February 9, 2018
“Guiding and Listening”
recently found a piece of an old newspaper in some of my mother’s “stuff”.
We are still looking at pictures, notes, cards and mementos from
Mother’s life. This one really stood out
to me, as I am always wanting to help parents with their relationships with
their children. You see, I believe that
you, as a parent, should be the first and foremost person your child can trust,
confide in and share their lives with…that is until they find that perfect mate
David Wilkerson wrote a book titled, “Parents
on Trial”. In this book he
confronted issues of the parent/child relationship. He actually had a group of young people
comment on what they “thought” they needed from their parents. Here they are speaking as if to their
parents. Take a look…
1) KEEP YOUR COOL. Kids need the confidence that only a steady
hand and a settled soul can offer.
2) DON’T GET HUNG UP on activities that keep you too busy to establish good communications
with your children. A father should set
aside time for family life. A mother
should be at home to supervise her children.
3) DON’T GET STRUNG OUT. Stay away from liquor and
pills. Try not to overburden yourself
with other activities that really don’t matter.
4) BUG US A LITTLE.
Use strict, but loving discipline. Show
us you are wise and strong enough to be boss.
5) DON’T BLOW YOUR CLASS. Keep the dignity of
parenthood. Don’t try to dress and act
like teenagers. Kids need to know their
parents are adults.
6) LIGHT US A CANDLE. Show us the way to faith. Be an example of faith at work.
7) TAKE THE WORLD OFF OUR SHOULDERS. Talk to us about
morals, love, life, eternity, peace of mind and values. Let us know we can count on you when things
get up tight.
8) SCARE US. When you catch a child in his/her first
encounter with wrong, punish him. Be
sure he understands what he has done wrong and why it is wrong. Let him/her know you are punishing him because
you love him and are concerned about him…not because you want to get even.
9) CALL OUR BLUFF. Stand firm and don’t let us con you. Guide and direct us.
10) ALWAYS BE HONEST WITH US. Tell your children
the truth. Be generous in praise. When it comes time to criticize your child,
he will then believe you and trust your judgment.
sound very wise to me. In this world
that is such a “me” society, let’s
concentrate on priorities and put first things first.
are young adults now (31, 30 and 28 years old), and I am still working on
keeping a strong relationship with them.
It really matters how the generations grow with one another…and that’s
just it…we need to grow “with” one
another, not “away from” one
another. One day, I will have
grandchildren and will certainly want to have a strong, respected legacy to leave
with them. Tomorrow would have been Mother’s 87th birthday. I am
thankful that she left a strong legacy…one in which I can live, trust and
up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from
it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
Here’s to the journey…it may seem
long, but trust God to complete what He has started.
Have you ever pondered the “no room” situation that occurred on the night Jesus, the Messiah,
was born? Have you ever wondered…was that
really true? “No room” in the inn for Jesus?
You might think that surely the innkeeper could have seen that Mary
needed a place to lay her head…after all she was “great with child”!
How many times have you experienced a “no room” situation or attitude in just day-to-day living? “There’s
no room for even one more piece of furniture in that room!” “There’s no room for even one more traveler
in the car!” “There’s no room for one
more book on that bookshelf!” “There’s
no room for one more guest at the party…the guest list is closed!” “There’s no room on my schedule for one more
activity!” Tending to details such
as these, can be exhausting! Before you
know it, you are saying “no room” or
just plain “NO” to so many things in
How can we change our outlook and say “yes” more than “no”? How can we actually “make room” for the positives and look
beyond the negative?
Clearly, it was the will of God for Jesus to be born in
that lowly stable and be laid in a manger.
It’s hard to imagine the Christmas story any other way but that. However, when you think about the fact that
He was the Savior of the world and that He was the King and Messiah who had
been promised for so many years…how could
HE ever be refused? The Promise was
being fulfilled in Jesus!
So, parents, this brings me to the point of this entire
blog today. Will you make room for the
most important things in your child’s life, and will you be a “yes” parent? Saying “yes” to your child doesn’t mean you
give in or you let him/her do “whatever”
they wish, “whenever” they wish. It simply means that you are willing to
listen and try to understand their little hearts and minds. It means that as they grow older and mature,
you are willing to let them try some of the things they really feel led to do
or act upon. It means that you are
willing to trust your child and “let go” just
a little at a time. It means, too, that
you know your child is just a gift, on loan, from the Lord. He has a special plan for your child’s life.
Just a few tips…
Always have an open heart, an open mind and
an open ear to your child. Let him/her
Be willing to try “new and exciting” things.
Be willing to let your child share
responsibilities at home.
Allow your child to feel important in helping
make some decisions in the home. Recognize
as one that counts.
Making room for your child’s
opinion empowers him/her to use their gifts in unique ways.
A "yes" builds confidence and self-esteem.
As we consider our child’s gifts
and thoughts, we must be consistent with our thought process and also demand
respect from that child. In so doing, be
sure you show respect, as well.
Educator Shinichi Suzuki once
said, "Children learn to smile from
their parents." When children only hear "no" all the time, they develop a negativity in their
hearts that is hard to turn around. Appropriately saying "yes" to your child will one
day help him/her say "yes" to
Is there room in your home for “yes”?
Is there room in your
heart for Him? Will you lead your child
into a life of positive thinking and “room”
for what the Lord has in store for him/her?
Here’s to the journey…make room!
'"Just a Little Bit"!
December 7, 2017
Fifty years ago, in 1967, singer
Aretha Franklin, made it big with her hit, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T”. It was a quick hit and very popular! In later years, as a teen, I remember hearing
that song and liking the beat and the tune.
However, as a teenager, I had no idea what she was singing about. The title of the song was a word I had heard
my mother “preach and teach” about,
but the message here was really just one of wanting “respect” from a man. You may remember…”just a little bit, just a little bit”.
As I am contemplating our world today and seeing relationships
tremble and decay, I wish we could have just
a little bit of it, too.
am imagining, today, a world full of love and respect…one where we love and
care for one another, as we do ourselves…one where we look up to authority…one
where our children listen and obey, because they have respect for their
parents. You see, “respect” has to be taught and modeled. “Respect”
has to be talked about. “Respect” has to be shared and given
can you teach respect for authority
and how can your child benefit from
being a respectful human being?
begin in the home. You are your child’s
first authority figures. From day one,
your demeanor, your tone of voice, your actions…will touch your child one way
or another. Even a baby, who wants to
kick and scream, can learn respect for his/her loving parents.
teaching and modeling of respect must be consistent. Teaching manners like saying, “please” and “thank you” should be for everything and everyone involved...teaching your sons how to be a gentleman and
your daughters how to be a lady. You and
your spouse must be consistent in your respect for one another, also. Children should not see you showing
disrespect or disregard for one another.
It greatly affects their behavior.
top of these teaching experiences.
Take time to talk to your child when you see disrespectful behavior and
follow through with the consequences.
Reward respectful behavior…not monetarily, but in “words of praise and
attentive to your child. Always guiding
him/her along in this journey of life.
you have set rules and guidelines for your child to follow.
not allow “talking back” from your child when you ask him/her to do something. You should not have to tell your child over
and over to obey. Expect obedience.
Be sure that your children all respect one another. Do not allow sibling rivalry that gets out of
hand. It carries over into other
Teach your child to speak when spoken to and also to acknowledge
In public, let your child see you being kind to strangers and
showing an “others first” attitude.
Be sure your child respects his teacher, and that your child
knows you support that teacher.
foremost, be sure that your child sees your love and respect for God Almighty. He is the ultimate authority! You can be sure that if your child learns
respect for you, as parents, he/she will ultimately have high regard and
respect for God, who wants all mankind to love Him and to love one another.
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.
Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10
It would be an
amazing sight if all mankind chose to respect others and hold others up in high
esteem…in the home, in our schools, in your community, in the church, in the
marketplace, in the world. Let’s work on
it…”R-E-S-P-E-C-T…just a little bit”! Or maybe a lot!
Here’s to the
journey…”respect goes a long way”…even “just a little bit”!
November 3, 2017
How many times have you looked into the eyes of your
child and wondered just what he/she would be when he/she “grows up”? It’s almost like
looking at that beautifully wrapped gift and wondering what’s inside. How often do you wonder what gifts and
talents the Lord may have given your child?
Do you see certain traits or characteristics in your child that you want
to develop as he/she gets older? Now is
the time, parents, to begin to take note of those little gifts that will
blossom into larger gifts and talents as the years roll along.
It is such a sweet memory to me, personally, as I
remember how my mom told of hearing me playing “Jesus Loves Me” when I was three years old. She had noticed that I seemed to love music,
but one day, she found me at the piano picking out the tune to “Jesus Loves Me”. It was that day that she said to herself, “As soon as I can, I must find someone to
teach her!” So, when I turned five
years old, Miss Everett began teaching me and so began the journey of becoming
an accomplished musician, as a pianist.
To this day, I recognize that my mom saw in me, a gift and talent from
How do you go about recognizing these gifts and talents
so freely given by the Lord?
observe and listen to your child’s daily activities.
open-minded. No two children are alike,
each one has his/her own uniqueness.
questions. Help your child discover
these special “qualities of giftedness”.
patience and understanding when your child takes interest in something new or
wants to try something “far-fetched”.
background enrichment when the time comes.
opportunities for those talents to emerge and blossom.
to recognize your child’s feelings about certain activities and avenues of
education. Know his/her feelings of “joy” versus those feelings of “negativity” toward activities or even
Be an encourager to your child. Let him/her
know you stand with them as life moves along.
I always wanted to know what was wrapped under the
Christmas tree, and I always wanted to find Mother and Daddy’s surprises…those
unwrapped gifts always got my attention…still do. However, it’s so exciting to watch the “unwrapping” of gifts in lives,
today…and especially to see that in the lives of children. It is such a joy to also know, that the Lord
has such a plan for their lives.
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have
received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various
forms.” 1 Peter 4:10
to the journey…”unwrap it…one gift at a
“He Knows Your Name”
heart is burdened for all the mommies who strive so hard to be “everything” this world expects them to
be. Really, your relationship with the
Lord and your responsibilities as a wife and mother should be your first
priority. Dads, there are challenges for
you, as well. However, today, I want to
encourage all the women who have the wonderful and blessed opportunity of being
teaching the younger threes their music class this past Monday morning and one
of the little boys asked, “What’s your
name?” I replied, “Oh, you know my name. My name is Mrs. Burke.” To which he replied,
quite insistently “No, your name?” I said, “Oh, my name is Cynthia! Just like your mommy’s name is ______
(and I gave her first name).” He became
even more insistent, as he replied, “No,
her name is Mommy!” I said, “Well, yes, you are right!” Her name is Mommy!” It was such a sweet encounter and it caused
me to ponder that name, “Mommy”.
all, moms, you can not be and do everything
your family or the world expects you to.
You must focus on three areas daily in order to fulfill the role to
which you have been called.
you must stay “tuned in” to the
Lord. For, you have been called, by God,
for a specific purpose. Your walk with
the Lord must take precedence in your daily life, so that, you might know Him
who knows you. Almighty God, your
Creator, knows you, by name. Isaiah 43:1
says, “But now, thus says the LORD,
your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, "Do not fear, for
I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!”
2) Put your husband first, before the
children. Did I really say that? Yes, I know it is hard. I know your children have needs that have to
be met. Remember though, you and he will
be alone again one day as “empty nesters”. You certainly want your relationship to be
strong, alive, and fun then, too. Let
him know his opinion counts when disciplining the children. Be sure you involve him in the activities
with the children, and then, when it’s bedtime, try to have a few minutes to
just “unwind” together. Make it a point
to have a “date” night at least once
a month. Spend time together with your
focus only on one another. Allow your
husband to lead your home. His authority
should be respected and a concerted effort of both of you will do wonders for
3) Be sure that your character is respectful
and a good role model for your children.
You are your child’s first model.
You are your child’s first accountability partner. Be sure he/she has a good role model to
follow. When you discipline your
children, be sure that you have set the best example possible, and
expect obedience. “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and
he praises her.” Proverbs 31:28
many other thoughts I could share today, but I will save those for another
day. I just want to remind you that you
are created by God as a unique, special creation. Take heart and joy in knowing, He knows your
name…He knows your purpose. On those
days, when you think you just can’t get it all done or you can’t make everyone
happy, remember to take note of your priorities and go from there. Many people will come and go, activities will
occur and then be gone, but the stake you put in your family and home will be
one that lasts…it will affect eternity.
the journey…make it a positive, lasting
October 6, 2017
The journey of parenting can be overwhelming and
frightening at times. There are so many
outer influences that can invade your home and keep it from being a peaceful
retreat…that place of rest and privacy which is so needed by all who
abide. I see children facing challenges
and obstacles today that a child should not have to face. There are negative influences that invade
their lives even at the preschool age.
So, what are we to do? What are you going to do to help your child
remain sweet, innocent and truly have “a
Today, I would like to suggest to you several areas
of daily life to think about…
Help your child understand that it is
ok to “love” others, to share and to be sensitive to the needs of others. This will begin in your home. As parents, let your child see you love and
care for one another. Be cautious about
allowing your children to fuss and fight.
Help them work out their differences and teach them to pray for one
Teach your children about the blessings
of the Lord. Help them understand how
God blesses each of us. When they begin
to have covetous feelings toward another child/friend, help them understand how
to be happy for that friend. Discourage
Stay calm with your child and help your
child learn how to handle difficulty without pitching fits.
Be very careful about what you allow
your children to watch on TV. Have
limits, have only those certain programs they can watch…those you know will
give a positive outlook to your child.
As parents, be careful not to argue in
front of your children. Many times,
children become fearful and nervous when this type of behavior goes on in front
of them. Their little hearts and minds
find it hard to handle.
Talk to your child and allow him/her to
have conversations with you, where they know that you are truly listening. You will begin to know your child’s heart
through this process, and in so doing, you will know how to lead your
child. Be cautious about just “cutting
your child off” when he/she needs to tell you something.
Pray and read the Bible daily with your
child. Those moments provide times when
you will teach your child many things that he/she will treasure.
“By wisdom a house
(home) is built,
and through understanding it is established; through
knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful
treasures.” Proverbs 24:3-4
There will be plenty of time for
your child to grow up and experience the world.
For now, keep your hand on him/her, cherish this time of sweetness and
innocence. It’s a precious time and the
journey will move quickly…before you know it, he/she will be driving and making
many decisions on their own.
Here’s to the journey…trust God
and do not fear…and savor the sweetness!
May 9, 2016
"Give a Shout Out"
You know, this day and time, we seem to give a "shout-out" for just about anything...sports events, politics, favoritism among people, favorite products we use...the list could go on and on. I have been wondering lately if we ever think to give a "shout-out" for family...for our children. It's easy to let such special people in our lives just take a back seat and not recognize the need to celebrate their lives. There are so many ways to celebrate your children and really ask the Lord to bless these precious ones in our lives. How bold are you when it comes to this?
As you talk to your children, help them to realize the importance of recognizing success, especially with one another in the home. Be careful not to ignore the goodness and blessings of the Lord and how He has worked. Help your child, also, learn to celebrate successes with others. It is a wonderful character trait to develop, as well as, teaching the love of the Lord and how to display His goodness.
How can we celebrate life within our homes?
1) Celebrate the small things. As you teach and model good habits in the home, celebrate each accomplishment. No, you don't have to have a party with cake and ice cream, but make it a big deal when your son or daughter finally brushes his/her teeth on their own, makes their bed without you asking them to, helps with the dishes after supper without your prompting...these are things to mention and applaud.
2) Celebrate the special dates...birthdays, graduations, dates that really mean something like "life" events...involving the entire family. Make a special supper, go out to eat together at a favorite restaurant, go on a unique outing...these are times to bind together and celebrate!
3) Celebrate with God. Give a "shout-out" to the Lord for His workings in the life of your family! Pray boldly and audaciously, without doubt. Max Lucado writes that the Lord never tires of hearing a parent plead and pray for the needs of our children. Also, be ready at all times to offer praise for what the Lord has done in the lives of your children and in your family. Consult God in everything and call on Him for great things! Then, when He answers, celebrate and give thanks, with great joy!
"Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know."
Walk with joy and expectancy, for it is a journey!
Here's to that journey..."shout it out"!
March 17, 2016
"It Begins in the Home"
So, what's the condition of your home today? Is it a condition of love, rest and peace? Is it a place of forgiveness? Or, is it full of anger and resentment? Is it a haven where your family can share their feelings and really be "at home"? Is the Lord "welcome" in your home?
Over the past few weeks, as I began thinking about these questions, I realized that there are many homes that only exist to supply food, shelter and a bed to lay one's head. Our world has entered our homes in such a way that either computers or televisions "rule the roost" and communication between human beings has been lost. Time restraints have taken over our lives in such a way that parents and children do not communicate, and husbands and wives do not either.
Our world has become a place that is really just pretty mean and human beings don't mind attacking one another over and over. Our children have learned to bully one another to the point of children and teens committing suicide. Caring for others has become a thing of the past in many situations. We have become insensitive even to the feelings of family members.
God called me to work with children when I was eighteen years old and it has always been serious business to me. Thus, the epidemic of bullying has really gotten my attention...to the point of me asking "why" and "how"? Why would any child bully another one? How did children learn that this is ok? Why would a child even think it's ok to do so? The definition of bullying is "to use superior strength or influence to intimidate someone; typically to force him or her to do what one wants; unwanted, aggressive behavior; an imbalance of power."
For Christian parents, it should be an easy fix or really you should prevent it...because it does "begin in the home". First of all, we must model loving, respectful behavior before our children. If there are arguments between spouses in the home, they should be done in private. When children see their parents attack one another, they quickly learn that it should be ok for them to treat their siblings and peers this way.
We must show our children and the world that we are followers of Christ and model His Word. "Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34)
We must get along with one another. It is alright to have different opinions about topics and views. "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves." (Romans 12:10)
Teach respect in the home...really care about others in the home. Teach and model unselfishness and forgiveness. Share and celebrate with your children.
Love the Lord first and foremost and share that with your children. "Love the Lord, your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And, the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:37-39)
Teach your children to stand up for themselves...respectfully toward others, as God has created him/her with special gifts and abilities...each one has been created specially by God, the Creator.
When I think of a Godly home, these words in Proverbs 24 say it well..."By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures."
Your children and my children will or will not make a difference in this world today...it all begins in the home.
Here's to the journey...let it begin...in your home!
January 14, 2016
"Unlocking the Treasure"
Last week, when we went to Chapel, I talked to the children about their gifts and talents, and how special they are to God, their Creator. We talked about how God has a special gift and talent for each of His children and we should thank Him for those gifts. It is in knowing our gifts and talents that we learn to serve the Lord better and with more effectiveness. As parents of young children, you should always be consciously watching your children to see where they are gifted and within what areas of life their gift might lie. Many times, a child's gift will begin to show up at an early age. By the time I was three-years-old, my gift of music had begun to manifest itself in my life. My mother took note and made sure that by the time I was five, I had begun taking private piano lessons. The Lord led her to recognize that gift in my life. These treasures within a child may certainly begin to "unfold" before your eyes if you ask the Lord to show them to you.
When my children were at a young age, I began to pray and ask the Lord to help me "unlock" the treasures in their lives...those treasures that He implanted when He created them. Really, parents, it is our responsibility to take note of the characteristics in our children that lead them to do certain things...those traits that will lead them to find where they are gifted. As you "unlock" these treasures, you will begin to see strengths in your children that will help you know where they need training and the areas where they will succeed.
I also wanted to know that God was using me to help "unlock" the spiritual treasures in the lives of my children. God's Word is full of wisdom and I knew that my children must know the Word of God in order to live their lives accordingly. I, too, had to learn to trust God's Word to show me how to parent them in this very important area of life.
"My son, if you accept My words and store up My commandments within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as silver and search for it as for hidden treasure. then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom, and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding." (Proverbs 2:1-6)
There will be times, as you parent your children, that you may wonder about certain issues in your child's life, especially as they grow older and gain more independence. You will have times when you just can't find the answer to that gnawing ache in your heart or question you can't answer. The only One you can trust to help you may be the Lord, at those times. The darkness in your child's life may be overwhelming. He will see you through and as you pray, you will gain a deep abiding trust that your child is in His hands.
"This is what the Lord says, 'I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.'" (Isaiah 45:3)
Once your child receives Christ as their Savior and Lord, and begins that journey of faith, you will see just how beautiful it is for him/her to shine the jewels of his heart...those treasures will begin to come forth and build into your child's life so that he/she can truly become that man or woman God created. I believe it is the treasures of our hearts that truly shape the gifts and talents God implanted in our lives. For, without a love for the Lord and a knowledge of His Word, how can any of us truly survive?
Here's to the journey...let those treasures shine!