Archive for the ‘Proverbs’ Category

It’s a school of hard knocks for those who leave God’s path, a dead-end street for those who hate God’s rules. Proverbs 15:10 (MSG)


Dr. Justin Coulson[i], the author of What Your Child Needs From You: Creating a Connected Family, writes that we often try to motivate teens with rewards and punishment—but there are a lot of problems with that approach.  What motivates a teenager is fun stuff such as friends, music, friends, electronic devices and social media, friends, sleeping in, and, yes, friends.  On the other hand, we know what doesn’t motivate a teenager…anything boring such as cleaning up, studying, practicing musical instruments, exercising, etc.

The most often used approach to discipling kids is with carrots or sticks, that is, with rewards or punishment.  For instance, if the kids haven’t done their chores, they don’t get their electronic devices. If they have done their chores, they get pocket money (and devices, etc.). In theory, this could work just fine. But parents struggle every day to put it into practice.

Coulson suggests that rewarding and punishing children based on their actions can send the message that our love is conditional.  Taking ideas from Alfie Kohn’s book Punished by Rewards, Couldson explains some possible other problems with the carrot-and-stick approach:

  1. The promise of a reward is also a promise of a punishment. As he explains, “Implicit in every promise of a privilege is the threat that the privilege or reward can be taken away.
  2. Using rewards and punishments is bad for your relationship. Because children often perceive that rewards mean approval, and approval means love, we may be sending them the message that our love is conditional.
  3. It ignores reasons! When we use this method we fail to recognize the reasons why our child may not be motivated.
  4. Intrinsic motivation is undermined. When children are motivated for the reward, or to avoid the punishment, they’ll put in the smallest amount of effort possible, and as they put in less effort and become even less motivated, the rewards have to increase. (will continue)


Father, we need all your wisdom to help disciple our children.

[i] http://family-studies.org/motivating-kids-without-carrots-and-sticks/?utm_source=IFS+Main+List&utm_campaign=c522b8ed26-Newsletter_100&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c06b05f1ff-c522b8ed26-104541745


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What is desired in a man is kindness, And a poor man is better than a liar. Proverbs 19:22 (NKJV)


Laura T. Coffey[i], of TODAY Parenting, compiled at five unexpected ways to teach kids to be kind and thoughtful as part of their “Raising Kind Kids” challenge  These are great ideas from parents.

  1. Have your child help with pet care. Helping with pet care can teach children empathy and compassion. Make sure that the pet you chose for them is one that is appropriate for their age and that is safe for them.
  2. Travel with your kids — and unplug while you’re away. As one parents writes, “There’s no road rage when you’re skipping stones or trekking up a hill. There’s no cyber-bullying when you’re at a place with no cell phone reception. And there’s no feeling left out of a situation when the only cliques are herds or elk or bison.” She adds, “Take a trip to a National Park. Your kids will learn about wildlife and conservation efforts…They’ll learn how not to disrupt wild animals in their natural habitat, and how to respect living things.”
  3. Help them understand that everyone has a story. As one parent wrote, “Maybe the mean girl at school is desperate for attention because she doesn’t get any at home. Or, the kid that wears the same outfit almost every day to school does so because he doesn’t have any other clothes that fit…When we remember that everyone comes fully loaded with a back story of their own, we’re more likely to judge less and empathize more.”
  4. Realize they’ll tend to copy your habit of saying “thank you.” Tell every member of the family “thank you” even when they do things that are expected and ordinary.
  5. Lead by example. It’s the most powerful tool you’ve got. When we talk about the annoying neighbor, the boring preacher, the horrible music at church, they will end up imitating us. Likewise, when they hear express appreciation for what others do they will follow our example. Actions also show kindness and are a very tangible way of teaching the lesson of kindness.


Father, help me to be kind so I may show and teach kindness.

[i] http://www.today.com/parents/5-unexpected-ways-teach-kids-be-kind-thoughtful-t55986

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She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hand holds the spindle. Proverbs 31:19 (NKJV)


  1. Bradford Wilcox[i], compiled four keys that emerged from the couples she contacted where the wife was the primary breadwinner. These keys are consistent with what we know about what makes for happy marriages among today’s families. The first one is to appreciate the difference a dad makes.  The second one is to keep your sex life hot.  She then added maintaining a shared faith as the third one.  Finally:
  2. Focus on teamwork, not me-work. When we get married we stop thinking of work in terms of our own individual professional status, income, or satisfaction and instead approach work from a more teamwork-oriented perspective.  One of the men in Bradford Wilcox’ research told her: “The measure is not competing W-2’s between man and wife, but creating a life, and managing behaviors that produce good kids.”

The question is how you choose to divide work and family time; that is different for each family.  According to the 2010-2011 Survey of Marital Generosity, spouses who “see their relationship in terms of ‘we’ versus ‘me’” are more likely to report they are happily married, and much less likely to report that their marriage is likely to end in separation or divorce.

One important item needs to be emphasized:  praise and affirmation helps.   Many men feel inadequate as financial providers for their family.  It is critically important that you tell your husband those things you appreciate about him, and what a great husband he is, and how much it means to you that he takes the extra time to help the kids with homework.  Those words can help your husband understand that you feel providing doesn’t just mean money.

The reality is that the four keys that came out of Bradford Wilcox’ research are good not just for households where the mom is the breadwinner, this is good advice for all couples, regardless of who brings home the biggest paycheck.

Father God, help us to work together as a team under your guidance and to triumph together as a couple and as a family.

[i] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2015/06/18/more-than-money-how-to-make-a-marriage-work-when-shes-bringing-home-more-bacon/?postshare=1881434629420032&utm_source=IFS+Main+List&utm_campaign=53b6201f47-Newsletter_87&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c06b05f1ff-53b6201f47-104541745

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She girds herself with strength, And strengthens her arms. Proverbs 31:17 (NKJV)


  1. Bradford Wilcox[i], compiled four keys that emerged from the couples she contacted where the wife was the primary breadwinner. These keys are consistent with what we know about what makes for happy marriages among today’s families. The first one is to appreciate the difference a dad makes.  The second one is to keep your sex life hot.
  2. Maintain a shared faith. Many of the happily married fathers in female breadwinner families Bradford Wilcox contacted credit their shared faith as the glue that holds their marriage together. In general, a shared religious faith is one of the strongest predictors of marital quality.  Research has shown that those couples that report that God is at the center of their marriage, that attend religious services together, and that are involved in the life and mission of their faith community are more likely to say they are very happy in their marriages.   Being engaged in a church gives men a unique sense of purpose as a husband and father as well as a community where a family-centered way of life is honored.  In addition, being part of a faith community also serves as one way to deepen intimacy with their wives; in fact, Bradford Wilcox’ research indicates that couples who share a strong faith are significantly more likely to report high levels of sexual satisfaction.

A shared faith is not only important for our marriage but also for our family and particularly our children.  Take a look at these words:  “Every family is a church, over which the parents preside. The first consideration of the parents should be to work for the salvation of their children. When the father and mother as priest and teacher of the family take their position fully on the side of Christ, a good influence will be exerted in the home. And this sanctified influence will be felt in the church and will be recognized by every believer. Because of the great lack of piety and sanctification in the home, the work of God is greatly hindered. No man can bring into the church an influence that he does not exert in his home life and in his business relations.”[ii]

Father God, help us to have a strong faith, as husband and wife, so we may have a healthy marriage and family relationship.

[i] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2015/06/18/more-than-money-how-to-make-a-marriage-work-when-shes-bringing-home-more-bacon/?postshare=1881434629420032&utm_source=IFS+Main+List&utm_campaign=53b6201f47-Newsletter_87&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c06b05f1ff-53b6201f47-104541745

[ii] White, E.G.  Child Guidance, p. 549

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She is like the merchant ships, She brings her food from afar. Proverbs 31:14 (NKJV)

  1. Bradford Wilcox[i], compiled four keys that emerged from the couples she contacted where the wife was the primary breadwinner. These keys are consistent with what we know about what makes for happy marriages among today’s families. The first one, which we considered yesterday, is to appreciate the difference a dad makes.
  2. Keep your sex life HOT. According to Bradford Wilcox, one of the best predictors of men’s marital happiness is the quality of their sexual relationship. As a wife, you need to make time for weekly date nights, focusing on cultivating a strong sex life, and otherwise making a joint effort to keep the spark alive.  Obviously, all these are challenging tasks when kids are part of a couple’s life, but they are crucial for any marriage.  Sex is especially important if a man is feeling inadequate because he is not the primary financial provider of the family.

Shaunti Feldhahn, the bestselling author of the book For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men, and a wife who has earned more than her attorney husband in recent years, due to her best-selling books, says that “Many women don’t realize that physical intimacy is primarily an emotional need for a man.” She adds that she has “found that when a wife shows her husband that she desires him, it gives him confidence in the other areas of his life. Men carry around a lot of self-doubt, and sexual affirmation truly makes a difference to a man who is struggling.”

These are very encouraging words:  “Your companionship in the marriage relation should be close and tender, holy and elevated, breathing a spiritual power into your lives, that you may be everything to each other that God’s word requires. When you reach the condition that the Lord desires you to reach, you will find heaven below and God in your life.  Remember, my dear brother and sister, that God is love and that by His grace you can succeed in making each other happy, as in your marriage pledge you promised to do.”[ii]

Father God, help us to maintain a healthy sex life so that our marriage will be strong and Satan’s temptations will never win in our marriage.

[i] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2015/06/18/more-than-money-how-to-make-a-marriage-work-when-shes-bringing-home-more-bacon/?postshare=1881434629420032&utm_source=IFS+Main+List&utm_campaign=53b6201f47-Newsletter_87&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c06b05f1ff-53b6201f47-104541745

[ii] White, E.G.  The Adventist Home, p.112.

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She considers a field and buys it; From her profits she plants a vineyard. (Prov. 31:16).

For many men, having a wife who is the primary breadwinner isn’t always easy.  Even though a growing share of married mothers earn the majority of income for their families, some men in homes with female breadwinners find this new reality hard.  Working wives, who are contributing to the financial welfare of their families, are not to blame.  Nevertheless, traditional gender norms can make it harder for female breadwinner families.

According to W. Bradford Wilcox[i], “when she earns more than he does, husbands and wives were less likely to report they are ‘very happy,’ more likely to report they have had marital troubles, and more likely to indicate they have discussed separating in the past year.”  She adds that “another new study, focusing on young adults who were married as of 2001-2011, showed that husbands are also significantly more likely to cheat when their wives earn markedly more than they do.”

Bradford Wilcox poses two questions for consideration:  What’s a family man to do to keep his marriage strong when she earns more? And how can a breadwinner wife best keep the love alive?   She contacted a number of husbands and wives who are happily married in female breadwinner families to get their opinions as a result of which four keys emerged that are consistent with what we know about what makes for happy marriages among today’s families.

  1. Appreciate the difference a dad makes. As the wife, you need to be particularly attentive to and appreciative of all the ways in which your husband plays a unique and important role as a father. Ample research has shown that in general dads are more likely to engage in rough and physical play with their children, to challenge their kids to embrace life’s opportunities, and to take a stronger line when it comes to discipline, compared to moms.  It is important you affirm your husband for his contribution as your kids’ soccer coach, tutor, camping guru, or stay-at-home parent, and to make sure your friends and family know how proud of him you are.


Father God, help me to appreciate and affirm my husband.

[i] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2015/06/18/more-than-money-how-to-make-a-marriage-work-when-shes-bringing-home-more-bacon/?postshare=1881434629420032&utm_source=IFS+Main+List&utm_campaign=53b6201f47-Newsletter_87&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c06b05f1ff-53b6201f47-104541745

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My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands.  (Prov. 3:1 NKJV)

Andrew Fuller, one of Australia’s best-known child and adolescent psychologists, conducted a study about resilience with approximately 16,000 Aussie youth. Resilience, as defined in the dictionary, means to be able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.

Fuller found that the children who were most resilient almost universally agreed with two statements that children with the lowest resilience disagreed with. They were:

I have a parent who cares about me.

I have a parent who listens to me.

Pause for a moment and ask yourself, “Would my children answer ‘yes’ to those two statements?”  You may even ask your children, “Do you feel like I care about you? Do you feel like I listen to you?”

Think about your own growing up years.  What made you feel cared about as a child? When did you feel listened to? And most important, how did feeling cared about and heard make you feel?  You might think that buying the latest technological toys or gadgets, giving them nice clothes or plenty of money, or taking them on some exotic and expensive vacations is what builds your child’s sense of self-worth and resilience.  Or you may be the opposite and think that depriving them of fun, making them work hard, forcing them to hold back their feelings is how you strengthen them against the challenges of this world.  Or you may simply not know how to help your children be more resilient.  Justin Coulson[i]  shares 18 things you might be able to do, starting today, to help your children feel cared for and heard. (We’ll cover these during the next few days)

  1. Stop saying “I’m busy.” You have probably heard that to a child, LOVE is spelled T-I-M-E. If that’s true, what do “I’m busy,” or “hurry up,” mean to them?  When we are too busy for them or when we rush them, they suffer and often withdraw.  You do that enough times and when they grow up you will have a distant relationship with them, probably at a time when you long for closeness with them.

Father God, use me as I encourage my children to be resilient by loving them, listening to them, and spending time with them.

[i] http://family-studies.org/eighteen-ways-to-build-a-resilient-child/?utm_source=IFS+Main+List&utm_campaign=53b6201f47-Newsletter_87&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c06b05f1ff-53b6201f47-104541745

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