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The key to a child’s heart is your attentiveness

Monday, 30. June 2014 by Renee Ellison


The best way to achieving closeness with your children, especially within larger families, is to keep rotating children in your mind’s-eye focus.  Go through them all, giving away your time, your life, your conversation, your listening ear, your involvement in their wee projects, wishes, and aspirations, and then start all over again at the top of the list.  This is what Charles and John Wesley’s mother did with 17 children; their mother continually rotated her focus.  As a result of that focused, attentive training, those two sons influenced all of the known world.  Deliberate attentiveness is the key to your child’s heart, and also is the key to drawing his affections toward you.

Since your time is limited (whose isn’t?), be keenly conscious of using that time well.  Don’t choose that time to be preoccupied.  The opportunities to influence a childhood slip through the hour glass all too quickly.

Remember, too, to see your home life through your children’s eyes, and aim to bring them happy memories of your life together.  These memories will live on with them, just as your own childhood memories are fixed in your spirit.  Always aim at making these memories and improving them.

You are grooming the character of your own forever-friends.  You will live with their character, so make hay in that department while they are still pliable.

I heard this quote years ago and clung to it in my own parenting.  “Love your children as if you won’t have them next year—but train them as if they won’t have you.”

Pitting an adolescent against his better self

Friday, 20. June 2014 by Renee Ellison


The name of the game in training adolescents over any matter is to pit them against themselves—removing yourself as much as you can out of their boxing ring.  How?  By continually showing them how they really box with only themselves, because they will increasingly have to live with their own results.  Your goal is to help young people progressively internalize godly convictions, so that they want to please God (not you) by their daily choices.

Try to show them that if they will do this current thing which you request, it gives them an edge over their peers, or competition, or helps them have a faster head-start in life, or helps them choose their long-term self over their short-term self.  Seek to show them that you are restraining them or directing them in certain directions for their own advantage.

If you are really having a rough time with your adolescent you could try a little reverse psychology.  Tell them it would really be far easier for you to just lay down on the job and let them do “whatever”.  Tell them, “After all, I already have a good reputation.”  “I already have a paid-for house.”  “I already have an education.”  “My life is already set.”  “It is YOUR LIFE that YOU will have to live with!”  “Just tempt me!”

You might have a discussion sometime with your adolescent about what it takes to build an outstanding reputation well.  Spend some time explaining that a reputation is a fragile thing; it is far-reaching in its implications.  Explain that you build it day by day, action by action, and you can never get it back to rebuild it differently, if you happen to muff it up.  Explain that it is not just who you know but it is who they know that you really display yourself in front of, because once a reputation gets out there in the big wide world—it soon becomes irretrievable and widespread.  Your reputation flies out of the box in a hurry—like down feathers sprung from a pillowcase on a stormy day.  If it goes bad, you cannot recall it from the four winds. 

You could tell your son or daughter, for example, “Someone you work for might know someone else whose job offer to you will really give you the good breaks in life, later.  It is not just the people you see, but the people they are related to and know among their friends where there may be the very girl/guy whom you will marry, in the future.  Others simply may not recommend you, if they don’t like what they see now, regardless of what godliness is in your heart in the future.”

When adolescents see that they stand to lose real gold in their own lives, they look at your directives more seriously.  Self-interest is a driving force.  Therefore, you constantly have to paint the long-term self-interest in living color. Convince your child that he is building something here: building something that is irretrievable and terribly important for him.

Wrestling with clothing choices for young adults

Friday, 06. June 2014 by Renee Ellison


Clothing selections are a powerful means of identifying with God’s kingdom or the enemy’s kingdom.   Identity is the key.  The origins of clothing fads and designs are important indicators of which kingdom.  Some current styles of clothing originated with gangs in the inner city; marketers took those ideas and sold them to the middle and upper-class culture, making it, for the first time in history, popular to dress “down.”  Other choices, for example skinny jeans, have been popularized by rock stars.  Alarmingly, skinny jeans can be bad for a guy’s health in the genital area, in addition to the godless emotions they evoke from others.

All of us are familiar with modesty issues created by dozens of clothing choices made by adolescents.  But let’s look at some further challenges that just this one specific clothing choice creates, as an example of how far reaching all kinds of clothing issues can become.

Let’s briefly consider the problems of allowing your young adult to wear tight pants.  “A recent study by Korean doctors suggests that skinny jeans can cause Varicose veins.  Among men, tight trousers may also cause dyspermia due to overheating of the testes.”  A further report states that “according to a new survey of 2,000 British men, tight-fitting jeans can cause urinary tract infections, twisted testicles, bladder weakness and long-term health consequences.”  A third news article reported, “Twisted testicles is a serious condition that occurs `when tight trousers prevent the spermatic cord from moving freely, meaning it twists and leads to testicular torsion which cuts off the blood supply requiring immediate surgery to prevent a gangrenous testicle,’ noted the report.”

Some religious groups have serious concerns about tight pants.  Some Middle Eastern Islamic groups disapprove of tight trousers, because they are considered immodest, overtly sexual, or a threat to local traditions.  In Saudi Arabia, the police are instructed to arrest teenagers who dress this way because the tight jeans are seen as un-Islamic and, when worn by men, a sign of homosexual leanings.  In the Gaza strip, Palestinian youths caught wearing skinny jeans have been arrested and beaten by the police, and have been forced to have their hair cut.  In Sudan and Iraq, young men and women have been imprisoned, raped and even murdered for wearing them. (Source)

These quotes show that clothing is “read” by all sorts of cultures and ideological persuasions.  It is important to get our youth to understand that.  Even when someone beholds them from far away, across a street or park, their appearance visually declares their ultimate allegiance to some world-view.  Clothing is a vital issue, not a peripheral one (as our culture has tried to persuade us by using the phrase: “Pick your battles”).

Clothing choices, really, at their root, are an extension of the heart. When godly youth counselors set out to reform troubled youth in rehabilitation houses, they often begin by changing their clothing and music.

Business people know the importance of dress. In fact, clothing standards are often built right into their training.  Realtors dress to the nines, even in showing houses to a bum client who may himself be dressed in shabby clothing, because the agent realizes that some acquaintance of the bum might be the one who buys the property!  The bum’s relative might even have just received an inheritance, etc.  A real estate agent’s clothing is the primary advertising that can be read by the client.  After some reflection we find that this is true for all people in business, and in society.

I dress professionally, for example, even for tutoring six little unseen, hidden-away children of one family, out in the county.  Why?  I wear a blazer every day so that I look official, like an expensive tutor from London.  It helps me carry authority with them beyond what they are likely to see of their neighbors, for example.  When I arrive, something arrives with me—advertising—and my clothing says “I mean business; this is important work; this is so important, it is worth dressing up for, and now you as a child have to deliver!”

So when guiding your young people in this area, bait your son or daughter with making himself/herself irresistible and important to people, rather than settling for just being one of the current pop crowd. Awakening their long-term self-interest and reputation can help sway them to understand the significance of their clothing choices for their own future.

Further explain, “If you appear to be one thing (belonging to the world) but think you actually belong to a different kingdom, godliness, it can be missed by others, just by their observing a simple thing like dress.  Every detail of our life points to one kingdom or another.  People—even the stranger—read details.  So, by your dress whose kingdom are you advancing?  Your Creator’s, or the devil’s?  Whose agenda, really, your own as a child of the King’s, or a magazine’s?”

And so we see, in conclusion, that you do well to wage the battle when your young adult challenges your biblical standards for his clothing.  Persevere.

Six math ditties for conquering problem facts

Tuesday, 22. April 2014 by Renee Ellison


The following six multiplication facts seem to be recurring multiplication challenges for many young children. Learn these ditties and the problem is solved. For more easy math solutions order our Kindle e-book: Teach Math Faster.

6X6 picked up sticks;
their total number was 36

7X7 make friends so fine;
last time I counted, they had 49

8X8 fell on the floor
and when they got up they were 64

6X7 were oh, so blue—
could only count to 42

6X8 went on a date
and then got married at 48

7X8 were in a fix
until the age of 56

Five reasons not to put your children in public school

Wednesday, 16. April 2014 by Renee Ellison


One:  Because God is not allowed there
We should never put our children anywhere where God isn’t also allowed.  This exclusion is a warning sign about what goes on in there.  A place where God is not allowed cannot be blessed—be it a brothel, a bar, or a public school.

This translates to the fact that, like it or not, if you put your child where God isn’t allowed—in a public school—you will, by default, raise a secular child.  You as a parent will simply be unable to offset 12+ years of programming to discount God in all subjects and all of life.  To birth children and then raise them to ignore God, dislike God, hate God is a futile use of one’s womb.  Better the child had not been born than to raise a child at odds with God.  If children grow to have no use for God, they do in fact hate Him.

Millions of believers have lost their child’s faith and personal influence over their child’s soul, through the public school system, to their own GREAT LIFETIME SORROW.  They can’t get these years back.

Two: Public schools have become dangerous places
They are dangerous philosophically, as we’ve already mentioned but they can be, in addition, dangerous physically.  Public schools have now been used as the location for random mass shootings with increasing frequency around the country.  Your “oops” may be too late.  It can happen anywhere.  Homeschooled children are not in graves made by mass violence—because they are not corralled in public areas, caged like sitting ducks.  Because of ever-possible lurking dangers, even en route to schools, parents around the US now routinely personally escort their children to the front doors of their schools.  Gone are the days of letting your children walk a mile to school in the big cities, like many used to do in the good old days.  In addition, schools are now routinely, daily, locked tight—i.e., the windows don’t open and all the doors except those at the front entrance are locked—showing that the school’s personnel themselves are afraid of what could happen.  And to make matters worse, teachers are unarmed.  They don’t carry guns—so in contrast to a public mall where someone might be carrying a concealed weapon and could in a moment protect the whole place against a crazy man/teenager shooter—schools are not so armed and haven’t a prayer.  They are defenseless.  Your child is safer in your own home.

Three:  Peer pressure can be lethal
Peer pressure has been responsible for more emotional scarring of young people in their most vulnerable years than any other source.  Most every adult has a story of some embarrassing or terrorizing thing that happened there—some insurmountable bully—some tease—some comment that never was forgotten.  The majority of homeschoolers totally escape such emotional harassment via peers and labeling even by teachers.

Moreover, peers tempt.  Homeschoolers, again, do not suffer the degree of temptation routinely found on playgrounds, in school restrooms and hallways.  Peers simply are not adults; they haven’t an adequate experience base to meaningfully mentor another peer.  Nearly all of the influence from peers will be negative.  The scriptures say: “They that walk with the wise WILL be wise.”  Wise mentors are godly adults, not children.  Despite the touted “excellent” curriculum or “phenomenal” teachers, your child will be most influenced by peers.

You will spend virtually hours of unneeded additional training to root OUT of your child in the short evenings what the peers put INTO them in the long day.  This becomes a royal headache for a parent.  Your children’s unscreened peers will complicate your life, not ease it.

Four:  The curriculum is not neutral
All information comes from a source/a persuasion/a world-view.  There is no such thing as neutral information.  Make no mistake; the modern public curriculum is a radical leftist agenda to the core.  You will be parking your child in front of indoctrination—about family issues, political issues, socialism, and debtor economics.  All, lies.  You would not allow someone to pass through your front door with these ideologies—so why would you take your children to sit at the feet of these ideologies and (in the case of private schools and colleges) actually pay for this indoctrination?

Five:  God gave YOU the job of mentoring your own children (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)
This is a command from God, not a suggestion.  In a classroom of 30 children, your child will barely get noticed—no matter how dressed up the teacher gets for back-to-school night.  Your child’s teacher will have his/her own personal problems to deal with up the Ying Yang.  He/she may be reliving what happened over the weekend, texting and phoning relatives, fraternizing with the teacher down the hall—doing her nails at recess, gossiping in the lounge—or zoomed in on his/her favorite pet student, while your child hangs from the chandeliers.  Your child’s everything will fall through the cracks.  It is the difference between having a tender shepherd over your child (or a careful tutor) vs. committing him/her to a prison warden who just paces back and forth outside his/her door, tossing in some scraps now and then.  No teacher will ever be as devoted to your children as you will be.  If you think otherwise, it is a delusion.

For much more along these lines, read the Kindle book, regular e-book or printed booklet of Homeschool Advantages: Spiritual, social and academic.

Wrestling with obedience issues with your children?

Tuesday, 08. April 2014 by Renee Ellison


How did the Messiah, who was perfect, “LEARN” obedience by the things which He suffered? Answer: His Father kept throwing at Him a new and different occasion for obedience—a new “obedience challenge,” so to speak. It was as if the Father said to His Son, “Okay, You passed the last test, now let’s try THIS challenge!” Yeshua’s suffering came in the arena of the COST to Him of submitting His will, but He never stayed in the “valley of decision” about WHETHER or not TO submit His will. His real suffering was all tied to the requirement of even further self-denial. In addition to stripping Himself of divinity—and the environment of divinity (ivory palaces, perfect fellowship, and such)—for a time, He had to further strip Himself of self-will while HERE. He was not allowed to make Himself more comfortable, or to carve out a little peaceful nook and cranny once in a while, while here. Nope, at every turn the spoon of dessert was dashed out of His hand.

Because submitting our will to the will of another isn’t fun, we all DO suffer a bit each and every time we do it. We die to self. But that process, unlike anything else in all of life, eventually thoroughly matures us, fits us for heaven, and for Him.

So, what do we learn about obedience from scripture to teach to our children? We learn that true obedience is marked by two things: 1) it must be INSTANT, and 2) it must be CHEERFUL. Delayed obedience is disobedience. And grumpy obedience is clearly disobedience, as well. Let’s test our hypothesis. If Noah had delayed his obedience even a week, he would have been lost in the flood. If he had been grumpy in some way, perhaps protesting that gopher wood was too hard to obtain and that he’d rather build with aspen wood, he would have, again, sunk.

We must make clear to our children that God ALWAYS chooses the man or woman who has ALREADY demonstrated obedience in prior, LESSER challenges, to do great spiritual feats, never the person who is in the HABIT of disobedience. So to obey is to groom themselves to be used of God in the world, to exert a great and lasting influence.

Bait your children with the very real glories that shall be theirs both in this lifetime and the next when they begin to not only obey, but view obedience as a godly challenge. “Go ahead toss me another one; let’s see if I can do it!” Teach your children the quiet joy of learning to run out to meet these tests with a willing heart, rather than to seek to avoid them with a stubborn heart. Pre-set their POSTURE in relation to all godly obediences, to do what they OUGHT to do, instead of what they would RATHER do. It is the same challenge for us as adults. It is the ultimate challenge in the universe. A man’s responsiveness to God’s will IS the measure of the man.

Proverbs 13:15 nails it: “The way of the transgressor is HARD.” One sin leads to another, and to ever-increasing fallout. Stubbornness can set in like concrete; we never know at what hour we may cross that line forever. We CAN be broken beyond fixing. Proverbs 29:1 warns that “A man who hardens his neck after much reproof will suddenly be broken beyond remedy.” Conversely, the way of the obedient is BLESSED—both in this lifetime and in the one to come.

Say these phrases frequently in your home?...and perhaps mount them on the wall?
Obedience brings blessing.
Disobedience ALWAYS brings sadness.

Turn off the movies!

Wednesday, 19. March 2014 by Renee Ellison


Modern movies are killing the spirits of our children. Make no mistake, modern script writers are re-writing fundamentals, in direct defiance of God.  They are presenting altered realities to the minds of our children.  These are not stories of a boy and his dog, anymore.  These are something else, entirely.

Who is a man?  Who is a woman?  What is a marriage?  (Homosexuality)  What is an animal and what is man?  (Beauty and the Beast—are we supposed to fall in love with beasts?...is sex with a beast next?  The Bible calls this bestiality and forbids it.  We must face squarely that this is where all of this is headed.  It has already arrived in the lyrics of rock music.  This concept is evolutionary at its root—that we are no different from the animals—that we are not made in the image of God.)  Who is the hero?—the one who prays to God, or the one who consults the force and all its minions (wizards, psychic powers, his secret “friend” or aliens of all shapes and sizes)?  Such movies are a deliberate mincing invasion straight into the minds and souls of our children.

In the media, deviance is cleverly always introduced onto the scene or theater first through laughter, but eventually and finally it all becomes normative and wholly acceptable.  Eventually the small excursions in deviance are moved from the edge of theater and from the edge of the plot (used first as sub-plots) to the center.  Swearing, violence, sex and idolatry take over.  These are the ways our children are taught to cope, and the major reality that they now know.  And we desire this?  Foster this?  Enable this?  Do we have three hours of devotions to the living God, in Bible reading and prayer, to offset this?

For 5,900 years parents did not have movies to pacify, calm, or babysit their children, and as a result they produced a different kind of human being.  None of the Israelites allowed someone else to raise their children, either in a pagan school or from a pagan screen.  They did not put them in Pharaoh’s schools, nor in front of the world’s entertainment.  Yes, that meant that Abraham had to figure out what to do with his child all day long.  So he trained him in righteousness, and grew his son’s life skills.  Daniel’s mother, the Messiah’s mother, Moses’ mother all had to do something productive and wholesome the whole life-long day.  This was the norm.

Sadly, today, what is the parent’s convenience will become the child’s addiction. The devil has discovered a way to mainline altered realities into our children, just like a heroin addict mainlines heroin right into his veins.  If a person came into your home espousing these world-views, whispering them into our children’s ears, we would throw him out.  But, instead, because it comes into the home in containment, packaged in living color upon a screen, we march our children to the screen and sit them down in front of these false preachers.  And we leave the room.  These lies about reality are not mainlining into our heads, as parents, for as many hours as they are into our children’s heads.  Not even close, if you add gaming.  We are not experiencing what our children are experiencing, not at all, and we certainly did not experience this degree of unreality in our own formative years.  We are sacrificing our children upon the altar of these deviant realities—the flames engulf their very fragile, emerging souls and spirits, and dive-bomb their entire concept of spiritual truth.

There is another, larger, reality surrounding this one, but we are to go there only through prayer and with God.  He forbids us to enter other realms through mediums, spiritists, wizards, aliens, monsters, supermen and “creatures” found nowhere in this reality.  His warnings are serious.  We can’t handle what is there, and may never be able to get back from there.  Yet we think our children can handle it?! We allow it for hours and hours everyday, while we are freed up to go and do something else?

Our children are not handling it. and spiritual confusion is running rampant in their spirits.  Children now think angels are fairies and that it took magic to raise Lazarus from the dead.  Wake up and determine whether something is devouring the soul of your child.  Realize that if this is so, you will pay for it dearly, both in this life and in the life to come.  Christianity will be a faint memory in the midst of their deliriums, and godly seed will dwindle to hair-raising obscurity—it will hang by a thread.  The scriptures ask: “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”  Where is your child spiritually and mentally these days?  When someone dies in your family, which song do you want your child singing at the funeral:  “When you wish upon a star”, or “Guide Me, Oh Thou Great Jehovah”?  The choice is made by you, hour by hour.

Filed Under: Home management tips

Is your child living in unreality?

Wednesday, 12. March 2014 by Renee Ellison


We are living in a culture that is heavily inundated with altered realities.  Its primary clientele?  Children.  We have our children so “doctored-up” with alternative realities through fantasy, gaming, movies, books and toys that they are hard pressed to know which reality they actually live in.  And even worse, they have no idea which reality is spiritually true.

These days, when you attempt to read a Bible story to someone else’s child, if you ask who the angel is who is warning Joseph to take the baby and flee to Egypt, the child is apt to exclaim: “a fairy!”  When asked how Lazarus was raised from the dead, young children have answered, “magic!”  This is serious disorientation, and we are reaping a whirlwind of future trouble by allowing it, encouraging it, “buying it” (someone out there is buying it or script writers wouldn’t be increasingly producing it; how many Christians are among them?) and babysitting with it by the hour.  This is misguided parenting and intellectual fraud; it is mental abandonment at its zenith.  Do we care as much about what goes into the minds of our children as we do about what’s on their plates for dinner?

The God-head (Christ/the Heavenly Father/the Holy Spirit) does live in another realm—in the only legitimate larger reality—encircling this earthly one.  Sometimes God directly invades this three-dimensional realm of earth in a way that we can see, but at all times He influences and is invested in this reality—far beyond what we understand or know.  His sovereignty enfolds all of this reality.  But there is an enemy, close on His heels, sabotaging that one ultimate reality with invitations to other realities that are filled with tinsel, glitter, falsehood, addiction, titillation, skewed versions of “virtue” (where the bad guy wins), idolatry, witchcraft, rewritten fundamentals (such as, who is a man and who is a woman, and who is a human and who is an animal—and who is something else altogether?), grotesqueness and violence.  In the end, these altered realities deliver nothing but delusion.  They do not “outfit” a person to handle real life problems and real relationships in the only real world there is.  Devastatingly, horrifically, sadly, one direction this unreality is leading the vast preponderence (80%) of young men (according to a study cited by Kevin Swanson on his Generations with Vision program) is into the grip of pornography.

Your children do not need more time being entertained. Put the brakes on.  Instead, their valuable discretionary hours can be far better spent learning life-skills, gaining relational prowess, learning a large conceptual alphabet of how the real world works (i.e. an education—about real subjects like physics, chemistry and biology), enlarging entrepreneurial skills, and maturing an ability to know and deeply worship the One who made them and redeemed them.  How many children today know how to pray…rather than to wish upon a star?  How many know the Bible as thoroughly as their TV set or their electronic communication devices?  Our children might be at our dinner tables these days, but mentally many of them are largely in another realm.  This is frightening.  Wake up.  Say no.  Just one walk through the toy department at Wal-Mart could be enough to make a mother go outside and throw up—if she really comprehends what is there.

The three keys to outstanding parenting (part 3)

Tuesday, 18. February 2014 by Renee Ellison


Third: Dangle the carrot of inspiration

In part one we talked about how good parenting hovers over beginnings; part two was about teaching self-denial.  The final part of this series is that the outstanding parent stays out ahead of the child, dangling the carrot of inspiration.

You know where you are headed with your child.  The child does not. He is clueless.  All he feels is the immediate cantankerous day in front of him and all the spots where he is required to do something his flesh isn’t interested in.  Therefore, you must dangle stories of wonderful outcomes in front of him.  Use missionary and historical biographies to do it.

Get the horizon bigger—the landscape bigger—the awareness bigger.  Go big in exposures to excellent personages, excellent accomplishments, and heroic endeavors.  You are raising royal seed.  Get the reading material big enough, and turn off the media until fourth grade.  NO TV; NO movies.  NONE.  (To expose your children to alternate fantasy realities in preference for time spent with the real-deal will saturate your child with false expectations and untruths forever.  It is no gift.)

Through thick and thin overlay this input with inspiration from the Bible by training a thorough knowledge of it.  How you go about this part is critical.  If you drone on with the King James Version and long adult devotions with your four-year-old, you’ll kill his interest, sure as shootin’.  Instead, create emotional bonding with the Bible by carefully making it his favorite book.  How?  Begin reading easy versions of the Bible (with gorgeous large real-life old paintings, not modern impressionistic pictures).  By reading him the Bible you’ll whet his appetite for something besides a life that is only interested in “what’s for dinner.”

Progressively and incrementally, work up to more difficult versions—but keep your Bible versions as picture versions for about the first ten years.  For the first several years, read the Bible to him, over and over, cover to cover, to show him a life larger than his own.

Start and end with the Bible. There is a reason it is the highest selling book of all time and will still be standing when heaven and earth roll up like a scroll.  We’ll wake up to the Bible and its author.  Careful.  Tiptoe through the tulips.  Using progressively more challenging versions, start by reading at first in your own happy voice, with lots of whistling, whew’s and wows over a split second deliverance or a miracle or two, while tucked closely under your wing will do it.

Vigilantly do this.  We live in a post-Christian era.  What you take for granted in your life of faith, is no more.  The entire culture was raised into the late 1800s on the Bible and the solid values of the McGuffey readers—but no more.  The vast majority of people on the streets today are unfamiliar with even basic key Bible figures and stories.  Clueless.  If we’re not careful here, we’ll rob our children of their God-given hub—their ultimate core.  They’ll have nothing with which to tackle all the vicissitudes of life.  We will have taught them the how of life but forgotten the why.  Might as well stay in bed.  No, you get up and tend to this matter.

Blessings on the use then of these three tools in all your parenting. In review, they are:
1…Hover over beginnings,
2…train your progeny in self-denial,
3…and ever inspire them—stay out in front of them with an ever bigger picture of what life is really all about and what they are growing towards.

Resources note/ ideal beginning versions of the Bible:
Proceed in the following order and you’ll create lovers of the Bible:

    • The full Bible (preferably, in large print) (recommended version New American Standard)

The three keys to outstanding parenting (part 2)

Tuesday, 11. February 2014 by Renee Ellison


Part Two: Teach the process of self-denial

In part one we talked about how good parenting hovers over beginnings.  Today we talk about teaching self-denial.

Teaching your child to deny himself starts with giving him an appetite for Almighty God over an engulfing appetite for self.  This is a tall job for a parent.  Nevertheless, we are given it.  The supreme achievement of the mature adult soul is that it finally learns to have a yielded will to God over all issues.  (It is, in fact, the last lesson we learn conclusively.  God alone tells us when the book closes upon our lives.  We cannot pick the exact hour of our birth, nor of our death.  We are not allowed to pick it—if we are obedient.)  We learn that the soul has a Maker and that we were born into a context.  Amen.  So be it.  The final realization of the refined soul is that God does the best job of “us.”  If we, ourselves, were given prescriptive powers over the parameters of our lives, we would mangle it badly.  Should I be born in Ohio or Tasmania?  Who would want the job?  The place of wonderful repose is to cultivate a sweet contentment with our lot and to tend to our immediate duties with love and charity.  Therein lies our joy.

Thus, the job of parenting is to patiently work at subduing the furtive, insistent, immature lustful will of the child whenever it manifests itself—to prepare the child for ultimately doing this with God.  Sometimes it is our duty to be a brick wall against the child’s unseasoned and unruly impulses.  We are to teach the process—what it feels like to give up, to let go of the clenched fist and teeth and to occupy oneself differently—over and over and over again.  To help surrender the will (of the child) to the benevolent will of another (the parent) is our supreme coaching job.  The flesh squirms terribly under this training—yet loves its end results.

We love ourselves when we are full of self-denial, self-sacrifice and self-giving, but we despise ourselves when our vocabularies have been reduced to I, me, and mine.  It has been said that hell is full of the all absorbing disgruntlement of self.

The wisely administered combination of parental love and firmness delivers a child from his own worst nightmare.  He just doesn’t know it yet. So, cross your child’s will.  Get a supple will living in your child—that is happy and content with all outcomes.  Then lavish the child with surprise luxuries—on your terms and on your turf.  The child will get it—that this is real love.  Isn’t that the way of God with us?  His ultimate yeses are often cloaked in His benevolent nos.  We are for the child.  The child’s best self was never in our doubt, as a parent.  Get it done.  Go after that ugly self-will with a “broom” that will have a clean house.  Be vigilant.  Your child’s happiness depends upon it—both now and in the future.

Next: the last post in this three-part series is the carrot of inspiration.