Friday, March 27, 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Faith and Parenting

Lifeway Research recently put out the following article on fath and parenting. Interesting that many Christian parents don't look to the church or the Bible for advice on parenting.

NASHVILLE, Tenn., 2/25/09 – Most American parents feel their parenting skills and family life are pretty good, but they are reluctant to describe their homes as peaceful, relaxed or joyful and their daily family time consists mostly of eating dinner and watching television, according to a new study from LifeWay Research. While most parents are trying to improve their skills, far fewer look to the church or the Bible for help.

The national survey of 1,200 parents with children under 18 at home was conducted by LifeWay Research, the research arm of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The study found that 96 percent of parents agree they consistently try to be better parents. Fifty-eight percent agree strongly and 38 percent agree somewhat with this statement.

“Parents claim they are trying hard to be better parents but they are not welcoming outside guidance or advice,” said Scott McConnell, associate director of LifeWay Research and co-author with Rodney and Selma Wilson of The Parent Adventure, just released from B&H Publishing Group, with complementary teaching and learning resources from LifeWay Church Resources. “The only source of advice that a majority of parents use a lot is their own experience. It’s as if parents are collectively reverting to a popular toddler saying, ‘I will do it myself!’”

Sixty percent of parents look a lot to their own experiences growing up as their source of guidance on parenting and another 31 percent do so to some extent.

By comparison, 21 percent indicate they receive a lot of guidance from a sacred text and 15 percent depend a lot on a church. A full 61 percent completely ignore parenting seminars and 53 percent have no use for books by religious parenting experts.

Only 14 percent indicate they are very familiar with what the Bible has to say about parenting, the research revealed. Twenty-seven percent of Protestant parents are very familiar with what the Bible has to say about parenting compared to only 7 percent of Catholic parents. Among parents with evangelical beliefs, 52 percent say they are very familiar with the Bible’s parenting advice.

A large majority of the parents describe their home environment as supportive (74 percent), positive (71 percent), encouraging (69 percent) and active (69 percent). At the same time, however, 61 percent are unwilling to describe their homes as peaceful, 49 percent as relaxed and 43 percent as joyful.

While 57 percent of the parents say their families eat dinner together on a daily basis and 45 percent indicate they watch television together each day, only 53 percent report they pray together at least monthly and just 31 percent report having religious devotionals or studies together at least monthly.

More than 80 percent of parents rate family life – the quality of family communication, time spent with each other, treating each other with respect – as good to excellent. Thirty percent, however, indicate their family’s spiritual life is only fair or poor.

A full 92 percent of parents agree they need encouragement, the study found. Almost 10 percent say they need help with parenting and 11 percent indicate they have nowhere to turn for encouragement.

Among parents who attend religious worship services weekly, 38 percent indicate they get no encouragement from a sacred text such as the Bible, Torah or Koran and 24 percent report getting no encouragement from their church or place of worship. Forty-three percent of Protestant parents and 85 percent of Catholic parents do not receive encouragement from a sacred text. As for their church, 39 percent of Protestant parents and 71 percent of Catholic parents say it is not a source of encouragement as a parent.

McConnell concluded, “Christians are routinely neglecting biblical guidance and encouragement in their parenting today, relying instead on their own personal experience.”

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009

Marriage Monday

Last month we celebrated our 35th anniversary. I wish I could say that after 35 years we had arrived at "marital bliss", but I can't. What I can say is that the lessons I have learned in the last 35 years could not have been learned any other way. I have realized that God allows us to be in relationships that are sometimes "irritating" to sharpen and refine us. Proverbs 27:17 says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." Have you ever pictured iron sharpening iron? Sparks fly as the two pieces of metal collide. But it is through the collision and the heat that the sharpening takes place.

Most of us grew up believing the ending to most fairy tales, "They got married and lived happily ever after." And most of us who have been married for a while have probably been disappointed that it really isn't that easy. So, what do we do when the sparks fly? And trust me, they will! Here are some tips for how to handle conflict in marriage...some of them that I have learned in 35 years, and some that I'm still trying to master!

  • Face your fear of confrontation. I hate confrontation...but my husband loves to get things resolved. I learned pretty early in our marriage that our fights could last 5 minutes or 5 hours...and it all depended on me. If I tried to avoid confrontation my husband would keep going until the situation was addressed. If I got in there and "fought it out" the confrontation was usually over in 5 minutes!
  • Focus on the behavior, not the person. Say, "could you please put your dishes in the dishwasher", not "You're such a slob!"
  • Stay on topic. Our fights in marriage usually follow the same themes...but be careful not to bring up past hurts or failures, even if they are similar to what is frustrating you right now.
  • Be assertive (and respectful). Assertiveness is found in the balance between passive and aggressive. Aggressive says, "I only care about me, so I'm going to walk all over you, and if you don't like it, too bad." Passive says, "I only care about you, so you can walk all over me and I won't say anything." Assertive says, "I care about you, AND I care about me, so I won't do anything to intentionally hurt you, but I also won't let you do anything to intentionally hurt me."
  • Really listen to your spouse. Most of us know what we are trying to say, and sometimes it just doesn't come out right. Our spouses are no different. There are times when my husband says something that I perceive as mean. I have to really listen to what he is trying to say, and sometimes say "If you just said what I think you said that hurt." This gives him the opportunity to restate what he meant...not what I heard!

Living happily ever after takes a lot of work...but it is worth the effort!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Frog Seminar

Once upon a time there was a bunch of tiny frogs.... who arranged a running competition. The goal was to reach the top of avery high tower.

A big crowd had gathered around the tower to see the race and cheer on the contestants....The race began....Honestly: No one in the crowd really believed that the tiny frogs would reach thetop of the tower.

You heard statements such as:"Oh, WAY too difficult!!"

"They will NEVER make it to the top."or:

"Not a chance that they will succeed. The tower is too high!"

The tiny frogs began collapsing. Oneb y one....Except for those, who in a fresh tempo, were climbing higher and higher..

The crowd continued to yell, "It is too difficult!!! No one will make it!"
More tiny frogs got tired and gave up....But ONE continued higher and higher and higher....This one wouldn't give up!

At the end everyone else had given up climbing the tower. Except for the one tiny frog who, after a big effort, was the only one who reached the top!

THEN all of the other tiny frogs naturally wanted to know how this one frog managed to do it? A contestant asked the tiny frog how he had found the strength to succeed and reach the goal?

It turned out....That the winner was DEAF!!!!

The wisdom of this story is: Never listen to other people's tendencies to be negative or pessimistic....because they take your most wonderful dreams and wishes away from you -- the ones you have in your heart!

Always think of the power words have. (There's life and death in the power of the tongue - Proverbs 18:21.)

Because everything you hear and read will affect your actions! Therefore: ALWAYS be.... POSITIVE!

And above all:Be DEAF when people tell YOU that you cannot fulfill your dreams! Always think: God and I can do this!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Why Go to Church?

A Church goer wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday. "I've gone for 30 years now," he wrote, "and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me, I can't remember a single one of them. So, I think I'm wasting my time and the pastors are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all."

This started a real controversy in the "Letters to the Editor" column, much to the delight of the editor. It went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher:

"I've been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this: They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!"

When you are DOWN to nothing..... God is UP to something! Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible! Thank God for our physical AND our spiritual nourishment!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Stressless Saturday

Picture yourself near a stream.

Birds are singing in the crisp, cool mountain air.

Nothing can bother you here.

No one knows this secret place.

You are in total seclusion from that place called the world.

The soothing sound of a gentle waterfall fills the air with a cascade of serenity.

The water is clear.

You can easily make out the face of the person whose head you're holding under the water.

There now, feeling better?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Women Drivers?!

I don't think this is how most women drive, but it's funny!