Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Are you saving for retirement? Maybe you shouldn't be. You may be taking valuable resource from things that you need. It is possible that this is hording; taking resources that others could use and saving thme for your own selfish or prideful purpose.

It is also possible that your retirement savings is keeping you from being the best parent you can be. Face it, the most noble purpose of a retirement plan is assure that your late-life needs are not a burden on your children or society. However, if you are witholding valuable resources from your children in the years that they are with you, you may be doing them a bigger dis-service. You only have your children for 18 to 21 years. Use God's provision now for their development and for building family memories.

If your working for a early retirement consider Why you are doing that. God's word calls those who don't provide for themselves "sluggard". One can argue that they worked hard for their early retirement, but if you retire before your working days are over, you have likely done so for selfish reasons. (An exeption would be one who retires from paid employment in order to take a unpaid or underpaid ministry.)

That brings the final point to mind, if your working long days and long weeks to create that nestegg in the days that your family is growing, who's raising your children? In your 30s, your life focus needs to much more on the necessities of the children in your home and your spouse and less on what your life will be like in your 80s.

Retirement sounds like a great idea; defired enjoyment of life until your in your later years. Unfortunately, it isn't a biblical principle and it isn't one that comes without costs to your family. Focus on using God's resources for God's purpose today. If you do this with full faith in God and His purpose in mind, He will provide even as you reach the golden years.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Setting boundaries is a teaching process |

One of the more difficult aspects of teaching children to become adults is helping children to take ownership of right and wrong. Recently, was was talking to a professional about first year college students. Too many of those student find themselves in trouble because their voice of moral reason has been removed from their lives. Most college students find that they have much more freedom than living at home. How they use that freedom is greatly dependant upon how much they personally own the moral system their parents tried to teach to them.

"Setting boundaries is a teaching process" is an article published on It offers a helpful guide for developing boundaries in children through different stages of life. If appropriate boundaries are taught at each developmental stage, presumably children will take ownership of the values that the boundaries demonstrate.

How to set boundaries through the stages
Even babies should be stopped from doing something wrong. Wag your finger and say no, or find another nonviolent way to convey displeasure. Never, ever shake a baby, which can kill, blind or cause brain damage.

Toddlers are inherently curious and lack impulse control, so they have to be reigned in often. Encourage their natural inclination toward exploration, but teach them how to do it safely and at appropriate times.

Most parenting experts oppose corporal punishment. Among other things, those who are spanked are more likely to be violent themselves. If you do spank, limit to a few strokes with a bare hand and avoid the face, neck and head. Spanking that leaves bruises, draws blood or breaks bones is illegal and abusive.

Elementary school
Children at this stage are slightly more independent, but still need close supervision. Go over the rules frequently, and remind children of established boundaries when you see violations looming. Punish swiftly after an infraction, and clearly state the reason for punishment. The punishment should fit the crime and be applied consistently.

Gradually increase freedom to test adherence to family rules when children are on their own. If the children prove trustworthy, reward them for good behavior. If they do not, decrease freedom. Discuss your position on drinking, drugs and pre-marital sex often, and be sure children are adequately supervised, especially during after-school hours.

Gradually shift teens to independence, but remain vigilant on such matters as chores, curfews, homework and grades. If you have strong feelings about clothing, piercing and hairstyles, make sure your teenager knows that. Establish clear boundaries related to drinking, driving, dating, drugs and sex, and enforce limits consistently.

-- Compiled by Courtenay Edelhart (Published on

[Note: I don't agree fully with the author's corporal punishment analysis. There are still many parenting experts who believe corporal punishment, when used in the right context can be an appropriate expression of love. Dr. Tim Kimmil offers some questions to help the family think through the issue of corporal punishment.]

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Sad Thing About TO

Vito has it right. The TO thing is sad. The man is sick and needs help. More importantly, you can have it all and not be happy if all means that you are the center of the world. The only way to true happiness is to have Jesus at the center. Then, you don't mind putting others first, you team winning without you, or the fact that others make more than you.

I hope TO gets the help that he needs.