Joe White wrote the following article for Kanakuk families. I was thrilled when he told me I could share it on the blog. He has such a way with words – full of encouragement, wisdom and admonition as we walk the parenting road. I hope you enjoy (and are inspired by) it as much I did/was.
… and thanks for walking the road with me.
Building a family is like getting Kanakuk ready for summer! For 86 years it has been, for us, like getting a Christmas tree ready for Christmas. It’s a lot of anticipation, a lot of lights and wrapping paper, long hours, a lot of work and way worth every smiling second we put into the celebration!
Nothing on this earth rivals the value of our time invested in the health of our family.
The days are long, but the years are short!
The president of the American Association of Christian Counselors and I get to do events for men, for professional counselors and for marriages. His wealth of research amazes me! I received a new statistic today that stopped me in my tracks and provoked this email. (I hope it will lift you into a new and hopeful horizon.)
Here it is: Parents can decrease your child’s defiance by 93% in two very surprising ways. (By the way that was 93%!!)
-Eat dinner as a family and
-Know your child’s teachers’ names.
The late President Ronald Reagan saw it before the recent study did. He once said with typical Gipper candor, “All great change in America happens around a dinner table.”
Yes, for family wellness the relationship is everything and the dinner table is a super place to build it.
All true if the dinner table has some basic ideas that everybody agrees to.
- Nobody’s the household slave! Everybody has fun sharing the workload.
- Criticism and sarcasm are out of bounds.
- Leave the teaching and correcting for another place and time. (Ooooo, this is so hard for parents to do! I, for one, wish I could go back and do a whole lot less harping on the table manners! Civility is important but the beauty of relationships is destroyed by perfection.)
- Give grace for spilled milk! J
Here’s a few “add water and stir” tips to increase your dinner table enjoyment.
- Set a goal for the new priority. (# of evenings per week). Let some other things go! (Remember, 93%!)
- “Pray Best of Worst of.” Let each person tell the highlight of their day and the biggest challenge of their day. (Great opportunities to take a bite of chicken when you’re inclined to snap back with advice or correction.) Care for your child’s feelings. Warmth and empathy win every time!
“A word from the Word” – pass it around as you see fit, but a short devotion from Scripture is a bigger winner than you can imagine! Howard Hendricks, a mentor and “the guru” of effective leadership aptly says, “If I had just one sentence of advice to offer parents, I’d encourage them to drench their minds with Deuteronomy 6:4-9. I really think that’s the essence of what family life is all about. First, the principle of instruction—you talk about it, you teach it. And finally the principle of involvement—you encourage children to apply it in their thinking and behavior.” If you have not already, check out the daily video devotionals on my Facebook page. Each day a new video is posted that will help you walk your family through the New Testament. If you do not have a Facebook, you can view all the video devotionals on our Vimeo webpage http://vimeo.com/fuelup/.
- Take time to chew! S-L-O-W down. Serve the meal in courses if you can. There’s more to dinner than getting the food on the table and doing the dishes!
- Have a “charity jar” handy and fill it with quarters to end critical remarks. Anyone who says something critical, harsh or sarcastic has to put a quarter in the jar! This works!
- “TEE it up!” Have another jar handy and keep a box of golf tees nearby. Every time someone reports an encouraging deed by a family member and “tees it up” for someone else, put a golf tee in the jar. Plan a great family vacation and save it until the jar is full of golf tees. This really works great!
Remember, the quickest way to get your child’s attention is to sit down and look comfortable!
Can’t wait ‘til summer. Last summer was “best ever” for me. We’re out to top it!
President, Kanakuk Kamps