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”
(RICK OSBORNE / Christian Author, Speaker & Dad – your source for Christian Parenting advice)
Can you figure out which Biblical relationship principle you can discuss with your children by watching this video together?
This blog contains a key Christian Parenting principle that I guarantee (if employed) will go a long way to ending sibling rivalry and establishing your home sweet home.
What would you say are two things that are most often at the core of a sibling battle? Let me give you a few whining and complaining hints, “Dad, he won’t share,” Mom, she’s wearing my clothes again.” And next, “She hit me” and “He won’t leave me alone.”
There are many answers to the question I posed but most of us would agree that fighting over things and unwanted physical contact are huge aggravators in sibling relationships.
Jesus taught what has now become known as the Golden Rule, treat others the way that you would like to be treated. (Matt 7:12)
In my last blog we talked about the benefits of getting up and going to the current household hotspot as soon as the sibling rivalry starts to heat up. This gives us the opportunity to do some effective in-the-middle-of-life Christian parenting which will take us closer to the home sweet home we desire.
If you’ve had the family meeting (we covered that in part two of this series) and you’ve decided to overcome the temptation to follow the armchair fling parenting style, then you’re ready to get moving.
Okay, the squabbling has started and you’re up and going. You have a few seconds of travel time to do two things, first remember the Third Parent and pray for parenting wisdom and help. Next (really valuable parenting tip) slow down and make sure you arrive on the scene calm.
After we all agreed (in our family meeting) that one of our key home values was to leave strife behind, the Christian parenting work started.
Notice that on this parenting website we are not afraid to call parenting ‘work.’
I have actually found something of a parenting skills paradox in the concept of parental work. Although what seems to be lazy parenting will get you nowhere, working hard at it will give you the time and peace to be lazy.
Let me explain. Armchair parenting is a parenting style that doesn’t work; parenting is a participation sport. It is always tempting to stay seated in my favorite chair (or continue doing whatever I was doing) and fling instructions, commands and threats about the house aimed at one child, or many, (the all-in-one fling) but that is not effective parenting.
If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. (1 John 4: 20)
Years ago while I was reading through the Bible book of 1 John, I suddenly saw how this verse was relevant for parenting and my family life.
The Apostle John states that if you do not love your Christian brother you do not love God. Why? Simple, it’s easier to love someone that you can see than it is to love God who you cannot see.
The principle involved is that we all must walk before we run, the simple before the difficult.