Friday, April 28, 2017

Teaching Morality to Your Children

Teaching morality to your children, how do you go about such a task? You can probably look around and see all the immorality in our culture and realize that it is an important assignment. Your children are too precious to let them be fooled by the craziness in our culture, but how are our children to know who is teaching them truth? I have a few points to share with you that will help not only in teaching morality to your children, but will help with your children believing in what you say as truth.

*Show grace. In addition to teaching the tough stuff, I teach grace. Jaden told me to be Goliath, as he was acting out the part of David. Knowing that I was the bad guy, he told me that Jesus died to save us. What a great message! We can teach grace through the teachings of the Word of God. The Word of God teaches us how to cope with all the messiness in this world.

*Model good behavior. Don't reprimand your kids for yelling by yelling at them. Show patience and understanding. In the words of Jaden, "don't be a little bit rough, then I'll be a little bit rough too."

*Tell the whole truth. My 3-year-old tells me that bad guys who don't listen to Jesus will go to Hell. Yikes! ...Okay, hear me out on this one. When we sugar coat the truth, the truth is not in them. Kids have to know that there is definitely a right and wrong. There are serious consequences for those who choose the wrong way, but there are bountiful blessings for those who choose the right way to live. When we sugar coat the truth, kids begin to believe that they do not really have to be good kids. They just have to pretend to be good for the sake of rewards. My son use to want to be the bad guy (just for fun), now he only wants to be the good guy. There is much excitement and adventure as he acts the part of a "good guy super hero." He realizes there is no in-between. You still may think I am crazy, but I see that it is of great benefit to teach reality, rather than a fairy tale.

*Value your children. Don't just care about your children, cherish them. When they see that they are valuable in your eyes, they will want to behave. They will see that it is rewarding to enjoy time together as a family. Build them up, and they will make your life better. When they feel valued, they will act valuable.

Just recently, I was listening to Chuck Swindoll, a passionate pastor in ministry. He was teaching on child rearing. He was saying that what keeps kids on the right track is not taking them to church every Sunday and every church activity they could possibly go to. What keeps kids on the right track is getting to know them - learning their strengths and weaknesses, encouraging them in what they love to do, listening to them. Swindoll even went as far to say that when this is not done, kids will hit the road running, once they become an adult, and possibly never return. Swindoll pointed to Proverbs 22:6 in the Message Bible, which reads, "point your kids in the right direction - when they are old, they won't be lost."

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Your Love Is Not Enough

In the spirit of the Easter season, we are reminded of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. He came to save us from our sins because we could not save ourselves. He came to carry our burdens by carrying the cross for us. His life has given us hope for this life and in eternity.

As we think about Jesus' love for us, I want to share something that I have been thinking about for the entire season of Lent. As I watch my kids, I sit back and think of how I want the best that life can offer them. I want them to always be happy, healthy, and full of life. I want them to know that they are important, and to never get discouraged. I want them to be excited for the future, encouraged to pursue their dreams. I want them to work hard and never give up, to offer their time and energy to help other people, to have joy in their hearts because they are making a difference every day. I want the best for them, as God wants the best for us, as well. The Bible tells us that God wants to give us good gifts, and he wants all good things for those who love him.

Remarkably, God is the one who can do miracles. He is the one who can work all things together for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). I want to perform miracles for my children, but my strength and love is not enough. I have to rely on God's love, and put my trust in Him for the future. I pray that you do the same.

Yours Truly,
~Melissa Seng

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Expect Great Things!

Have you ever been stuck in a rut? Have you ever felt that no matter how hard you tried, it seemed like you could never get your life on track? Have you ever been discouraged because the direction your life is heading and the direction you want it to go are two very different paths? Life is tough. Sometimes we can manipulate the variables and change our lifestyles, but we still cannot get the desired results, perhaps, with our health, relationships, or finances. From the time we wake up in the morning, to the minute we lay our head down to sleep, life remains a chore. It's exhausting. How in the world can all of this change?

Being a parent of two, I definitely have these thoughts from time to time. My four month old eats about seven times a day, and my three year old eats about that often, as well. Together that is about fourteen times a day that I am feeding one of my children! And that does not include my husband! Then, there are the dishes and laundry, and cleaning, all those chores you are familiar with. Of course, it only makes sense that our lives can sometimes feel like a chore.

Being me, who naturally analyzes everything, I realized some things needed to change. I wanted my daily routine to change, but I was waking up exhausted every morning. I could not figure out why. I knew that part of it was because I have not been drinking my happy drink in the morning, which is my XS (because I breastfeed my four month old), but I knew there was more to the story. I listened to John C. Maxwell and figured it out.

John C. Maxwell said something profound in one of his messages that I wanted to share with you all. He said it is not that he is so disciplined that makes him so successful, it is that he has positive anticipation. How awesome is that?! It is not that he is so crazy disciplined, but his anticipation drives his actions. Wow. What a great perspective!

When we have positive expectation, we are excited to get out of bed every morning to start the day. We anticipate good things to happen, and the results follow. What a relief it is when you expect to have a great day! The weight of your life, and the weight of all your responsibilities, seem so much lighter when you have positive expectation. Instead of just "keeping up with your house work," you do exceptional. You decorate! Instead of "getting in your workout," you have refreshing personal time to enjoy the fresh air and feel great. How much more would you get done with this kind of attitude? Positive expectations yield a positive life.

Have a great day!

Yours Truly,
~Melissa Seng

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Raising Confident Children

"Daddy, you need my help!" my three-year-old yells, as his daddy runs outside to mow the lawn. He knows the routine. When Daddy cuts the grass, he gets to use his toy lawn mower to help. Jaden says, "it's time to do some work," as he waits for me to get his jacket and shoes on, before running outside. He feels important. What a great confidence builder for a little guy! He is a part of the team, daddy's team.

Taking a second look at this example, it is clear that there was another approach I could have taken. I could have told Jaden that "actually Daddy does not need your help. He can do just fine on his own." Wow. Instead of building confidence in him, I would have totally left him feeling defeated, not important enough to be on daddy's team, and not happy at all. I would have been a complete jerk. Have you ever made that decision? Have you ever decided to choose personal convenience over your children's confidence and excitement for life? 

Raising confident children is not all about convenience. It is a choice, and it takes effort. It takes a lot of words of appreciation, a lot of thumbs up, a lot of smiles, and a lot of compliments. When you are in the habit of making these decisions, you will see a big difference in your children's attitudes. The ideas I will be presenting can be useful for parents of boys and girls. Praise them regularly, and they will give you more reason to give praise. If you criticize constantly, they will give you more reason to criticize. Teach them that they are highly skilled, intelligent, strong, kind, and great listeners. If you see it in them, they will see it in themselves. Watching our kids grow from birth onward, it is easy to see them as strong and smart, as we see God's amazing work first hand. 

Give your children confidence-building nicknames that they want to live up to. Let them speak words of encouragement in their own lives. Talk positively in your home. And, give your children boundaries of freedom. Boundaries of freedom involves giving your children freedom to have fun and make decisions within the boundaries that you set before him. For example, if your child wants to run around wild outside, you can give him a time frame and a location in which they can do so. 

Lastly, let your children have fun, teach the Word of God, and teach them to have compassion for others. Children, who love to have fun, who care for the people in their world, and who believe in the one true God, are likely to be confident children with much joy to offer the world around them. 

Yours Truly, 
~Melissa Seng