This past weekend was a memorial service for a beloved member of the church that I serve. Even though I haven’t been at the church any more than a year, it was nice to hear the stories of life served faithfully to the Lord. Not only faithfully, but with so much joy toward his friends and family.
It made me think of my memorial service someday and how my family will remember me when I am gone. Will they remember me as a person filled with joy and happiness or just a grump?
I say that because I know that I can be too hard on my children. I only know this to be true, because my wife lets me know and I am thankful for a spouse who isn’t afraid of honesty and letting me know that I am not fair with my boys.
The problem that I have with my children is that my expectation may be too high at times for their maturity level. It’s a mixture of my lack of patience with their mistakes and thinking too much into the future.
I came across a Bible story that I have read so much that sometimes I skim through it. But this time I looked a little closer.
It’s the story of the prodigal son. And I want to look more closely at verse 17-20.
But when he (the son) came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.” ’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him (ESV)
Something that I didn’t notice is that the son isn’t sorry for what he did. The story doesn’t show or tell of the son’s remorse for his mistakes; it only says that he noticed he was hungry and his father’s servants eat better food than what he is currently eating. So he comes up with a sappy speech to give to his dad.
Have you ever practiced a speech? If you have, you know prepared statements are not typically sincere. A prepared statement usually is trying to convince someone to act on something. Maybe you wanted to sell something? Perhaps you seek to win an argument? Sometimes it could be to show honesty or love, but not always. I don’t practice good loving speeches to my wife because you feel the words.
The son was not giving a feeling speech; he was trying to convince his father to hire him as a servant.
But the father does something that I have a hard time doing with my children when they make stupid mistakes. The father doesn’t ask the son anything the why? The father embraces and loves.
If this were me, I would have asked some questions? Maybe would have the least waited for an honest apology. But the father just embraces and loves.
What I take from this story, is that maybe I need to love first my children when they make mistakes. Instead of waiting for remorse, I should embrace them before they can go into their practiced speech.
My marriage is wonderful. Is it perfect? No, but it is still wonderful. Do we have disagreements, annoyances, and spats of anger? Yes, but there is something that keeps our marriage wonderful and that is commitment.
Commitment is what holds a marriage together, and in my opinion the most important element in a marriage.
First, without commitment passion will fade. Can passion happen without commitment? Yes, passion happens even in the most uncommitted relationships. But the passion between uncommitted couples will fade faster. Eventually, will die out and will not be reignited again. That is commonly called “falling out of love,” and the couple goes their separate ways. Committed couples know that passion does fade and could die, but through that hard times, it can be reignited again. They make the effort to build passion back in their lives, because they are committed to each other.
Second, without commitment intimacy cannot flourish. Can intimacy happen without commitment? Yes, but intimacy with uncommitted couples intimacy growth is stunted. It is stunted, because couples cannot be completely honest with each other. Honesty is the nourishment in a marriage, but honesty cannot happen if they are worried about upsetting each other. How can a marriage have emotional intimacy, if they cannot be honest with their feelings? How can a marriage have spiritual intimacy, if they cannot discuss their faith? When commitment is evident in the marriage, honesty is there and intimacy will flourish.
That is why I feel commitment is the most element part of a marriage. Commitment keeps a marriage strong, when passion is lacking. Commitment keeps a marriage growing because intimacy has a change to flourish.
If commitment is in question, I encourage you to look at your vows again, and make a recommitment to your marriage. Make it clear that your marriage will work, but it needs to be a decision you both make.
If one person is committed, I encourage you to find marital counseling. Marriage cannot be held together by one person, it needs to be held together by each other.
Marriages are not perfect. There is no marriage in this world that is without its faults. But there are ways to make an imperfect marriage; healthy. The best way to key a marriage healthy is to eliminating any sense of fear or anxiety in a relationship. Some marriages, the couple walks around the house on eggshells trying not to get each other upset. Their marriage, instead of a bonding relationship based on love and respect, it has become a war zone.
Marriage should not be a war zone.
How can a marriage survive if love and respect are not unconditional? Your spouse should be the person you are able to be completely honest with them and not worried they might go Frank Underwood on you. You should not need to worry about them “kissing and telling” all your intimate moments. Hopefully those are things that are considered personal and private, and not meant to be opened to the public. If those things have not been talked about it the privacy, then you need to do that asap.
Intimacy cannot survive in a relationship if fear and anxiety are present. It will suffocate any relationship, and it can be extremely hard to get rid of once it appears. Why? Because once trust is broken by anything, especially by fear, it takes a long time to come back and when it does it will not be completely the same.
What if you have fear in your relationship already? Is there any hope? You can eliminate fear, but it takes a cooperative effort. You need to keep the dialog open to discuss, but it is important to do so privately. Don’t be that couple that bickers about their dirty laundry in public. It is embarrassing and you should be embarrassed to talk about such things in public. But once you have privacy, you need to be open and honest with your feelings. The spouse needs to show and be sympathetic. Having open dialog attached with sympathy, will help start building trust and confidence. Then you need to remember hurt feelings and try not to do that again. You will still hurt each other, but if the dialog option is present, then intimacy can easily be restored.
Parents have a lot of roles. We are cooks, barbers, gardeners, negotiators, fixer-ups and many more. But one role that can be tiresome is being the all-knowing. Kids are question magnets. I have never taught my children, the word “Why?”, but they sure picked it up somewhere.
This role is something that can be exhausting, just by the sheer amount of questions in a given day. Do we know every answer for every question? No, but our kids sure think we do. Kids won’t ask logical questions all the time either, sometimes they are completely insane. How do you an answer the questions that you can’t answer?
Here are some of my tips for the slew of questions.
First, make sure you are open to hear them. Part of the questions is the openness of your time for them. Just writing this blog, I was asked a few questions. It took me a few seconds, to look at them and answer. It’s not a time consuming process.
Second, make sure you are honest with them. You won’t know every answer to every question, but being honest about your unknowns won’t make them stop asking you questions. Trust me, there are plenty of questions that I said, “I don’t know,” and it has never stopped them for asking me more questions.
Finally, as they get older encourage them to find the answers to their own questions. Some questions are easy to answer like, “Where are my shoes/socks/toothbrush?” But some questions go a little deeper. Helping them discover the answers themselves will help them develop necessary habits for later in their life.
For all my all-knowing parents, always listen, be honest and help them discover all the answers in life. What you do know, will make your children stronger as they grow older. Good luck.
Honesty is a behavior, both action and words that directed toward being truthful. Honesty is an essential characteristic of God. For the Bible is to be completely true, God would need to have honesty, for if the Bible had a little dishonesty, and God must be liar.
In Isaiah 45:19b, God says “I the Lord speak the truth: I declare what is right.”
Honesty is a needed quality in all Christians, and one that a Christian family needs to have in their homes.
For parents, being honest with our children builds trust. If you are dishonest with your kids at an early age, than as they get older they will not be able to trust yous. If you are continually breaking promises or lying to them, how do you expect them to trust you. Honesty is an important element in your relationships.
How to Be Honest?
First one must show and have integrity. Integrity is saying and doing what you believe. If you tell your child, church is important for them, but for you its okay to skip. Then your words and actions are not matching, which shows little integrity. Words and actions must match.
Honesty is also being fair. Fairness in the family is not sameness. A parent should not treat all their children the same for a variety of reason. Your children have different variables like gender, love languages and temperaments. It is immature of us to think we can treat different children the same. Fairness is about deservedness. If your child deserves praise, give them praise. If your child deserves to reprimanded than reprimand.
Side note about honesty. “Brutally honesty” is not honesty, it is rudeness. Edmund Burke once said, “Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength.” Never be rude to your children. You will cause more harm pain to your children and is the exact opposite of building godliness.
Next is Building Compassion