Encourage Your Child

Blog Pic-MeEncourage Your Child

How many of you remember saying to yourself way back when you were knee-high to a wolverine (not that you ever go that close to measure) that you would never do this or that to your children when you became a parent?  Statements like this may have been made in the moments after a butt whipping or chastisement as we say in today’s vernacular.  You may have felt wronged for the punishment you received, and of course because you were just a child your ability to see the big picture extended only as far as your toy box or TV!  The reasons we were punished never made sense since all we were doing was having fun…true, the cat or neighbors dog paid the price but we’re not talking about that right now!

Most of the time after we were disciplined (whupped as we say in my house) and went to sleep, a normal side effect of a good whupping, we would be fine and all was forgotten.  It was again time to play.  Who had time to remember what we were disciplined for.  Day light was burning!  There were girls’ hair waiting to be pulled!!!

But there are also those times when the discipline can go too far, not just in terms of physical abuse, at least not in my case, but in terms of the emotional pain inflicted.  Punishing or disciplining in the heat of anger is always a bad idea.  For one, the risk of doing actual physical harm increases.  Two, when words are spoken in anger they can be just as harmful, hurtful, and painful as the physical discipline.  It is usually the words that are remembered the most and have the longest effect on a young mind.

So perhaps a change in tactics is called for.  I know, sometimes it’s hard to keep your temper in check and this kettle will refrain from describing the pot as black in color!  And yes, I understand that stress can play a huge role in how we react to different things.  When our children get in trouble we tend to fall back on what we experienced growing up.  We do what we saw.  We say what we heard and it’s almost instinctive.  We may even know subconsciously that there is a better way but our first reaction is normally what we go with unless we train ourselves to do differently.

I remember saying to myself after receiving my punishment that I wouldn’t do my kids this way.  I would treat them differently.  I would do this or that better.  I was not concerned with the purpose behind the discipline or the love that spurred it.  At the time I couldn’t see that my mother’s efforts were keeping me out of jail and an early grave.  I was a selfish child and only understood my point of view and my immediate goals.

When I became a father by the grace of God, I started disciplining the same way I was.  I was going to put the fear of God into my children.  I was not going to spare the rod and spoil them.  I didn’t know that there was another way, even though I promised myself growing up that I would do things differently.  Then it dawned on me…my greatest improvements, my best achievements, always occurred after my mother lavished praise and encouragement on me.  I always did better when I knew my dad was in the stands watching me play football and cheering me on.  I always rose to the occasion when I needed to take tests because I knew it would make my mother smile to see my name on the dean’s list!  Encouragement and not fear was the difference.

I still believe there is a place for stern discipline, but I have also come to understand that encouraging your child can be just as effective as the rod of correction.  I wouldn’t say throw away the rod, but I would say we need to balance its use with the following ratio: 1:7, that is, for every application or occurrence of the rod pour on seven doses of encouragement or praise.  As a rule, if you can’t think of seven things to praise your child for, then put the rod away as the instrument of discipline and find another way.

You can encourage your child to do better, be better and aspire to greater things.  Speak encouragement into their ears, into their spirit, into their whole lives and you will change them for the better.  Your words have power, use this power for good and not evil.

Far Above Rubies

Woman's Voice

Far Above Rubies

The Woman’s Voice

by

Shanti

“Push! Push! Just a little while longer, you’re almost done!” She screams, piercing the ear drums of those around her. “We see the head! Young lady, give me one more huge push!” She lets out her last cry clothed with excruciating pain; her body is weak yet simultaneously strong as she holds on. Suddenly, her mind is shifted quickly from the unbearable pain to a beautiful sound. It’s a soft, but stern, strong sound; a cry of freedom and excitement as the new born is welcomed into the new world. She holds the baby passionately in her velvet like arms filled with an immense amount of unbreakable love. She calls the baby’s name, they look deeply into each other’s eyes and as the baby stares at her, “she [softly] opens her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness (Proverbs 31:26).’I will be the best mother I can be. Nothing in this world will hinder me from providing for you, from protecting you and from loving you unconditionally. Even when I am not physically present, my prayers will keep you from all hurt, harm and danger. Angels will go out of their way to protect you. I am your mother and I will honor my promise.'” As she finishes, the baby smiles and gently closes one eye first and the next one follows; feeling at peace because she knew by the slow, smooth beats of her mother’s heart and the sincere sound of her voice, she made a genuine promise.

 Woman's Voice 2

When a mother speaks, her voice is as the sweet, thick honey from an enchanting honeycomb. Words drizzle out of her mouth and stick and embrace her child’s heart. In her tongue lies the sword, not to kill with kindness or oppress the soul but to show her strength and authority; no matter what her tone may be, she means what she says and she says what she means. But there’s nothing like “that beautiful voice which [makes] everything she [says] sound like a caress (Virginia Woolf). That caressing sound that assures you she will provide, not only physically, but also mentally and spiritually. Necessities are always taken care of. It took me a while to understand how my mom always made something out of nothing. Even if there was a moment that involved a monetary issue, everything I needed seemed as if it appeared like magic. I always had shoes, clothes, food and even toys; never a worry on my end because I knew that the situation was under control. Like the roaring mother bear that protects their cubs, they are thankfully blessed to be unselfish and put their children before themselves. Most mothers are the spiritual leaders for their children as well as counselors. Those times where kids teased at school you went to your mom hurt and in need of comfort or when you felt life just wasn’t treating you right, her angelic voice spoke life and rebuked the negativity over our lives; giving a sense of hope and faith in ourselves. She became the moon that lit up our dark skies. She would be on her knees continuously praying to God; sending her requests on behalf of her children. And by the sound of her voice the angels would comply.

 Woman's Voice 4

A mother mastered the utterance of silence; one of the many keys to motherhood, which we call patience. I’m sure all mothers would agree that, at times, children can get pretty demanding; when they want something it’s NOW OR NEVER. I find it amazing how a mother can immediately turn on the “patience” switch and when that happens, the elements in the world somehow join forces with her to guide her to victory. These versatile voiced women, tend to create balance and control as if they were all experts in Pilates; the yin and yang in our lives; the doves sent from heaven that represent the selfless love and the sacrifice every mother makes for the well-being of their offspring.

Mothers weren’t the only gifts from God; another wonderful creation was the wife, made from the very mans rib. “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies” (Proverbs 31:10). A wife is more than a husband’s physical romanticist, but by the power of her voice she attracts him mentally and emotionally. Men want a woman that is so far greater than any precious ruby in the world. A wife speaks with beauty and passion, as the sound of a well-played violin, whispering like the wind and warm like a blanket, massaging the heart of her true love she mirrors. In the same manner the words melodically flow out of her mouth, encompassing his ears causing his heart, mind and soul to simultaneously melt like butter. Her sultry voice caresses him which strokes him like fingers. Both lovers synchronize as partners in starting their new life journey.

 Woman's Voice 6

Being a wife is a great responsibility but also a great opportunity to reveal to your husband that he has found a loyal companion, a gentle lover and respectful woman. “[Marriage] is a partnership of two unique people who bring out the very best in each other and who know that even though they are wonderful as individuals, they even are better together” (Barbara Cage). She is trustworthy like the inner core of a best friend’s relationship. They can talk about pretty much anything. And while she speaks, he gazes at her, hearing beauty come out of her like the breath-taking view of the sun setting over the horizon. Like the dew in the morning, her words gently rest upon his heart. Unfortunately, not always will this journey becandy and butterflies, that’s not the way life works. It is as a newly planted tree, in order for it to stand strong and survive the storm it has to be watered and fed daily; given love and care allowing the roots to run deep down to grasp their souls. And you’ll know of a surety that “it shall not be moved.” The more time it has to grow the more beautiful, healthy and full it will become. She speaks as the soil, supporting him in his endeavors; keeping him grounded. The sun that shines and gives life, so is her voice which produces that fiery passion and glorious light. And her whispers are as the mirror of his soul. 

Being a good wife and mother is a woman’s calling and with the strength of their voice they “hold up half the sky.”

Woman's Voice 5

Voyage Complete!!

Cruise Vacation

So after a fantastic Eastern Caribbean cruise, my wife and I are back home and I am back at work (sad face).

It took me a good half hour just to get my head situated and my attitude readjusted to being back in the office!  What an adjustment too!  I want to get back on the boat!!!

We had a blast and I highly recommend that if you get a chance to take a cruise, do it.  I have no negative comments about the cruise other than I wish we would have had more money to spend and more clothes to wear!

We visited Half Moon Cay, Puerto Rico, St Thomas and Grand Turk with two fun days at sea.  There are so many things to do onboard ship you can’t get bored unless all you want to do is stay in your stateroom.  Some of the cruise packages can be pricey but I still believe they are a great bargain.  My wife had a ball.  Now, if you ask her about her experience on St Thomas, you may hear the story about being biten by white crabs and fish.  If you really want to know what happen ask me…I was there and saw it all (smile).  She may even try to change the subject and talk about how this older, stately gentlemen took a tumble while crossing a perfectly good street…in front of all of God’s creation!!  I won’t mention any names but I believe he was thouroughly embarassed…skinned knees and all!

Cruise Vacation 2

There are just a few things you need to know before going, things I wish we would have known prior to our trip:

One:  Be prepared to bring enough money to account for gratuities, taxis, phone calls made onboard ship, and shopping on ship and in the various ports.  You should be ready to load up your initial account card (Carnival calls these Sail & Sign cards) with at least $500 at a minimum.  We started with $200 and went over!  The gratuities are charged to your account card and can amount to $11.95 per day.  This is split between three servers who take care of your room, etc.  I have no problem with this because we got great service and personally I think they should have received more.  Everything you purchase on the ship and in some of the ports is charged to your Sail & Sign card so the more you set it up with the more flexibility you will have.

Two: Either be prepared to pay to have your clothing laundered or bring plenty of stuff to wear. Laundering is available on ship but it can be costly.  You don’t need to bring a bunch of fancy things to wear other than what you would wear for the Captain’s dinner (tie and coat, gowns for the women).  Everything else should be suited for beach excursions and fun in the sun.

Three: Do your homework prior to the cruise.  I wish I would have researched the destinations better because we would have saved money and chose our excursions more wisely.  You can purchase the excursions onboard but they are often cheaper out in the port.  If you like to chart your own course and get off the beaten path I say go for it but you need to know where you’re going and how to travel.  Know beforehand what currency you’re likely to need.  The Sail & Sign card is no good outside of the ports so spare cash is always handy.  In the Caribbean the US dollar is supreme!

Last: Ditch fear and take the plunge.  I’ve never touched a sting ray or parasailed, but I will next time!  There were great opportunities for diving and adventure but I just didn’t take advantage of them.  Lesson learned!

Overall, taking a cruise for a vacation is an amazing thing.  Get on one as soon as you can!  I will post more pictures from our vacation soon.

A Father’s Tribute

For Moo

We love you April and will always stand behind you, lifting you up in prayer, cheering you on, supporting you in every way we can.  You are a gift from God to us and this world.

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