A Springboard for You

For a better life and a better eternity

A Springboard for You Has Moved

movingIf you have made it to this page, you have found the old home of “A Springboard for You”. We have moved to our new self-hosted blog.

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November 17, 2008 Posted by | Announcements, Moving | | 2 Comments

“Be Good for Goodness’ Sake” the Atheists’ Pitfall

Doy Moyer got me thinking

Last week, Doy Moyer, had an outstanding post about a couple of new campaigns by atheists to evangelize their anti-God faith. He pointed out  how contradictory and illogical this is because they want to talk about being good, but they have no standard for goodness. Who gets to decide what is good? Them? Me? I’m guessing they wouldn’t want me to be the standard of goodness.

This post got me thinking. There is an even more fundamental problem with this philosophy coming from atheists. Please understand, I too believe we should be good for goodness’ sake. I hunger and thirst for righteousness and do not simply want to be good so God won’t slap my hand or so I can get a reward in the end. I want to be good because I want to be good. Frankly, I’m glad to hear atheists do also. 

Atheists’ have the same problem Christians do

The big problem is atheists face the same downfall I do. We have botched it and continue to botch it. I’m guessing every atheist, though he hates to hear his feelings so accurately expressed in the Bible, knows the exact feeling Paul expressed in Romans 7:15-24:

“…I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

“So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am? Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (ESV).

Of course, I recognize atheists don’t believe in “the law of God” and therefore don’t have an objective standard of goodness. However, I’m sure each one has a personal standard of goodness. Whatever the standard, atheists who actually want to be good hit the same wall Christians hit. They want to be good. They have decided to be good. They long to be good. But they keep doing what they hate. Perhaps they decided they would quit coveting as Paul had decided. But they just keep going back to it. Perhaps they said they would stop their angry outbursts, but they just keep blowing up. Perhaps they said they would quit being arrogant, but their pride keeps rearing its ugly head.

Like Christians, they want to be good and they want to do it because being good is the right thing to do. Like Christians, they just can’t pull it off. They keep falling short at being completely good. Thus, they fuss at themselves and may even despair.

The Christians’ answer and the atheists despair

When Paul uttered his despairing cry, “Wretched man that I am? Who will deliver me from this body of death?” He had an answer: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” 

The sad part for the atheists who finally have the courageous honesty to admit they just can’t reach their goodness goal is they have no answer to this dilemma. “Who will deliver me from this body of death?” All that comes back is eery silence. Or perhaps they say, “Me. I’ll do it.” But wait, didn’t you get you in this mess your in? What makes you think it will be any different tomorrow? Go ahead, keep relying on your own reserves of strength. Keep researching your own weakness and pain. When you finally get to the point of despair and the pain is finally too great, then perhaps you can turn to Paul’s answer. Once you finally run out of faith in yourself, maybe, just maybe you can start having some faith in God because if you will surrender to Him, He will deliver you. As you grow in Him, you will become good for goodness’ sake. It will take time. It is about progress, not perfection. But in God, there is hope and He is waiting for you, giving you time to realize He is where your hope for being good for goodness’ sake really is.

So, for my part, I hope atheists keep pressing their “good for goodness’ sake” campaign. Sooner or later that will drive them to despair. Then because they have increased their desire and hunger for goodness, some of them will begin to realize they can only accomplish their goal if they surrender themselves to God.

Christians need to learn this too

Of course and sadly, there are many Christians that need to learn this lesson as well. If we are seeking goodness as a means to merely avoid hell or be rewarded with heaven, we will likely fall short. That leads to a legalistic approach of trying to figure how much is enough and what are the rules to help earn your way to the reward. That simply won’t cut it. Instead, if you want to be good because you hunger and thirst for righteousness, you will learn you can’t make it unless you just surrender to God. Then you will be seeking God’s way, not to earn your way out of hell or into heaven, but rather to simply be like God recognizing God’s way works.

November 17, 2008 Posted by | A Springboard for Your Spiritual Life, Atheism, surrender, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Things You Don’t Say to Your Wife by Tim Hawkins

I know I rely pretty heavily on Tim Hawkins for these fun days, but I just think he is hilarious. Check out this clip on what not to say to your wife that comes from his DVD Full Range of Motion.

Have fun.

November 14, 2008 Posted by | A Springboard for Fun, Making Mistakes, Marriage, Relationships, Videos | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Add Years to Your Life by Cutting Some Television

“I just didn’t have time.”

How many times have people not met their goals and this has been the reason they gave? I have no doubt some people say this after having been perfect planners, wonderful time managers and great prioritizers. However, a great many people utter this phrase without actually looking at how they really used their time.

If you have ever said this, let me challenge you with one question. How much time did you spend this week watching television?

Did you watch one hour per night? Two? Three? 

I’m sure when you state it as hours per week, it doesn’t seem like much. However, if you watch merely one hour per night that is 365 hours per year. That’s actually 15 days of tv watching over the year, more than two weeks. What could you do if you added just two weeks to your year? That means if you average two hours per night you could add four weeks to your year by simply cutting out television.

I’m 35. Let’s say my professional life lasts only to 65. I have 30 more years. With 2 hours of television per night, I will spend 912 days of my professional life watching tv. That’s 130 weeks or about 2 1/2 years. What could you get done if you added 2 1/2 years to your life?

I’m sure it is a pipe dream to say we’ll never watch tv or movies again. After all, there is nothing wrong with enjoying some entertainment or recreation. I do, however, simply encourage you before you say you didn’t have time again you first ask how much time you chose to watch tv and see if maybe you couldn’t add a few years to your professional life span by subtracting some time before the plug-in drug.

Just a though.

November 13, 2008 Posted by | A Springboard for Your Professional Life, Time Management | , , , | Leave a comment

Talking to Your Kids about Sex

fatherson-talkThe Background

I had an amazing talk with Ethan a few weeks ago while he was still eight years old. No, it was not THE TALK. It was rather one of many talks that we have had and hopefully will continue to have over the years to come. Let me give you some background.

The fact of the matter is while I can technically say I was a virgin when I got married, I messed up a lot with sexuality throughout high school and college. I have experiences I truly regret that continue to have an emotional and spiritual impact even now. I don’t want my children to go through that. So, in order to keep them from making sexual mistakes I had a plan. I would hide everything about sex I possibly could from them and then scare the living daylights out of them about the rest. Then it occurred to me. That was my dad’s sex education plan. I only remember one talk with him ever. He warned me before I left for college that some girl would find out I wanted to be pure and she would set her sights on me and try to “conquer” me. Sadly, I was 17 and my hormones were raging and while the spiritual side of me was saying, “Oh, how awful,” the other side of me was saying, “I sure hope so.” In that little bit of self-admission can you see the problem with the “hide and scare” sex education plan? 

Hiding it only produces curiosity. The fear only produces rebellion. That is what it produced in me and I realized it would produce that in my kids. Sadly, I was curious about sexuality but I was afraid to talk to my parents about it and learn from them. So, I learned about sex at school (and I don’t mean from health class), work and from pornography-whether it was the locker room brag sessions, the clandestine centerfold passed around under the teacher’s nose, the stories of the sexually active girls and guys I worked with or the video one of the guys on my dorm floor rented and showed in his room. 

Let me ask you, is that how you want your kids to learn about sex? Trust me. if you purposefully or even unconsciously take the “hide and scare” method, that is exactly where your kids will learn about it. Gone are the days where we can hide sex from our kids and they make it to marriage and just learn for themselves (even if you are a homeschooler). The fact is, if you don’t take the upper hand on this one and inoculate your kids with healthy teaching and exposure to sexuality you better know that Satan will get it into their little hands somehow. I know about one child who was told how to unlock some easter egg of pornographic pictures on a video game by another kid in his bible class. If you want to know how really bad it can get, I know of a story of a teenage girl who met with her youth minister to ask a question about oral sex. She had a rep among the boys in the youth group as being pretty good at it but was starting to have second thoughts about whether it was right. What a rude awakening for the youth minister. 

Do you get the point? Dads, Moms start thinking about how you are going to talk to your kids. Go a step further. Start talking to them about it.

The Talk

So back to my conversation with Ethan.

Ethan has started Cub Scouts again. One of the very first things we have to go through is “safety” training in which I read to Ethan some safety rules about strangers and such. Included in that was the rule that his body is his body and he doesn’t have to let anyone do anything to his body that makes him feel uncomfortable. As part of that process, we went through some scenarios and he was to respond how he could act. For instance, if a man pulls up while he is playing in the yard and says, “Hey pal, can you come help me find my dog?” Ethan knows to say, “No. But I’ll get my Dad and he can help you.” 

Another scenario was what should he do if someone offers to show him pictures of naked people. WOW! Didn’t expect that from the Cub Scouts, but kudos to them for putting it in there. Now, the old me didn’t want Ethan to know that it was even possible to see pictures of naked people anywhere. What was I going to do with this? I could just skip it. But I didn’t. I went ahead and asked him. Of course, he gave the right answer. “I’d tell them no and come home.”

What would I do next? I could have said, “Great answer, Son,” and moved on to the scenario about the missing dog. Instead, I probed a little. I didn’t tape the conversation, so this isn’t word for word, but it went something like this:

“I bet that would be hard to say no to. I mean, bet you’re a little curious what a naked woman looks like aren’t you.”

“Yes sir,” he responded.

“What do you think you should do even though you are really curious?” I asked.

“I should still say no.”

“That’s right. You know what. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being curious about what a naked woman looks like. God made us to grow up and be sexual people and curiosity is part of that. But did you know that God has a plan through which we can learn all about our curiosities about women?”

“Really?”

“Absolutely. He has given us marriage. When you get married, you’ll be able to see the woman you marry naked and learn all about it and learn to enjoy it. And if you wait until then to pursue your curiosity it will be a great thing.”

I continued, “Let me ask you, Ethan. Has anyone ever tried to show you a picture of naked women?”

I inwardly sighed with relief when he said, “No sir.”

“Very good. I have to tell you when I was your age, I was out playing baseball with some guys and one guy brought a picture of a naked woman and I was really curious…”

Ethan interrupted, “But you said no way, I’m not looking, didn’t you.”

“I wish I had said that. Sadly, I didn’t. I looked. And you know what. It didn’t take my curiosity away. It just made it stronger and made it harder for me to say no when I was older. It taught me all kinds of wrong things about women and sex. It even has caused problems for me up to today with your mom. That’s why I’m telling you about this. Because I want to protect you from that kind of harm.”

I went on, “Because I’ve done some wrong things, I want to do everything in my power to help you avoid those wrong things because I know how harmful they are. I so want you to be be pure as you grow older. However, I also want you to know that if you make a mistake like I did, you can come talk to me about it. I know that I will be sad for you. But I remember when I made mistakes, I was very upset at me and I needed to talk to someone but I didn’t feel like I could because I knew I would just get in trouble. I want you to know if you make a mistake, I won’t be happy about it, but you can talk to me about it and I will still love you. I’ll be there to help you get over it and get past it. Do you think you can do that?”

“Yes sir. How much longer do we have to do this?”

I cut him loose at that point.

The Keys

Key points I hope you got out of that conversation.

1) Talk about sex as if it is completely natural. I want my kids to know talking to me and their mom about sex is the most natural place to talk about it.

2) Affirm that curiosity about sexuality is natural. My son is not a freak or a pervert because he is curious about naked women. Neither is yours. And let me assure you if your son is getting close to 10 he is curious about naked women. I’m just glad that my son felt safe enough to be honest with me about it.

3) Express God’s plan for pursuing our curiosity in a positive light. Too many parents spend so much time being negative about sex when they talk about it that kids grow up afraid of sex even in marriage.

4) Non-judgmentally discuss what experiences they have had or might have had. If, God forbid, someone ever does show my son a picture of a naked woman, I want him to feel comfortable telling me about it so I can help him work through the feelings of excitement, guilt, curiosity and shame it will produce.

5) Share your own mistakes and their consequences. I used to be afraid doing this would provide tacit permission for my kids to make the same mistakes. I imagine in some few cases that will happen. However, now I realize it actually produces two positive results. First, it helps them feel comfortable talking with me if they make a mistake. They know I’ve made mistakes and so I won’t simply be sitting in judgment over them. Second, it lets them know in a non-threatening way how negative improper sexual conduct is and how it will impact their lives. In other words, it provides them with honesty where as the kids at school and the pornographers either have no idea what sexual acting out does or they ignore it and just lie to them.

6) Assure your children they can talk to you even about their mistakes and you will still love them. Again, I want my kids to know they can talk to me. If my son or daughter ends up going “too far” on a date, I don’t want them hiding that on the inside. Such isolation will only breed shame that will likely drive them to act out further the next time. Talking to me may provide the relief and forgiveness and education that helps them overcome and not commit the same mistake twice.

There is no foolproof plan for this. I don’t think there is a set way to teach about sex that will absolutely assure your children will never make a mistake. But I think this approach is better than the “hide and scare” tactic I was placing so much stock in before. I offer it to you for what it’s worth.

talking-to-your-kids-about-sex

 

As I close, let me share with you the book that has helped me out the most on this topic. I encourage you to get it and read it. It helps lay out a plan for age appropriate sexual education beginning with infancy on through the early adult years. It is Mark Laaser’s Talking to Your Kids About Sex: How to Have a Lifetime of Age-Appropriate Conversations with Your Children About Healthy Sexuality.

 

 

 

AN APOLOGY: My apologies for the inadvertent stumbling block associated with this post by the “related topics” links that were automatically generated by someone other than me. I have learned that a few inappropriate links were generated. I believe I have disabled that feature, but for all those who first read this while the links were still there, I apologize. Thank you for continuing to read my blog.

November 11, 2008 Posted by | A Springboard for Your Family Life, My Family, parenting, Raising Kids, Sex and Sexuality | , , , | 3 Comments

How Not to Be a Lukewarm Christian

icefire

Introducing Laodicea

The church in Laodicea is famous, though I’m sure if they knew it, they would not be pleased with their legacy. We all know Laodicea was the lukewarm church and Jesus was ready to spit them out of His mouth (Revelation 3:16). But what exactly does this mean and how can we use their example as a springboard for our own spiritual lives?

For a long time, I read and preached this metaphor as I had heard it from others. Perhaps you have heard it presented this way. The temperatures represent a scale of spirituality. Hot was being on fire for the Lord with amazing zeal. Cold was being as absolutely uninterested and unconcerned about the Lord and spiritual things as possible. In fact, it was more than a lack of interest, it would represent a positive animosity to God and His things. Lukewarm, on the other hand was somewhere in the middle. It was not complete animosity or apathy. But, it wasn’t complete zeal for God either. It represented the person who cared enough to “go to church” perhaps but was just resting on their laurels and not working for the Lord at all.

With this reading, Jesus is saying He would rather the Laodiceans be His complete and utter enemies than act like they are His friends but not really serve Him.

Perhaps that is Jesus’ meaning with this metaphor, but more recently, I have read it differently.

The Tale of Two Drinks

This metaphor is a picture of useful drinks versus useless drinks. We have to ask what makes hot and cold drinks useful. Hot drinks are useful, especially on a cold day because they are comforting and warming. I drank a hot cup of coffee while driving in my cold, heaterless car this morning. It was most useful and I wish had more even now. The cold drink is useful on a hot day because it is refreshing and cooling.

But what happens if the useful drinks are left to sit on the counter for an hour or two? They lose their distinction. As we learned from high school science, the difference in temperature between the drink and its environment will begin to regulate each other. The energy from the hot drink will dissipate. The warmth from the air will heat the cold drink. They will both become tepid, lukewarm and useless.

Now, stop and think. What happened to these drinks?

They lost their distinction. I needed a hot drink on that cold day. I wanted a cold drink on that hot day. These drinks lost their usefulness because they had become just like their surroundings. Instead of having a great impact on their environment, their environment had an impact on them.

Do you see now what Jesus was telling Laodicea. His point was not that He would rather they be His clear enemies than just so-so. He was saying He wanted them to stand out and be different from their environment. He wanted them to impact those that surrounded them. Sadly, the reverse had been true and so they were to Jesus like the tepid cup of coffee–disgusting and useless.

The Springboard for Us

What’s the springboard for us? Stand out. Be different. Don’t try to blend in. Don’t try to make everyone like you spiritually. If that happens, you have probably become useless to the Lord. We are only useful to Him to the degree that we are different from our environment and therefore make an impact on it. Today, don’t worry about what everyone else thinks about your spirituality. Embrace it. No, don’t flaunt it Pharisaically as if you are special for your spirituality. But don’t hide it either, embarrassed that someone might find out you are a Christian. Let your light shine before men so that they might see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

November 10, 2008 Posted by | A Springboard for Your Spiritual Life, Christian living, Discipleship | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Kids Rock

Just for fun today, check out this fan made video that goes along with Tim Hawkins spoof infomercial “Kid’s Rock.”

November 7, 2008 Posted by | A Springboard for Fun, Just Plain Fun, Videos | , , , | Leave a comment

Delivering Well-Crafted Targeted Feedback (from Ken Blanchard Companies)

blanchard_ken

Last week we talked about how to grow from the negative feedback we sometimes receive. Coincidentally, I received the Ken Blanchard Companies’ Ignite newsletter in my e-mail this week. One article looked at the other side of this. How to give great feedback. Check out the article below.

Blanchard is the author or co-author of several books such as Leading at a Higher Level: Blanchard on Leadership and Creating High Performing Organizations, Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service and The One Minute Manager.

For more info, you can find the article in its original format here. Make sure to check out the information about a free webinar on giving and receiving feedback.

 

Delivering Well-Crafted, Targeted Feedback

Employees need specific and descriptive feedback if they are going to master a skill or achieve a goal. But this type of one-to-one feedback is in short supply in most organizations. The reason is two-fold. First, managers avoid giving feedback because they do not have a clear process to follow, and second, they are concerned that without such a process the conversation might be perceived as evaluative and judgmental. The result is hesitation on the part of the manager that results in the feedback session never occurring.

“The opportunity loss is tremendous,” explains Susan Fowler, a senior consulting partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies. “We know from the research that if someone does not get feedback, they are not going to grow. If they get feedback that is ill-delivered or ill-defined, then their performance can even decline. The only way we see a dependable increase in performance is when a person gets well-crafted, targeted feedback in a timely fashion.”

Providing good feedback does not occur naturally or by default. To provide effective feedback, leaders must learn, develop, and cultivate very specific conversational skills.

For Fowler, that means that managers—or anyone trying to help develop another person’s skills—

appreciate the importance of effective feedback; understand their personal motives, agenda, and responsibility for giving feedback; and know when and how to give the various types of feedback.

Start with Some Self-Examination

For managers looking to improve their feedback skills, Fowler recommends starting with a couple of self-directed questions. In her experience, many managers get off on the wrong foot because they focus more on their own needs than the needs of the person receiving the feedback.

As she explains, “I think that oftentimes, sadly, the feedback that we do give to people is based on our own need to be seen as an expert or to control the environment.”

To address this, Fowler recommends that managers ask themselves, “Is this my need to give this feedback or am I giving this feedback because the other person’s performance will actually benefit as a result of it?”

“You really have to understand whose need it is,” Fowler explains. “Start with understanding your role with the individual. Whether it is your spouse, your child, someone you manage, a coworker, or a peer, ask yourself, ‘What is my role here? What context am I in? Is it appropriate for me to give feedback? If it is appropriate, what is my purpose?'”

Match the Feedback to the Desired Outcomes

Once a manager is clear on the purpose of the feedback, the next step is to provide the type of feedback that will best meet the needs of the recipient. There are two main types of feedback—

personalized and pure. Both can work well, as long as they are matched correctly to the needs of the employee.

Personalized feedback is the type that most managers are familiar with. This is judgmental information (either positive or negative) about past performance designed to encourage or extinguish future behavior. It takes the form of either praise, when used to recognize positive behavior, or re-direction, when used to discourage negative behavior.

Pure feedback is a new concept for most managers. It is feedback that is descriptive, objective, factual, and nonjudgmental. This kind of feedback allows the receiver to decide what to do with it. It is most appropriate when the goal of a manager is to develop an independent person who can judge for themselves how they are doing—

to give themselves feedback.

Feedback Builds Relationships

The research says that people appreciate and respond positively to well-crafted feedback. It improves performance and helps people sustain higher levels of performance. From an organization’s point of view, that’s why you want managers who are skillful at giving feedback.

But feedback also builds mutual trust and individual respect that results in greater interpersonal relationships.

As Fowler explains, “At the end of the day, when you have given someone feedback that is in context, informative, and not judgmental, and that helps them improve, you’ve demonstrated that you care about them. It is a wonderful way to demonstrate caring.”

Managers obviously have to be role models. They have to be giving the kind of feedback that they themselves want to get—

not only from their managers but also from their direct reports.

“Giving effective feedback takes work,” says Fowler. “You have to do homework. You have to gather the data. You have to plan it. You have to deliver it authentically. But when you do, it is servant leadership in action.”

November 6, 2008 Posted by | A Springboard for Your Professional Life, Giving Feedback, Growth, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Did You Know? No I Didn’t-But Check Out This Video

Thanks to the Wizard of Ads and his Monday Morning Memo, I got to see this mind-blowing video. So, today, I thought I would throw in something a little extra.

Check it out.

November 5, 2008 Posted by | An Extra Springboard for You, education, Job Market, Videos | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How to Seize Teaching Opportunities with Your Kids OR Natural Consequences vs. Punishment

ethan-eye-examI nearly lost a great opportunity yesterday. 

Ethan, my 8 years and 362 days old son, walked into the house without his glasses. I was busily preparing to present a lesson on the Kingdom of Heaven at the Jackson Heights Church of Christ in Columbia, Tennessee. I was already stressed because I was behind and under the gun. Ethan said, “Dad, I took a nap on the bus and put my glasses on Jacob’s backpack.”

It took me a moment to process. “What?”

“I took a nap on the bus and put my glasses on Jacob’s backpack.”

“Are you saying you left your glasses on the bus?”

“No. I left them on Jacob’s backpack.”

“Wasn’t Jacob’s backpack on the bus?”

“Yes.”

My blood pressure started rising. Jacob lives next door so I hustled Ethan off to see if Jacob had his glasses. Of course not. Jacob said he put them on the seat beside Ethan so Ethan could find them. Yeah well, we already know how well that plan worked. Fortunately, we live in the middle of a loop the bus has to make so it actually passes by our house twice. We waited in the middle of the road. Ethan was frolicking with his siblings seemingly oblivious to the financial crisis he was putting us in. I, on the other hand, was about to lose it. 

We stopped the bus, but no glasses. The driver assured us she would look for them. I talked to her this morning. No glasses. Who knows what has happened to the glasses. Probably one of the kids saw them and grabbed them. I hope it was someone who knew they were Ethan’s and decided to hold on to them to give them back this morning. However, I don’t have too much hope for that.

Can you see where I nearly lost a great opportunity yet? I was already stressed and this was just a bit too much. I almost lost it. In fact, I was so mad I told all the family to just leave me alone because I was about to come unglued and behave inappropriately. Gratefully, as I went back to my lesson, I recalled the number of mistakes I have made that have cost me all kinds of money. Then it hit me. When I make a mistake that costs me money, who pays for it? Not my parents. I do.

This is not a time to be overflowing with anger. This is a life lesson in the making. This is a time to teach consequences. 

I had a little heart to heart with my very precious near birthday boy. 

“Ethan, I’m sorry I was so angry. I’m trying to get over that. The fact is, everyone makes mistakes. I’ve made mistakes that have cost all kinds of money. I’m upset that you were careless but we all do that sometimes. Here’s the problem. When I make mistakes, guess who has to pay for it?”

“You do, Dad.”

“That’s right. I do. Now that you’ve made a mistake, guess who needs to pay for it?”

“Me?” He said it in the form of a question clearly hoping he was mistaken.

“Yes. You. Your birthday is on Thursday. Any money you get is going to have to pay for some new glasses if you don’t find them.” 

Then I showed him his bank account balance online from the 8 years of saving gift money and other savings and I said, “Here is your bank account for going to college or buying a car one day. Here is the balance. Whatever is left over after your birthday money will have to come out of your savings and you won’t be able to use it when you get older for whatever you wanted.”

He immediately started crying. For a moment I was crushed. But I held on. This was the right thing. After all, what would happen if he was careless with his glasses and learned that a new pair would just magically appear? He certainly wouldn’t learn to take care of his glasses or anything else. 

Of course, later he said something to his sister about being punished by having to pay for his glasses. I pulled him aside and said, “Oh buddy, you misunderstood. I’m not punishing you by making you pay for your glasses. Punishment would be if I spanked you or grounded you or removed some privilege. This isn’t punishment. This is natural consequences. If I lost my glasses, who would have to pay for them? That’s right, me. That wouldn’t be punishment. That would simply be what I had to do because I lost my glasses. You need to learn that lesson too. Sometimes everyone is careless and makes mistakes. But when we do, we have to pay for it. If you can learn that lesson now, you will miss out on a lot of heartache as you get older.”

As you can see, because I allowed myself to get angry in the moment, I almost lost this golden teaching opportunity. It was almost merely a time for me to shout and holler and generally be foolish in front of my kids. Gratefully, by God’s grace, I was able to seize the moment. It wasn’t easy for me and it won’t be easy for Ethan (especially on his birthday on Thursday), but in the long run it will make his life easier. I’m sure of that.

November 4, 2008 Posted by | A Springboard for Your Family Life, Disciplining Children, Finances, My Family, parenting, Raising Kids | , , , , | 1 Comment