Biblical and Practical Thoughts on Parenting, Part 22: How to Bless Others

God has so constructed the inward man that he has emotional and physical needs that can only be met by affirmation, acceptance as to intrinsic worth, encouragement, and unconditional love.  We all have the desire and need to receive “The blessings” from others.  Others include both our heavenly Father and earthly brothers and sisters.  Neither is to be excluded if we are to receive true holistic blessings(s).

The essential elements include:

 1) A meaningful touch – This includes handholding, hugging, kissing, and all types of  bodily contact that have the purpose of communicating love and affection.

2) A spoken word – This element can demonstrate love and a sense of worth by the time involved, and the message(s) delivered.  Its repetitive nature is crucial.

3) Expression of high value – This involves our passing along a message to others that affirms their intrinsic worth and value as persons.  Praising others as valuable is the key idea.

4) Picturing a special future – This is the uniquely prophetic aspect.  What do our words tell others we believe the future holds for them?  How do our present descriptions (nicknames) of others lay the foundation for future attitudes and actions on their part?  How often it is that children fulfill the earlier expectations and predictions of a parent and friends, for good and bad.  Positive words of encouragement as to future possibilities are those which will bless rather than curse.

5) An active commitment to see the blessing come to pass – This characteristic is both God-ward and man-ward.  Godwardly, we are to commit others to His blessing and will.  Manwardly, we are personally to make the commitment to spend whatever time, energy and resources are necessary to bless others.

From Gary Smalley and John Trent, The Blessing

For more in this series, see here.

Biblical and Practical Thoughts on Parenting, Part 21: Yardsticks for Love

As we continue this series, I wanted to share more wisdom from Howard Hendricks, adapted from “Yardsticks for Love.”

1)  True love involves a responsiveness to the “total self” of the one loved.  You do not fall in love with a body.  You fall in love with a person.  Indeed it is better stated:  “You grow in love with a person.”  In a proper love relationship you enrich the totality of the other person’s life.

2)  In true love there is not only a feeling of pleasure but also of reverence.  Do you ever look at your wife or your husband and think, God gave her to me?  God hand-tooled him for me?

3)  True love has a quality of self-giving.  God so loved the world that He GAVE.  Many people are in love only with themselves.  The smallest package in all the world is the person who is all wrapped up with himself.  But in true love, a person thinks more of the happiness of others than he does of himself.

4)  Love embraces a willingness to take responsibility as well as to accept joy.  A person constantly asks himself, not what he can get out of a relationship, but what he can give to it.  For example, marriage is not just a matter of finding the right partner – It’s a question of being the right person.

5)  True love is marked by unusual joy while in the company of the other and pain in separation.  Magnetism and companionship develops in love.

6)  There is a mutual enjoyment of each other without constant need of physical expression.  It is joy simply to be in the presence of the one you love.  Many of you know the great satisfaction there is just being in the same room with that special one.

7)  True love has a protective attitude.  You desire to shield the one you love from any harm, from any injury, from any damage, from anything that will in any way be detrimental.    Food for thought:  One of the most lethal weapons in a relationship is the little chipping at one another with sarcastic barbs.  This is especially hurtful when done in front of others.  You develop a person only by magnifying his strengths, never his weaknesses.  Take pride in each other.

8)  In true love there is a feeling of belongingness.  The person in love always thinks of himself in relationship to the other person, and it’s a beautiful way to live.  What is he doing?  What is she doing?  What is he thinking?  What is she feeling?

9)  True love has a feeling that you understand each other unusually well.  You feel the same way about important things because there is a fusing of minds.  When a couple’s communication system is developed, each learns how the other thinks.

10)    Love matures.  It is dynamic in its growth.  Real love, centered in Christ, takes on the characteristics of Christ.  It begins to resemble the love Paul described in 1 Corinthians 13.

Biblical and Practical Thoughts on Parenting, Part 20: The Danger Zone

One of the most challenging aspects of parenting teenagers comes when advising them in relationships. Here are some thoughts on “the danger zone” of dating.

Your relationship is definitely not true love…

  • When you are expected to compromise your values (to have sex or any other physical contact that is inappropriate, for example, or to lie to your parents so you can be together).
  • When you are expected to compromise your health by drinking or taking drugs.
  • When you are expected to change your appearance (by losing more weight than you should, wearing more makeup than you prefer or dressing in a style you aren’t comfortable with).
  • When the person you’re seeing hits you or uses any kind of physical force.  (Don’t dismiss this by saying this only happens when he or she is drunk.  That in itself is a danger sign).
  • When the person you are seeing takes pleasure in insulting you.
  • When you are in the relationship to please or impress others, such as friends or parents.
  • When one person’s needs are more significant than the other person’s needs. (Girls, take note: There is something in a lot of us that wants to fix the problems of other.  But if your guy has a drug or drinking problem or other serious emotional struggle, it will take much more than your concern to solve the problem).
  • When sexual attraction is the focus of the relationship.  (Clue: You don’t spend much time talking).

You can read more of this series here.