Four Keys to Guide your Child from Lying to Loving the Truth!

Today’s post is provided by Jim and Lynne Jackson. Jim and Lynne are speakers, authors, and parent coaches, with over fifty years of combined professional experience working with children, teens, and families. In 2002 they founded Connected Families to guide parents toward peace, connection, and authentic faith in their homes. They have co-authored How to Grow a Connected Family and Discipline That Connects With Your Child’s Heart. 

Jim and Lynne will be speaking at the 2017 Hearts at Home conferences! Registration is now open for the April 21-22 conference in Peoria, Illinois! Mark and I will be joining Jim and Lynne and over a dozen other speakers for a powerful conference that will recharge your mom batteries for sure! Register now to get your top workshop choices!

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Kids are bound to lie and parents are bound to catch them… and then punish or lecture them. Unfortunately, this can spiral into a contentious cat-and-mouse game, as kids get craftier and parents get angrier.

In our work with parents, we have seen that treating lying with grace AND placing a high value on truth-telling powerfully openx children’s hearts to the Holy Spirit’s conviction about lying and honesty.

Here are four ways to make that practical:

  1. Acknowledge the gift-gone-awry. One thing that helps build bridges of trust if your child struggles with lying, is to acknowledge he just might be using a few good “gifts gone awry” to do it… like creativity, confidence, good memory, and even a desire to keep the peace. Our son Noah struggled for a little while with truth-telling. He was definitely a “get along with everyone” kind of kid that didn’t want to disappoint us. We named that good trait and then asked, “this is not the most helpful way I’ve seen you use it, however. It’s important that we keep a close, trust-based relationship. What are your ideas about that?” 
  2. Affirm truth-telling. When you know your child might be tempted to lie, set them up to tell the truth. Instead of firmly asking “Did you brush your teeth?” say, “Let’s quick check your toothbrush before you leave. Do you think I’ll find it wet or dry?” Then, when the child says, “It’s still dry.” You can respond by affirming the true answer. “You could have lied about that but you didn’t. When you tell the truth like this it helps me trust you more. Thanks! I really appreciate that.”

    Parents can also help children learn to value honesty as they “catch them telling the truth” without prompting. Kids tell the truth much more often than they lie. Especially for younger kids, listen to a child tell a story about her day, or ask a child his favorite food or color or vacation. Any time you hear truth you have a chance to affirm, “You’re telling the truth, aren’t you? That feels good, doesn’t it?” 
  3. Value honesty in anger. A great opportunity to affirm truth-telling is when kids are angry and spouting off. Parents can affirm the gift of honest expression “gone awry”. “You are really ticked off about this! I think it would be best to talk about it when you’re calmer but I really appreciate how honest you were with me just now. Even if it’s hard to hear, that’s really important to me.” This sends strong messages to the child – Your honesty is more important to me than your delivery; Heart connection is more important than outward behavior.
  4. Teach about God’s conviction. Lying is a valuable opportunity to help your kids learn to tune into that subtle, unsettled feeling of God-given conviction, which truly is the “best consequence” to teach integrity. At a relaxed time, talk with your kids about that “knot in their stomach” they might experience when they lie or do something else that is hurtful. Help them view this as a good thing, a sign of maturity, even a gift. It’s God’s protection of their life and relationships.  The Holy Spirit guides us into truth, and that truth — including the truth about our sin — sets us free (John 16:13, John 8:32). Share an example of a time you lied or were deceitful, how you felt God’s conviction, what you did to make it right, and how you felt afterward. 

    We gently helped our son Noah learn to tune into that “Holy Spirit knot in his stomach.” He began to come to us (sometimes in tears), “Mom, Dad… I lied again.” This gave us a rich opportunity to affirm his tender conscience and honesty, and extend forgiveness. It was the beginning of his growth to the meticulously honest young man he is today.

When we respond to our children in this way, we not only create the closeness that is fertile soil for honesty, but it draws our kids toward the gracious, come-alongside role of the Holy Spirit in their lives. And what can be better than that?!  

What about you? What strategies have you used to help your kids move from lying to telling the truth? 

What’s Your Plan for Investing in Your Marriage in 2017?

Mark: Several years ago Jill and I took a ballroom dancing class. I admit I was NOT excited about this activity. However, I knew it was important for us to do some different activities in order to keep our relationship fresh. I knew we needed to invest intentionally in our relationship and to change things up every once in a while.

Jill: I was excited about taking the dance classes together. More than dancing together, I just looked forward to being together one night a week. We got in a habit of taking the class and then going out for dessert afterwards. We learned swing dancing, salsa, the two-step, and the waltz. Today we can only swing dance. For some reason that one stuck in our brains…but it was the only one!

Mark: February is a great month to start a new “habit” for your marriage. Use Valentine’s Day to make a weekly/monthly plan to do something together as a couple. You don’t even have to leave home to make investment happen.

Jill: Maybe it’s a commitment to turn off the television and play a game together one night a week (Bananagrams is one of our favorite games to play as a couple). Maybe it’s praying together after you turn out the lights. Maybe it’s signing up for a dance class.

Mark: And what if you’re willing but your spouse is not?  Determine to BE the right person in the midst of that disappointment. Ask God to show you how to love well, even when it is hard. Commit to stand in the gap for your marriage and pray.

Jill: If you’re looking for something to do together for the next four weeks, you, or you and your spouse can sign up for our FREE No More Perfect Marriages e-Challenge. You’ll receive a once-a-week quick-read email that will link to a short quiz for each of you to take to better know yourselves and each other. Then we encourage you to talk with each other about your quiz results.

Mark: Whatever you do, do your best to make 2017 your year of marriage investment!  We’re going to do our best to help you do that here on the blog and with all kinds of resources we’re creating to go along with the No More Perfect Marriages book that will be released in just a few weeks! We’re excited and we hope you are too!

What’s Your Plate Size?

Understanding and Accepting Your Capacity

Today’s post is a guest post by my friend, Kathi Lipp. Coathored with Cheri Gregory, Kathi’s new book, Overwhelmed: Quiet the Chaos and Restore the Sanity, is a breath of fresh air for those of us who get overwhelmed with all that life requires of us!

I loved their book so much I asked if they’d share some wisdom from it and allow me to give away a copy. They said YES!

When she sent me this guest post, I was so excited that it was about the concept of capacity. Mark and I wrote about how capacity differences affect our marriage in No More Perfect Marriages and my daughter Anne and I wrote about how capacity difference affect friendships in Better Together! If you want to find out your capacity, you can hop over and take our Better Together quiz for some insight into how God has made you!

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January is a great time to ask yourself this question: “What size is my plate?”

Here’s what I mean.

Trying to live out all the roles we have can be overwhelming, especially when each of us has a different pre-set capacity.

I was speaking for a women’s group when one woman asked me, “I get so jealous because my friends are always able to accomplish so much more than I am. What do I do about that?”

My answer: Understand your God-given capacity—the size of your plate.

 

What is Your Plate Size?

We talk about having “too much on our plate.”

But it’s more than that: I think we over-estimate the size of our plate.

I would say that I have a dinner plate—a pretty big dinner plate. I can get a lot done in a day. But I don’t have little kids at home. And since I run my own business, I have a lot of flexibility.

Most of us probably have a dinner plate capacity.

Some of you have just a huge capacity—a turkey platter. Like the PTA mom who can do everything and still have energy left over.

Some of you have more of a demitasse saucer capacity. And, my precious friends, I do not want you to feel bad. I believe this is how God has designed you, and it was not a mistake. Maybe you’re like my friend Cheri, who is a Highly Sensitive Person and gets extra easily overwhelmed.

We each need to recognize our capacity.

Because we have to fit everything we value on the plate we have.

Once you’ve added all the vital aspects of your life to your plate—God, marriage, kids, family, friends, church, work etc.—how much white space do you have left?  Hopefully some, but I’m betting not a ton.

Here’s the thing: You still have to do things, like go to the grocery store. You still want to read the occasional book.
So you have to be very careful about what you put on your plate. We don’t get to pile our plates high. We have to manage the space we actually have.

Here are some questions I want you to ask yourself today:

  1. What size plate do I have? (Get really visual. Maybe even make a drawing of it.)
  1. Is there space on my plate?
  1. Do I need to take a few things off my plate? If so, what?
  1. Do I have room for anything new, or do I need to wait for something to fall off my plate?

 

God is Not Limited by Our Limitations

Cheri and Kathi

And here’s a little bonus for those of you who feel your plate is too small:

I was having a great conversation with Cheri; we were talking about the size of her plate. Cheri was whining (she agrees it was whining), “My poor little saucer! I want a cafeteria tray sized capacity!”

I told her, “Cheri, I feel like that’s what you have. You get so much done!” Our friend Angela told her, “Cheri, you must have the largest saucer in the world!”

Cheri said, “Then God has got to be multiplying things along the way. Maybe that’s when he can multiply things: when we accept what we have and quit begging, borrowing, and stealing what isn’t ours.”

So friend, if you have an underwhelming sized plate—if your capacity seems small—I need you to know God is not surprised by your capacity or limited by it.

He’s not saying, “You have to do more to please me.”

He’s saying, “Put the right things on the plate, and I can multiply it. Give me your best, and I can do the rest.”

Do not feel gypped if you have a small plate. Put on it only what God has asked you to, and leave the rest up to him.

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Instead of making New Year’s resolutions (that will only last for a week), how about creating a Personal manifesto that will carry you through the rest of your life?  Sign up for great ideas and resources about how to get out from Overwhelmed and you will receive “How to Write Your Personal Manifesto” as our gift to you. Get off the overwhelming cycle of making and breaking resolutions and create a gentle plan for lasting life change.

 

Kathi and Cheri would like to send a copy of Overwhelmed: Quiet the Chaos & Restore Your Sanity to one of my readers!

To qualify for the drawing, you just need to do TWO things:

#1. LEAVE A COMMENT below about either what overwhelms you most OR what you do to restore the sanity in your life.

#2. SHARE THIS POST on social media.

That’s it! Once you do both, your name will be entered into the random drawing. Be sure to tell your friends so they can sign up too. The drawing will take place this Saturday, January 14 and the winner will be notified by email! {Contest is limited to US & Canadian readers only.}

This post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure policy here.

Are You Making Your Spouse Pay a High Price for Honesty?

Marriage Monday

Jill: I’ll never forget the night I came to Mark after my evening shift at the dinner theater where I was employed. We’d been married five years and had two kids. I ran a daycare during the day while Mark went to school full-time. Then in the evenings I took a shift as a actress/waitress at a local dinner theater.

Mark: Jill and I were meeting each other coming and going. We didn’t have time to invest in our marriage so we were drifting apart without realizing it.

Jill: My dance partner at work was showing interest in me and I began to look forward to going to work more than coming home. The temptation was great to pursue this new relationship, especially when it felt he had more time for me and was more interested in me than my husband. I KNEW what I had to do. I had to be honest with Mark and move this dangerous situation from the dark into the light.

Mark: Back then, I had an issue with rage. When I didn’t know how to control a situation, I would use anger to control. It wasn’t healthy but it was all I knew.  That night, however, I experienced something different. I knew Jill and I were compromising our relationship with our crazy schedule. I understood how she could possibly feel drawn to someone who was showing more attention than I was. When Jill told me what was happening, I listened and then instead of reacting…I responded.

Jill: Because Mark often got angry, I was obviously scared to talk to him about this. I pulled up all the courage I had and when he responded with dialogue instead of reacting with anger, I was so relieved. He made it EASY for me to be honest with him!

Mark: I’ve done a lot of wrong in my life and in my marriage, but I got it right that night. Jill and I talked deep into the night and made some decisions that would allow us to begin to invest in us once again.

Jill: Too often, we make our spouse pay a high price for honesty.  We explode. Blame. Point fingers. Play the martyr. Whether it’s confessing that we’ve slipped back into using pornography, or sharing our concern about feeling attracted to someone at work, expressing the feeling of being at the bottom of the priority list, or even communicating that we forgot to do something our spouse asked us to do, our spouse needs to know we’re a SAFE person to be honest with.

Mark: To dig in practically to what this looks like in real life, let’s use the word SAFE for four steps in responding to our spouse’s honesty:

-Sit. Sit and listen. Stay in the room and listen to his or her heart. Allow them to express their thoughts and concerns without disagreeing with any of it.

-Ask. Ask questions to better understand. You can even say “Tell me more…” and then encourages your spouse to keep talking.

-Forgive. Choose to forgive, if your spouse communicates something to you that needs forgiveness. You won’t feel like it, but you’ll have to forgive in order to move forward. Forgiveness isn’t once and done. You’ll forgive that night and then probably have to forgive again the next day when you think about it once again.

-Engage. Engage the problem. Don’t minimize it. Don’t cast blame. Resist the urge to tell your spouse this is his problem or this is her issue. In marriage, this is OUR ISSUE and we have to tackle it TOGETHER. Work together to find a solution.

Jill: When we make our spouse pay a high price for honesty, we make dishonesty more appealing. Dishonestly and intimacy cannot co-exist. We have to make our marriage a safe place for honesty. That way our intimacy can deepen, we can engage in helpful dialogue, and we can work together to move from where we are to where we want to be.

What about you? Are you making your spouse pay a high price for honesty? 

Turn Your Mess Into Your Message

How did you get started speaking and writing?

It’s a question I’m asked quite often.

Honestly I kind of came in through the back door. I wasn’t looking to speak or write but with the growth of the Hearts at Home conference, I was given the opportunities to do both. They’ve come with a steep learning curve, though, for sure.

That’s why I’m so excited about a new four-week online course I’ve developed! It’s a Facebook-based speaker coaching group that I’ll be doing LIVE teaching on weekly. It’s a place to get your questions answered and learn about the craft of speaking! My hope is that this class will help folks who want to speak learn in four weeks some of the principles it took me years to learn!

It doesn’t matter if you’re experienced or not, this class is for someone who wants to be more comfortable speaking in any public setting, someone who’s teaching a weekly Bible study, someone who’s speaking at their moms group, or someone who is looking to become a professional speaker!

If that’s you…you can find more information about the online course HERE!

If that’s not you, do you know someone that might benefit from a class like this? Could you forward it on to them?

I believe our broken world needs to hear our stories. Whether we’re sharing them in big or small settings, the more comfortable we are with speaking publicly, the more opportunities God has to redeem the broken places in our lives for His purposes! That’s when He turns our messes into His messages! 

The Gift of Peace of Mind

Last weekend I learned about a gift my friend Jody Antrim had given her grown children at Christmas. I loved the idea of it so much that I asked Jody if she would share about it here on my blog! No matter what season of life you’re in, this gift can inspire you in some way. Maybe you need to create a binder like this or maybe you need to request that your parents create something like this for you! I’ll let Jody fill in the details:

This Christmas my husband and I gave the gift of “peace of mind” to six people and the total cost for all six was under $75!  Our gift was to “put our affairs in order” for our two adult daughters, their spouses, and ourselves.  I just turned 65, and my husband and I are in excellent health.  So why the need to do this when all is well? A better question: Why wait for the stress of a critical diagnosis or unexpected accident?   It’s always the right time to share the gift of peace of mind.  This is what our gift looked like before wrapping it up.

 

There are so many ways to organize important information.  I could have gone paperless and prepared a digital file for our gifts.  But I’m a 3-ring binder kind of gal, and I needed to touch it and be able to easily see where changes were needed.  It takes some work, so it’s important to choose a method that makes it as easy on yourself as possible.

The key is to start and tweak as you go along.  Our daughters’ notebooks were wrapped and then opened Christmas morning, but they will remain a work in progress, we hope for many years to come.  There will be annual updates and additions as required.

With some ideas from others who have experience with this task, I began. Each notebook had 5 tabs and this is how I divided up the information.

Tab #1: IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS:

This section contains a copy of our will.  We used an online version from Quicken.  It cost $60.  It guided us through all the questions we needed to answer.  It includes delegating authority over our finances and health decisions.  We printed it out, found 2 witnesses younger than ourselves who live nearby, and then got it notarized.  We have the original in our file cabinet we’ve named “Information Central” and made copies for each of our girls.  We also included in this section of the notebook, copies of our birth certificates, marriage certificate, passports, Social Security cards, etc.  All the originals are still in “Information Central” at our house.

Tab #2: FAMILY CONTACTS and PASSWORDS:

I come from a large family spread across the country.  I have a document with each of my siblings’ address, phone, and email address.  I have another “Next Generation” document of my nieces and nephews with the names, birthdates, addresses, phone, email, and their children.  Additionally I may add other important family friends to this section.

We also included a spreadsheet of all our passwords!  There are so many!  Both the family contacts and passwords include information on where to find these documents in our computer.

Tab #3: HEALTH

In this section we included the names and contact information of doctors.  One could also include any major medical diagnosis and treatments.  We have also authorized our doctor to freely share any of our medical information with our daughters at their request.  We are an open book!

We also included Medicare and supplemental insurance information.  Insurance is simplified because we have one agent for our health, auto, and homeowners’ insurance.

Tab #4: FINANCES:

This included the name and contact information for our financial advisor and our account numbers.  We also included our bank account numbers and online banking information.  This is also where we include debit and credit card information.

Tab #5: OTHER:

For now this includes information for our post mortem wishes.

Deciding on tabs is all about making it your own.  I have already thought of future tabs.  I want to add “HEIRLOOMS” to the notebook.  There are furniture pieces, jewelry, artwork, and other items passed down that have special meaning.  I will include photos and descriptions so the stories aren’t lost.  I also want one titled, “HOME” and keep track of home improvements.

There are a number of factors that made this gift less challenging to create.  Our life is pretty simple.  We didn’t have complications such as divorce, step children, owning our own business, debt, multiple properties, unresolved conflict in family relationships, etc.  More complications may call for a visit to a lawyer to iron out specifics.  But even with those challenges, you can begin with some simple steps.  One step at a time and you can build order into your life.

One thing we did when we gave the notebooks to our daughters and sons-in-law, was include plans to treat the six of us to dinner at a quiet restaurant.  No children were invited…it was an evening to ask questions, discuss decisions, and mostly just enjoy the peace of knowing we love each enough to do the work required.  That dinner made all the work worth it! All six of us savored the meal, the company, and the peace of mind.

We gave this gift to our daughters for Christmas, but it can be given at any time.  And it’s a gift that will keep on giving as we add to it and update on a regular basis.   If you are the parent of adult children, I encourage you to share this gift with your children.  If you are the adult child, treat your parents to dinner and let them know how much you want to be prepared to honor their wishes.  Show them this blog and help them with the process.

We are beginning 2017 with a load off of our minds…and so are our adult children.  I’m grateful for the assistance I was given, and I want to pay it forward.  Have fun at the office supply store!

What Do I Do?

Marriage Monday

 

Mark: When I was a kid, I remember vividly going to a State Park with my mom and step-dad. I ventured out on a path, took a few turns, and ended up lost. I was freaking out trying to find my way back to my family and I couldn’t find the right path home. Finally, I rounded a big set of trees and there was my mom who had been looking for me.

Jill: Sometimes life is like that. We venture out, take a few right turns and then a few wrong turns and end up at a place we don’t expect.

Mark: I was recently texting with a friend of mine who has been struggling in his marriage. “Praying for you, my brother. I’m praying about whose path you are on. Are you on His path or your own?” His response, “Wouldn’t know, Mark. His path isn’t working and I’m walking it alone and my path is getting me nowhere.” I responded, “His path always works…but you have to surrender to Him…that is how it works. Our flesh always fights His path.”

Jill: Our flesh is a powerful enemy and will always fight God’s path. An unsurrendered heart is fueled by the hurts of our past and by our own selfish desires. Our flesh—doing things our way instead of God’s way– will always lead us to ruin and ultimately death. Maybe not a physical death, but the death of relationships, of dreams, of accomplishments, and even of our own character and integrity.

Mark: Romans 8: 5-7 NIV says it this way, “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires, but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.”

Mark: I definitely understand now more than ever the control my flesh can have. It was my flesh that led to my infidelity. It is my flesh that causes me to think selfishly or pridefully. I’ve come to understand that, for me, my flesh is fueled by unrealistic expectations, desires, anger, wanting the easy button, and a desire to run away when things get hard. All of this doesn’t go away without a spiritual fight and without resolve to do what’s right rather than what I feel like doing. The strength and courage for resolve are found fully in surrender. Waving the white flag that says, “Your way, God, not mine.”

Jill: My flesh can raise up so easily, too. When I’m tempted to be think of myself before Mark, when I’m tempted to blame rather than accept responsibility. When I’m tempted to choose anger instead of forgiveness. That’s when I know I have to get back on the right path of surrender.  More of God…less of me.

Mark: Are you asking “what do I do?” Is God whispering direction to you, but you want other options? When we surrender to God, it is then that we find life and peace. It’s then that relationships flourish or can begin to heal. It will likely feel backwards than the direction our world screams. But surrender is still the right path. It will move us from the wrong path and help us find our way home.

What fuels your flesh? Where in your marriage do you need to raise the white flag of surrender and move from the wrong path you’re on to the right path God wants you to be on?