that wasn’t theirs, the child whose belongings were taken would freak out, and the other child would often gloat in their possessing something in such high demand. The moms would then jump in: the mom of the “borrower” trying to wrest the toy from her child to return it, and the other mom saying, “no my child has ENOUGH toys: he/she can SHARE!” This happened almost every day with different children and different toys! Moms want to raise kids that share, a noble and needed character quality to have.

There’s a new saying around town to support these efforts: Sharing is CARING! Well, my experience has shown me that sharing is NOT ALWAYS caring. Here are some things to keep in mind when teaching your children to share:

  • Every person, whether adult or child, needs a space to call their own.           
            As your children get older, they begin to work with legos, craft things, games and puzzles that are age appropriate for them, but all the younger ones can do with those things is destroy!

            You will find that if you give each child their “space” and teach them to respect each others “space,” they will not be fighting as much to maintain something (their space) they already have. You will also be better equipping your children for the real world where they can’t just reach over to their neighbor’s desk and use their crayons or markers, or jump into the next guy’s cubicle and use their computer or office equipment. I don’t share everything I own, so why would I expect my children to? 

            Entitlement starts at age 2. Your 2 year old is not entitled to what your 7 year old owns, nor the other way around. This is more important training than sharing.

  • Personal possessions should be personal possessions. 
            When my children wanted to use my computer, I was quick to inform that that PC stood for PERSONAL computer! If I own something, I own it, and it should be up to me whether or not I want to share it! I would tell my children, This ISN’T a socialist house and EVERY THING doesn’t belong to EVERY ONE in it! We are not doing our children any favors to think they are entitled to what other’s have, even if it is their sibling, cousin or friend.

  • Not everything has to be shared with every one. 
            When I have a group meeting at my home, it is ok to put some of my child’s favorite things away so that all the children aren’t playing with things that can be easily ruined.

            There is no way I would have a group over to use my sewing machines! I take such good care of them, and they are so easily broken, and they are very important to me. I waited a long time to get the sewing machines I have, and I don’t intend on having things go wrong with them unless I am the one responsible.

  • When I realize I am going to share things with others, I will get enough to pass around.
            If you know your child has a lot of cousins or friends or family, when you anticipate them sharing something, prepare for it. Tell your son, My friends are coming over today and they are bringing their children. I got extra crayons and color books so we can share, and I got this fun puzzle to put together. I’ll put them here with our sharing toys.

            Now your seven year old doesn’t have to watch your friends 2-year olds break and eat their crayons and scribble all over their favorite coloring book. He doesn’t have to worry about his favorite puzzle if someone starts to eat a piece or throw them in the air because they don’t know how to make puzzles.

            When my friends come over, I may not offer my secret stash of Godiva praline truffles, but I will get special chocolates to put out for them.

  • Sharing is defined as giving a portion; don’t expect your children to give it all.           
            When my children had extra things, I taught them to give to those in need. I didn’t force them to give their possessions to their siblings in GREED, but to share their extras with those in NEED.

  • Sometimes parents can teach MORE to their children by teaching siblings to respect their other siblings’ personal belongings and space than by teaching them they have a right to them. 
            I taught my children that their home was their safe place. No one was entitled to the other’s space or personal possessions. If Daniel started building a 200-page K’Nex merry go round or Jesse was building a 5,000 piece Lego city, they could leave their things there and I trained my other children not to go near those things because they didn’t belong to them.

            When the girls had their craft room, the boys had no entry. When each child received presents, prizes, or gifts that the others didn’t get, I taught the others to be happy for that child and not to expect ownership of any of it. I feel I raised some of the most extravagant givers I know.

These concepts don’t teach children to be selfish, but to be secure enough in owning things so that they were equipped to share and not feel guilty when they didn’t want to. There are things your children will work for and take care of and cherish as they get older, and they shouldn’t have to feel that if they don’t share everything they are selfish and unkind. They are being wise stewards of what they have.

  • Open your circle and let someone in: how to train your children to be extravagant givers.
            Teach your children to share time with others, kind words, acts of kindness, and their “common area” toys. Show them how happy you are when you give to others, and let them help you make baked goods or meals for those in need. Take them to visit the elderly and the hurting with you. Wrap up boxes of extra toys for the homeless shelter and let them accompany you to give the boxes away.

There will be a lot more ideas of teaching sharing in my upcoming book on raising children! I’ll keep you posted!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Training Children to be Socially Acceptable

As soon as your little cherub turns about 15 months old, they begin to see that their behavior has an impact on their world. They learn that they have an opinion on what they like and don’t, and what the want to do and don’t do.  As they enter into the “terrific twos” they love the impact they can make on their world!

This is an exciting time for you and them. But hidden beneath the surface are a lot of dangers if you do not help your little toddler keep things in the proper perspective.

This is one of the most important times of parenting because if you fail to train your child correctly during this stage, it can open the door for a host of problems in their future and yours:

*When respect for parental authority is not enforced when you hover above them in size and control, it will be much more difficult if not almost impossible to enforce when they are as tall or taller than you.

*When you don’t teach your children discipline at this early age, they may run away from you when you call or argue with you in the wrong place or at the wrong time or not put something down in time and get hurt badly.

*When they go to daycare, preschool or kindergarten or other church programs, they will be expected to sit on the square, raise their hand, and other disciplines that are best started in the home for effective training.

*At school and elsewhere they are not in charge of the schedule and it is best if their world doesn’t crumble when they realize that because they have learned it at home.

*No one will be able to or desire watch your undisciplined child or have them over to their house or to your appointments or shopping.

Here are five simple rules to remember for this stage of the game:

1.         You are in charge.  One of the most important things children need to learn is that they can have a voice and even an opinion but they are not in charge and their voice and opinion aren’t always going to be listened to.  Even in early childcare, children are expected to listen to those in charge. It is important that they learn this skill at home. It is also hugely important as children grow up that they respect their parents’ authority. It will make it easier for them to later respect other authorities without challenging every rule and every decision.

            You can give your young children choices on some things, but little children should not be able to choose everything. The best option is to give them a few choices: do you want to wear this or this? Leaving everything up to your children is not wise because then they are led to believe that they can pick everything.

            When I play with my grandchildren, observers may believe me to be selfish when I insist that I get to pick the game sometimes, or when I refuse to let my grandchildren tell me how to run the ponies I am in charge of. The reason I do this with them, and did it with my children, is that they need to learn that they do not always get to be in charge of everything. They need to learn to play well with others at home! They will not learn consideration for others and to think of others unless they learn it at home.

2.         Watch your words. I know that God will never give me a command that He doesn’t equip me to obey. I know when God gives me a command He expects me to obey. When I worked, I also knew as an employee that the boss gave commands, not options. That is what makes a good employee. As a student, I knew the teacher gave commands, and not options. That made me a good student.

            You are not doing your children any favors by telling them to do something without following through. Worse yet is changing your mind when they throw a temper tantrum. You have then taught them that “no” means “no” only if they don’t freak out, then it may change to a “yes” for them if the freak out is crazy enough. Not a great routine to train them into.

            You need to train your children and not just watch them. They need to learn to do what you expect from them: what is reasonable and realistic for their age, or even a little beyond their age! They are way smarter than you think. If you say, “Sarah will never stay in her high chair!” she understands what you are saying and so will live up to that expectation. Better to say, “Sarah needs to stay in her high chair until she is done eating!” She hears that too, and will realize that it is what is expected of her. Training children will result in your having a much easier time when you go to someone’s house or a restaurant and Sarah needs to stay in the high chair. Some things are not an option.      

            Speak life and speak positively to and about your children. Believe me, they hear what you say about them to others and will live up to that. Also, be sure if you tell them something, follow through. Make sure they have habits of obeying you and not ignoring you.

3.         Raise your expectations. I love the movie The Miracle Worker. It is a tribute to Anne Sullivan, who was Helen Keller’s Teacher. Helen Keller was blind and deaf, and they believed her to be “dumb.” She did whatever she wanted without intervention. She was turning into a barbarian, going around the dinner table eating with her hands off everyone’s plate. Anne Sullivan refused to give in to her and taught her to read, write, and behave civilly. Helen Keller became a well-known speaker and writer and much of her success was because Ann Sullivan trained her rather than watch her do whatever she wanted. She equipped Helen for society.

            Even before children are age two they are trainable. They know when they are whining, begging, pulling on you, etc. When my children were one I trained them that if they were whining and crying it was in their crib. They could come out when happy. They learned the concept! Little children are to be trained. Ironically, if you need ideas often the information on training puppies can be used!

            You need to train children who are able to go to others’ homes without thinking they have the right to open every cupboard and drawer and take things out and throw things around.  At home, put a lot of things your children are allowed to touch and go into, and keep things that are “no” – when children learn boundaries at home, when they go out they are not crossing boundaries others have.

4.         See the bigger picture. You may not mind picking up all the crumbs and fingerprints and drips your child leaves as they travel around your house with their crumbly donuts and juice. But others will, I assure you. Get your child trained so they have snack times at certain times (not just all day), and that they sit down to enjoy their food and drink and not just wander around with them. Healthier attitude towards food; AND, when you visit others, their furnishings, cupboards and windows don’t have to take a beating!

            You may not mind if your children break their toys or crayons or throw things. But at school and playing with others, no one is going to appreciate your lack of training.

5.         Practice, practice, practice! Remember, children take a lot longer to train than baby birds: that is why they are with you 18-20 years and not just a season! Be patient! Enjoy the process!

            If you are having problems with your children coming when called, practice practice practice at home! Call them and make them come: 50 times, 100 times, until they get it. It is for their good! Keep at it! Remember… it takes a LOT of time to TRAIN children!

            If they aren’t sleeping at night, practice practice practice. Consistency is the key. Get tips from mothers that have walked the path before you effectively. Use the ones that work with your child and their personality and your situations; discard the others. Many well meaning moms have tips that won’t be useful to you! You’ll know which is which!

            Sometimes you will see the biggest issues your child is going to deal with. It is great if you can train them to be victorious in those areas. I had a child that couldn’t concentrate because so many things were going on in their head at the same time. I taught them to picture “drawers” and close all the drawers except the one thing they needed to concentrate on.  Work on the things your child deals with!

            If your child asks inappropriately, sasses or yells, turn the timer on starting with how many minutes for how old they are, and then allow them to ask again. Then if they do it again the same day, set the timer for the original minutes +1 and keep doing that until they get it right.