Lessons In Parenting From The Selfie Stick

Some people refer to them as “Selfie-Sticks”, I think of them as “Narcissistic Sticks”. Do we really live in a society where we’ve sold hundreds of thousands of metal sticks so people can take a picture of themselves? It probably sounds like a trivial matter but I believe there is a deeper issue going on in the hearts of people, and it’s one we need to help walk our kids through.

I want my kids to grow up with a healthy knowledge of who they are in Christ, what God thinks of them and what I think of them. I don’t want them to be full of pride and full of themselves but I also don’t want them growing up with low self-esteem or even self-loathing, as if they don’t matter and aren’t valuable.

There are a few ways I can think of to combat both the one extreme of pride and the other extreme of lack of confidence in themselves…


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The Parenting Parable

I regret weighing my son’s worth via a meritocratic scale. I do regret the parenting style I’ve employed—not because I’m too strict or not strict enough (depending on whom you ask) or because sometimes we eat McNuggets for dinner. I regret it because I have put my son at the center of my family’s orbit when he should be alongside us instead. In doing so, I have designated my identity and worth as strictly what I’ve achieved as a parent; I have made it nearly impossible to extend grace to a child who throws fits and says bad words—to see him as existentially valuable.

I want to be the best mother I can be, but perhaps the most efficient way to go about this is to remove my child from the center of my universe. Perhaps then I will allow myself to be a holistic human being; and perhaps then I can grant my son that same freedom.


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Why Parenting For Legalism Will Fail

The answer to misbehavior and sin is not to hover over our little ones, nervously trying to either catch them in sin or find them acting, for once, in good ways so that we can reinforce every positive or negative action, but instead to simply trust God to soften their hearts, and to clean the insides of those little cups, so that then the outsides will be clean also. Whether He does this before they turn all your hairs gray is–I’m sorry to break this to you, my friends–not within your control.

But don’t worry. Instead, believe.

Despite all of our worry, the Gospel is sufficient to replace the dead letter of the Law that we had been teaching, and that many of us had been raised on ourselves. The hearing of the Word is sufficient to raise our children’s souls from the dead, just as it has done for all of the other saints. Your daily attention to the truth is sufficient. Don’t let the simplicity of the Truth trip you up. Pharisees are the ones who like to complicate things, and I think we all have a little bit of that inability to believe that it could possibly be that simple. You don’t need to add anything to the Word–no charts, stickers, badges, records, journals, rewards, or any other kind of proof that the Holy Spirit is working. He just IS. Believe this, and have peace.


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The Evil Inside

The problem for Christian parents isn’t in the desire to shelter children; it’s in the warped perspective that such sheltering can foster.

We begin to believe that sin and rebellion is a problem outside of our home, not inside. We start thinking our kids are basically good and in need of moral direction, rather than recognizing that our kids are basically bad and in need of heart transformation.

We communicate to our kids that it’s ”us” (good) versus “them” (bad) rather than helping them see our family’s role as one of service (“us” for “them”). Then, when evil shows up on the inside of our home, we diminish its significance or hide it rather than bring it out in the open.


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The 10 Commandments Of Parenting

Parenting is one of the greatest joys and responsibilities in this life. Few things produce greater humility or furnish greater rewards. Though I feel inadequate for the task, I love being a Daddy! I continue to receive “on the job training,” but here are a few commandments I long to live by as I continue to labor in this wonderful vineyard called Christian parenting.

1. Thou shall not worship thy children or their future.


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How To Raise Godly Kids Without Going To Church

According to Scripture, it is the parent’s responsibility to raise up their children and teach them about God, but our modern way of doing church relinquishes these things to 45 minutes on Sunday morning and Wednesday night, in a building with a (generally) controlled environment, and to a person we don’t really know.

Isn’t that crazy?

How did we go from “Train up a child in the way he should go” (Prov 22:6) and “Teach these things to your children … ” (Deut 6:7; 11:19) to asking, “So what did you learn in Sunday school today?” on the drive home from church?


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You Can’t Childproof The World But You Can Worldproof Your Child

My 8 year old looked at me with her deep brown eyes and said, “The world is scary.”

I turned the TV off and wondered how to teach my kids about real love-the kind that makes us pray for our neighbors in the war on terror while shutting out the lure of our anything-goes culture.

It hit close to home. And it made me long for another home. Because I can’t protect my kids from the world we live in.


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Foster Care Is A Window Into The Gospel

Opening your heart to love any child is risky and requires a loss of self. Opening your heart and home to a foster child may seem especially risky. But in losing ourselves, we gain. We grow in understanding how Jesus loved us and gave himself up for us. In seeking to love sacrificially, we pray others will see a picture of the gospel and be drawn to Christ.


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You Don’t Need A Youth Ministry, You Just Need Families

I believe that one of the essential jobs of the local church is to equip Christian parents to take the lead in spiritually training their children. Passing faith to our kids is not the church’s job – it is ours as parents.

But what about all the unsaved kids who don’t have Christian parents to disciple them?


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The Story Of A Mother’s Repentance

My everything was too much like Eve’s everything, I tried to do Your job. At times, I think I even tried to fight You for them. Forgive me. Forgive me for talking about faith while living in fear. Please heal any wounds I have created. Please show me how to take a few steps now in faith. Oh, Lord! There my children go, carrying their questions into the clash and clatter of the cities. It is so hard to see them disappear into the crowd. Father, please do what I could not do for all that I tried.


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Parenting Must Engage The Heart Of A Child

The Scripture teaches that the heart is the control center for life. A person’s life is a reflection of his heart. Proverbs 4:23 states it like this: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

Parents often get sidetracked with behavior. The thing that alerts you to your child’s need for correction is his behavior. Behavior irritates and thus calls attention to itself. Behavior becomes your focus. You think you have corrected when you have changed unacceptable behavior to behavior you sanction and appreciate.

“What is the problem?” you ask. The problem is this: Your child’s needs are far more profound than his aberrant behavior. Remember, his behavior does not just spring forth uncaused. His behavior—the things he says and does—reflects his heart. If you are to really help him, you must be concerned with the attitudes of heart that drive his behavior.


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Parenting With Grace Is A Beautiful Demonstration Of The Gospel

Today’s Throwback Thursday post recalls a very practical and insightful video from Paul Trip and Elyse Fitzpatrick. These two parenting gurus share their wisdom about how belief in a gospel of grace affects our approach to parenting. Learn how to model grace to our children as we relate to them.


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Parenting A Rebellious Heart

In these situations there is outward obedience or compliance but inward resentment and hostility. There is “heart rebellion.”

If discipline is ultimately about the heart, we cannot let these situations pass by. If we fail to address a problem of the heart when we see it, we are training the child to be a Pharisee. We are training them that their outward behavior is all that matters, and we don’t care about their heart or attitude.

When you have a right action, with a wrong heart – look at these situations as great parenting opportunities. These are prime moments to go directly to matters of the heart, without the complication of disciplining outward behavior.


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Children Are People Too And The Bible Says A Lot About How To Treat People

If you asked me the single most important insight that has shaped my parenting, it would be this: Children are people. It seems self-evident.

If you asked me the single most misleading statement I have heard with regard to parenting, it would be this: The Bible is relatively silent on the topic of parenting. On the surface, this statement appears to be true. That is, until we remember that children are people.


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Why Your Homeschooler Might Be A Jerk And What To Do About It

Searching your own heart first, see if you have taught the child these things, and what kind of spirit is present in your home overall. Is it critical, harsh, and discouraging? Or tender, loving, and optimistic?

Set the tone of your home. Guide your children towards the Lord, and pray for them often.


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You Can’t Save Your Children, So Call Out To The One Who Can

“But wait…,” some might say, “how is God going to hold me accountable for something that I have no ability to accomplish myself?”

You are right, you cannot save your children. But God never called you to save them. He has called you to care for them. You are to shepherd their hearts with the word of God (Eph. 6.4; cf also Deut. 4.9 ; 6.7 ; 11.19). And you are to carry your cares of their salvation to the throne of grace for mercy and help (Heb. 4.161 Pet. 5.7). It is this that you will be accountable for.


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Your Child Is A Sinner, This I Know, For The Bible Tells Me So

Sure, there are some “bad apples” out there, but your cute little Johnny is an angel, I’m sure. The bad doctrine of good people (see next post) doesn’t apply to your saintly little progeny, right? After all, how could there be a sinful heart behind that incredibly adorable smile?

We have to reckon with the truth of Scripture on this topic and be prepared to parent accordingly…


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How To Be A Super Mom

That maybe being the mama I want to be isn’t so much about being more, but trusting more –  trusting more in the God of Hagar and Ruth and Hannah, the God who sees the angst, who nourishes the empty places, who hears the unspoken cries —  and answers.

If I make God first and am most satisfied in His love — then I’m released to love my children fully and satisfactorily.


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Parents Cannot Save Children

When I first realized that it brought me so much comfort in my parenting. I do a lot of stuff right with my kids, but I also do a lot of things wrong. The thing is I can’t give them salvation and I can’t take it away. Parents, rest in that today. Let that truth sink in. We are given the role to guide them, share with them, and even show them the right way, but, parents, we can not save our kids.



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Refuting The “Price Tag On Parenthood” Lie

Parenthood isn’t cheap. It costs us everything we have sometimes, doesn’t it? But it is free! And we do ourselves no favor when we encourage others to view it as a merely financial transaction. To assign a dollar value to what we give daily as parents only cheapens the relationship. Note: The video above is an example of the kind of messaging that the author of the article below is taking to task.

The article linked below appears on a mommy blog and speaks primarily to moms, but read for the principles and apply them to dads as well, especially as we head into Father’s Day this weekend.



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How To Liberate Your Parenting With Grace

Paul Tripp and Elyse Fitzpatrick discuss how our belief in a Gospel of grace affects our approach to parenting our children. Parents can be liberated from the savior complex. Parents can’t be the savior. Jesus must be. Yet, much of the conventional wisdom about parenting is based on assumptions that parents exist to enforce behavior modification strategies. We can do better than that though. We can demonstrate grace in all the ways we relate to children.


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Drop What You Are Doing And Read Visionary Parenting By Rob Rienow Right Now!

Visionary Family is running a sale on its ebooks this week. You can download several titles for 99 cents each. I took them up on this great offer and started reading Visionary Family by Rob Rienow. I’m about half way through it and I have found it to be a tremendous encouragement. It is an excellent complement to today’s Sunday Sermon post (see next post). The attention to Scripture in order to see God’s vision for family is inspiring. We’ll try to bring you a full book review soon. In the meantime, go download this great little book and get to reading.



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Raising Arrow Children

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate (Psalm 127:3–5).

Notice what the psalmist says here: Children are a heritage, a reward. But then the first metaphor is jarring, and perhaps not what we were expecting. Instead of saying that they are like a row of stuffed bunnies in a well-decorated crib, he says that children from the Lord are like a fistful of arrows. Children are arrows for the fist, and even more arrows for the quiver. For what occasion? Target practice? Costume parties?



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The Value Of Children

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him. – Ps 127:3

The view that we are blessed if we can afford children is completely opposite of the biblical view that children ARE blessing.  Children don’t drain our wealth, children ARE our wealth!  Don’t believe me?  Read the Old Testament.  In the Old Testament, offspring was the highest form of blessing God bestowed on the nations He blessed.  They were greatly desired and valued because they were the future.



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The Curse Of Hating Children

I understand the mindset of the person who would wish to avoid fatherhood, for I myself thought that way at the time I got married (10 years ago). I would read the Scriptures that spoke of children as a blessing, and I simply did not believe them. Every child I knew at the time was loud, annoying, disobedient, and a hindrance to the affairs of adults. Why would I ever want that? In other words, I believed the cultural story about the pursuit of self-fulfillment far more strongly than I believed the words of Scripture.



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21 Rules For A Peaceful Home

The 21 Rules of This House cover just about every situation common to young children and teens. They were developed over 30 years ago to help my wife and me be more consistent in what we required of our children as members of our household.

Click below to read the 21 rules and ask yourself if you think your home would be more peaceful if these rules were consistently applied to your home environment.



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How To Train Kids To Handle Evil

David Reaves offers six helpful insights about how parents can use the portrayal of evil in media as an opportunity to train their children how to respond to evil. Sticking our heads in the sand and pretending like evil doesn’t exist hasn’t proven to be a very successful training strategy. So, how do we set our kids up for success in confronting evil?



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Is Sunday School Destroying Our Kids?

The message of the gospel—the entire storyline of scripture—is God’s loving pursuit of people who run from him as fast as they can and who live lives unworthy of his love.

That’s why it’s called grace.

But our Sunday school lessons teach us to be good little boys and girls, and God will love us and use us. It’s the total opposite of the gospel. It’s a counterfeit of the worst kind.



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A Path Through The Parenting Maze

Among the perks of having babies in the 1980′s, 1990′s and 2000′s is that your kids’ friends’ parents– your friends– span many decades as well.  Mom-friends who were rearing their last-born when I was fearfully raising my first grew up during FDR’s administration; some friends I’ve met through my 8-year-old entered the world while Reagan served. Consequently, I’ve been exposed to quite a number of parenting styles.



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