I took a piece of plastic clay
And idly fashioned it one day.
And as my fingers pressed it, still
It moved and yielded to my will.
I came again when days were past:
The bit of clay was hard at last.
The form I gave it still it bore,
But I could change that form no more!
I took a piece of living clay,
And gently pressed it day by day,
And molded with my power and art
A young child’s soft and yielding heart.
I came again when years were gone:
It was a man I looked upon.
He still that early impress bore,
And I could fashion it no more!
David McNally writes: “The eagle gently coaxed her offspring toward the edge of the nest. Her heart quivered with conflicting emotions as she felt their resistance to her persistent nudging. “Why does the thrill of soaring have to begin with the fear of falling?” she thought. This ageless question was still unanswered for her. As in the tradition of the species, her nest was located high on the shelf of a sheer rock face. Below there was nothing but air to support the wings of each child. “Is it possible that this time it will not work?” she thought. Despite her fears, the eagle knew it was time. Her parental mission was all but complete. There remained one final task – the push. The eagle drew from an innate wisdom. Until her children discovered their wings, there was no purpose for their lives. Until they learned how to soar, they would fail to understand the privilege it was to have been born an eagle. The push was the greatest gift she had to offer. It was her supreme act of love. And so one by one she pushed them, and they flew!”
David McNally, from Even eagles Need A Push
Being a parent is a limited opportunity. If you neglect them long enough, you children will conclude they are not as important to you as the things you keep sacrificing for them. When that happens you’ve effectively lost them. Is that a price you’re prepared to pay? If not, rearrange your priorities. In his book Stress Fractures, Charles Swindoll writes, ‘I vividly remember some time back being caught in the undertow of too many commitments and too few days. It wasn’t long before I was snapping at my wife and our children, choking down my food at mealtimes, and feeling irritated at those unexpected interruptions through the day. Before long things around our house started reflecting the pattern of my hurry-up style. It was becoming unbearable. I distinctly recall after supper one evening the words of our younger daughter, Colleen. She wanted to tell me about something important that had happened to her at school that day. She hurriedly began, “Daddy-I-want-to-tell-you-something-and-I’ll-tell-you-really-fast.” Suddenly, realising her frustration, I answered, “Honey, you can tell me… and you don’t have to tell me really fast. Say it slowly.” I’ll never forget her answer: “Then listen slowly.”
Source: The UCB Word For Today, 30/9/2011
10 Steps to Successful Parenting:
Communicate how you feel without attacking or accusing, and encourage your child/ren (teenager) to do the same.
Accept their friends. They may not be your first choice or your second choice or even your third, but there again they are not your friends.
Stop trying to be cool in front of their friends, and don’t embarrass them.
During family time or free time do the stuff they want to do rather than insisting on the other way around. And do it willingly, i.e. without grumbling.
Don’t compare one child with another. God made each of us with different personalities and different gifts and talents. If God had wanted conformity he would have made us all the same. Cherish their individuality.
Praise them. If you look hard enough you can always find something to praise. Just keep looking and keep praising.
Love them but as they get older don’t hug them or ask them to hug you, but always be there when they want one.
Move on quickly when you disappointed. Ask yourself, am I teaching my children forgiveness or perfection?
Spend time with them. Understand that you can only spend quality time with your kids if you have a relationship with them, i.e. after you have spent quantity time with them. Quality comes after quantity – always!
Train them; teach them; inspire them; encourage them; support them; feed them; discipline them; praise them and above all else pray for them, and with them if you can.
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you
Cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
Excerpt from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
I remember a few years ago, when my daughter Bethany was going through the terrible-two stage. I had to take her on an errand to the supermarket. She really didn’t want to go with me and she let me know it! Bethany screamed and stomped and went red in the face and flat bluntly refused to be bribed by any amount of chocolate or biscuits or promises of her favourite TV programme. In the end, I stuffed her into the child seat of the shopping trolley and tried as best I could to entertain her as I whizzed her up and down the aisles. But she was having nothing of it. As I walked hurriedly up and down the aisles grabbing the groceries on my list, she leaned out of the shopping trolley towards passers-by and simply shouted, “HELP!” – Very self-consciously, I tried to assure people, “It’s alright, she is my child!” but to this day I wonder if some of them believed me.
“Children Learn What They Live”
If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to be shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn what envy is.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with tolerance, they learn to be patient.
If children live with encouragement, they learn to be confident.
If children live with praise, they learn to appreciate.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to find love in the world.
If children live with recognition, they learn to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn to be generous.
If children live with honesty and fairness, they learn what truth and justice are.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those around them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn that the world is a nice place in which to live.
If children live with serenity, they learn to have peace of mind.
What are your children living? – By Dorothy L. Nolte.
Funny Father’s Day
“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
The great cellist, Pablo Casals said, “When will we teach our children in school what they are? We should say to them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the world there is no other child exactly like you. In the millions of years that have passed there has never been another child like you – look at your body: What a wonder it is; your legs, your arms, your cunning fingers, the way you move. You could become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up can you then harm another who is like you a marvel?”
A nursery school was situated on the corner of a busy road, with traffic constantly driving past. The school had a lovely playground, surrounded by small metal railings to stop the children running into the road. At break times, however, all the children would stay very close to the school house because they were frightened by the passing traffic on the other side of the low railings. Then one day the school brought in contractors to erect a higher steel-mesh fence and from that day on, the children played in the whole playground. Note: Children are happier and feel more secure when their parents or carers put up fences to show clear boundaries.
“If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them, and half as much money on them.”
(Attributed to Abigail Van Buren, writer.)
We should insulate our children against the dangers of this world, not isolate them.
Beatitudes For Children
Blessed is the child who has someone to believe in him
And who has high hopes for him.
Blessed is the child who has someone to whom he can carry his
Blessed is the child whose home is a haven of happiness
Blessed is the child to whom life is a book of knowledge and
Who is privileged to turn the pages one by one.
Blessed is the child who is allowed to pursue his curiosity into
Every worthwhile field of endeavour.
Blessed is the child who has someone who understands that
Childhood grief’s are both real and bitter and call for
Blessed is the child who has learned freedom from selfishness
Through responsibility and co-operation.
Blessed is the child whose parents find time for him.
Raising your children well is a lot like teaching them to ride a bike. The secret lies in knowing when to hold on and when to let go.
Be nice to your children; one day they’re going to choose your nursing home!
“Insanity is hereditary… you get it from your children.”
Samuel Levenson, author
If you want something doing, do it yourself, pay someone else to do it or ask your children not to do it!
“I am absolutely convinced that there is no life on Mars, because there is no entries on my teenage daughter’s phone bill.”
Attributed to Larry Matthews
Q: Why did the teenager cross the road? – A: Because his parents asked him not to!
“Our families should be a top priority. No other success can compensate for failure at home!”
Herb True (Motivational Speaker)
Fifty years ago parents were likely to have a lot of children. Today children are likely to have a lot of parents. – Anon
As the branch is bent, so the tree will grow.
He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.
King Solomon, the wisest king who ever lived. (Proverbs 13:24)
Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death.
Proverbs 23:13-14. (The word ‘rod’ is a figure of speech and means disciplines of any kind.)
The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.
Proverbs 29:15 NIV1984 Edition
That which should not be heard by little ears should not be said by bigger mouths!
A young lad was issued with a bad school report and instructed to have his parents sign it. When he got home his dad initially hit the roof but then was stunned into silence as his son smiled at him and said, “Dad, you should be very proud that your boy has the guts to bring home a school report like this. And besides, at least you know that I didn’t cheat!”
The two most valuable things you can give your children are your time and your undivided attention (not your money and possessions).
Each child is an individual; each child has certain God-given talents and attributes; each child is uniquely special and, as parents, we should do our utmost to protect and nurture that individuality. Listen to the following wise words from Henry Ford (1863-1947), founder of the Ford Motor Company: (Incidentally, the following quote applies equally to girls as well as boys.)
“All Fords are exactly alike but no two men are just alike. Every new life is a new thing under the sun; there has never been anything just like it before, and never will be again. A young man ought to get that idea about himself; he should look for the single spark of individuality that makes him different from other folks, and develop that for all he is worth. Society and schools may try to iron it out of him; their tendency is to put us all in the same mould, but I say don’t let that spark be lost; it’s your only real claim to importance.”
During parents evening at school, Johnny’s teacher said, “The good news is that Johnny comes up with some very creative ideas. The bad news is that they are all in his spelling!”
Parents remember this: Nobody on their death bed ever said I wish I’d spent more time at the office!
‘To Any Little Boy’s Father’
There are little eyes upon you, and they’re watching night and day,
There are little ears that quickly take in everything you say,
There are little hands all eager to do everything you do,
And a little boy who’s dreaming of the day he’ll be like you.
You’re the little fellow’s idol, you’re the wisest of the wise,
In his little mind, about you, no suspicions ever rise.
He believes in you devoutly and holds that all you say and do,
He will say and do in the same way, when he’s grown up just like you.
There’s a wide-eyed little fellow who believes you’re always right,
And his ears are always open and he watches day and night.
You are setting an example every day in all you do,
For a little boy who’s waiting to grow up and be just like you. (Anon)
Are we trying to teach our children perfection or humility and forgiveness?
Stephanie Carmichael, author
Someday when the kids are grown, things are going to be a lot different. The garage won’t be full of bikes or electric train tracks on plywood and I’ll actually be able to park both cars neatly in just the right places. Someday, when the kids are grown, the sink won’t be choked up with rubber bands or paper cups and the blender won’t stand for six hours coated with the remains of a midnight chocolate milkshake. Someday, when the kids are grown, the telephone won’t look as if it’s growing out of a teenager’s ear. It will simply hang there, silently, amazingly available, free of lipstick, human saliva and mayonnaise. Someday, when the kids are grown, I won’t have to answer; “Daddy, is it a sin that you’re doing 47 in a 30 mph zone?” Or promise to kiss a rabbit goodnight, or wait forever until they get home from dates. Someday, when the kids are gone, the place will begin to take on a … touch of elegance. The clink of china and silver will be heard on occasion, the crackling of the fireplace will echo through the hallway. The phone will be strangely silent, the house will be quiet … calm … always clean … and empty … and we’ll spend our time not looking forward to someday, but looking back to yesterday and thinking… “Maybe we could baby-sit the grandchildren and get some life back into this old place!”
I like to keep a tidy ship, whether it’s my office, car, home or the even the garden. I remember one day when my children were laughing and charging up and down in the garden. They were having great fun trying to dodge the water from the sprinkler. But I was more concerned with the lawn. “Stop that!” I scolded them, “You’ll ruin the grass!”
Later, however, I was reading an article on parenting and ended scolding myself for being such a killjoy and for giving a higher priority to maintaining a ‘tidy ship’ rather than seeing my children enjoying themselves. I came to see – albeit too late on that occasion – that as a father, I am in the business of raising children, not grass!
R. Ian Seymour.
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
We don’t really do Father’s Day at church. On Mother’s Day we’ll have a special family service, with a Mother’s-Day-themed-sermon, culminating in the children presenting all the women of the church with daffodil posies. But Father’s Day doesn’t get a mention. Why are the Dads so hard done by? I think it’s because Mothering Sunday in the UK is thought to be very traditional. And hey – Mum’s are worth celebrating! On the other hand, for those of us on this side of the Atlantic, Father’s Day is said to be a commercial invention… an American import. But I want to speak up for dads because dads are worth celebrating! They may well have brought us up in the training and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6 v 1-4). They give us a glimpse of God’s compassion on his children (Psalm 103 v 13). They picture the benefits of God’s loving discipline (Hebrews 12 v 4-11). They help us to imagine God’s boundless generosity (Luke 11 v 11-13). Hey, I even anoint my daughter’s car engine with motor oil (Psalm 23 v 5). Perhaps not all Dads are great—but lots of them are. So, if you’re a dad in church this morning would you remain seated and let the rest of the church acknowledge and celebrate Father’s Day by giving dads a clap and standing ovation.