Monday, December 26, 2011

A Safe Place

Cottage on the grounds of the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska

This morning I pulled out a book called Christlike Parenting that I read several years ago. This book has so many well-articulated insights that when I read it, I seriously "porcupined" it. (In other words, I put enough sticky tabs next to passages that caught my attention that the book looked like a porcupine by the time I finished).

I got Christlike Parenting back out because I sensed I was starting the day all too much like a real porcupine--prickly toward my children as I saw this or that wrong they'd done. I flipped open the book to one of the tabs and read. I found the Lord had led me to just the right reminder:
"As parents, it is our responsibility to create a Christlike 'world' in our homes, a safe place where children behave because they enjoy the pleasant consequences of doing so, rather than to avoid the unpleasant consequences of behaving badly. It is a world in which a child thinks 'I know my parents will appreciate me,' rather than thinking, 'I'm only doing this to get my parents off my back,' or 'I am only doing this because I don't want to get beat on' (verbally or physically)." Glenn Latham, Christlike Parenting, pg.52
I immediately thought of Proverbs 16:24:
"Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."
I think the proverb could be paraphrased in these ways (and probably many more):
"Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to my child."
"Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the relationship."

"Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the family."
Words that build up and demonstrate gratitude have such power! God designed encouraging words that way, and He designed we humans to need encouragement. When we nurture our children with words, they are more likely to be attracted to us and our love of Christ, rather than being repelled by us and that which is most important to us--our Saviour. What a simple tool encouraging words are and they're always right at our disposal! But, of course, the use of any tool takes intentionality.

I finished my perusal of Latham's book begging the Lord to help me make our home the "safe place" the author describes, giving me the the will to bathe my children in words which will build them up and encourage a hunger for a personal relationship with Jesus.
(I want to state plainly that Mr. Latham shares many ideas in his book with which my husband and I DO NOT agree. For example, he does not believe in the use of the rod, while we see clear evidence that the Bible commands us to use the rod under certain circumstances and ALWAYS with a humble, anger-free heart. If you purchase the book, please pass each of the author's thoughts through the sieve of the Bible.)

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