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“Kids” or Children?

February 28, 2011 Leave a comment

My recently deceased grandmother once told me, “I don’t call children ‘kids’ because a ‘kid’ is a goat and children are not wild animals.”

Wow, how our words change over the years!

At first, I didn’t get it. But what she was saying to me was, “Mark, I value children as human beings made in the image of God and do not think of them as wild animals.” Value.

Do you value your children? Do you treat them with dignity? If so, why not delete the word “kid” from your vocabulary. Try replacing it just for one week with the word “child” and see how well you do. It’s hard to do.

I’ve been doing it for years but I still slip occasionally and say “kid” every once in awhile, but it’s rare praise God!

Jesus valued children according to Matthew 19:13-15: “Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, 14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And he laid his hands on them and went away.” (The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Mt 19:13-15). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.)

-Mark (finding high value in the little children and wanting to have their type of faith)

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Why I Do NOT Recommend Sleepovers for Children

February 26, 2011 2 comments

Are sleepovers really necessary to the growth and development of children? Really?

How beneficial are they?

Well, as a biblical counselor, I hear all kinds of stories about what happens at sleepovers – the majority of them not good. I hear about first time uses of alcohol, marijuana, even cocaine, sexual abuse, sexual experimentation, watching inappropriate movies (sex, horror, language, etc.), and other terrible things that children under the authority (or lack thereof) are subjected to. Many of them are first time experiences which is even more sad!

So, do I recommend sleepovers for children or young adults? No.

Are they sinful? Not always but they can be. Why do we insist upon these events except when they are absolutely necessary?

In a day and age where we complain about child abuse and sexual abuse affecting people and leading them to addictions as older adults, why do we give the flesh and Satan an opportunity to introduce our children to such things? Some will say I am over-protective but why risk it unless necessary?

-Mark (seeing too much in the counseling room to make me comfortable with doing the things the way the culture/world says we should do them…I want to be biblical not cultural)

American Parenting is killing us!

February 24, 2011 Leave a comment

With Christmas a distant memory that occurred two months ago, maybe now it’s “safe” to critique the typical philosophy of most American parents (even Christians): “Give your children EVERYTHING they want, materially speaking, and especially at Christmas.”

The traditional American style of parenting is to give your children EVERYTHING they want for Christmas. “We can’t let our children be disappointed, especially at Christmas time, since it’s the celebration of the birth of our Savior,” is what many parents say. But is this type of thinking the way God teaches us to parent our children?

Of course parents want their children to celebrate the birth of Christ and to have positive experiences in this life, but the Bible teaches believers in Christ to be primarily givers rather than simply receivers. Acts 20:35 (ESV)states: “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” Giving captures the very heart of God Who gave His only begotten Son for our salvation!

As a parent, you must begin instilling the value of giving to God by giving to others at a very early age. Don’t expect your children to automatically think like a Christian especially when American society (the world) promotes consumerism and pleasure at all costs. Parents must model giving to their children and invest time in cultivating the attitude of giving in their child’s minds.

On page 116 of the book Addiction-Proof Parenting: Biblical Prevention Strategies, one of the “practical to do’s” challenges parents and children to make an effort to not use the words “my, mine, or I” for one week in order to foster an attitude that everything belongs to the Lord and we are merely stewards. Rather than saying, “That’s my toy,” challenge your child to say, “That’s God’s toy He has given me to play with.” This new attitude encourages your child to be a good steward by taking care of what he/she has been given rather than to be a consumer, using up the toy until it is gone.

Be intentional and help your child to embrace the grace of God given freely to all of His children. Encourage your child to share the message of eternal life with others through random acts of kindness in the love of Christ this holiday season!

True joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22) given to us by God when we live by His Spirit and give to others. Give your child the eternal value of cheerful giving since “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7 – ESV).

-Mark (Be a Christian parent not a typical American parent by being a giver not a consumer!)

Will there be sports in heaven?

February 21, 2011 Leave a comment

There is so much emphasis on sports in our culture. I am guilty of it, too! Quite frankly, it’s a distraction.

What about our children playing sports? Are there really a lot of good life lessons to be learned in sports that could not be learned in music or other venues?

Should the family center its life around the practice schedule and games of a child in baseball, softball, basketball, football, cheerleading, ballet, and the like? Does that really free us to do the work of ministry (Eph. 4:12) to be available to help others? Or does it over-commit us and limit our ability to help others?

Just asking challenging questions to prayerfully consider…

-Mark (seeking to have a Christ-centered family and not a “sports-centered” family)

Categories: family, Truth in Love Staff Tags: ,

Homeschooling

February 18, 2011 Leave a comment

We homeschool now. But what most people do not know is that I was against it in the beginning. After all, “I went to public schools and I turned out all right.” But did I?

When I consider what I truly believed, I was more a product of the government school system than my family’s Christian values. Devout Christians, my parents had much less influence upon me than my public education because I embraced abortion, euthanasia, legalization of certain drugs, drinking alcohol, and other such things. Was I thinking more like a Christian or like a public citizen?

So, why do we homeschool now? Not because we are afraid of anything! We homeschool out of faith in God – that as we teach our children what the Bible really says and what it means to be a Christian, that they will decide for themselves knowing that we want our influence to be greater than society’s.

We think this is our reasonable service of being good stewards of the children the Lord has given to us. We hope they impact their world for His glory.

Can my wife and I make two salaries and have substantially more income? Yes. But why don’t we both work outside the home? For the glory of God with the hope that our children are going to become passionate about their faith and use their abilities to lead lost souls to Christ.

It’s worth the sacrifice. Plus, it’s fun to be with your children so much, especially while they are young!

-Mark (letting you in on the secrets of homeschooling, like playing games in the morning before work and school start – how many dads get to do that?)

Categories: family, Truth in Love Staff Tags:

Christians in America are raising Americans, not Christians

February 15, 2011 Leave a comment

There is a difference in being an American and a Christian. The two are NOT the same. Which one are you raising: an American or a Christian?

Christians should be raising their children to be Christians first. Muslims are raising their children to be Muslims so why aren’t Christians raising their children to be Christians?

Most Christians do not know the Word of God. Compare that to Muslims who study and memorize the Koran at an early age. How many American Christians require their children to memorize large chunks of Scripture? Not many. Maybe a Bible verse here and there but not whole passages!

Are you raising a Christian or just another American? The church is dying largely because the faith of the fathers and grandfathers in Christ is NOT being passed on. They are teaching their children to know and embrace the very Word of God!

Instill those values into your children today! Teach them to be real followers of Christ, or Christians. In other words, disciple them to be disciples of Christ!

-Mark (thankful for God’s Word that guides us, indwells us, and enables us to obey and glorify Him)

Addiction-Proof Parenting: Biblical Prevention Strategies – what’s the book all about?

February 12, 2011 1 comment

In my latest book, I wrote on the topic of parenting. I think the best summation of what the book is about comes from Dr. Tedd Tripp’s endorsement of it. Dr. Tripp, author of Shepherding a Child’s Heart, said this about the book:

I think this is a great book. It is properly aligned, and because of extensive counseling experience, Mark Shaw is able to work back from how addicts think to biblical ways of thinking about oneself and life that counter “addictive” thought patterns. This book is for serious parents who will invest time in training their children. What could possibly be more important in this dangerous world? I hope you will read this book – even better – do this book!

Dr. Tripp gets it. I start from how addicts think of themselves and work backwards to help parents PREVENT instilling this mindset in their children. I think it’s a practical tool to help all parents! I trust you will be challenged and encouraged as you read this book and put it into practice in your family!

-Mark (having fun helping parents)