Should My Middle Schooler Date?

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do no arouse or awaken love until it so desires.

– Song of Songs 8:4

Good article over at the villagechurch by Matt McCauley:

Middle schoolers aren’t allowed to drive, they can’t vote, and they still have a few years until they’re old enough to watch R-rated movies. So should we allow them to entangle themselves in the web of romantic love by permitting them to pair off and “date”? Personally, I don’t think they are ready. I don’t think they have the emotional maturity to properly evaluate or handle the feelings associated with eros (passionate, romantic, sexual) love. Time and time again, I have witnessed middle schoolers who begin to “date” awaken this eros, only to then become so enveloped by it that it consumes nearly every waking moment and thought. And many of us have seen the devastation a middle school breakup can cause, especially for young girls.

Parents, it may seem cute and innocent that your 12 or 13 year old has a boyfriend/girlfriend, but heed the words of the Shulamite woman. Don’t encourage and enable them to start awakening love before the time is right.

Read the rest here.

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What does the word “husband” mean?

What does the word “husband” mean? We have the related English word “husbandry,” that is, cultivation. And when the word “husband” is used as a verb, it means to cultivate. If you are a husband, here is your job: to cultivate and nurture your wife. Your lifetime impact on your wife should be that her life opens up more and more, and she is enabled to become all that God wants her to be. God is calling you, as her husband, so to care for her that in her latter years she will be thinking, ‘What a great life I’ve had! My husband understood me. He cared for me. He inspired me to grow in Christ.’ How does a husband do that? Not by browbeating his wife – God doesn’t treat us that way – but by encouraging her. It’s here in Proverbs 31:28, ‘Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” …A husband cultivates his wife by setting a high tone or praise in their home. No putdowns. No fault-finding. No insults. Not even neutral silence. But rather bright, positive, life-giving praise.

– Ray Ortlund 

My Kids Adventures

I stumbled across this website this morning just in time for summer! It is an online magazine and podcast designed to make it easy for busy parents to create adventures with their children anywhere. The mission of the website is “to help you overcome the ‘I’m bored, I don’t know what to do’ complaint you hear from your kids.”

Some Gleanings on Parenthood and Childhood from Proverbs

“My son, keep your father’s commands and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, the will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life.”

Proverbs 6:20-23

A week ago I started meditating upon Proverbs and to help me I have been using this book by John A. Kitchen and am I ever glad for its insights. Here are some things I highlighted and read and re-read this morning from it:

  • “As in Proverbs 1:8, the mother’s instruction is added to that of the father. This implies that a solid home life, with both father and mother contributing harmoniously to the training of the children, is a powerful deterrent to an immoral lifestyle.” – v. 20
  • “The father and mother are authorized by God to issue ‘the commandment’ and ‘teaching’ to their children. The parents have been vested with divine authority in the home to set the boundaries of behavior, thinking, and attitude for their children.” – v. 20
  • “In a day of diminishing parental rights, where the state, the grandparents – even the child himself – are given ever expanding rights, this foundational and fundamental endowment from God to parents must be heard again. Parents, lead your homes!” – v. 20
  • “There is never a place, nor a time, in your life in which the word of God taught by godly parents will not provide you the answers to guide you safely into His will. Untold sorrow can be avoided if parents will but teach their children the Scriptures and if children will but obey what they are taught.” – v. 22
  • “The words of parents, when thoroughly permeated with the word of God, move the feet and will of a child into the will of God. They become a personal guide through life. They also, then, are set as a sentry, keeping guard over the one who is thus guided.” – v. 22
  • “A loving parent’s counsel and command will sometimes step on your toes. But, there is much good to be learned and much sorrow to be avoided, if you will but embrace it.”

How To Provoke Your Children To Anger

Ephesians 6:4 – “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

Some great thoughts here from Mark Altrogge for each of us parents to consider both prayerfully and humbly on ways that we  can provoke our children to anger (I know I was convicted on a number of them):

– By constantly criticizing them and not encouraging them.  When they feel they can never please us enough.
– By having double standards – Do as I say, not as I do.  Expecting them to do things we don’t do, e.g. ask forgiveness, humble themselves, etc.
– By anger and harshness
– By a lack of affection
– By telling them what to do or not do without giving Biblical reasons (e.g., Do it because I said to do it, or because it’s just wrong).
– By being offended at their sin because it bothers us, not because it offends God.
– By comparing them to others (Why can’t you act like your sister?)
– By hypocrisy – acting like a Christian at church but not at home
– By embarrassing them (correcting, mocking or expressing disappointment in them in front of others)
– By always lecturing them and never listening to them
– By disciplining them for childishness or weakness, not for sin
– By failing to ask their forgiveness when we sin against them
– By pride – failing to receive humble correction from our spouses or our children when we sin.
– By self-centered reactions to their sin (How could you do this to ME?)
– By ungracious reactions to their sin (What were you thinking?  Why in the world would you do that?)
– By forgetting that we were (and are) sinners (I would NEVER have done that when I was your age).

Triplets!

Below is a link to “thelopezblog.” It is an invitation to “laugh, cry, and smile” with the Lopez’s and will mostly consist of “stories, reviews, and snapshots of what a day looks like with six children ages 4 and under.” Of interest is their recent adoption of not one baby, but triplets!

Click here to go to their website.

How Love Begins…

I can remember as a child my mom or dad quite often saying to me, “Look at me when I am talking to you!” Now as a father, I find myself repeating this to my daughter! Why is this so important? Because listening must start with looking. That’s when I know I have your attention.  That’s when I know you care.  Sadly, I’m not always the best example.  Sometimes I come home from work and Alexis starts talking to me and I have my eyes glued to my computer saying something like, “Uh-huh, that’s great, Alexis.”  When I do this, Alexis gets irritated because I’ve made the computer more important than she is.

But Jesus was different.  He looked at people.  Paul Miller, from his lesser-known book, Love Walked Among Us, says:

As I studied how Jesus loved, I was surprised by the number of times that Jesus looked at people.  Altogether the Gospels mention Jesus looking at people about forty times.  I was particularly struck by how often his compassion for people was preceded by his looking (see Mat. 9:6, Mark 10:21, John 19:26-27).

So how do we become more like Jesus?  Ironically, Miller continues,

If we know we are loved — that someone is looking at us — then we can give love; then we can look at others.