Posts Tagged ‘Christian family’

Sherrylee and I are reading in 1 Peter right now. I was re-reading chapter one yesterday and got stuck on the phrase “empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors.”

18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

Is Peter writing to Gentiles and talking about the empty life handed down by Greek philosophers to most of the Gentile world of the first century? Or did he intend to include the empty life the Jews had received from Jewish legalism and scholasticism that developed after the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians?

Or was Peter actually talking to the grandparents of Cassie, Kellan, Canon, Carter, Caroline, Leighton, Anna, Olivia, and Norah?? Don’t we have to take his words personally?

If I am going to be an ancestor, then I really don’t want to hand down an empty way of life to the gkids—not a single one of them. So what do I do as a grandparent to avoid this?

According to Grandparents.com, there are more than 70 million of us grandparents in the United States today, and perhaps surprisingly, the average age is 48. If you live to be 80, you could be a grandparent for over thirty years!!  You need to make some plans and commitments if you don’t want to leave your grandkids an empty life.  Here’s what I’m thinking

  • Grandparents have money! We control 75% of the nation’s wealth and have the highest average income of any other age group.  So, do I pass on a life built around consuming, around accumulating, around toys, around entertainment? Or do I pass on a life focused on generosity, on unselfish giving, on modest living so that others may thrive?
  • Grandparents want to have fun! Grandparents spend 100 billion dollars a year on entertainment and another $77 billion on travel (www.grandparents.com). We’ve worked hard and now we want to play hard—what’s wrong with that?  Well, what the grandkids see is the playing hard, not the working hard, so they learn to play. What they see is me spending my time and money on myself, and that is what they learn to do for themselves as well.
  • Grandparents volunteer more! So take the grandkids with you! Now that’s the way to fill up a child’s life!
  • Grandparents contribute 45% of all cash donations to non-profits! So let your grandchildren help you select where you will give. Let them put the check in the envelope or go online and show them the website.
  • Grandparents have influence! Seventy-two percent of grandparents care for grandchildren regularly and almost six percent of households are multi-generational. I wonder what that number would look like if it included grandparents who live within five miles of their grandchildren!  How do you spend your time with the grandkids? Is it just random, is it only about fun? Do you ever talk? Do you ask them about important stuff—not just their little league batting average.

I can hear the moans now, “But I raised my kids and I’m finished thinking about others. Don’t I deserve to just do what I want?” Do you remember Solomon’s conclusion after he used his power, his wealth, and even his wisdom to research what life is like if you do what you want! He did just what you are feeling and the results were  . . . emptiness!  Is that really the inheritance you want to leave for your grandchildren?

I really love my children and my grandchildren. And you do too! So

  1. If I am going to be a good ancestor, then I can’t retire from being a person of active faith.
  2. If I am going to be a good ancestor, then I will never earn the right to be selfish!
  3. If I am going to be a good ancestor, then I must intentionally teach my grandchildren the way of God, by the way I live and directly in conversation with them.

. . . to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen (Eph. 3:21)





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I grew up with two sisters and two brothers. I was the oldest child, so I was old enough to inherit a script from my parents for raising both boys and girls.

The scripts we get from our parents are two-edged swords, cutting both ways: as young parents probably our first or most immediate tendencies are to simply replay that script and do exactly what our parents did. Wisdom in parenting may often be, however, seeing opportunities to improve that script, sometimes even completely re-writing it.

Then when we marry, we introduce another parenting script into the house. Blending those scripts is one of the first challenges new parents have—and an ongoing project as long as they are actively parenting children.

First , let’s talk about dealing with your parenting scripts from your own parents:

1.            If you had wonderful, loving parents, then you know that they would want you to be an even better parent than they were, so don’t feel guilty about improving the script. It is not in any way an attack or insult to your parents.

2.            Recognize that you are not raising your children in the same environment or context that your parents did, so the new situation may require new approaches. Recently our two second-grade grandchildren each needed to interview their Grandad for school, and one of the questions each of them asked was how is it different today than it was when I was in second grade.  I hardly knew where to begin. My parents didn’t have to deal with drugs in schools, sex on TV—we only had three channels!—internet access, even premier kids’ sport leagues and serious competition in the second grade!

3.            Your family configuration is probably different from your parents’, introducing a different dynamic than what you grew up with. My dad worked six days a week and was gone from 7 until evening every day except Thursday, when he got a half-day off. We only had one car and four kids under 8 years old. Does that sound like your family? It’s not like any of our children’s families, so they, of course, need to approach parenting differently.

4.            Your children are unique, and not like your parent’s children, so their parenting needs are different. Sherrylee and I are pretty convinced that kids come into the world with their own personalities and gifts given from God. The uniqueness of each child would argue for a uniquely appropriate parenting styles.  Our three children all required very different parenting approaches. One required structured discipline, one required lots of supportive encouragement, and the other required bribery!! (And I’m not saying which was which J!)

God has given YOU the spiritual gifts you need for the children He has given you! Be confident that even a bad script is something that God has allowed for a reason. You are a parent because He made you one. You are a parent because He wants you to raise those children.

Those kids you have in your house are HIS kids! And He has given them to you for His purposes. So have confidence that He has and will give you all the experience, all the history, all the scripts, and all the tools you need to be a parent just like He wants you to be.

Be strong and courageous—and don’t be afraid!

Next, we’ll talk about the challenge of blending parenting scripts.


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I just watched a CNN video report about a website at the University of Chicago that provides hook-up opportunities for students, hook-ups being casual, no-strings-attached sexual experiences.  Two hundred students have signed up already because it’s “a lot of fun,” and a good way to “unwind.” Chastity is curable if detected early is one of the taglines on the site! (View the CNN report )

According to the Center for Disease Control report in 2009,  46% of high school students reported having sexual intercourse. Across the U.S., 5.9% of students reported having sexual intercourse before age 13. Furthermore, 13.8% of high school students reported having had at least four different partners–and females students reported greater sexual activity in the last three months before the survey was taken than males.

If you wait until your kids are teenagers to become concerned about purity and holiness, you are years too late!

Here are some suggestions for you who still have young children to consider!

1.  Mom and Dad must model purity and holiness consistently and not just in the area of sexuality. As I have said before, I think this means pure speech, pure jokes, pure media, pure computing, pure friendships, pure work ethics—just holy living! Hypocrisy—even perceived hypocrisy– will completely erase all of the good words you and all the Sunday school teachers in the Bible-belt might say to your child.

2. Be black-and-white about what is pure and holy! No matter who is doing it, sexual intercourse outside of marriage is wrong! Getting drunk is wrong. Vulgar (unholy) language is wrong! Looking at pornography is wrong! As adults, we recognize how to deal with borderline stuff, so we allow judgments and finer distinctions, but children need big, black-and-white boundaries until they know good from evil. Save your discussions of gray areas or exceptions until they are much older.

3.  Optional boundaries—actions that are not in violation of God’s law, but not good for children– may be better taught as “family rules,” not God’s rules. We did this with drinking alcohol. We decided with our first child to never keep alcohol at home or serve it at home. We did not want to send the message that it was a sin to drink alcohol because we did not believe that. The message we wanted to send was that children—especially teenagers—should not drink alcohol. 

You may have to make decisions about gambling, types of clothing, movie ratings, certain types of hangouts, even certain video games and maybe some verbal expressions. The danger of making something God’s rule without it really being concretely commanded by God is that as the children get older, they may come to a different opinion about biblical teachings and feel like you have either not been truthful or accurate with them.  In either case, young people are tempted then to lump all of “God’s rules” into one big pile and get rid of all of them.

4. Help them choose friends whose parents have similar values to yours. You should try to be very consistent about this as long as you can because your influence over friendships tends to diminish with each year of school.  This also means being aware of the people YOU choose to be friends with—and with which values they are raising their children.  Don’t sacrifice your kids to your own friendships.

By the way, this is where “family rules” can help you keep your kids from learning to be judgmental towards other parents or children who have different “family rules.” Just remember, family rules do not replace God’s rules; they are just training wheels until the child can ride the bike by herself.)


In the world we live in, even we Christians almost feel embarrassed to use words like purity and holiness. Chastity and modesty seem like words our grandparents might have used.

As you pray for wisdom to be a good parent, ask God to give you quiet strength to be pure and holy and to give your courage to use the words with your children—not in a preachy way. Maybe you could teach them the old but simple song Purer In Heart, O God

Purer in heart, O God, help me to be;

May I devote my life wholly to Thee;

Watch Thou my wayward feet, Guide me with counsel sweet;

Purer in heart, help me to be.


Purer in heart, O God, help me to be;

Teach me to do Thy will most lovingly;

Be Thou my Friend and Guide, Let me with Thee abide;

Purer in heart, help me to be.


Purer in heart, O God, help me to be;

That I Thy holy face one day may see;

Keep me from secret sin, reign Thou my soul within;

Purer in heart, help me to be.

(Words: Mrs. A.L Davison)

Don’t worry about the King James’ English. It will help your kids when they have to read Shakespeare in the 8th grade!

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