Sunday, May 19, 2013

Post II in the Series on Life-Giving Parenting

Shimmering light played on the hand blown glass tinted with blue.The vase was exquisite. As a family heirloom, it was placed prominently on the dining room table. Bouncing, running, squeals of laughter came from the family room. A ball hit the vase knocking it to the ground, exploding into a million pieces. In the kitchen, mom heard the sound and instinctively knew that her prized vase was broken. Immediately, degrading words of anger began spilling from her lips, calling her children names that defiled their very being. They had heard these words before. Her children ran from her as she knelt down and picked up the pieces. Hours later, the gluing was finished. She placed the repaired vase back in its place of prominence.
     Whenever people sat at the dining room table, they could see the cracks in the vase because even though glue was applied, the vase was never the same...the cracks always existed...just like the words spoken to her children, cracking their sense of self, cracking their self-worth. Proverbs 18:21 says, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit."
     We can obliterate a child's self-worth OR call forth a child's potential, both with our words. Words are powerful. Let's look at the scenario above from a life-giving perspective. Mom hears the vase break and runs into the dining room. Recognizing that she is angry, she takes a moment to compose herself, and then calmly instructs her children to take the ball outside, reminding them of the house rule of  no playing ball inside. Mom may decide to apply consequences of extra chores, or perhaps requiring her children to use their own money to replace the vase.
      Maintaing a life-giving relational atmosphere keeps the parent-child relationship healthy. Psalm 141:3 is a great scripture to pray, "Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips."

Thanks for reading! Blessings!


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Series: How to Have Life-Giving, Thriving Family Relationships

Life-Giving Family Relationships

     After 10 years as a therapist working with families, marriages, and individuals, I am convinced that creating a healthy family begins with a life-giving relational atmosphere. I define a life-giving relational atmosphere as a grace-filled, loving, affirming family environment filled with traditions and routines that create a rhythm to a child's life. Here is a great strategy to implement into your family's daily routine that will strengthen your bond with your child, creating a healthy relational atmosphere.
      The strategy is called floor time. I recommend starting this with your child as young as possible. Every day, for at least 30 minutes, enter into your child's world by getting down on the floor and playing. For example, our oldest son, Joseph, was obessessed with tractors. He knew every model of every tractor known to mankind - or at least it seemed that way! Each day, we would play with tractors, read books on tractors, and we took field trips to see tractors. 
     Your child may be interested in dinosaurs, dolls, certain books, trains, puzzles, or insects. It doesn't matter what it is, it just matters that you enter into their world by playing. The benefit of floor time is immense. The message it sends to your child is, I love you, you are important to me. Floor time is NOT the time to discipline or instruct your child. In fact, the more you invest time in your relationship with your child by doing this one simple strategy, the less likely your child will act out and misbehave. Be intentional. Take time. Invest in your child and enjoy loving family relationships!