Posted by: raisingworldchangers | 28/08/2010

Raising Strengths

Recently as I have been reading, I have been reminded that it is far more important to focus on, and live by, our strengths. It is especially critical that we help our children focus on their strengths as well. Everywhere they turn, our children are inundated by the media, or peers, or teachers to focus on weaknesses; they are not the right size, the right shape, the right color, they are not smart enough, they do not have the best toys or gadgets.

Often times, even family, friends, and our church community focus on weaknesses. They give more attention to our sin and the things that they do wrong than those things that are innately theirs from God – their strengths. These very strengths are the things that will often keep children motivated because they are the things that come naturally to them.

To be successful, the truth lies in how we help our children use what they have been given in strengths. Are they naturally good at talking or public speaking? Do they enjoy a lot of people in their life? Are they shy but very loyal once they find common friends? Do they like sports, or to read, or both? Are they gifted at science, or organization? Often times we think they are too young to really have any strengths. Not true. Whatever it is, God has given them those as resources to make the world a better place.

If you do not help your children do what they were made to do by using their strengths, then you are robbing the world of a great resource and taking something away from someone who should be doing what they are doing. Make sense?

Many times because we are only told what our weaknesses are, we may not know how we can assist our children in finding theirs. We want our children to be their best. The best according to who? What standard are we placing them up against and who do we need to measure up to? To you? To your parents? To a sibling? To someone you may want them to be more like? More than likely those people have different strengths and to compare your child to them is walking them off the pier of failure.

Your children are uniquely gifted. Develop their strengths and help them use them every day to change the world. We are counting on you!

Posted by: raisingworldchangers | 22/03/2010

Are You Prophetic Or Pathetic?

Do your words reflect who God is in your life and who you know him to be? Or do you speak the picture as you see it, reality overdosed? Prophetic is defined as foretelling events as if by divine inspiration: casual words that proved true. Simply put, it means to speak into the future what you see as true. It seems today that there are tons of “self-help” books written on how to improve your life based on what you think, believe, and tell yourself.
"Bird Reflection"
It is true – words are powerful. When it comes to our children, we need to speak into their lives and their futures what we see and believe to be true for them.
"Bow & Arrow"
If your words aren’t prophetic, then they are pathetic. Often we speak into our children the bleak realities of life as we live it, or have lived it. We want to be real, and let them know how hard life can be. Why spoil it for them? They will discover on their own the challenges that await them. We do not have much hope ourselves, nor do we have any for them.
"Old Man Toothless"
Don’t limit your children by your own boundaries. Even if you do not fully believe what you are saying yet, have enough belief in your children to speak a future far beyond yourself for them. If you don’t enjoy your life, why would you want to speak the same existence into being for them?
"Lassoed Calf"
Words can be used to build a future for your children that they will walk into and succeed. Eat some crow stew with a side of humble pie and let your words exceed your present circumstances. Like we have all heard before, “If you can say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”.

Posted by: raisingworldchangers | 19/03/2010

Educators, Not Indoctrinators

As my children have been through the streets of home schooling, public school, and private school, my wife and I have learned a lot about education and those who “rule” over our children.
"Country School"
We are, for the most part, appreciative of those who truly see their job as a calling and enjoy what they do. We are not keen toward those who feel their role is to use their classroom as a stage and indoctrinate our children with their personal opinions and political propaganda.

I remember one of our daughters as a freshman in high school told us that her school was going to hold an assembly on gender neutrality and sensitivity. Not! She was “sick” that day since the real reason for her absence would not be condoned or a legitimate absence. Another daughter of ours in junior high brought home a permission slip for an assembly on abstinence awareness and sexual orientation. Not! She skipped that assembly and was not the only student in the library instead. One of her teachers, who is an extreme liberal, decided to make every student do a report on why global warming was the decided demise of our life on Earth and how President Obama would make everything in America right again.
"Teacher Teaching"
Here’s a thought. Negotiate other options with your children and their teachers that include your actual beliefs and convictions. My wife and I disagree with some of the public school teacher’s beliefs and we have healthy discussions with our children as to why. We try and let our children form their own beliefs and opinions so that they remain a conviction when we are not there to coach them.

Our solution was to write a report that fulfills the obligations without the hopeless outcome. I remember one of our daughters chose to put a Bible verse in her presentation and many of her classmates were glad she did.

Education is a grey area in today’s world. The moral line of principle is written in pencil and often erased so as to not offend the masses. What ever your personal weapon of educational choice, don’t let your personal values, beliefs, and convictions be compromised on your children. Know what they are being taught and decide whether or not you agree. After all, they are your children.
"Student At Chalkboard"
Your children are impressionable, but intelligent. Give them a chance, with your guidance, to form their beliefs and convictions so that they know right and wrong in school and in life.

Posted by: raisingworldchangers | 18/03/2010

Frozen Yogurt, “Mix-In” Faith

I remember as a kid when the whole frozen yogurt phase kicked in. Suddenly ice cream was no longer good for you, and frozen yogurt was the healthier choice.
"Ice Cream Cone"
My family dove right into that and tried it. You placed your order, but they only had chocolate or vanilla at first. Once they saw that the trend was going to take off, they added a few more flavors. And to really make an impression, they decided to give you choices of things called “mix-ins”.

Before you knew it, you were on an adventure that even allowed you to mix the chocolate and vanilla flavors together and add “mix-ins”. Eventually you had a huge cup of frozen yogurt with m&m’s, or butter finger pieces, or gummy bears, or fruit, or something else that sounded good all for about $5.00 or more. Wow.
"Frozen Yogurt"
You could get a couple of gallons of ice cream for that. But, we are a people of variety, choices, and personal preferences. We place our own value on what matters most to us based on how or what we are feeling at the time.

I wonder how many of us live our lives and treat our children like the frozen yogurt store. Suddenly, we want to throw a few “mix-ins” to the marriage we have built, or add some variety to the faith we have lived, or switch up our parenting style, and maybe even mix up the career we so wanted and is suddenly no longer good enough for us. We need more variety, more choices. We want our own “mix-ins”.

We compromise our beliefs, our faith, our values, and our hard work by adding a few new habits here and there, otherwise known as sins or addictions, and think the outcome won’t really matter. By settling for less in the areas we have had success, and compromising our high standards we have worked so hard to build, we decide to take on the latest trend because “they” recommended it, or so-and-so told us it worked for them, or we want to spice things up a little.
"Choice Sign"
I remember the one thing I disliked most about frozen yogurt was how quickly it melted and turned to a bowl of liquid “mix-ins”. That is how quickly the things we try to change spontaneously and add to our beliefs, faith, and values will turn and liquefy as well.

Unlike frozen yogurt, you can’t choose your mix-ins in life and in raising your children. Children need consistency from us in order to remain constant in their lives. God is a God who wants to reveal Himself to us and give us the right formula, or “mix-ins”, for our life and for our children as well. We don’t choose two of these and three of those according to how we feel. The more we live a life of trust and faith with God, the more he reveals himself to us. There is no need to add “mix-ins” to get variety.

Stay steady and the things God is telling you to do will take root and sprout in the lives of your children.

Posted by: raisingworldchangers | 06/03/2010

Trust The Experts

Is anyone else out there as confused as I am about the “experts” who tell us what is good and bad for us? Can anyone help me identify who the “they” are in the “They say ..” group? You know, the ones who proclaim emphatically that their position is supported by the panel of geniuses who give their life to study and analysis. The ones we all quote in the infamous phrase, “They say that …”. Who are “they”, really? Why must we treat them as credible and act on their research?"Funny Scientists Cartoon"

I remember as a kid hearing from the “experts” that coffee was good for you. Drink up. After all, your local coffee bean farmer is counting on it. It is good to the last drop, and you never asked for seconds at home. Then, suddenly coffee was bad because the caffeine was bad for you. It was an elixir of evil. So, they created decaffeinated coffee, which is like airplanes and restaurants having non-smoking sections. Coffee is coffee and smoke is smoke.

Then I remember as a kid the “experts” saying that eggs are good for you. Eat two a day and keep the doctor away (or was that apples?). Our poultry farmers were ecstatic and elated. Then, suddenly the experts decided that eggs were bad for you because the cholesterol was bad for you. So, we created egg beaters (as opposed to wife beaters which only really looked good on Patrick Swayze and Billy Ray Cyrus) for you to enjoy with your eggs benedict.

I remember as a kid when schools handed out the food pyramid charts and all of our moms lived by it. Then, after the results were not as rosy as they expected, suddenly that changed. We had a generation of unhealthy, overweight, hyperactive kids that were keeping their pediatricians and pharmacists busy while driving their teachers and parents nuts. We were taking all of our new found energy and proving the “experts” wrong."Food Pyramid"

I live in, and love, California. Does anyone remember that we were supposed to fall into the Pacific Ocean years ago and Nevada would now be beachfront property? Viva Las Vegas. If that is true, then why are the houses here so darn expensive?

Anyone remember the “experts” discussing global warming. Suddenly the earth was going to become a flaming meteor not even Superman could handle and we were all doomed. As quickly as these “experts” made that claim, it was discovered that things were not as they were presented and we might have a little longer to live here on this big ball called Earth."Earth On Fire"

So how do we reconcile the blatant misrepresentations and trust we have put in these panels of “experts”? We don’t. Ultimately, “experts”, whether they are in the health field, food and drug administration, education, ministry, or science, are humans who educate themselves based on their own prejudices, beliefs, and presuppositions. Then they communicate what will keep the people happy, big business running smoothly, and special interest groups lining pockets. This is not to minimize the incredible breakthroughs that have been effective in improving and saving lives.

My point is that we are the only ones that can be experts about our lives. I am not condoning living recklessly and ignoring warnings about being wise. But, as humans who live in a fallen world, ultimately we follow that which scratches where we itch. We will trust the pied piper and his soothing tune.

God is the only special interest group, panel of experts, and authority that we can rely on. He does not create substitutes or make us decide between life and death, good and bad. We choose. He sent his son, Jesus, to be the sacrifice we could never have been in order to give us eternal life. Ultimately, we must choose if we receive that and live it out according to the only expert advise we have been given – the Bible.

I am not saying to avoid advice from others. I am saying to learn to think on your own and trust God and the Bible to not lead you astray. The Bible is the best manual written on transformation. Don’t stress out over coffee, eggs, food pyramids, real estate, global warming or anything else created to instill fear and remove that internal filter God has installed in all of us who call him God."Bible"

Posted by: raisingworldchangers | 05/03/2010

Partner Parenting

"Husband & Wife Back 2 Back"Marriage is a partnership, and so is parenting. When I think of all the times my wife has spoken up in my life, I am truly blessed. I, and subsequently my family, would be a lot worse off had I remained “the man in charge”. That is not to say that I am not the head of my house as Christ is the head of the church. I am the head, as appointed by God, but I rule in a partnership. Did I decide alone to get married? No. My wife had to agree to marry me. Did I decide alone to have children? Of course not. Unfortunately, there are consequences beyond me alone about anything that I do decide alone. It can affect my entire family. We can’t make decisions in a vacuum, or a silo, when we are a couple and a family. God gives us stubborn, independent, narrow minded, and bridled men partners who are determined, focused, wise, discerning, and intuitive. Believe it or not, they usually want what is best for you and the rest of the family. Maybe you need to clean out your filters and have a discussion about trust, motives, respect, etc. (more about that later).

Don’t be threatened. I am not saying that our wives are smarter than us (although some probably are). They are just more discerning in areas where we often lack judgment. They can be more factual and less emotional most of the time. They are more calculating and think down the road, big picture. We don’t want to hear them tell us that a Harley Davidson is not a good anniversary gift. After all, we want it. Marriage and parenting are true partnerships and must be lived as such.

More to come!

Posted by: raisingworldchangers | 04/03/2010

Transformation At Home

How can we expect to change the world if we aren’t managing our world effectively? We believe that transformation must begin in the home first. It must start with us."House Under Construction"

Not all homes look the same. Your home might be filled with just you, or you might have a couple of roommates. It might have a married couple without children. Or there could be one parent raising children alone (which are my personal heroes because it is hard enough to raise children). You could be a couple whose children are already out of the nest. Or you might be like us and your home is filled with a married couple and a few children.

What ever your situation, there is a world in need of transformation to the truths and freedom only found in Jesus. However, you will have a hard time transforming the world if your world is falling apart and not in order.

Families are in decline in our world and are under attack. There are a lot of hurting people just looking for significance, validation, and someone to love them. God provides all of that, and so can you.

We want to create a blog that deals with every day, real life issues which addresses things that we all deal with regardless of whether you are single, a single parent, a traditional family, or empty-nesters. We all have things to learn from and share with each other.

This is a time in our history when we must get our families in order, align our priorities with God, and take back what the devil has stolen – our families.

Posted by: raisingworldchangers | 04/03/2010

Transformational Families

I am excited to be writing some blogs about families. I am not an expert, nor am I pretending to be perfect. Life is a series of lessons to be learned, and I am a student. I enjoy learning all I can about families and the dynamics that make them work, or fail.

A family does not imply that you are married and have children. Families can be two individuals in the same house raising children who lead separate lives altogether. Families can be a married couple who does not yet have children (but you might have spiritual children). Families can be a single parent. It can even be a single person who has an extended family – parents, siblings, etc.

Regardless of where you are on the spectrum, these blogs will be specific to whatever I am learning and whatever truths I believe God is showing me at that time.

Some tough questions I ask myself; am I living in harmony with my spouse? Is there mutual respect, honor, submission? Are we merely passing time, coexisting, raising children? Are the children the only common bond we have? Am I exasperating my children? Do they obey me, so that it may go well for them and they may live a long life? Are my children exasperating me? Do we give them the remains of the day, the leftovers?

If we have any hopes of making any sustainable changes in the world, to the glory of God, then we must begin with our world. What is the state of the union in your home? It may be time for a check up to assess where you are and what God wants you to do to make any necessary course corrections.

Transformation must begin with us personally first, then move to our families, and then only after that God can use us as he wishes. I am not saying we are to sit silent until we are glowing with perfection. Rather, that we look inside so that what we are learning we can apply to our families and then transfer that as a family to the world in need.

Posted by: raisingworldchangers | 03/03/2010

We Are Not Clowns

"Frowning Clown"One quality people regularly compliment me on is my smile. They tell me that they like my smile and I enjoy hearing people telling me that because I really do like to smile. Smiling lightens the room, eases the tension, shows off your dental work, reveals any leftover food you missed while flossing, and lets others know that everything really will be alright.

The only problem I run into as a compulsive smiler is the occasional time when I am not smiling. People suddenly think that the sky is falling. “What is wrong? Is everything is okay”, they ask me. “Did someone die, was the President assassinated, did Lassie not rescue Timmie from the well in time?”

You see, often when our children or family asks us if everything is okay, what are they really asking or saying? This is not necessarily the time for you to reveal every bad thing that is wrong with the world. What they are saying is, “Hey I miss your smile. Where is it today?” The truth is, they count on it and look forward to it as a part of their day or interaction with you. God has given each of us something as a gift and we enjoy using it. In fact, it actually becomes a part of who we are. When the rare occasion arises that we forgot to put it on that morning, it can act as a distraction on the road of life to those around us. It throws people off and they do not know how to respond.

Just think of going to your favorite restaurant or coffee shop. What if they were already sold out of “your” chocolate croissant (and didn’t have the nerve to save it for you) or ran out of vanilla for your latte’? Might that throw off your perfectly scheduled morning? You are in a “happy place” routine and any side trails only serve to confuse and distract.

Well, believe it or not, it is the same with our gift. Think of a person you admire or enjoy being around. Do you intuitively count on them to be the way they are because that is why you enjoy their company? If they are off one day, we wonder what is wrong. Suddenly the eternal optimist is not optimistic. Suddenly the ever-patient friend is losing their cool. Suddenly we wake up and we have gray hair and are 20 pounds heavier. What do we do?

We need to be prepared in season and out to improve our families with the simple gifts God has given us. We may not realize how our little habits and routines are blessing and impacting those around us until we stop them. Not every day can be perfect and we will face difficult and challenging situations that might throw us off as well. I am not suggesting that we act disingenuous or be a clown with the painted on smile. Just do your best to stay the constant force your friends and families need so they can look at you and know it will be alright.

Stay grounded in God and continue telling the funny stories, throwing encouragements, smiling, being positive, remaining steady or whatever it is that God has given you to do. Others are counting on it.

Posted by: raisingworldchangers | 02/03/2010

Fight For Your Right

Hey men! Are you a builder of the wall? Nehemiah 4: 14b in the NIV says, “Don’t be afraid … Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”

Have you ever seen another person really fight for what they believe in? Picture pretty much any Rocky movie, or William Wallace in “Braveheart”, or Maximus in “Gladiator”. Whether or not you agree with their beliefs, you can’t ignore their fight. Rocky had something to prove himself and wanted to make a better life for his family. William Wallace died for what was so deep inside of him that it could not be"The Karate Kid" ignored, put aside, or re-directed. He would not live in a cage and under the rule of another. Maximus was probably most like Nehemiah. While serving a King in a foreign land, he lost his family to betrayal, greed, lust and dishonesty. That was the plight of Jerusalem as well. Nehemiah saw the injustice and knew he had to make it right.

That is how God wants us to fight, with His help, for what we believe in. Our families need to, and must, be fought for. Injustice is everywhere. Our brothers, sons, daughters, wives, and homes need to be restored and their walls rebuilt to the full glory God intended.

The key here was that Nehemiah mobilized his family, along with others, to fight with one hand and build the wall with the other in unison and in unity. Don’t fight alone or you will die alone. If you are married, engage your spouse to help. If you are a dad, engage your family. If you are a believer, engage your friends and your church. You are not any less brave for enlisting the help of others.

The church is the only institution that sends its women to the front lines. We men routinely set in the back, if we engage at all, working hard at being the provider and leave the fighting to our wives. Cowboy up! Be the man you were designed to be and fight. Your inheritance depends on it.

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