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Hi, this is Pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…Get Charged Up!

The other day I was working on a project in my back yard. As part of the job, I needed to install nearly 50 bolts with their complement of washers and nuts. I needed to drill holes for all of the bolts to be inserted in their respective places. In years gone by that task would have required getting a drill and because of the distance from the house I was working, several extension cords. It is times like this when I am especially glad for the invention of the cordless drill. In fact, because of their convenience, I have a multitude of cordless tools. I have cordless impact drivers as well as various styles of saws. All of these tools are wonderful improvements over the old corded type…most of the time. (more…)

Hi, this is Pastor Ken and I want to welcome you back to the Monday Marriage Message. Today we will move forward into the second session in our series…Parenting 101.

Last week I made mention that I believe parenting roles to be among the differences purposefully distributed by God to men and women at creation. There is no question we are created with gender differences far beyond the physical alone, and I believe that some of those additional differences are designed specifically to predisposition us as men and women to be uniquely suited to be moms and dads. In other words, the differences God created us with, all work congruently to maximize our strengths and skillsets. I hope to clearly illustrate in today’s episode just how this is so, specifically when it comes to parenting.

In past episodes, I expressed that men and women are created with differing processes of thought and different relational needs. I would like to take a few moments and illustrate how these differences manifest themselves because I think it important to our conversation on parenting.

As I have said numerous times , all men think in a compartmental manner. This means they all keep their thoughts on any subject separated from their thoughts on other subjects. They only think about one thing at a time, and when they change objectives of thought, they cease thinking of the previous subject and focus solely on the current one. In past episodes I have shared my analogy for this concept as a row of lockers in a school hallway. Each locker holds a separate subject and a man will never mix different subjects in the same locker. He must go to a particular locker to consider what is in that locker. If he decides he needs to, or is asked to consider a different subject, he must close the current locker, find the appropriate one and open it. Now he is free to look at anything in that locker, but can no longer view the contents of the one he was previously looking into. Some men are highly compartmental in their thinking, meaning they have difficulty even remembering what is in the different lockers without opening them. These men may at times seemingly forget certain lockers even exist until they are re-discovered. Other men seem to have wonderful recall of locker contents and can jump back and forth fluidly between them. Still others find themselves at times wandering past a row of lockers stopping shortly to look at the contents of each one and move on. None of these is better or more correct than another they are just different. The only unchanging fact is that they are all forms of compartmentalized thinking.

All women are relational in their thinking. This is a process of thought arguably opposite that of man’s compartmentalized thinking. A woman considers all things at all times. Every thought she has creates a related thought, which creates a related thought, which causes her to have another…and so on. The analogy I use for this process of thought is a spider web. A spider web is a great illustration of one thing being affected by everything. When a web is impacted in one place the entirety of it vibrates and no matter where the occupant of the web may be, a plethora of information is obtained. Again, there seems to be a range, some women are incredibly relational and find connections seemingly out of nowhere. Others understand associations undoubtedly exist and respond accordingly, but are less acutely aware of the specifics. No place on the spectrum is of more value than another, all women are relational some are simply more so than others. Neither is right or wrong…just different.

God exhibits duality of these processes of thought. Some scripture seems compartmentalized in nature while others seem to be relational. His abilities far supersede ours. He notes in Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. It is clear however, that His intention in joining a man and a woman as one is to complete the process of creating us to reflect His image and likeness. His capacity for total and complete thought is the reason for creating us with both of the differing processes of thought He enjoys. When joined as one we have availability to consider our spouse’s thought, ascribe equal value to it as we do our own, resulting in the capability to consider any subject from both a compartmental and a relational standpoint. Proverbs 31:10&11 points out this has always been God’s plan for Husbands and wives to be enabled to make wise decisions.

Please allow me a few more moments of review because I believe the congruency of how these differences all work together is important to the conversation of parenting. As I shared last week men and women also have differing relational needs. He needs her respect, she needs his love as scripture points out in Eph. 5:33. These are not the only needs they each have, but they are the ones of highest importance to them. A man is always assessing if he is respected for what he says, does and believes. A woman is always considering if she is loved for what she says, does, and believes. The results of their respective considerations will determine if any relationship they have will remain in good standing. These specific primary relational needs they each possess aren’t always easy to see but become especially evident during times of conflict.

In regards to our relationship with God, both are of primary importance. If our relationship with Him is to be in good standing we must both love and respect Him. The interesting thing to me is that the scripture indicating the requirement to respect Him is a compartmentalized statement. Deuteronomy 5:7 says; You shall have no other gods before Me. The scripture that says we must love Him is a relational statement. Deuteronomy 6:5 says; You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. The first is simply a requirement without variance. The second states the requirement and additionally draws our attention to the related ways we are to accomplish it…with all our heart, all our soul, and all our strength. God used a compartmentalized statement about His need for respect, and a relational statement concerning His need for love. Interesting.

Last week I mentioned six parenting roles illustrated for us in scripture. God uses each of these in the process of raising us. Three are suited especially for a relational thinker who is most concerned with love. Furthermore, three are more geared toward a compartmentalized thinker who is primarily is concerned with being shown respect. God, having duality of both of these sets of characteristics is more than capable of perfectly accomplishing all six roles. It is then all the more important for us to see that He quite purposefully created us to be joined with another to reflect Him in this way too. Together,  a man and a woman, a husband and a wife, are endowed with everything needed to fill all six roles. Three of these tasks are perfect for moms with their godly characteristics while the others are perfect for dads and the different godly qualities they possess.

Tending to the needs of, mending the brokenness of, and defending children are tasks perfectly aligned with one who thinks relationally and is in tune with the overarching value of being treated with and treating others with love. Directing, correcting and preparing children for launching are three jobs best accomplished by one who thinks compartmentally and is most concerned with being respected by, and showing respect to others.

A major problem arises when either parent notices the other is doing something contrary to what their own gifting would dictate, and decides their spouse must be acting incorrectly. When what is deemed an inconsistency is recognized, parents often mistakenly think a problem has developed. We are correct in understanding our unique gifting to be crucial. Where we go wrong is thinking our personal gifting’s are the only ones necessary to the process of successfully raising a child. We are incorrect to think our spouse should only reinforce parenting actions we would take.

As with most things I have an analogy that I think illustrates the correct treatment of this issue. A football team contains two teams within the overall team. There is an offense and a defense. On game day they both wear the same colored jerseys indicating they are on the same team. The interesting thing is that they both treat the ball completely differently than one another while seeking the same objective…to win the game. The offense tries as best it can to move the ball forward from where it was when they took possession of it. They run, pass or even kick the ball in an attempt to move it further along the field of play. The defense on the other had wants to keep the ball right where it is. They will do anything they can to protect the placement of the ball and not let it move. When the defense comes back to the sideline after successfully defending the ball, the offense does not complain, berate or belittle the defense for what they have done. What has just been accomplished by the defense is completely contrary to what the offense running onto the field is about to attempt to do. However, the defense will not become upset when the offense tries once again to move the ball. Instead, they will applaud and cheer the offense on. Why is this? This happens because both teams expect they will treat the ball differently, but both also understand they need each other to be a complete team and win the game.

Fathers are like the offense, but they need a good defense to win the game. Mothers are like the defense, but without a good offense the game cannot be won. My role in raising our five children was crucial…as was my wife’s though we did little as parents exactly the same way. We can choose to get upset because our spouse doesn’t treat the ball (or the child) the same way we would, or we can cheer them on knowing they are gifted by God to do things we are not created to do. Both are necessary to win the game and end up with the prize of upstanding, well-adjusted, God fearing children who grow up to be awesome adults.

Questions to answer:

  • Do you and your spouse always see eye-to-eye when it comes to parenting?
  • Do you see the differences in parenting roles as a positive or a negative?
  • How could the two of you encourage each other better when you are “on the field ”?

Actions to take:

  • Discuss times the two of you have done well keeping the overall game plan in mind and what you can do to improve your parental performance “on the field”.
  • Talk about ways you can each help encourage each other in your differing parental roles.
  • Take a few minutes to praise your spouse for their parenting skills and recognize those things that you are grateful your spouse is able to teach your children better than your parenting skills would be able to do.

So now, taking a fresh look at what God is doing for your marriage and your family as you work together to be the parents He wants you to be…Go Be Awesome!

Hi. This is Pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…Tea Anyone?

There is little doubt for those who know me that I am a confirmed coffee drinker, but occasionally I really do enjoy a good cup of hot tea. My personal favorite when I make that choice is Earl Grey with a healthy dose of sugar. When tea is what I desire, the aroma wafting from the cup as I lift it to take the first sip is almost as satisfying as the drink itself. When I want a good cup of hot tea, nothing short of that is going to satisfy. (more…)

Hi this is Pastor Ken, welcome to the Monday Marriage Message… Parenting 101

Last week I completed a series I called Marital Communication 101. One of the topics I find husbands and wives have a great deal of trouble communicating successfully about…is the kids. Over the course of the next several weeks, we will look at the subject of parenting and hopefully offer some help on how to operate successfully within that all-important realm. In traditional families parents may believe they simply have difficulty communicating and reaching agreement concerning important subjects such as discipline, privileges vs. responsibilities and the like. In stepfamilies, which make up 40% of family units in the U.S. today, communication between spouses surrounding the children can often be even more complicated. The natural bloodlines, and the lack of them create some interesting nuances to step-parents and natural parents arriving at mutual understanding. In light of the fact that we can begin either of these forms of family with little or no relevant education to guide us, I thought I might offer my two-cents on the subject. Welcome to Parenting 101.

In fact, there are two lifelong commitments that people are free to enter with little or no preparation…marriage and parenting. We do not have to attend or achieve a passing grade in any special classes to become either a spouse or a parent. We used to learn how to fill these roles at home from our own parents. With the current statistics on marriage and family however, it is no surprise that example is not producing the results it once did. While the divorce rate is lower by about 10% over the past 40 years, according to the Census Bureau, today only half of Americans live with a spouse. The decline in the divorce rate isn’t as positive as one might think. Less and less people are choosing marriage over co-habitation and as a result the lower divorce rate isn’t a positive for familial households. In 2020, nearly 19 million, amounting to 25% of all children in the U.S., were living in single-parent families. That percentage is nearly three times the level it was in 1960 when it was 9%. America’s proportion of children living with a single parent is more than three times the worldwide level of 7%. These facts clearly indicate too few American children are afforded the opportunity to grow up in a two-parent household with a good marriage to watch and learn from. The longer this trend continues, the greater the problem will become. Suffice to say there is good reason to believe we need help knowing how to be good spouses and good parents…for our children’s sake.

One thing I find most traditional or stepparents agree with each other about, is the desired outcome for their children. In my experience, they all want their children to grow up to be healthy, happy, successful, good people. Though undoubtedly they exist, few are the parents who interact with their children with a desire to cause them harm, and set them up for a failed life. For the purposes of this discussion, I am going to assume that none of those listening are those evil parents.  Proverbs 22:6 in the New Living Translation says; Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. Though nearly all of us desire the stated outcome, many of us as husbands and wives do not know how to “Direct our children in the way they should go”, in a congruent and complimentary manner. We seem to have very different ideas how to accomplish the directive at the beginning of this scripture.

I have spoken with you in previous episodes of this podcast as to some of the differences God created men and women to possess. I believe parenting to be one of those differences. I have spoken about the fact that men are created to think compartmentally while women have been created to think relationally. In the episodes entitled ‘Differences That Divide’ parts 1, 2 & 3, I define those terms in much greater detail. In the edition entitled ‘His Needs vs. Her Needs’ I spoke of the differing primary needs both men and women have in order for their respective relationships to be in good standing. The husband is always looking to see if he is honored and respected for what he says, does, and thinks, while his wife is more interested in knowing that she is cared for and loved for these very same things. These previously discussed differences in thinking and relationship requirements logically necessitate that the way a man and a woman parent will be different.

As a part of the teaching I did on ‘Differences That Divide’ and ‘His Needs vs. Her Needs’ I made the important connection that God has duality of these differences. I mentioned that He gave some of His attributes to men and differing ones to women as a part of his overall plan to join us in marital oneness and complete the task of creating us in His image and likeness. So what does all this have to do with parenting? In creating us with these various differences, I believe God was creating dads and moms each to be uniquely suited to reflect the parental characteristics of God as He raises us up to be all that we can be. God is able to meet all of our needs as His children. By creating us with unique skillsets, He allowed for each of us to excel at the differing parenting roles He exhibits. In doing this, He created an equal need for both Dad and Mom in the family structure.

I believe that God’s word illustrates that there are at least six tasks of parenting that children must be supported with. God does each of these perfectly. These six parental functions are as follows:

  1. God tends to the needs we have.
  2. God mends our physical, emotional and spiritual brokenness.
  3. God protects and defends us and keeps us safe.
  4. God directs us when we do not know what to do.
  5. God corrects us when we are headed in the wrong direction.
  6. God propels us forward to be all we can be.

Beginning next week, we will look at each of these parental functions God displays toward us. We will discover where in His word each of them are illustrated for us, and how He accomplishes them all. We will also see how some of these tasks are uniquely suited to mothers while others are uniquely suited to fathers.

Psalm 127:3 says Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. We know our children are important to us, and we all want to be the kind of parents that illustrate the value we place on them. They are also incredibly valuable to the Lord, the One who gifted them to us. Getting parenting as right as we can is imperative. We may be able to start a family with little to no preparation, but we cannot raise our children without His instruction or we are sure to mis-step.

The bible tells us that If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:5 (NKJV)

Questions to answer:

  • Do you think that you and your spouse find it easy or difficult to agree when it comes to parenting?
  • What things are easiest, which are more difficult to come to a mutual understanding about when raising your children?
  • Do you feel as though you are each free to interact in parenting roles or does one of you leave the majority of parenting tasks to the other?
  • If there is a marked inequality of parental interaction in your family, why is that?

Actions to take:

  • If you have not heard my podcasts, differences that divide parts 1, 2 and 3 and or His Needs vs. Her Needs or if it has been a while since you have, perhaps review those before next week when we continue with Parenting 101.
  • Pray together for God’s direction in your parenting and be open to the new things He desires to reveal to you.

So now, parenting with everything you have, and looking to God’s Word for what you lack…Go Be Awesome!

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