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Teaching children how to think

Monday, 25. July 2011 by Renee Ellison


When you really consider it, no curriculum in itself teaches a child to think!  Textbook curriculums are involved with one thing… giving a child a “conceptual alphabet” only.  San Francisco is located here; a molecule looks like this; we write a “g” this way; we divide this way, etc.  Much of education, at even its finest levels, is getting a lay of the land of what is.  It is in the middle of the night that we take that “life-alphabet” and have our “aha moments.”  Edison had many of those…not taught by any teacher…but attentively and lovingly listened to, and prodded forth by his mother.

Two ways to encourage a child to think, academically:
ONE:  Reading and discussing good literature–in the evenings.  If you need help with what that would be, download Melanie’s reading list: ‘tis a list of the choicest literature at each level.  She hunted long and hard for those titles and did not include any titles that weren’t absolutely stellar after reading them and scrutinizing them.  Get godly books from the get-go.

However, just a side note here: literature alone will never substitute for skill development.  Countless mothers who rely on a literature-based program during the day as their core curriculum feel guilty that they may have skipped something vital.  They are right to be concerned.  Such an approach results in an academically lopsided child who is at sea with skills—can’t multiply, can’t spell, hasn’t a clue about grammar, all of which our forefathers regarded as rudimentary to a basic education.  Check out the McGuffey readers; talk about rigorous!  The ACE curriculum will solve this problem.)

TWO:  Another thing that grows a child’s ability to think is a mother’s thought-provoking ongoing questions to her child throughout the day.  Not yes/no questions, but just a bit “out of reach” questions.  “How could Jamie have treated her sister better?  Why do you suppose God made roots under trees?  How do you feel about that?” etc.  It is the mother who teaches the child to think.  Get our Humpty Dumpty questions booklet to help you fashion some very exciting zinger questions.  You’ll be right up there with Mary Poppins in their minds when you routinely ask them these kinds of questions, calling forth worlds out of their own minds!

Should our children take the traditional college route… or not?

Sunday, 10. July 2011 by Renee Ellison


“Wipe out their faith.”  This is the hidden agenda at most colleges and universities today, from sun-up to sun-down, in the unsupervised dorms and in the decadent classrooms.  College sabotages minds AND morality.  “Blessed is the man who walks NOT in the counsel of the wicked [ungodly liberal professors] nor stands in the way of sinners [immoral peers] nor sits in the seat of scoffers [or lies down in their bedrooms in the dorms].” (Psalm 1).  If this is blessed, then to DO the opposite must be not be blessed?  Christian colleges, included?

The financial cost..and the ethics of what we are financing:

The price tag for college is enormous these days.  We know people who are graduating with $120,000 worth of DEBT.  That slugs a young person in the stomach for a loooooooooonnnnngg time.

Even if we can afford tuition costs, analyze VERY carefully WHAT it is that we are funding with our college money.  Can we justify it at the Judgment… the great bar of God?  How did we steward the money for His kingdom?  Examine it objectively.  Would we willingly PAY for someone to go down the street, a block away, to spend hours and hours in a brothel, where unmarried couples are coming in and out the front door 24/7 and shacking up in beds…even in their own room where there roommates see what they are doing?  Do MARRIED couples watch each other in bed, in our own houses?  This is how far out it is: to allow our children to WATCH the real stuff of debauchery…not occasionally, but all the time!  It is likely to be found on practically every floor of every dorm, Christian or not.

Would we PAY for someone to come into our homes to train our children AGAINST the very GOD that we love…insist that the academics mock the Bible and hate God?  This is what we fund in behalf of our own children…and never is it more brutal than in the modern college.

Would we pay to ensure that our children hobnob with sexually immoral persons, day in and day out?  Would we place our youth into an environment where they interact and rub shoulders with such persons every day in the cafeterias and in the classrooms, etc.?  How long would the frog cook in this pot without becoming one of them?  Would the Puritans have been appalled?  Would they have spent THEIR money for this for their offspring?

Make no mistake, college isn’t necessary for the academics, which anyone may master from using any textbook and tutor, without the anti-God, humanistic packaging.  The brainwashing is hammered into students purposefully, by satanic design, relentlessly, ongoingly, throughout ALL MATTERS in academia.  Uprooting the presuppositions.  Tirelessly hacking away at the core, until the institution turns out an atheist at graduation.  Sufficient reprogramming is accomplished to last a lifetime.  “Job done!” says Satan.

Yesterday I walked along a country lane and cried out to God about how much I hated so many of my OWN college ungodly courses… being forced to read vile filth in English classes, being forced to study the Upanishads (Indian Hindu documents about worshipping demons), evolution in biology, ungodly liberal ways to teach and train children in my education courses (which I could see would never work), and revisionist history, which was a tract for feminism.  It was bad then (4 decades ago); it is unconscionable now.  I renounced it all and told God that I AGREED with his hatred of vain philosophies.  All of them are strongholds to get us to “do life” without God.

Take the word COLLEGE out of it.  Take away the ivy-clad brick and mortar, and the pretense that something SIGNIFICANTLY IMPORTANT justifies immersing our children in the cesspool.  THEN would we do it?  If it were happening without “academics”, down the block, in the open air, for other reasons?  Or would we move away, wanting to get away from such happenings?  The brick and mortar college BUILDINGS blindside us; they persuade us that something of eternal holy intellectual value is happening behind those doors.  Too often, it is not.

A college president at Berkley once quipped: “We provide sports for the alumni, parking for the faculty, and sex for the students.”

And let’s not forget the alcohol…oh, the alcohol.  Yesterday I repented of even being NEAR the throw-up in the elevators (at a conservative school).  College kids’ incessant drinking starts the life long alcoholism among a sizeable portion of today’s population.  It gets its head of steam in college, even among the upright.  What the devil missed in the upbringing, he polishes off in college.

The primary issue regarding college is: what ENVIRONMENT will our college-age children’s souls be in as they are yet forming?  The traditional college experience is a tsunami.  Even the best of swimmers go under when the waves get high enough.  The influence of evil on campuses is profound.  This is even more devastating than the financial cost of a college education.

Would the Hebrews have allowed their children to be educated in Egypt’s colleges?  “Come out from her, be ye separate.”  Only AFTER we obey does He show us the exciting path which we cannot see ahead of time.  When Abraham left the pagan land of his fathers, he did NOT know where he was going.

Alternatives to college:
Do I want to PAY to risk that my child winds up godless?  Is there a creative alternative?  Our culture RUNS to get under slavery, both in schooling and in the corporate world.  For the believer there is often a thin thread of alternatives that can free us from it ALL, if prayed through.  No one said it would be easy to pick a different route.  Apprenticeships, perhaps? ...short term ones, one following another?  Or doing CollegePlus!, while ALSO attending adult-level symposiums and three-day seminars on tons of topics for short-term, pleasantly-controlled social stimulation, too?  Conferences swell up all over the country, offering thrilling short spurts on all sorts of topics.  Maybe you could be spending far less money, for more hand-picked exciting results?—and developing a resume that is so unusual, your child is picked above others in the future work force.

Start by recognizing that education is not the great contest of life.  Living a life for His glory IS.  Having a satisfyingly full life can be had without formal education, as long as one continues to self-educate.  Often the lure of college is the greater financial earning power a degree might facilitate—but many corporate jobs become so demanding one loses one’s home relationships, through divorce or rebellious offspring.  Earning can happen in hundreds of other ways.  So, too, can self-expression and fulfillment, without the external and often brutal corporate stress.

Why not aim for lifetime FINANCIAL solvency BEFORE/apart from college?  Why not use that same college money to buy real estate free and clear at the beginning of our children’s adult lives?  They can ALWAYS get education through night classes, online classes, etc., on TOP of that solid fiscal foundation.  Owning one’s home debt-free can free one even from the NEED to have a career with all of its inordinate pressures.  It frees one up to travel the world on one’s OWN terms, for example, to take ONE coveted topic/weekend/week from a specially picked college professor followed by flying to another college to gain education over another topic with a different professor, following after isolated brilliant professors with a hand-crafted way to do that.  One doesn’t need an entire semester; much can be obtained from books and then a special shorter time could be spent with a professor.  Even highly rated colleges and universities these days have a lot of tenured professors who are dead wood; they don’t MERIT sitting under for long weeks, and it’s not always apparent ahead of time, which professors are the dead wood.

The children of Colin and Nancy Campbell (of Above Rubies) are successful, WITHOUT COLLEGE.  Their sons are adept at earning money to support large families.  One is a tremendously successful entrepreneur who is irritated that others aren’t (to the same degree as he is)!!! WITHOUT COLLEGE.  And others join these ranks.  There is a movement against college out there amongst conservative believers that God is BLESSING beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.  We just returned from a Family Week in Canada where we observed MANY young people who have chosen not to go to college.  They are bright and vigorous, and are absorbed with all kinds of wonderful variety as they pursue other paths.

Wouldn’t it be like God to prove Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are perfect toward Him (2 Chronicles 16:9)?  He can make our young people profoundly successful or influential in OTHER WAYS, far ABOVE the achievements of their college counterparts, both financially and in the establishment of strong godly families rather than leaving a trail of serial divorces.  (Food for thought: to force young men to wait for marriage an entire decade past when their hormones are raging, while they commit educational idolatry, as we’ve done the past two generations, can result in immorality galore, virtually wrecking their REAL lives…the lives they face AFTER college…the more important life that goes on for a half a century.)

Closing thoughts about the college decision:
The world our children are facing is simply not the world you and I grew up in.  It is in chaos.  Our economy is crashing and it will affect the future job market.  Colleges are even now spinning out of control with THEIR debts.  The availability of jobs for college graduates will diminish more and more in the future.  The WISE foreseeth the evil and plan DIFFERENTLY.  Basic LIFE skills will be needed more and more if our young men and women are to survive these new challenges.  And no one can put a lid on how much self education and enlargement can go on for a lifetime of continuous deep reading on one’s own.

Nothing in college prepares our youth for marriage and a family.  Running a family requires skills that were taken for granted in the 1800s.  Cooking classes/apprenticeships and training in sewing, tailoring, and clothing alterations are a must for EVERY young woman.  Many women feel totally inadequate in both areas for the thirty years immediately following their marriages where those skills are needed EVERY DAY in the real world of family.  Far more women marry than EVER have careers.  The college-educated young woman who marries, typically faces a nightmare of just fixing breakfast.  Likewise, young men need money-making skill development, not general-education debt, as they move into building their own families…and perhaps building their own debt free house.

These are tough days and decisions for ALL parents.  All of us have never lived through these extremely Noah-like times before.  Everyone’s story will be different.  Nonetheless, lines are being drawn between two very different worlds.  The chaos of worldliness is bringing clarity to our view of the choices.  The college experiment has been done; it has run its course; we see the results.  Oh, the EXCITING possibilities for playing this chapter differently…darting here and there for the FINEST of educations, while maintaining holiness!!!  As we take the road less traveled…

Why victimization doesn’t answer anything

Sunday, 29. May 2011 by Renee Ellison


Viewing all of life’s woes as a victim doesn’t get a person very far.  When C. S. Lewis said that “Christians benefit from their suffering but non-Christians WASTE their suffering”, that is not all he said in that statement.  He implied that ALL people suffer, and that suffering IS.

Our adolescent view of life was that life should be an existence of unbridled happiness and unmitigated self.  But somewhere along the line, that rosy view that crashed.  We had to recalibrate.  What IS life anyway?  C. S. Lewis also said, (loosely updated) that if “we view life as a five-star hotel we’ll be disappointed.  If we view it as a quick trip through the ghetto, any little positive thing that happens to us is a bonus!”

Somewhere in the past eons of time, God must have had a flicker of a thought that suffering might be good for His creation and His people.  From the evidence, He apparently fanned the flicker into a flame.  Even the created order currently GROANS in eager expectation (Romans 8:28-23) for something different.  The mountains and the hills suffer; every human being suffers.  Humans suffer physically and relationally.  No one escapes it.  Apparently bouts of suffering sanctify and kosher us AND the rocks!

There are two responses to suffering: One is to view it through the eyes of victimization.  The other is to handle it with gratefulness.

When we view ourselves as victimized, we try to get relief by mentally shifting the focus off from our own emotional mismanagements and responsibilities to those around us.  Our coping strategy is to privately (and often not so privately) attack two entities:

  • we grow irritated with others
  • and we blame God.

  • When we blame others for our current sufferings, we find it impossible to separate our sufferings from the vague foggy notion that somehow others CAUSED our suffering and therefore are responsible to get us out of it.  We fail to separate our sufferings from attachment to people, or from a mature understanding of the purpose of socialization: companionship, appreciation, a gentle knowing of one another, a shared humanity, a selflessness toward others rather than a grabbing for ourselves.  In fact, we find (much to our surprise) that it is in learning to love that we get the ultimate relief from ourselves.  Selfless love stands in stark contrast to clobbering the beloved for our own ends—which makes us ever more miserable as others fail to perform for us just exactly as our shifting and engulfing demands would like.

    Instead, when we are feeling victimized we want others to OWN our problems.  We want to straddle them with OUR lives.  We do this as a cathartic.  When we are irritated with others over our own woes we forget that they suffer, too.  It is a selective amnesia.  We forget that their world is as big to them as ours is to us.  Do we really believe that people were created as venting stations for ourselves?  We forget that relationships are fragile.  If our goal is to catch butterflies to trap them in our jars, we shall have to be satisfied with butterflies stripped of their beauty…or dead butterflies…or no butterflies at all.

    We forget how tenuous all of our close associates COULD be, and that closeness is a fragile gift.  Our collected friends and family COULD be part of a DISTANT 7-billion “people-throng” and not be interested in our lives at all.  All of THOSE other people are at least an arm’s length outside of our control: we couldn’t control THEM if we WANTED to—or blame them—or grow irritated by their behaviors.  But for those closer in, we think it is somehow our RIGHT to demand of them relief for ourselves.

    This is a misunderstanding of the reasons why people are in our lives.  Relating to others helps us experience the self-sacrifice of LOVE.  The objective is not to wrest from others fullness for ourselves.  If that happens, it is a plus, but it is no guarantee.  It has been said that “people care more about their own headache than if you die.”  All genuine “companionship-relationship” is aroused by our love, not by our demands, nor by our leaning upon others to bail us out.  When we show irritation with others, that is a sure sign of a social mis-calibration.

    As for blaming God, it doesn’t get us much further. What we are, in effect, really saying by resorting to that thought is that “I could write a BETTER story for myself.”  As a parent, what kind of a better story do we think our four-year old would write for himself?

    Suffering produces endurance. All trials, even five-minute ones, seem too long.  When suffering hits, we all look for escapes.  Some long for the ultimate escape… that it would come earlier than it does.  We are all shackled by impatience.

    To handle suffering with gratefulness means we change our posture and embrace real life with all its vicissitudes with the expectation that we shall grow in some meaningful way by the relinquishment.  We allow others to be others.  We humbly acknowledge that we do not know the whole story; we are not privy to its eternal workings, behind the scenes.  Attempting to “command” the length and the amount of the suffering becomes meaningless.

    Oddly, strangely and slowly, if we are believers we come to understand that praising God IN THE TRIAL renews us.  The Scriptures indicate that we can be quite far into the fire and still come out smelling like a rose, as did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  Proverbs 24:16: “Though the righteous fall seven times…but [loosely translated] they rebound!”  If you get under the umbrella of praise, however momentary, one finds it a sure place of abiding relief.  Trust will be rewarded.  “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17, KJV).  Believe it, and it mitigates the suffering.  Suffering is inevitable.  It comes to all mankind.  When we examine the lives of those who suffer WELL, we find that gratefulness was their route of choice; it is a kind of “way out”.  It takes the experience and puts it beyond just coping.

    Suffering often escorts us to a corner in life where an entirely new vista opens up, if we’ll let it.  Suffering often is the very highway of our most intimate personal direction.  And certainly suffering is the sure door to increased fellowship with our Creator.  A deep believer of old once said he “never knew of anyone who became spiritually mature without it.”

    Filed Under: Spiritual tips

    Wounded and weary mothers: What to think when you no longer want to get out of bed in the morning.

    Sunday, 29. May 2011 by Renee Ellison


    Let’s face it.  A woman has one of two choices: career (and cash) or children.  Choosing the first starts OUT lookin’ like a lovely deal but it can leave you loveLESS.  Careers don’t hug you when you are sick and dying.  Choosing the second may leave you battle-worn and broken, true, but strangely and inexplicably blessed.

    Sooner or later children, discover that a mother endlessly given to a career by CHOICE (i.e., in cases where she doesn’t HAVE to work outside the home) is a selfish mother.  Those who DO HAVE to work are seen as lovingly sacrificial IF they use their limited time around the edges for the children when they DO have time.  But for the mom who doesn’t HAVE to work (including long hours of volunteering, endlessly shopping and socializing for her own sake) the message becomes unmistakable.  The hours and hours that should have been invested in her children were given away to an ever-absorbing preoccupation.  In isolation and abandonment the child increasingly departs emotionally – and finds some other way to cope.  Children who are seen only as an appendage to a working mother and her agenda may balk… and may eventually balk forever.

    On the other hand, mothers who give themselves to their children can often FEEL worthless and beat up.  They can FEEL like they made the wrong choice.  Adopted children can go bad.  One’s own natural-born children can go bad… or at least give you a run for your money for a season.  Parenting can be hard, really hard… but is it worthless?  Never!

    So .... what to THINK?
    All ships look noble in the harbor.  It is out upon the seas and storms of life that our mettle is tested and forged.  Adoniram Judson (a type of parent for the gospel) was hung upside down to sleep while imprisoned in Burma for that gospel.  David Brainerd crawled upon frozen ground, with tuberculosis in his chest, intent upon saving a stray Indian or two.  Results were not the issue; what God was making of the man was.

    First of all, one must realize that turbulence and trouble are NOT indicators of being OUT of the will of the LORD.  Circumstances can look horrendous and you still be smack dead center in the will of the LORD.  No doubt, it didn’t look too good to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace, yet it was the perfect will of God.  It didn’t look too peaceful to the children of Israel, either, when they were walking between two huge walls of ocean water raging against the wind, yet they were in the bull’s eye of obedience.

    A. W. Toser said, “Those whom God uses greatly, He wounds deeply.”  All true spiritual growth hardly ever takes place outside of the crucible of suffering.  Our deepest spiritual understandings are gained almost in direct proportion to the sufferings and fires we’ve lived through.  Suffering is THE avenue of sanctification.  God is not a poor investor.  Often He works on two generations at once.  Regardless of what happens to your child, God does something to YOU as you parent.

    So, what to think?  Far from not wanting to crawl out of bed in the morning, we must cock one eye open, and then the other, and wake up our SPIRIT to the challenge ahead.  We must remind ourselves that this is not OUR story, it is HIS story.  It is up to us ONLY to continue getting up and TO STAY SQUARELY IN THE SADDLE.  He ALONE knows the destination.  To not stay in the saddle indicates that we think we could write a better story.  To choose to plunge into depression or to commit suicide is short-sighted.  On this end of the story, we have no idea what the earnings of our moral life LOOKS LIKE…. what its endurance wins us and wins for HIM, in that OTHER life, the life beyond this one.  And we have no idea what our obedience and diligence work in the inner mental TRAFFIC in a child’s soul—thoughts that are clutched perhaps even in the last dying breath.

    Isn’t it interesting that we are seldom told by God how good we are in this lifetime?... only how we are loved by Him!  Apparently our “goodness quotient” is hidden until the final bar.  However, just because it is hidden doesn’t mean it doesn’t count.  “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary” (Galatians 6:9).

    What to DO?
    Be found faithful…
    fortified with such courage that we MUST be found faithful because there are things UNSEEN at stake.  What, then, do we DO with our wayward children?  Some children do not recover, but let us not discard the reality that SOME wayward children DO get recovered.  Why not yours?  Understand that some children may recover at levels you cannot see… there is an entire continent underneath each soul… that only God sees and understands.  There can be furtive random godly thoughts in your child that you are not privy to.  And some children may recover at TIMES which we cannot see… some even on their deathbed…. the THIEF on the cross was one of them.  Was he not some woman’s son?

    You, as a parent, will be measured only for faithfulness.  End of story.  You must provide the CONDITIONS for recovery—leaving the results up to God.  Every child/soul will ultimately be measured up against those CONDITIONS.  Yours is PART of the story—a part that MATTERS immensely.  Their response is the other part.  It is true with the spread of the gospel, too; the missionary provides the availability ...the optimum conditions ...the supplicant’s level of response is his alone.

    Pray: gutsy prayers, enduring prayers, shouting/crying out prayers, travailing prayer.  Grow a prayer muscle.  And pray with EXPECTATION; otherwise, you waste your breath.

    Love sacrificially and ongoingly.  Never pander to your children’s insistences…but use the moments, in between, when the children are not insistent, to “feed them tea”!!! and love all over them.  Look ‘em in the eye with warm smiles (all they see is YOUR face; they do not see their own) and hug them frequently.

    Spend even more TIME with your children.  Do devotions TOGETHER.  Read every other sentence TOGETHER ALOUD; ask them what THEY see, and you say only a sentence or two.  Exercise together; cook together; houseclean together; do hospitality together; take a trip together.  Read books together.  Vegetable garden together.  Visit the poor together.  (However, minimize your shopping.  You don’t want to know each other over THINGS, but rather to know each other around good hard work, productivity, and digestion of noble literature.)

    Constantly point out real-life examples of DISASTROUS choices and their long-term outcomes.  SHOW your wavering children the results in other’s lives.  Escort them time and again, mentally, to the observation of the school of hard knocks in OTHER people’s lives.  Your children can’t argue with TESTIMONIES of real-life ruin.  Such stories do wonders to shatter strong youthful fantasies and delusions.

    Raise up blockades against corrupting mental traffic.  Watch diligently over what ENTERS the mind of your child.  Close off ALL avenues of mental destruction.  Since you control the FINANCES of your child’s life, refuse to fund ANYTHING that takes them away from you and God.  Shut down all rock music; take down all rock posters on the wall; restrain all media, all TV and movies; get your children away from all ungodly professors (wolves in sheep’s clothing), schools and books.  (Israel’s kings had to knock down the high places…and you’re a king of your OWN realm… it is what kings DO.)  Without doing this you’ll find, sadly, that while you feed them honey in the living room, in the bedroom they are drinking arsenic.  Simply refuse to FUND ungodliness.  Without a car or a bed, your child will FIND submission to your wishes in this area to be to his own self-interest.  It is either your money AND your godliness, or no money.  God doesn’t give you this strong card to play forever.  Use it while you can.

    Gratefulness and trust:  THANK God for your bed and for your mornings.  Know this, that “our light affliction [of parenting], which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory [your OWN sure sonship with God] (2 Corinthians 4:17).

    TRAINING vs. discipline

    Monday, 07. March 2011 by Renee Ellison


    Just wanted to share the underpinnings of the strategy I shared with you in the previous blog about screaming.  Discipline and TRAINING are not the same thing.  They are approached differently.  Discipline happens at the “scene of the crime” and is generally punitive.  Training attacks that SAME ISSUE in all the calm hours BEFORE the next incidence of it, and again some time AFTER the next incidence of it.

    Training educates the child in the winning CONCEPT, and gets the child to buy into it on a mental level rather than on an emotional one.  In the middle of an “episode” children are dominated by their emotions and can’t see straight smile  Training anticipates the problem, prepares the child for the problem, and thoroughly involves schooling them on the particular character issue involved.  Training uses MULTIPLE channels of instruction.  For example, a parent might draw stick figures on paper to help the child see the dynamic outside of himself, objectively.  Or, point it out when it is happening—or not happening—between OTHER people.  A parent can do “dress rehearsals” and practice sessions over ANY issue.

    It works like this:
    If the child is perhaps sluggish at coming when you call, then you might have “coming lessons” at a calm time.  A mom could say, “Go to your room.  Mommy is going to whisper for you to come.  Let’s see how fast you can drop what you are doing and come quickly.  Let’s practice it over and over now several times in different places.”  Now you would take your children outside and let them walk to the other side of the yard, and then you say “Come” very calmly, and they must come quickly and not dawdle, etc.  So, with the screaming you might approach it in a number of ways:

    Show your child how you are going to take something from Daddy and Daddy doesn’t scream.  Ask her, “What if Mommy screamed every time Daddy wanted something?”, etc.  You might sketch out some disturbing dynamic happening between two stick figure siblings and might show two different outcomes on two different sheets of paper….one child’s face happy and the other’s all contorted over the same problem.

    You might say, “Now we are going to practice…now I’m going to hand you something, and we are going to practice having Mommy take it from you and then we’ll practice it again, having your brother politely ask and take it from you…and we are going to watch you CHEERFULLY let go.”  Etc., etc.  Once a parent gets the concept of TRAINING for the FUTURE EPISODE over that same issue, it is easy to think of 1,000 applications…and over time they get to be quite CREATIVE smile

    This is tedious, but the results are well worth it.  Hope this helps clarify what was BEHIND the blog about how to train a child not to scream.

    Screaming children

    Monday, 28. February 2011 by Renee Ellison

    Image Do you have a young child who engages in screaming episodes? Here are some suggestions for delivering him/her (and you) from them, totally, now. Those bouts are taking a toll on the nervous system of that child and also are triggering negative reactions in the child’s young siblings. When the child screams, the siblings’ entire bodies go rigid and tight...meaning a tight tummy inside, too, no doubt. Sooooo what to do?

    In LARGE families of six, eight, or ten children, the parents have become experts at child training, through lots of practice. I've seen such parents tell their toddlers to "Cry quietly" -- while they were spanking them! 20 years ago, this was a new concept to me. The children were only allowed to WHIMPER quietly, even when they were being spanked. I had no idea children would even be CAPABLE of DOING this....if I hadn't seen it in practice in several families who were shaping the behavior of strong-willed children.

    How to achieve it? Train your child about screaming when he/she is totally calm... when screaming isn’t even an issue. For example, have a serious talk at the beginning of the day while it is warm and cuddly between the two of you. Talk to her and say firmly, "We are not going to allow screaming in this house anymore. If you scream, you will be spanked. And even while Daddy and Mommy are spanking you for your screaming, you will cry quietly or you will be spanked AGAIN." Demonstrate the difference between the two, yourself. First, whimper FOR HER, and then shake your head wildly and make a silent scream. Say, "Does that look pretty?"

    Now you’re ready for the child’s next screaming episode. Pick her up, look her in the eye, say “No screaming,” and discipline her. She might scream. Just get through it. ~~But, NEVER discipline in anger.~~ Then WAIT a while. THIS time, as soon as she is calm and playing peacefully again, you make a firm issue, LATER, of what she DID A FEW MINUTES AGO. This time, you INITIATE a confrontation -- on YOUR terms. Pull her up on the couch and talk to her. You say, "Do you remember when Mom and Dad said that you were not to scream? Well, you just disobeyed us and screamed. Because you did that, you will now be spanked again...but THIS time, WHILE you are being spanked for your disobedience, you WILL CRY QUIETLY or you will be spanked AGAIN. We will keep this up until you do EXACTLY what we say: cry quietly."

    So, interrupt her happy activity and give her one firm, calm switch on her seat (never on her hands or face – and never with your hand and never in anger but always in love). Make it sting. Then if she screams again during THAT episode, go through the whole ordeal again. Just bide your time. You wait until she is again playing quietly and then interrupt her play, and give her that firm talk again. INITIATE the confrontation again. You go at this like trench warfare, even if it takes multiple times for her to get the message. Eventually (after you are sure she understands your expectation and you see that she "gets" the concept), you do it speedily, swiftly, before she can even think about what is happening...before she can entrench. SURPRISE her with the consequence. Remind her AFTERWARDS why you just did what you did.

    If you are unsuccessful at accomplishing a complete eradication of it by yourself, as the mother, wait until the weekend and have your husband go at it ALL WEEKEND. You will probably only have one terrible horrible weekend like this and the problem will be solved! Meanwhile, for the short term, expect WAR.

    Teach your children these two phrases "Obedience brings blessing" and "Disobedience brings trouble." Repeat this over and over again. Have THEM say it at quiet, happy moments -- while they eat, etc.

    The over-arching training principle? If you are intimidated by your child at ANY point, you have to INITIATE conflict over that point, on YOUR TERMS, until you – not your children -- are running the show. The wonderful thing is you have God's backing! He LOVES righteous authority that produces peace in our homes, and a stress-free, predictable (cause and effect) environment for all of the children. That is why those huge families eventually get it down pat smile ...they simply get more practice at it, and HAVE to, in order to survive all under one roof!

    Some children give us a real run for our money. May these strategies give you a boost!

    Why computer based education is inferior to good old fashioned book learning

    Thursday, 24. February 2011 by Renee Ellison

    Image Through the years, as fellow vendors at homeschool conventions we have seen a number of educational software-based companies start up and crash soon afterwards. Because of lavish advertising, when these companies first appear, parents flock to them like lemmings racing toward a cliff. But we have found, time and time again, that those same parents come back a year later sorely disappointed, with their educational problems still NOT SOLVED. Further, as a result of drastically reduced sales the upstart dot-com companies vanish as fast as they appeared. Let's look at the two reasons why computer-based education is inferior to high quality godly books and workbooks. Under close examination it turns out that computer-based education is inferior -- both physically and mentally.

    The bottom line? If you will keep your children off computers for as long as possible (somewhere around fourth grade) you'll produce a far healthier child, an intellectually stronger child, a more creative child, and a holier child.

    Let's face high tech facts. The computer is here to stay. By the time our children reach adulthood, the computer will have eventually absorbed even more of our children's ADULT and entire lives than it currently does our own. Computers COULD absorb our preschoolers TOTALLY, even now. We may think nothing of it -- but let's do stop a minute and think about it: our grandparents had an "explore-the-outdoors, climb-trees, invent-things, computer-free" childhood. They started on computers late in life and STILL SUFFER from too many electromagnetic frequency challenges to their brains, eyes and nervous systems as it IS. Imagine if ALL their years had been spent in front of a screen, as now is possible for the current generation! What physical effects will emerge NOW on children withOUT such childhoods? Our grandparents ate freshly ground whole wheat bread, took very few drugs, and were exposed to almost no media. Our current generation struggles with obesity, clogged arteries, endless drugs as a solution for sad moments or fidgeting, and bloodshot eyes and nervous tics from pressing buttons on electronic devices, hours on end. And this is an IMPROVEMENT?!

    Electromagnetic frequency issues are REAL. Without our knowing it, they are hard on the old, but even more damaging to the young. They take a toll on an emerging developing nervous system. Already books are being written about the problem we hadn't counted on: Electromagnetic Pollution: A hidden stress to your system, by Sabina M. DeVita; Health Hazards of Electromagnetic Radiation: A startling look at the effects of electropollution on your health, by Bruce Fife, N.D.; and Zapped: Why Your Cell Phone Shouldn't Be Your Alarm Clock and 1,268 Ways to Outsmart the Hazards of Electronic Pollution, by Ann Louise Gittleman.

    Physically sitting bolt upright in front of a screen for hours on end as a child is not good. It becomes addictive and soon the child HAS to have it or they revolt. Just witness a four-year-old when you turn the TV off... and the computer addiction becomes far worse. Children, so trained, become UNABLE to go outside and play. Even the desire for it vaporizes.

    Now let's take a hard look at what goes on mentally. Because educational information has to be presented via a computer in such a way as to continually hook the looker, it must be VISUALLY gripping, and all the info is packaged in short FLASHING packets. Translation: your child becomes less and less able to think a complete thought...to see ideas in CONTEXT...thoughts that actually BEGIN somewhere and GO somewhere after the screen is turned off. Now college students, so trained in their childhoods, frequently have to ask their professors to "REPEAT THE QUESTION, please.” They are unable to track with the idea, let alone stick with it long enough to ANSWER it.

    Moreover, because the information has to be transported digitally, all of it thus transcribed is of the quick response type...no essay questions that require THINKING please....only push-button responses to limited options. Nine times out of ten, the CORE information is never presented in a pedagogically new, superior way that is easier to grasp. At its root it is boring...but bells and whistles and gimmicks are added to make it APPEAR to be a superior way to learn core material. Most of the time, there is absolutely nothing NEW to the WAY in which the information is presented. Therefore, the child quickly grows bored with unremitting requests for responses that only require the trial-and-error pushing of buttons. Parents tell us they find their children slumped over the keyboard, napping, long before the lesson is finished.

    Contrast that to sitting comfortably curled up on a couch or hanging upside down off an easy chair and reading a book, answering workbook questions over supper at the table, or in the back seat of the car to finish mastering that exercise while mom runs errands, or crashing on a pillow with a good book next to the fireplace...or sitting cozily under mom and dad's protective arm, hearing their warm voices, a mature running commentary over all new concepts. No, instead, the modern child must sit bolt upright like a little machine...pressing buttons without end. Relationship-based education gets replaced by interacting with machines.

    Even worse, most software-based education is taught without VALUES -- at least, without the values that shape godly children. Information is consistently delivered outside of any MORAL context. The McGuffey Readers shaped the consciences of children during our finest hours in America. For over a century, men like Thomas Edison and Henry Ford were shaped by the CHARACTER training that was promulgated by those Readers. They built America on solid character. Today, America is seriously adrift...doesn't know who it is anymore, can't pay its bills, nor curb its violence in the inner cities, nor keep its babies safe from murder in the womb, nor build a vibrant mounting economy, nor keep its eyes from pornography.

    Resist the temptation to allow your child to be educated in front of a screen. Stand against this media tsunami, and your restraints will be rewarded by the emergence of your own, unusual, REMARKABLE children. They will be healthy, intelligent, and morally beautiful, and you, as their parents, will have no regrets. Say no to DVD's, fantasy and movies as recreation, too. Let your child's ONLY escape from reality be in high quality books, and you'll create wonderful bibliomaniacs. "So many books, so few years" will eventually be their cry!

    Grow READERS. Concentrate on wholesome books of history, biography, and how-to's for everything imaginable. Have your children learn the Bible forwards and backwards, starting with simple Bible stories. They can read through encyclopedia sets, too. Micromanage the mental diet of your child, AWAY FROM ANY SCREEN, and you'll simply be amazed at the outcomes. Children will be interested in butterflies and cocoons and centrifuges and atomic energy – unless they’re stolen first by fantasy, altered realities and grotesque creatures from outer space. Grow a "book-lover" and their conversations will be rich, their insights far-reaching, and their appetites for mental stimulation (which actually matters in the real world) inexhaustible.

    Teaching preschoolers for the BEST results!

    Thursday, 10. February 2011 by Renee Ellison

    Image Most all early childhood educators think preschool curriculum should involve ONLY exposure to new random experiences and sensations. Hence, yuppies drop thousands of dollars into preschools that have their children banking off the walls, doing random disconnected activities ...from African drum beating to underwater basket weaving! But these "enlightened" educators are sadly missing an entire SECOND capacity of the child.

    Mental stimulation and exposure to a wide variety of experiences IS important; just leave a preschooler in a closet for five years and you'll see the difference. But if one ADDS to this wide exposure a thorough, daily, SEQUENTIAL SKILL DEVELOPMENT this produces a very, very capable child at a very EARLY age. Teaching a preschooler any skill involves an inordinate amount of work for you as the parent/teacher in the beginning, but it means far less work for you later. If you proceed line upon line, precept upon precept, a child can eventually take off like a rocket... exponentially.

    Teaching preschoolers is some of the hardest teaching there is because it demands hours and hours of hovering over BEGINNINGS... whether it be with academics or chores or character training. For example, in the teaching of handwriting, every letter must be taught with the correct STROKE until the proper WAY becomes habit, because the child will live with this HABIT the entire rest of their life. Get it in the brain with the WRONG strokes to begin with, through lack of vigilance, and it becomes almost impossible to erase the inferior neuron-networking later on.

    The same is true for teaching cursive writing, speed-typing, spelling, tooth-brushing, hair brushing, ballet positions, tennis strokes, multiplication tables, or learning any musical instrument. It is all attached to the autonomic nervous system which then HARD-WIRES it for life. This dynamic holds true for the shaping of the child's attitudes and character training, as well. These are the years to “make hay!" The greater the vigilance, the greater the outcomes. Communist visionaries have said, "Give me a child until he is five and I'll have him for life."

    Since the EMOTIONAL capacity and fragile nervous system of a preschooler can't take much new skill development at one dose, you have to teach in short spurts, and change activities frequently. Since a preschooler's entire security is built upon what they are confident of and ALREADY know, they return to familiar songs and familiar stories to re-establish their range and bearings...AND return to mom and dad at a full gallop whenever they’ve been separated for a while. The tragedy of day care and preschools is that they rip the child away from the parent at the very ages the child NEEDS the parents to establish SECURITY in their fragile psyches...a security they will depend upon for the rest of their lives. It is the job of the parent/teacher to coax them out of their comfort zone ACADEMICALLY and to do it incrementally and in small enough bites that they don't realize it is happening. Picture the ultimate preschool learning experience to be like that of a child climbing a ladder slowly enough to get good academic footing on each rung before moving to the next...WHILE mom and dad HOLD the ladder of a secure RELATIONSHIP at its base.

    Dare to move scores of academic subjects forward in LITTLE enough bites and the success of the preschooler can amaze you over time...to say nothing of the confidence and capacity he or she exhibits years later as an adult.

    In summary, teaching preschoolers is all about setting down the preliminary freeways and interstates in the brain upon which all future country roads will eventually hang. The more roads you lay down before the age of 6, the brighter, more refined the eventual adult can become.

    For many more ideas on teaching preschoolers, order Preschool Pizzazz, 12 Optimum Ways to Trigger the Brain, No Monkey Business, and The Right Stuff.

    The longevity of love

    Tuesday, 08. February 2011 by Renee Ellison

    Image In this day of run-away divorces, the results of these break-ups are sadder than we can imagine, because when a spouse "jumps ship" out of a marriage, he or she never gets to understand the LONGEVITY of love. Without staying committed for a lifetime, a person does not get to see what love TURNS INTO after a long, long time? How does it express itself after 30, 40, 50 years? What does it SEE about the frailty and complexity of personhood in the spouse (and consequently in oneself) over time? What does a spouse come to understand about love's substantial underpinnings? What does he (or she) comprehend about the STRENGTH and moral virility of real love, the endurance, the rummaging around in the bankruptcy of one's heart, only to turn and lay hold of YHWH's sure renewal time and time again? To "jump ship" means we miss understanding that part of God that is His very essence: long, hovering, committed love and the self-sacrifice to do BOTH parts of the covenant, if that's what it takes. God IS love...not simply that SORT of love.

    Movie script writers delight in showing the build-up to love, the engagement, the marriage "event", and then the movie ends. The real glory, however, is a hidden one, that shows itself in the long "afterwards". We must sit at the feet of the three persons of the Godhead to see how THEY have managed it with each other forever and ever. We would do well to sign on for the apprenticeship that is possible through much gazing there. There we shall see what real love acts like in longevity, in deference for the glorification of the OTHER. The Trinity has done it for all time, and never missed a beat or a day to express it. Imagine it.
    Filed Under: Spiritual tips

    Debt-free living

    Sunday, 06. February 2011 by Renee Ellison

    Image We are no novices in sharing financial principles, having helped numerous families walk through financial nightmares at pretty deep levels. We've been in the trenches with them and seen some patterns repeat themselves. We've written three booklets on the topic of financial management that contain summaries of many principles taught in financial seminars and books, but through these booklets people can have this information quicker and easier.

    The bottom line?
    You never want to be in debt to anyone, whether it be for ten dollars or a thousand, because all debt presumes on the future.
    Debt presumes that the economy will stay the same.
    Debt presumes that you will have a job.
  • It presumes that you will still be healthy enough to work for the full duration of time needed to pay off the debt.

  • It presumes that you won't be in an accident that curtails your earning power.

  • It presumes that there are no power outages, layoffs, or national emergencies.

  • It presumes that even if you DO work, you'll have EXTRA to use to pay not only current bills but pay loans BACK. Almost no one ever has extra. Our banker tells us that most people live hand to mouth and that families with actual savings accounts with anything IN them are rare.

  • It presumes that you can take prolonged chronic financial stress. Just carrying the KNOWLEDGE of your own debt sabotages your sleep, your motivation, your energy, and your moods, and creates guilt, remorse and depression.

  • It does not allow you to follow the Lord fleet-footedly, should unforeseen opportunities present themselves, because you are trapped in prior self-made commitments.

  • Further, debt can damage or wreck relationships. No one ever loans money without a subtle hovering expectation that goes with it. You don't get out from underneath that steady gaze/ requirement/ censor of you until you've paid the last dime.

    Remedy: the faster you want to get out of debt, the more RADICAL your actions must become. There are only two variables you have to work with: making more money around the edges and spending less. That's it. That's the secret formula. Increase your income and/or cut your expenses down to bare bones. This is financial gravity. No one defies gravity. It is fixed. There is no such thing as financial "instruments" in the Bible. The current condition of the United States proves it. The party is over.

    The fastest route to cash in your pocket by nightfall? Sell everything you can part with, that you will not have to turn and around and re-buy. Sell it on E-Bay, on Craig's List, and/or by word of mouth and posted on grocery store bulletin boards. (Work at this online selling and notice-making AFTER you have job hunted all day, when you are exhausted. Do this work around the edges of wage earning hours, because "the hand of the diligent will rule.") After you get a job, pick up additional work around the edges whenever you can get it...babysit, clean houses, stuff envelopes at home...do sit-down, less physically taxing, more mental jobs....etc. Get rid of any luxury or anything kept for emotional warmth, if it costs you even a dime to keep. That includes pets. You can have all this stuff back again AFTER you are out of debt. Cut your repeating monthly expenses to almost nothing. Find out someway to not even pay rent, if you must. House-sit. Go after debt like a bulldozer. When you've paid off the last dime, throw a party!!! Being TOTALLY out of debt will feel delicious. It is worth every sacrifice to achieve that state as quickly as possible.
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