Tag Archives: emotional health

Building Connections

When my children were very young I had the opportunity to talk to my older cousin, Ingrid, whose three boys were teenagers and young adults.

I was impressed by how affectionate and close all of the family members were. So I asked her:

“How do you do it?”

She said, “Just talk. Them talking, me listening. Me talking, them listening.

Talk about your day,

talk about what bothered you,

what delighted you, what you learned,

what you’re currently reading, what you wonder about,

what you long for.

Ingrid also said, “Do stuff together: projects, games, sports, trips, etc.

She gave me this sage advice nearly thirty years ago. I’m sure she hadn’t envisioned a day when techy stuff would take over this culture.

Sometimes I long for the good old days when the only form of communication in the house was the phone on the wall, and a pen and stationery.

Not that cell phones and  ipads are bad. It’s wonderful to have so much info at one’s fingertips. And to have the safety and convenience of reaching our loved ones by phone where ever we are.

But these blessings sure insulate us from others.

Here are a ten suggestions for young families raising kids:

1. Have meals together, and talk. No Tech stuff or TV allowed.

2. Have your kids’ friends over and let them play in and outside the house.

3. Read to your kids. Talk about the story.

4. Play with your kids, and tell funny jokes. Talk.

5. Pick one after-school activity a week per child. One. Your child will be less stressed, and so will you. Talk about why you’re doing this.

6. Limit your children’s time on cell phones and TV. Talk about why you’re doing this.

7. Bring your kids along with you during your activities. Everything you do is a chance for them to learn about the world and about civilized community. Talk about why you’re doing this.

8. Do volunteer activities together. (This includes chores around the house.)Talk about why you’re doing this.

9. Get to know your child’s teacher(s) and stay informed about EVERYTHING he/she is learning. Talk about why you’re doing this.

10. Pray together. Talk about what the Lord means to you.

You’ll be glad you did these things early on, because once your child’s a teenager, the habit of communication is likely to continue.

It’s easy to let other influences take over your child’s life. But bear in mind that most of our culture’s problems can be boiled down to this:

1. No relationship with God

2.  bad or no relationships with others.

Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold. God is all about relationships, and we should be, too.

“Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives.” (Col. 3:15, 16 The Message)




Don’t Stay Angry!

Cain was the first criminal.

He wasn’t a criminal because of his disadvantaged background.

His parents were probably about as close to perfect as any man and woman could be. And Adam and Eve certainly didn’t have any personal baggage handed down from their parents!

If anyone didn’t have an excuse for his bad attitude, it would be Cain.

None of us knows exactly what Cain’s problem was.

He had an attitude, that’s for sure.

Genesis 4 recounts how both Abel and Cain brought their offerings to the Lord. Abel, of course, brought offerings from the firstborn of his flocks, and Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil.

The offerings themselves weren’t the problem.

God was displeased by something in Cain.

Cain was very angry. God said to him, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you. But you must master it.” (Genesis 4: 6,7 NIV)

Even after God’s warning, Cain continued to be angry.

His anger centered on his brother, Abel, and the perceived favoritism God was showing him.

Can you relate? Do you ever think someone else—your sibling, your friend, your business associate, etc.— is getting the long end of the stick and you are always receiving a lesser portion?

It’s so easy to focus on what you’re not getting and to grow resentful and angry.

I’ll bet you can think of at least a handful of news stories where some disgruntled employee killed his boss or associates because he felt he’d been treated unfairly.

We think: I’d never get that angry. Those people in the news were crazy.

Maybe, maybe not.

I believe most murderers aren’t crazy.

Just really angry and selfish.

Like Cain, they focus on themselves.

They fail to see God and how He can bless them if they will submit to Him.

Cain could have repented of his really bad attitude.

But he didn’t. After God rebuked him, he just got more angry.

Cain selfishly held onto his anger, and the result was death.

For us, the sin of unconfessed anger may not lead to physical death.

But think of the ramifications of our anger in all of our relationships.

Do you want to be around someone who’s angry?

When I was a young mother, I had to pray for Jesus to help me deal with some anger issues. I knew, if I didn’t, not only would it harm my relationship with the Lord, but it would harm the spirits of my precious young children. Thank the Lord, He made me sensitive to His prompting to get out from under the yoke of anger.

Is there anger in your life that is getting in the way of your relationships?

What would the Lord have you do?

Ephesian 4:26 says: “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”