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May 29, 2003

Correcting and Disciplining

Proverbs 29:15,17
The rod and rebuke give wisdom, But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul.

It has been a challenge with our children lately. J and J are awsome kids, but lately they have been really testing thier boundaries and our limits. To be honest, it has been difficult not to respond to them in anger and frustration. And I think that like every parent, I'm not sure that we have done that well in our discipline with them. Sometimes we rebuke (verbal correction) and sometimes there are other course of action (for which we thought we were past some of this stage). But thier behavior when we have been at other people's homes recently has caused "shame," especially to Jayme.

Lord, we need new insight on how to work with our kids right now - when to correct, how to discipline. We are not willing to let foolishness take root in thier hearts (Proverbs 22:15). But we need your help; help to keep our emotions in check, help to know what is the right response that will produce Your life in them. I thank You for the delight our children are to us. Help Jayme and me to train them in the way You want them to go (Proverbs 22:6).

June 1, 2007

Parenting for Intimacy

Song of Songs 8:2-4 (CEV)
2 I could take you to the home of my mother,
who taught me all I know.
I would give you delicious wine
and fruit juice as well.
3 Put your left hand under my head
and embrace me with your right arm.
4 Young women of Jerusalem, promise me...
never to awaken love before it is ready.

I don't know if I've ever made an entry from this book in the Bible. In fact, I feel a little awkward even addressing the subject today. This passage jumped out of today's reading because of something I saw on TV last night.

I'm flipping around the TV channels as usual, and stopped for a moment at "Hogan Knows Best." The Hulkster is concerned with the way his 17 year old daughter Brooke (who's a new teen pop singer), how her "image" is being developed by her managers and record company. He feels that it's too adult, too sensual, and in his words, "As a parent, and as her dad, I'm offended. It's not right." Who knew that Hulkamania would take a stand for common sense.

This got me thinking about how female sexuality is being warped by our culture. We live in a day when being a stripper is an acceptable profession and being an internet porn star can make you rich. The culture "sells" women that to be comfortable with your sexuality you must be assertive to even aggressive, use your sensuality, and be willing to cross boundaries (why else is MTV filled with images of young girls kissing each other or the success of Girls Gone Wild). What has broken down? I think it has to do with the fact that the culture has taken on the responsibility for sex education because parents have forfeited it.

In this book, the most intimate of all ancient writings, we find a woman who has a healthy sexual identity. She is unashamed in expressing her affection for her lover and completely uninhibited. How did she come to be this way? Did her friends show her? Has her identity been shaped by the images of her culture. No. V2 gives us some insight - her Mom "taught" her. Does this mean that her Mom put her through some kind of class or watch some video? Of course not! My assumption is that this woman had an open, trusting and even frank relationship with the primary female in her life. Her mother helped to shape her as a person, gave her a healthy sense of identity and self-esteem. Because of this confidence in who she was, the "beloved" carried this sense of value, trust, and openness into the most intimate area of her life.

There was also something passed down to her from her mother (and father too, I hope). It's a healthy perspective on life. That's seen in v4 - "don't awaken love before it's ready." In a world that confuses lust with love and substitutes cheap romance for commitment, this is a hard choice to make. Young people feel pressured not only by their own hormones, but by a culture that equates peer acceptance with infatuations with the opposite sex. Most adolescent dating relationships become mini-marriages (with physical intimacy included) that end as mini-divorces. Pre-teens and young adults need to be taught how to develop healthy relationships with the opposite sex instead of getting involved exclusively in "dating" relationships. This too is a parent's job.

As my wife and I have the privilege of working with students for 10 years, and now helping to heal marriages for the last 10, we have found this area of sexuality to be a huge area of pain and confusion in people's lives. I don't want that to be the case for my son or daughter. We want them to enter into their future marriages with a healthy sense of who they are and a complete freedom to be that person in every area of their lives, including their sexuality. That it would not be warped by culture or "experience," but to be vibrant, unafraid and un-scarred, able to experience the joy of authentic intimacy.

February 4, 2011

Hand-Me-Downs

Exodus 29:29 (NKJV)
And the holy garments of Aaron shall be his sons’ after him, to be anointed in them and to be consecrated in them.

OBSERVATION
God dedicated the Aaronic line to be ministers before him. All of Aaron's descendants will now be priests. In fact, Aaron and his sons were dedicated to the Lord (Exodus 29:20). But Aaron's "uniform," the symbol of his position and responsibility, was to be passed down to his sons who come after him.

APPLICATION
This week in Men's Fraternity we defined authentic Godly manhood as "rejecting passivity, taking responsibility, leading courageously, and expect the greater reward." In the mentioned passage I see that the legacy that God was entrusting to Aaron required authentic manhood. It requires that he "hands down" to his sons something more than just his name.

Aaron and his sons (and the generations that followed) were dedicated for service to God. But there came a time when Aaron passed on his assignment to his sons. Aaron job wasn't only to minister before God as a priest, but to train his sons in what being a priest means, what it requires. For one day, they would wear the uniform and with it the responsibility for God's people and the generation that would follow them. There would come a day that Aaron's sons would be recognized by the community ("anointed") and charged with the full responsibility ("consecrated"). This means that the time of training and the time when they lived for themselves was over, and now gave themselves to a lifetime of service. And also took on the added responsibility of preparing the generation that would follow them.

I wonder what my son will feel when he puts on the uniform of "manhood." Will he know what it looks like? Will he know how to put it on? Will he understand what comes with the job? He was dedicated to God's service as an infant, but when the time comes to be anointed and consecrated into the ministry that God has for him, will he be ready? Will he know what to do. Doing my job with him is every bit as important as doing my job for others. When that day comes and he puts on the uniform; cap & gown (graduation) / tuxedo (wedding) / burp rag (fatherhood) - I want him to stand proud knowing he's ready and willing to embrace the ministry God has for him.

PRAYER
Father, I wear the uniform you've given to me with pride. Let me care for it in such a way that what is passed down to my son is not a mess of filthy rags, torn and worn out because I didn't care for it. Let me take pride in the manhood/ministry you've anointed and consecrated me to, so that I pass down to my lineage something of worth that is cherished and taken pride in...so that it can be passed down again.

About Parenting

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to JustJeff | Life Journal in the Parenting category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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