One of the best things in life is a great chat. We connect with people we love, share our days, our hopes and our dreams and enjoy life together. This gift of connection is from God and is cultivated from childhood. Parents who talk with their kids set them up for success. It can be easy in these times to reduce a chat to a quick text message or phone call, but as parents, we can go a step further! We can develop a healthy habit of communication in our family by simply talking. We can talk to our children about God, about life, school, friends, whatever we want. These simple and easy chats can build a strong foundation of not only communication skills but also of love and trust so that, when life gets tricky, our kids will feel comfortable coming to talk to us.
As a pastor I watch people move from church to church for many different reasons. Some moves are worthwhile, such as relocations for career advancement. However, many moves are because of disappointment or bitterness toward the church. We all face these times of disappointment, and we do not want to instill these messages of bitterness or disillusionment into our children. Many parents would say that they want to raise children that love God and His church, but by moving from church to church they send a message to their children that church commitment really isn’t a priority. Their love becomes conditional and intolerant. They simply forget that the church is truly God’s people – His ecclesia – His called out ones who are not perfect, but human and flawed just like everyone else.
When our child is upset, we can want to do whatever we can to help them feel better. Emotions can skew our judgment, especially in regards to our children. My son Jake often wanted to quit something he had started because he was emotionally upset. He wasn’t that good at the sport he signed up for or he was struggling in a math class. His fear of failure would bring him to tears, and I, as his mom, would want to calm his fears and do what was best for him.
Parents can teach their children wisdom by making them finish what they started. Jake wanted to quit because it was too hard; we made him see his commitments to the end before deciding on what to do next. You see, emotions make it hard to make a rational decision. If I let my son quit because he was upset in the moment, he would not learn how to fulfill his commitments nor learn if he really needed to change or not.
Wisdom helps us to wait out our emotions and make a good decision. We will always encounter difficult times in life. How we handle our emotions in these moments can make or break us. We can teach our children to be successful by teaching them to move past their emotions. With Jake, it was having him finish what he started. Though it was hard—and we did determine that he needed to change to an easier math class—Jake felt the pride and self-satisfaction that comes with a job well done. His character was built because we, as his parents, did not allow him to live by his emotions alone.
When you look at your Instagram, what do you see? Is your account filled with social self-portrait (selfies)?
We live in a society where taking selfies is a completely normal and socially acceptable practice. Maybe you are promoting your career or business. Maybe you enjoy getting comments about your outfit or hairstyle. Maybe you’ve gone on a cool adventure and you want to share a piece of it with the world. Do it! There is nothing wrong with occasionally posting a selfie.
Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites are wonderful networks, don’t get me wrong. It’s fun to take pictures of or with your friends and share what you’re up to. Sharing your world is one of the best parts of life! The danger of selfies lies in your motivation behind posting them. Are you looking for approval? Are you trying to boost your self-esteem? Watching and waiting to see how many “likes” you receive is not a healthy practice.
God’s “like” is better than a million likes on your selfies. When you place your worth in His hands, the opinions of everyone else just don’t seem to matter anymore. David wrote in Psalms 139:14, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.” When you begin to replace people’s “likes” with God’s love, your personal “like” will be filled.
Anger is often times immediately written off as a bad thing—to the point that we feel guilty over being angry over things that we have every right to be angry over. Our parents say something hurtful in jest and we get angry; our spouse is late for our date night and we get angry; our kids are misbehaving regardless of how many times we counted to three. Anger is a reaction that is connected to deeper emotions; many times, that emotion is love!
We are often angry the most with those we love. Our spouse is late; we feel underappreciated and unloved because they seemingly did not take this date night seriously. Hurtful words from family members cut deep because we love them. We love our children so much and get frustrated when our investment in them does not payout. In Mark 3:5, Jesus confronted a group of Pharisees and looked at them “with anger” for their unbelief. He loved them and was angered by their hard hearts, but He did not react out of anger when He confronted them.
Psalm 4:4 tells us not to sin in our anger. This verse shows that, while anger has a place in our lives, we need to be careful how we use it. Jesus knew how to use anger and how not to let it use Him. Anger can be a tool for change in our lives or it can damage our lives; it can create a moment of self-examination and healing or an outlet to cause pain. Ask God to help you understand the things that make you angry and why. He will bring healing where healing is needed and show you how to use this powerful emotion wisely.