Archives For Tip of the Week

By Lisa Cherry

Words like torture come to mind when I reflect  on the Wednesday dinner table atmosphere  for the last six weeks…until last Wednesday night.

Perhaps you remember my recent Funny Friday post on the monthly menu plan. The plan has been working great except for the dreaded Wednesday Soup Night when my younger offspring began believing that "broth" would certainly damage their lives. I am not sure how the mealtime trauma got started, but once one of them got wind of "soup" the groans could be heard for miles!

I must confess I was not surprised about the complaining. I had seen it building for years. Maybe that's why I subconsciously decided to cut soup out of the plan. But as I reflected on my training goals for the children this year, I knew I must take this one on. Soup is one of Doug's favorite foods, so I decided to brave through the resistance.

Back to last Wednesday...it would be the worst—vegetable beef. I steeled myself for the serving moment when the unthinkable happened. Two of the three "offending" eaters sat quietly at their seats, and reported out loud, "Hey, that looks pretty good." And then with smiling faces they stuck their spoons in, and began eating. I almost fell out of my seat. Lydia's explanation? "I think God is really helping us with this soup thing, Mom. It's really not that bad anymore."

My parenting conclusion is this. Sometimes we as parents must have the courage to serve up "soup." Learning to face discomfort is so important to our children's development if they are to survive the persecution of our modern age.

As I have pondered soup eating this past month, images of Chinese Christians hiding in the underground church convicted my heart. Would they complain about soup? How have we grown so soft with our kids that we think—and they think—that they must have chicken nuggets?

Lord, please forgive us for allowing our children to become so spoiled that they do not know how to "eat soup." Help us to equip them with the kind of inner tenacity that will serve them to stand in the face of difficult times. And God, maybe You need to help us as parents as well!

By Lisa Cherry

Parenting teens is sometimes a rather messy job.  Loving your 14-year-old often involves an eclectic mixture of wanderings through the mall to find the perfect pair of jeans only to return home empty-handed because none in the whole mall “fit;” loud trips to accompany a carload of loud teenage boys to a loud local Christian concert; weepy late night “counseling sessions” to sort out the latest friend conflict…all sweetly interspersed with dozens and dozens of NO’s.  All around America these types of lines are heard....

No, you won’t be going to see that PG-13 movie with your friends.

No, we will not be piercing that part of your body even if all your other teammates are.

No, we will not be allowing unlimited internet access in this house even thought the filter system is inconvenient.

No, you may not go to that party without any adult supervision.

No. No. No.

Seems like some days that is our main job as parents—providing the screening system that filters out the immaturities and ill-conceived ideas of our remarkable and creative teens.  Over the years I have often asked myself, will I ever see any benefit to all these careful years of parenting where I am the big, bad Mama?

Fellow parents, I have great news!  There is hope for light at the end of the tunnel!

In August I celebrated the momentous (though slightly painful) landmark of 50 years.  I received one of my best birthday presents of all time from Kalyn.  It was a little box marked “50 Thanks…Happy Birthday Mom,” and it contained an amazing treasure: 50 small pieces of paper each marked with an expression thanks for my mothering.

Some brought me to tears as I reflected on her little girl days.  But right there in the midst of the stack were a few that I would have paid big money to be able to look ahead and know I would one day see.

“Thanks for sticking to the rules and teaching me to do the same.”

“Thanks for telling me the truth.”

“Thanks for having patience with me even in my ‘fit of rage’ stage!”

I think I get it now!  The parenting tip of today:   Be the ADULT who is patient to wait 10 years for a “thank you.”  Not that Kalyn hasn’t been extremely grateful for several years already.  But some parts of our job require a new form of delayed gratification.

I needed that little box as a reminder.  Not so much in my relationship with Kalyn.  She is already through!  I needed it for my four teens and two tweens who need me to be the mom who can wait in faith and patience, say “No”…and even with a smile!

Diane Cranley, Founder of TAALK

By Lisa Cherry

All parents, grandparents, and ministry workers need to keep the issue of sexual abuse prevention fresh on their minds. I am totally convinced that the safety of our kids depends on our skill base...not our kids.

I recently had the pleasure of visiting with my new friend Diane Cranley, founder of TAALK (Talk About Abuse to Liberate Kids).  I encourage you to visit the TAALK site, read Diane’s story, and explore the resources. She explains that “Child sexual abuse is a community problem but child sexual abuse prevention is a personal decision…”  Will you join me in deciding to learn more about this devastating crime and expose it to the light?

I subscribed to TAALK Tips, TAALK’s daily email prevention tips, and I am so glad I did! When Diane’s tip comes in, I can take less than one minute to further my education and refresh my attentiveness. Her tips are sweeping the nation and the world.  Here’s an example:

If your child participates in any water sports such as swimming, diving or water polo, be very attuned to anyone taking pictures of your child in their swimsuits. These pictures often end up on the internet. Approach whoever it is and ask them to stop.

Visit TAALK and be advised.....for your kids’ and teens’ sake!

shopping cart 291552_shopping_cartBy Lisa Cherry

I have rarely met a parent who did not experience some nervousness about the birds and the bees talk.  Explaining sexuality to our young ones, though it is absolutely our job, feels a little too up close and personal!  After all, as parents we want to think we can have some measure of privacy in our lives even if we have children of all ages interrupting our daily schedules!

I hope you had a chance to gain some insight from our featured columnist, Mark Gregston's recent article.  As Mark shared about the importance of open communication between parents and children, he raised an interesting question for us to address.  At what age should a Christian parent begin sex education with their child?

I think the most obvious answer to that is...you already have!

Every time our children go through a check out line, walk past a television, open an online computer session, or sit in a theater, they will be adding to their sexual education!  The real question is, whose voice will they hear the loudest and clearest?

While I have appreciated long and more formal "birds and the bees" discussions with my children, I think the teachable moment discussions that accompany real life encounters have by far had the greatest impact for shaping their views and values.  So my tip for parents of both teens or young children is:  Do not shy away, instead, embrace your opportunities!  If sex is a regular discussion topic in your home, you stay in the driver's seat of where they will go to get their questions answered.

In this day of sexual over-saturation, abuses, and perversions, we have no choice but to arm our children with enough information that they can maintain their God-given purity.  Notice I did not use the word innocence.  Just how innocent will our children be able to be in our culture today?  How I wish I could shield their eyes from all impurity, but, short of living in a cave on a deserted island, I do not believe that will be possible.  Therefore, we must arm them with wisdom and equip them with self-control.

I would love to hear from you about the teachable moments the Lord provides you to explain things to your kids.  We have had some outlandish moments at our house!  But I am grateful for every awkward question I have the privilege of fielding, even if they come in public...or at church!

Image courtesy of Pam Roth

Wow, when I read Teen Survival in a Sex-Crazed Culture from Mark Gregston, I could not wait to get it in your hands!  Amen and amen, Mark!  As a professional counselor and teen expert who is seeing the end result weekly of our Christian teens under attack, Mark has a seasoned voice of wisdom.  Read this.  Pray about this.  Talk to your spouse about this.  And then make the changes, NOW!  Before it is too late.  I am doing the same in my home.

Next week I am going to post a follow-up to Mark's suggestions.  Talking to an elementary student about sex can be a little tricky.  How do we teach them what they need to know without shattering their innocence?  We will tackle that topic next Monday.