Friday, October 27, 2017

Where in the World Does Time Go?

Where in the world does time go? I find myself asking this question a lot. I am sure many of you do the same. This time of year, the weather is getting colder and the days are getting shorter. We are reminded that these times do not last forever. The morning walks, the afternoons at the park, and the evening trips to get ice cream will be delayed for the time being. The joy of spending time with the neighbors outdoors will be put on hold. But, these times will come again.

Time goes by in the blink of an eye. Our first child seemed to go from age two to ten; however, he just turned four years old. We have long conversations with him, where he comes to so many fascinating conclusions about life. He tells me Bible stories; he understands when he makes mistakes, why he makes them, and how to make things right. He is, also, good at telling me when I have made a mistake, as well. I am thankful that he has wisdom and understanding, which only the Bible can provide.

Our youngest child, who just turned 11 months old, is walking across the room, all by himself. You raise these kids for a year, it seems, and they are off on their own. In the process, you realize that God has done it all.

It is amazing to see kids grow. It is, also, amazing that God provides everything they need to endure in this world. Sometimes little moments of watching them grow is so special that you want time to stand still so that you can take in all the changes that are happening around you. I am encouraged to know that God is timeless. He is beyond time. In fact, he has set eternity in the hearts of man, so that we may know that this life is not all that he has to offer (Ecclesiastes 3:11). We have time for all eternity, with more good times to come.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Raising Kids in a Secular World

In a previous blog, I outlined some of the most important points in Raising Christian Children in a Secular School Environment. In this blog, I want to expand upon that list. I hope these tips are helpful to you. Hebrews 3:13 tells us to "encourage one another daily, as long as it is called 'Today,' so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." I believe that having a game plan can be an encouragement to us, and a reminder that He has overcome the world (John 16:33).

1. Display Christian values in the home.
2. Attend church regularly.
3. Encourage your children to attend a good, Bible-based church camp in the Summer.
4. Emphasize character more than accomplishments.
    *Accomplishments take us nowhere without character.
5. Encourage your children to attend a Christian college, not just a church affiliated school or secular university.
6. Teach that God is the authority and the source of moral absolutes.
    *The standard of behavior comes from Him, not from Mom and Dad.
7. Include family Bible time in your daily routine. Bedtime is a great time for Bible time!
8. Pray together. A family that prays together, stays together.
9. Be available to your kids.
10. Spend time with Christian friends. They will make a lasting impact on your kids.
11. Attend extracurricular activities with your kids. Guide them in how to deal with this world.
12. Remain faithful to your spouse. They will see the value in relationships if relationships are valued in the home.
13. Trust and obey. "There's no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey."

Thanks for reading!

~Melissa Seng

Saturday, October 14, 2017

How to Teach Your Kids to Get Along

Do you ever have those days when your kids just cannot get along? You just want to scream, but at the same time, you wish somebody could talk some sense into them. You feel like you don't know where to start. The only thing you know is that you need some help. Well, I have good news for you. I have some simple tips that can help you restore peace in your home. And, it all begins with you.

The Bible tells us in Proverbs 15 that harsh words stir up anger, but a gentle response turns away wrath. When our children act harshly to one another, we should not respond by giving harsh discipline. We must be an example to our kids even as we give discipline. In applying this principle, we must remember that discipline should be used to teach. It should not be used as an expression of our anger.

So, now that we know how to respond to anger, how do we teach our kids to act kindly to one another to begin with? I learned in graduate school that positive reinforcement works better than negative reinforcement. Offer rewards to your kids for good behavior. They will be focused on getting a reward, more than they are focused on getting punished. If you constantly remind them about a punishment they may receive if they misbehave, they will actually be working towards that end result. If you put positive things on their mind, they will respond to the positive. What is on our mind, is what will show up in our lives.

You may be asking, "Why should I reward my kids for good behavior? They should just be good." Well, you have to remember, as adults, we understand the consequences for our actions; therefore, we are more likely to choose the end result before we act in our behavior. We have to teach our kids to choose the end result, and we can do that by offering rewards. We are always rewarded, even in the "real world" for our good behavior.  Kids should be taught to be wise and encouraged to act in wisdom.

You may be thinking, "That is great for them to get along all for the sake of rewards, but how can that desire come from the heart?" To start, reading Scripture to our kids can help them change from the inside out. Kids need to know why they should love their siblings and how to be respectful to them. Kids, also, need to see the consequences that come from good and bad behavior, through the stories in the Scriptures.

In addition to Biblical knowledge, hard work can help kids to change on the inside. Hard work leads to contentment and a positive self-image. A lack of hard work leads to discontentment and a negative self-image. Discontentment among siblings brings about arguing in the home. Older kids should be encouraged to work to their potential so that they do not feel the need to bully younger siblings. Younger kids should be encouraged to work to their potential so that they can feel "good enough." Gaining knowledge and skills in the areas that are of interest can lead kids away from bitterness and jealousy and towards a desire to share positivity in the family.

An outside the heart approach can include changing the environment. Take your kids outdoors for fresh air. Let them get some exercise. Play a game. Do kids' activities with them. When Mom and Dad are around, enjoying time with kids, those are the times when kids are most likely to be content. Try giving more time and attention to your kids during those hours when they seem to misbehave the most. During those times, if there is still a lack of peace, make sure that any frustration is not a result of miscommunication (if your kids are hungry, thirsty, not feeling well, etc.)

In all these ways, I believe you can teach your children to love one another and restore the peace in your home. I love the Scripture that tells us "If you correct your children, they will give you peace. They will bring delight to your soul (Proverbs 29:17)."

Thanks for reading!

Melissa Seng

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Monday, October 9, 2017

Exercise and the Family

Exercise...we have all heard the lectures on the benefits of exercise, and we all know it's important. We desire to run around with our kids, to play games, to have fun. But, what is holding us back from the discipline of exercise?

Recently, my family and I watched highlight films from my husbands wrestling career at Findlay High School. I pointed out to him that these matches were in 2002-2003! That was 15 years ago! When you look upon your high school highlight films or photos, you might realize that that was a long time ago.

So what was different back then that encouraged you to exercise? Obviously you did not have bills to pay or dishes to clean, or kids to take care of. You did not have kids to drive around to their sports activities or dinner to prepare. But, you did have drive. And you did have a desire to do your absolute best. Not in every case, but I would bet that at least sometime in your youth, you remember working hard in exercise or at your sport and the results came.

I saw my husband running the halls of Findlay High School in his highlight film. He was determined to work hard and was fulfilled because he felt great. We all want to be happy, energized to take on the day, and strong to face anything that comes our way. So, what is holding us back?

I think we forget the value and the joy in hard work. I think we believe that life is supposed to be easy as we get older, so we believe we do not have to work as hard. A role model of mine said that he thought life would keep getting easier as he got older, but he is finding out that is just not the reality. Life is always tough, we just have to get tougher.

So, how do you get encouraged to exercise when you do not really want to exercise?

*Know the perks. Do you want a better immune system, a stronger heart, more focus, less stress, a better attitude? Do you want to enjoy your kids more?

*See the potential for positive results. A negative mindset is defeating, but a positive one can take you to reaching your goals. Proverbs 17:22 states, "A cheerful heart makes you healthy."

*Exercise everyday. Do something everyday, even if it is taking a walk or stretching, that way it becomes a habit.

*Get a better perspective on time. A 10 minute jog can go a long way. Before long you will be able to jog for 20, or 30 minutes. Just keep reminding yourself that 10 minutes is not a lot of time. In fact, it's 1/144 of your day! If you do not like to jog, do simple exercises for 10 minutes to start. Remember, when you get to think about you for 20-30 minutes a day, you won't have to be focused on you for the rest of the day.

*Encourage your kids to exercise with you. They could be a great source of motivation and fun, as you get stronger and healthier together as a family.

Proverbs 14:23 tells us that "All hard work brings a profit." The Scriptures, also, tell us to "have respect for the Lord and avoid evil. That will bring health to your body. It will make your bones strong (Proverbs 3:7-8)." How encouraging it is to know that God wants us to have good health and strong bones! We must work and the results will come.

Thanks for reading!

Melissa Seng

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Turning Your Differences Into Fun Opportunities

Do you ever wonder why your child has to be interested in hobbies that are absolutely of no interest to you? Do you ever think about how much fun it would be if your kids played the sports that you enjoyed growing up? You have studied the game and have insight that would greatly help a beginner. Or perhaps you are a great cook and would love to share that skill with your kids, but they have no desire to learn.

It is incredible to see how different our children are from ourselves. My son is interested in drawing, building, and watching "scary" movies; he loves dinosaurs, guns, and playing tackle football. How in the world do I enjoy time with my son when we are on totally different playing fields?

Well, the other day was a great example of how to begin this journey. My 4-year-old wanted to get a movie from the library. Instead of telling him "no" because it was not one that I wanted to watch, I approved. And what happened as a result, displays the blessings that come with embracing our children and their interests.

My son was so excited that he thought it was the greatest day ever. He shared his excitement with just about all the ladies in the library. He was able to be a delight because he was allowed to be an individual. In addition, on our adventures, I got to enjoy some delicious hot chocolate and find some fun Halloween books for kids!

We all want our kids to be happy, but do we sometimes deny our kids happiness for the sake of our own happiness? Perhaps, we can find a way to combine our kids interests with our own interests. We can bring our strengths together and find joy in family time. Say your child likes to play baseball. You think baseball is boring. Instead of just letting him play, you can actually embrace his hobby. Why not do something special for him before each game? Play catch in the yard, or make his favorite dinner. Those moments will end up being more important to him than the game itself. He may not even care if you decide to walk some laps and get exercise in during part of the game. That is a win, win!

When we approve of our kids, including their personalities and interests, we help them to build self-confidence, which they will carry with them everywhere they go. At the same time, we must ask ourselves three questions before we show our approval. "Are their hobbies/interests healthy to the body and mind?" "Are they moral?" "Are they reasonable?" Cupcake club once a week that involves you baking a batch of cupcakes for them every Monday morning is probably not a healthy practice for them or a reasonable request for you. On the other hand, if your kids like to run and get dirty, soccer would be a healthy, moral, and reasonable activity that the family can enjoy. 

Get to know your kids and embrace what they love, and you will be able to teach them so much more along the way.

Thanks for reading!

Yours truly,
Melissa Seng

(If you would like my blogs sent to your email address, visit and click on the "contact" tab at the bottom of the page.)