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Take them by the Hand

Ephesians 6:1-4, NIV

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Fathers, [parents] do not exasperate your children [by coming down hard on them]; instead, bring them up [take them by the hand and lead them] in the training and instruction of the Lord [the way of the master].

[brackets mine adapted from The Message]

We often focus on the first part of this passage, the part where our kids have a command to obey and honor us, as their parents. But I want us to look at the second part today. The part that says that we, as parents, have a role to play in this, too.

We are not to exasperate our children. We are not to come down hard on them. We are not to irritate intensely and infuriate them. Instead, we are to take them by the hand and lead them. And we aren’t to just lead them anywhere we choose, but we are to lead them in the ways of the Lord. We are to train them in His instruction.

When we are doing this the Lord’s way, then our children are going to honor and obey us. When we give them what they need, they give us what is needed from them. We set the example. We give the training. They don’t automatically know how to obey. They must be taught how. By us.

I love this picture of taking them by the hand. It is not a picture of standing over them with our fingers pointed and our voices raised. It is not us walking ahead and assuming that they are following. It is us, walking together along a path, holding hands, and guiding.

This is the Lord’s way of leading us, and the way we need to be parenting the children that He has given to us.


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Leave a Legacy

Leaving a legacy. Something that we all want to do. But what kind of legacy are we leaving? What are we teaching our children?

Are we teaching them the simple things? Like how to crochet and knit the way our moms and grandmas did?

Are we teaching them to cook healthy meals for their families?

Are we teaching them to be able to clean house, do home repair, simple car repair, and more?

Are we teaching them to love Jesus and to be His disciples?

Are we teaching them to love others as they love themselves?

Nichole Nordeman

I don’t mind if you’ve got something nice to say about me
And I enjoy an accolade like the rest
You could take my picture and hang it in a gallery
Of all who’s who and so-n-so’s that used to be the best
At such ‘n ‘such, it wouldn’t matter much.
I won’t lie, it feels alright to see your name in lights
We all need an ‘Atta boy’ or ‘Atta girl’
In the end I’d like to hang my hat on more besides
The temporary trappings of this world.

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
Blessed Your Name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy.

I don’t have to look too far or too long awhile
To make a lengthy list of all that I enjoy
It’s an accumulating trinket and a treasure pile
Where moth and rust, thieves and such will soon enough destroy.

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
Blessed Your Name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy.

Not well traveled, not well read,
Not well-to-do or well bred
Just want to hear instead,
“Well Done” good and faithful one.

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?

I don’t mind if you’ve got something nice to say about me.

You can purchase this song here.


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Serving with Kids


This week, our family got the opportunity to serve together in a community ministry. It was the first time we have volunteered at the local food pantry. We have served together in our church many times, but this was a different kind of service than we have done before.

And the kids did GREAT!

  • They helped unload the seven pallets of food and supplies like a boss.
  • They walked people through the pantry and helped them choose items.
  • They went out in the rain to help people load the food into their vehicles.
  • They helped stock shelves, bag items, and anything else that was needed.

Living in a small community, there are not a ton of opportunities to serve the poor the way there would be in a big city, and I think about that a lot. Jesus has called us to care for the poor, orphan and widow and while we donate things to various groups to help as much as we can, I am always on the lookout for ways for us to serve as a family so my children are learning to live out the mandate to love our neighbor and be a servant in a physical way.

At the end of the day, I talked with the kids. Here is what they had to say:

  • Anne said she liked seeing people who were unhappy when they came in leaving happy.
  • Ty said he liked helping to stock the shelves, and get the carts ready with boxes and bags for the people.
  • Anne said she enjoyed helping fill one lady’s vehicle with food.
  • Ty said it felt nice to help people who were in need.
  • Anne liked that we were serving as a family.

They both said that if our church always has October as the month to volunteer, we should do this every Columbus Day. I love that. I want them to have the heart of servants. I want them to recognize that helping people is the way that we are called to live as followers of Christ.

We are all busy. But that can’t be an excuse for not teaching our children how to care for and serve one another. Even if it isn’t as often as we would like, or it takes work to make it happen, it is worth it.

What are some ways that you have been able to serve others with your family?


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This is a post that was originally published on this blog back in 2012. I was getting ready to write today’s post when I remembered this post and thought that it said what I wanted to say, so thought I would re-vamp it a little and re-post it for today.

Be respectful. Be responsible. Teach respect. Teach Responsibility.

I have high expectations, both for myself and for everyone else, in many areas of life. Often I am bombarded with just how high my expectations are when it comes to respect and responsibility.

It may come as no surprise to those of you who know me that harmony (I want everyone to just get along!) and responsibility (someone has to take care of everyone else, right?) are two of my top strengths. And since I am almost constantly wanting to keep everyone happy and cared for, I am doing my best to make sure I respect others, particularly those in authority, and making sure that I do my part and follow through with my commitments.

But what has happened to me often is that I am not getting the respect that I am giving and/or other people just don’t do what they say they are going to do (or, let’s be honest, what I think they should be responsible to do). And when that happens, I feel hurt, angry, frustrated, sad, defeated, walked all over, and, well, you get the picture. And then I begin trying to analyze why people are the way they are. I have some theories. Here are the printable ones. 🙂

  • At some point our society as a whole stopped teaching our children the value of respect and obedience. Instead of requiring obedience first, we started explaining every little thing to our children about why they needed to obey before we require them to do so. For example, my dad taught me that my children needed to understand the word “stop” and obey immediately upon hearing that word. When I tell them to stop, they don’t need to know why at that very moment, they just need to stop. If they are running toward the road and a car is coming, they have to stop as soon as I tell them to or risk getting hit by a car. If I have to explain why they need to stop every time I tell them to, there will be a time when it will be too late and they will already have been hit by a car. That doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be any explanation, but it does mean that their first response to a command or request from a person in authority should be immediate obedience. (The exception to this is obviously if they are being asked to do something illegal, harmful, or dangerous.) While it is good to ask questions and understand why we do things, there is an appropriate and respectful way to do so.
  • We are also failing our children in teaching them responsibility. So many parents do EVERYTHING for their kids. They aren’t made to clean their rooms, do their laundry, help with the household chores, keep track of their own homework, etc. The thing is, when we expect our kids to be responsible, they step up and learn responsibility. But when we do everything for them and never let them fail, they learn that someone else will always be taking responsibility for them, so they don’t have to be responsible.
  • Then there’s the entitlement issue. The problem with raising children to be individuals instead of part of a community is everyone is looking out for number one, which means they are only going to be responsible for what they want for themselves and are going to demand respect for themselves without giving it to anyone else. When you live life looking out for your own best interest, and feeling like you are entitled to whatever it is you want, respect and responsibility for others never enters the picture.

I think that these issues play into all areas of our lives: our parenting, our relationships, our friendships, our work, our churches, our politics, and so much more.

When I am leading a group of kids and they won’t stop talking, it’s some lack of respect and some kids being kids. But when I am leading adults and they won’t stop talking (texting, checking their phones, Facebook, etc.), it is lack of respect. Period. And where do kids learn what they learn? From adults.

When kids forget to turn something in or show up to something they said they were going to show up to, it’s some irresponsibility and some kids being kids. When adults don’t do what they have committed to, it is lack of respect AND irresponsibility. Period. And where do kids learn what they learn? From adults.

Yes, there are extenuating circumstances sometimes. But communication about those circumstances shows respect and responsibility. Just not following through doesn’t show either.

At one point I made this post on Facebook, after another incident showing lack of respect and responsibility:

“Two words no parent should ever let their child use: I quit. If you make a commitment, you stick to it and see it through to the end. And kids need to be taught that. And I’m afraid some parents do, too. My dad always taught me to be true to my word, which means finishing even if I don’t want to, if it is hard, or if it is inconvenient. And it means that I can be counted on to be truthful in what I say and do. If you are a parent, please teach this to your children! And whether or not you have children, make this true for yourself as well!”

I had quite a few people “like” this status. And that is great. But my challenge for you today is to do more than “like” this post. It is all well and good to agree. It is better if you make sure that you are treating others with respect and taking responsibility where you need to be. And that starts with our kids. And our relationships. And our friendships. And our work. And our churches. And our politics.

Be respectful. Be responsible.

Teach respect. Teach responsibility.

I think our world will be a better place when we all do this.

What do you think?


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