Home alone moments

October 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Teachable Moments

I was flying into Chicago on United Airlines shortly after they had completed their new terminal. The captain welcomed us to Chicago and “The New Terminal of Tomorrow.” He went on to explain that everyone who’s tried to catch a connecting flight out of there understands why it’s really called “The Terminal of Tomorrow” – because you might not get on your connecting flight till tomorrow!

I’ve often waited in the Chicago airport.  It’s a very busy place and reminds me of my home: children’s parties, sleepovers, friends coming and going, neighbors calling, extended family dropping by. And there are the departures. The car just doesn’t stop. There are youth groups, lessons of all sorts, sports, school, church, errands to run, and children’s friends to pick up or drive home. Sound familiar?  In the middle of all the flights in and out, once in a while I find a wonderful parenting moment with one of my fellow travelers.

The first time it happened, everyone had flown in and back out of “Osborne O’Hare,” and only my son and I were left. During the next few hours he had his agenda, and I had mine. However, in the middle of that time the two of us needed to sit down and eat a meal. What followed started with me pointing out that it was cool that it was just the two of us guys.

Then we decided to have some guy food and talked about guy things, and we even used some guy table manners (intentional oxymoron). We laughed a lot and afterwards headed back to our own tasks. The meal needed to be prepared anyway, but the time we had was memorable. I now watch for “home alone” moments. My son and I have our “guy time” every time the Osborne Terminal clears out, and I have special dad-and-daughter meals whenever I find myself alone with one of them.

For more quick and easy parenting tips and teachable moments, we recommend “Parenting at the Speed of Life”
(RICK OSBORNE / Christian Author, Speaker & Dad – your source for Christian Parenting advice)

It’s the economy, mom and dad

October 2, 2008 by  
Filed under Financial Parenting

Listening to all the news about economy lately has got me thinking about an old friend. Anyone remember the best-seller, ‘The Coming Economic Earthquake’? One Amazon review, written last month, says this about the book, “This book clearly outlines why the recession is here and it was written in 1991 predicting it.”

I had the pleasure of knowing Larry Burkett and being able to call him my friend for several years before he left us to be with our Lord. He was a wonderful person, a faithful friend and an awesome man of God. He studied the Bible and understood perhaps better than anyone what God’s Word says and teaches about money.

I met Larry shortly after he wrote ‘The Coming Economic Earthquake’ and although I didn’t understand all of what he was saying about where the economy was going, we talked about something that was near to my heart. Him and his son Allen Burkett Jr. wanted to help parents teach their kids Biblical financial principles so that Christians and the Church in the generations to come could stand strong during tough times.

Larry showed me the conclusions of a nation wide survey that tested the financial IQ of high school seniors. The director of the report summed up the results by saying that our kids were graduating financially illiterate. He also shared with me statistics that showed that 85% of young couples who divorce site financial issues as the reason for their marital breakdown. That discussion led to Larry and I co-writing the book ‘Financial Parenting.’ I also went on to work with both Larry Sr. and Jr. to develop many resources that help parents teach their children financial principles.

The Bible tells us that as parents we are to bring our children up in the instruction of the Lord. The Bible doesn’t just teach us about God, love and salvation. Moses, Solomon, Jesus, Paul and others were all used by God’s Spirit to teach us about stewardship and proper money management. It’s our job as parents to safeguard our children’s future by intentionally bringing them up in these truths.

I don’t know if the ‘Economic Earthquake’ as Larry saw it is here yet but I do know that if we want our kids to survive financially, now and in the future, we need to spend some time teaching them what God’s Word says about money.

The Coming Economic Earthquake, Financial Parenting and the other resources we developed for kids have been selling well and helping families for years but perhaps they are even more relevant and more important now.

Although Larry Burkett is no longer with us, every book he wrote was based on God’s Word and therefore timeless and very relevant today. I highly recommend the following books and any other’s with my friend’s name on them.

               

(RICK OSBORNE / Christian Author, Speaker & Dad – your source for Christian Parenting advice)

What would you change about your family

September 25, 2008 by  
Filed under Family LIfe

I’m not a fan of the Simpsons but I had to chuckle when I heard an ad for the show. Homer said, “Why do things that happen to stupid people keep happening to me?”

Very few of us would ever seriously ask that same question but how about if we tweaked it slightly, “Why do things that take place in stupid families keep on happening in mine?”

Isn’t that kind of what we’re asking when we get frustrated and throw out questions like, “Why must everything be a fight?” “Can’t anyone clean up after themselves?” “Would it hurt anyone to help out a bit for a change?” “For once, could you please just get along?”

One day many years ago, a friend and fellow worker very politely pointed out that I had a bad habit of interrupting him pretty much whenever he spoke. I admitted I had the problem, apologized and told him that I was going to do something about it. In the days that followed, he politely reminded me time and time again. I responded the same way each time.

A week or two later my friend reached the end of his patience and said, “Every time I talk about this, you say that you’re going to do something about it. Stop putting it off! Make a decision to change and do something about it now.”

I stopped and prayed on the spot for God’s help and I made a decision. Once the decision was made, I began paying attention and I put some effort into learning the skills I needed like really listening and following up with a question.

Albert Einstein once defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

I stopped interrupting however the biggest benefit of my friend’s rebuke was that I later learned how to apply the change principle in my family. Let me give you a brief example.

Once our family was suffering from chronic tornado kitchen syndrome. At first I whined, I complained and I asked the ‘Homer Simpson’ style questions.

My wonderful wife pointed out that perhaps we needed to do something different if we wanted change. (Where had I heard that before?) After some prayer and thought, I taped a note to the kitchen counter and had a family meeting and the fun began. If a single thing was out of place after someone left the kitchen they were on kitchen duty until the next time someone was caught. For awhile everyone was catching everyone else and kitchen duty revolved frequently. Within a few weeks everyone was getting the hang of ‘the game’ and those caught were spending longer periods of time on kitchen duty which made it even more important not to mess up.

What needs to change in your family? Is it the way you communicate with each other, are the kids not helping out, is the sibling rivalry fierce, are you constantly cleaning up after everyone? Here’s what you do, pick one thing that you want to change, pray about it and ask for wisdom. Now go looking for wisdom, search this site or other Christian parenting sites, Google the problem, read a parenting book, anything you need to do to find an idea or solution.

Proverbs 9 says that wisdom has prepared a huge banquet and she’s yelling, “Come and get it.” Finding the wisdom is very seldom difficult once you’ve decided on change. Now have a family meeting and get started.

What I found out was that small efforts at change can yield big results. A simple fun game in the kitchen led to everyone learning skills that began to spread to the rest of the house. My simple decision to stop interrupting people led me to better communication skills and therefore to better and stronger relationships.

The things that happen to stupid people happen to Homer Simpson and us not because we’re stupid but because we keep doing the same things over and over again and that’s stupid. And if we expect any change without changing, according to Einstein, that’s insane. Start today and fight stupidity and insanity with a little change.

For more quick and easy parenting tips for bringing change to your family, we recommend the e-Book “The Seven Mistakes Parents of Toddlers Make”

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(RICK OSBORNE / Christian Author, Speaker & Dad – your source for Christian Parenting advice)

Romancing your family

September 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Family LIfe

During the worship service in church we sang a song from Psalms 84. When I sang David’s words, “better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere,” it struck me that David romanced God. He sang to him, he danced before him, he yearned to be in his presence, he wrote many psalms pouring out his heart and feelings towards him and he showed him his love with extravagant displays of adventurous obedience.

After having that thought, my mind jumped immediately to the same question that yours just did, “Can someone romance God? Isn’t romance reserved as a wonderful dance between a man and a woman?” So I looked up the word romance. While it is true that the word romance has, for the most part, come to refer to the expression of love between lovers, its origin and breath of meaning reveals other possibilities of use for this powerful word. Read more

Don’t air the family’s dirty laundry

September 9, 2008 by  
Filed under Family LIfe

Do you remember your parents telling you to not air your family’s dirty laundry? It’s a metaphor which apparently can be traced back to Napolean. The idea being that you shouldn’t do laundry in public (eg hang clothes on a line to dry) that would reveal intimate details of your life and you also shouldn’t tell others about the troubles and private things that happen in your family.

I remember hearing this saying when I was young and my Granny was still alive. I remember wondering why (if this saying were true as a fact as well as a metaphor) she would hang her unmentionables on our clothes line when she visited. Now I should mention that my Gran was a wonderful lady but she was a very large woman and her private garments would attract attention. However, for some reason she seemed oblivious to this fact.

I’m telling this story because I believe that somehow, somewhere along the way, we’ve adopted the idea that what happens behind closed family doors is no one’s business but our own. Which has again somehow led to the idea that we are free to behave in ways in our homes that we would not act in public. Read more

How to get your kids to listen

September 3, 2008 by  
Filed under Getting Kids to Listen

In the very beginning of creation God announced that it wasn’t good for man to be alone. That announcement led to the first marriage, the first family, the first friends and the first community.

God created us to function in and be blessed by relationships. Not only in relationships with others but also in a relationship with him.

Jesus stated that the two greatest commandments were to love God and also to love others. Since God is love and therefore void of selfishness, his two greatest commandments should carry with them the greatest secrets of an awesome life and they do. Having a wonderful growing relationship with God and wonderful growing relationships with others is truly the biggest key to an awesome life. Loving and being loved. Read more

The really important parenting task that most of us miss (part 2)

August 29, 2008 by  
Filed under Parenting Lesson

HOW TO RAISE GREAT PARENTS

In my last post, we talked about how God’s original parent training program was that one generation teach the next how to parent God’s way. It’s our job as parents to not only learn how to parent God’s way and to do it effectively but also to teach our children how to be a parent while we are parenting them.

This sounds more daunting then it actually is. In reality, parenting while teaching to parent is the easiest and most effective way of parenting.

When we send our children to school, they go knowing that they need to go through the learning process and do well so that one day they’ll graduate. They know because we tell them. From there we encourage them by telling them that great marks lead to better post secondary education options and those options can lead to better career opportunities etc. We keep them going by helping them to understand and to take on the goals as their own.

If our children think the only goal of parenting is for them to try and have fun and for us to try and stop them, they don’t see the reward in the process and our task will be difficult. However, if we talk to them not only about the benefits to their life for doing things the right way, but also about how cooperating with the parenting process and learning how it works will help make them great parents, then they’ll be able to see a bigger purpose and a greater reward. Read more

The really important parenting task that most of us miss (part 1)

August 26, 2008 by  
Filed under Parenting Lesson

For those of you who read my blogs or my books, you know that I’m passionate about encouraging parents to apply themselves to learning how to parent. Parenting is not merely intuitive and it’s not only bad parents who need parenting books and courses, it’s all parents.

If you asked me to determine if a certain couple were great parents or not, I wouldn’t look first at the results but at the efforts they were making to learn and grow in the art of parenting. If you know how to get the right information and effectively and humbly apply it, the results will eventually follow. If you think you’re getting by but you’re not learning, then you’ll eventually come up against a problem that you don’t know how to solve properly and that will mess up your results.

I advocate parenting books, classes and courses but actually those resources should be mere booster shots that come along and support God’s original parent training program. When God spoke to Abraham and called him to teach his children after him to follow the Lord, in context (Genesis 18:18, 19), he wasn’t talking about just Abraham’s immediate children but generations of children. When God had Moses tell the Israelites to make sure that they taught their children to follow the Lord (Deuteronomy 6), again the context was that each generation pass it on to the next.

As an example of how to pass something from generation to generation, let’s look at farming. For centuries, farmers have passed the farm down to their children. How does that happen successfully? What if one generation farmed and got the kids to help from time to time and then one day they just handed them the keys to everything and moved to Florida. Either the farm would be sold or it would probably go under. In order for the farm to be passed on successfully, the parents must not only farm well but also teach their children everything they know about farming as they grow up, gradually preparing them for the task. God’s original parent training program is simply this, parents need to do everything they can to bring their children up well AND they need to all the while be teaching their children how to parent properly themselves.

That’s why I say that parenting books and courses should be booster shots. It’s our job as parents to teach our children how to do one of the most important tasks they’ll ever undertake, raising children. Yes, we train by example but that’s not enough. We need to understand what we teach our children and why we’re teaching it to them. We need to understand the discipline, instruction and training process and explain it to our children as we go. For those of you who are feeling that this sounds daunting it’s not, it actually makes the job easier. I’ll explain how in my next blog.

For more practical and Biblical Christian Parenting ideas we recommend the Christian resource, “The Seven Mistakes Parents of Toddlers Make”

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(RICK OSBORNE / Christian Author, Speaker & Dad – your source for Christian Parenting advice)

The joy of parenting? How to bring the joy back (part 3)

August 19, 2008 by  
Filed under Joy of Parenting

Throughout the Bible, children are considered to be a gift from God and a blessing to the parents who receive them.

Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. (Psalm 127:3)

Scripture contains many prayers and songs thanking God for the blessing of children, including those of Sarah, Hannah, and Mary. Mary had heard the stories of Sarah and Hannah and had learned that children are an awesome gift and a blessing.

Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” (Luke 1:46-47)

If you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop, here it comes. Sometimes parenting can seem downright overwhelming. Children need constant care, training, and discipline, and none of us is perfectly up to the task. So at times we feel tempted to consider the gift of children as anything but a blessing. I once heard a mother say to her young teenager (in jest of course), “Watch it, buster! I brought you into this world and I can take you back out again!” That about sums up the way we sometimes feel, doesn’t it?

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The joy of parenting? God meant children to be a blessing (part 2)

August 15, 2008 by  
Filed under Joy of Parenting

We’ve all seen supermarket tantrums. If God intended children to be a blessing, why does it seem that for so many, they are not?

Let’s look specifically at one Bible couple to see if we can find the answer. I believe that God told Abraham and Sarah to name their son Isaac, which means “laughter,” in order to confirm this pair’s conviction that Isaac truly was a gift and a blessing from God. Let me explain.

When both Abraham and Sarah heard the Lord say that they would have a son, they responded with laughter. Yes, they laughed in part because they had long before left behind their childbearing years; and Sarah at least laughed somewhat because of doubt. But another emotion also bubbled under the surface. If someone told you that he was going to give you an all-expenses-paid, month-long vacation anywhere in the world, how would you respond? You might well respond with laughter that said, “Wow! That’s just way too great to be true!” Abraham and Sarah felt so overjoyed by the possibility of having a child that they could hardly believe it to be true.

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