Parenting

Parenting: Tough Love

Parenting can be the most important and challenging role we will ever have in life. Parenthood takes time, money, love, support, and much effort. With every aspect of parenting there are certain roles and responsibilities that need to be fulfilled by us. What makes parenting such a challenge is that sometimes we aren’t really sure what we should do in certain situations.

At what age should we allow our daughter to date, or should we even allow her to date? Have we ever thought about the consequences of what dating can do to mold a person's character? What does he or she learn from dating? Should we allow our teenager to have a computer in their bedroom? Are they watching too much TV? Playing too many video games? How will these things affect them later?

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6 NIV

I do know this much, parents have a responsibility to their children, to love them, discipline them, and care for them the best they know how until they leave home. But isn’t there more to the role of parenting than that? Yes, there is! God brings spiritual meaning into our lives so that our purpose of being parents is important and worthwhile to us. It should be a pleasant and honorable task instructing and disciplining our children and teenagers.

Listen and Encourage

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad. Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it! Proverbs 25:11, 12: 25, 13:12, 15:23, King James Version

Something very exciting and wonderful happened to me last night and I felt like I was going to explode with happiness but there was nobody around that I could share it with so I lost some of the joy and excitement that I was feeling. It was like someone had taken a pin and pricked a balloon and some of the air went out of the balloon.

While it is important that we listen to people when they are hurting, I believe it is just as important, if not more important to listen to them when they are excited. If we stay on the mountain tops of happiness, excitement and joy, we will spend far less time down in the valleys of despair, hopelessness, depression and discouragement.

Don't let anyone tell you that it is impossible to stay on the mountain tops because that is a lie straight from the pits of hell! Yes, we will have times of discouragement, loneliness and despair due to difficult circumstances, heartaches, criticism, ridicule, scorn and sarcasm. However if Jesus lives in our hearts, He will be faithful to once again refresh our hearts with His understanding, joy, unconditional love, happiness, mercy, grace and kindness. Indeed, Jesus is able to keep us on the mountain tops.

Two years ago, I received an email from a pastor who was very discouraged and hurting. He told me "I preach my heart out and nobody says "Amen," smiles or laughs at the humorous points in my sermons." He said that he had been the pastor at this church for five years and no one had ever invited him and his wife to dinner. The pastor told me "I love God and it is my desire to serve Him, but I am human and sometimes I get very discouraged. Would you please pray for me?" How my heart went out to Him!

Know the Difference: Healthy or Unhealthy Support System?

"Know the difference between those who stay to feed the soil and those who come to grab the fruit."


This sobering statement recently came to my attention. I don't know who originally said it, but it resonates, all the same.

It has personally factored in heavily as I have learned, firsthand, who was a part of my healthy support system...and who was NOT.

Indeed, this concept plays a MAJOR role for each of us as we navigate our addiction/recovery journeys. It is usually not too long in life, before we encounter the all too common cliché dysfunction of co-dependency, narcissism and/or exploitation.

Are You Cultivating Seeds or Weeds?

How do you get vegetables out of your garden? By planting vegetables, of course. This is a fact almost too obvious to mention, except for the fact that most people seem to have forgotten that you reap what you sow and you harvest what you plant,

for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (Galatians 6:7)


Now if a man simply kept weeding a garden patch without ever planting it to vegetables, we would certainly have a right to call him at least a fool if he expected weeding to give him vegetables. We should, in fact, question his sanity.

But this foolishness is exactly what millions of "good Americans" are dedicated to: they do nothing but pull up weeds, and they expect to harvest vegetables. How? They are always fighting the weeds which crop up in the life of America, in the churches, schools, and organizations, and this is all that millions of them do-pull weeds.

Meanwhile, the country and everything in it goes downhill.

Make no mistake about it, the weeds of communism, atheism, and permissiveness must be uprooted, but what good will all this weeding do if no sound seeds are sown? The net result is simply a better patch for new weeds to sprout in. Jesus said of the man who rid himself of an unclean spirit without submitting himself to God and bearing fruit to God that such a man becomes then a dwelling place for eight unclean spirits, "and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

"Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation." (Matthew 12:45) When people are simply interested in getting rid of their weeds, their problems, and have no desire for planting seeds, for moral and spiritual regeneration, then they are only the worse off for their efforts.

Family Info & Help

Family relationships can be very challenging at times. It is important to approach difficulties prayerfully. The Christians in Recovery Web site is loaded with hundreds of pages of information and files designed to help you learn and to equip you.

You are not alone! God can and will help you overcome your situation.

What You Say Matters

And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him. Luke 1:66 King James Version

Two days ago when I was at the store, I saw a precious little baby who was probably one month old. When I looked at him, he immediately started smiling at me, clapped his hands, kicked his feet and started laughing. He got excited and happy because someone was paying attention to him. How sad and tragic it is that when children grow older, we stop paying as much attention to them as we did when they were little. Sometimes we turn on the television and let the television become our babysitters so that we can do the things we want to do and not be bothered all day with the children. The thought came to me “This little baby is already acting like a missionary because I see the kindness of Jesus in his face”.

What Transforms Tender Hearts to Hard Hearts?
What happens to make these precious tender hearted and sweet babies turn into people who end up with hard hearts, become criminals and possibly even end up on death row? There has to be a reason that they stop loving people and start hating people. I believe it is because as they grow older and people begin to criticize them for everything that they do and say harsh and sarcastic things to them that their confidence begins to fade. They become suspicious of everyone and they stop trying to do nice things for others. I believe that they think what is the use of trying anymore as I will just be criticized again.

WhenDiscouragement Sets In

Addicted To Achievement?

We can get addicted to anything.

I say that to spotlight the trophy's importance. This was recently brought to my attention as I came across a humorous social media post:

"Ironic that every trophy store looks massively unsuccessful…"

The power, the lure, the snare of the trophy…

For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. James 3:16

With all of the disordered beliefs and actions I have been mired in, an underlying common denominator existed. It was achievement.

Less Is More: Experiencing Holiday Meaningfulness

This time of year is all about the "too much." There's too much food, too much temptation, too much decoration, too much noise, too much spending and too much stress. Anything which is already an existing reality, this time of year, is seemingly placed on steroids.

Ho. Ho. Ho. Jolly times.

A few years ago, an interior designer appeared on a morning talk show. She was there to offer helpful holiday décor tips for our homes. So, I was anticipating glitter, pipe cleaners, tinsel and every kitschy decoration known to man. I awaited pointers on how to transform each home into the Las Vegas strip.

So, it surprised me when she had some atypical advice...

Life Choices: Thermometer or Thermostat?

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he... Proverbs 23:7

Senator Cory Booker, on an appearance of "The Daily Show," recently shared a powerful lesson with the audience:

"My father told me there are two ways to go through life: as a thermometer or as a thermostat. A thermometer: whatever someone says about you, you go up or down. A thermostat: you set the temperature."

Both the thermometer and the thermostat reflect life and its issues, including our stance on addiction and recovery.

And our choice has significant ramifications concerning health, well-being and prosperity. Each option offers its inevitable results.

So, it might be worth our while to ponder what those very results may mean for us.

First, the thermometer: its appeal is that self-gratifying moment. It doesn't require much work. You just let your feelings rip.

Mother's Day, Not Measuring Day

What's your reaction to this image? Can you relate? Did you and your mother actually participate in this activity together, treating it as a bonding thing, a game, a competition or a means of "self-improvement?"

Mother's Day. It is devoted to the remembrance and celebration of our mothers, those people who first loved us. And, perhaps, even, in the name of that love, diet and weight measurement were a part of that.

With my mom, I believe it was. She battled with her weight her entire life, certainly as long as I've known her. I discuss it in my book. Years later, I see how it wasn't intentionally done to harm me.

But, nevertheless, that focus on body image, weight and thinness did. It's not just my experience, not perhaps, not just yours, either. Studies have, indeed, shown its impact: I can relate.

"…The study, published this week in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, found that when a teen-age girl develops an eating disorder 'the mother-daughter relationship appears to contribute significantly.'

Kathleen M. Pike and Judith Rodin, who wrote the study, say they concluded this after comparing the test results of girls with eating disorders with those of girls who did not.

'It appears that some of the mother's own dieting and eating behavior and especially her

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