5 Essentials for Modern Parenting

 

5 Essential Issues for Today’s Christian Parent!

As summarized from the Brilliantly Brave Parenting Podcast series:

Parenting is hard work and it requires effort and conviction to do well! Sometimes it feels like the odds are stacked against us. We’re here to bring hope and practical advice to the challenges of faith-based parenting. Brilliantly Brave Parenting wants to be a fun and encouraging resource for today’s Christian family!

Here are FIVE essentials of parenting to consider:

#1 Fighting Futureshock: Today’s generation of parents currently active & engaged with the church is struggling with more than a simple ‘generation gap.’ We are struggling with ‘Futureshock.“ Which means, “a displacement of reality in which life is only focused on the present, and constantly being redefined by the moment. This lack of stability and constancy creates a state of constant flux for parents.”

Clearly as parents in a shifting moral landscape we are going to need to anchor ourselves and our kids to something ‘greater’ than ourselves.

The traditions of the faith provide a powerful resource for parents and pastors to utilize. Disciplines of devotion offer a way for us to be reminded of the truth of our biblical heritage. The constant remembrance of how BIG GOD is, and how the values of our world do not match with the values of scripture.

https://soundcloud.com/brilliantlybrave/ep57-bishop-dan-scott – Find out more  Listen to our FREE Podcast Link

 #2. Self-Care is ESSENTIAL:

When was the last time you invested in yourself as a parent or pastor?

Parenting is exhausting, the idea that we can just persevere through it is a bit naive. We need to rest. We need to recharge and refocus. As parents we can’t give what we don’t have. Our modeling and ability to teach our kids will be profoundly impacted by the energy we have to give them.

Self-Care requires healthy habits, resting well at night, making space in our schedules to spend time with our families, and watching our diet and exercise. That also means saying ‘no’ to outside things so that we are sure that we’re involved with our kids. We can’t offer what we don’t have.

Jesus modeled this idea when he would retreat from the crowds and the disciples to go apart and pray. He would withdraw to the mountains as often as he could, knowing the essential nature of rest and refreshment spiritually, physically, and emotionally. We are no different.

Podcast Link: https://soundcloud.com/brilliantlybrave/reality-with-teens-ep44-paige-clingenpeel

#3 Heritage of Faith

God calls parents to do amazing things with their lives! We can’t put Him in a small box, His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts… the path God leads is often overwhelmingly big and seemingly impossible. But God has a long, long, history of calling ordinary men and women to do extraordinary things.

We need to ‘listen’ and be aware of the subtle requests that God nudges us to do. It is NOT our life, we are on loan to God, and we can’t forget that God has plans for us that are bigger than our own. The same is true for our children.

Our kids and our plans can’t be driven by our ambition or pride, because it’s not about us. EGO is Edging God Out, and we can’t do that as Christians.

God will empower us to see beyond our own lives, to see the needs of those around us and to give us the strength and courage to act boldly!

Podcast Link: https://soundcloud.com/brilliantlybrave/brilliantly-brave-episode-1-patti-garibay

#4 The Danger of Self-Reliance:

Being perceived as “strong” and above it all is a huge temptation for parents in the church to try and project. The reality is, we’re not. We can’t handle it all by ourselves. We need help and we need encouragement, and we need support from other believers.

Parenting is more than a project to complete, it’s a sacred assignment to be guarded and stewarded well. Part of stewarding our parenting role is to surround ourselves with wise counsel and experience from those who have gone before us.

Living self-reliant as a parent can result in the spiritual death of your kids! Don’t do it. Jesus never called us to be ‘good’ – but Holy. Good is what we do, Holy is what He does. Christian Karma is when we start ‘comparing’ our good/bad behavior with others and rely on our being ‘better’ than other people.

Values based parenting vs. Rules based – the difference is all about what we parent from… fear or love.

What is our goal as a parent? To deliver a ‘good’ kid at 18 years of age, without having premarital sex, or having tried alcohol or drugs? Or is it to love them unconditionally and help them discover their identity as God created them to be?

Podcast Link: https://soundcloud.com/brilliantlybrave/ep30-dean-diehl

#5 Single Parents and the Church: 

One-third of all households are led by a single parent. Today’s single parents are struggling to engage with the church and with their faith. Being ‘alone’ and unsupported by the Christian culture is something solo parents often ‘feel,’ no matter what a local community of faith might project.

The battle for single parents to raise their children to be responsible and well-balanced citizens, provide for their well-being, and keep up with all of the myriad of demands that life throws at us is impossible. They are overwhelmed by it all in the best of circumstances.

The role of church in coming along side of single parents has largely been in question. Many single parents feel abandoned or judged by the church and lack the confidence to enter the doors of a church to ask for help. The need for single parent spiritual support and practical assistance is only growing. How the church responds now will be a significantly positive or negative impact for the next generation of parents.

Podcast Link: https://soundcloud.com/brilliantlybrave/ep59-nikki-leonti-edgar

Parenting Essentials #5 – Fighting Single Parent Stigma!

Single Parent Stigma and the Church!

1/3 of all households are led by a single parent. (34%) Today’s single parents are struggling to engage with the church and with their faith. Being ‘alone’ and unsupported by the Christian culture is something solo parents often ‘feel’, no matter what a local community of faith might project.

Pexels.com

The battle for single parents is real. It’s hard enough to raise our children to be responsible and well-balanced citizens, to provide for their well-being, and keep up with the all the myriad of demands that life throws at us. The challenge to do that without a spouse is nearly impossible. Single parents are overwhelmed by it all in the best of circumstances, and they need our help.

The role of church in coming along side of single parents has largely been a question. Many single parents feel abandoned or judged by the church and lack the confidence to enter the doors of a church to ask for help.

As parents, the demands of doing both a father and mother’s job with their kids is intimidating and discouraging. We as Christ-followers are challenged to help the “widows and orphans” as a manifestation of our ‘true religion”. (James 1:27)

What role should the church play in supporting a single parent? Why?

The growing needs and complex issues surrounding single parent families are not going away, and as our culture continues to shift… the role of family will obviously continue to grow and stretch. The church will need to stretch and grow with those changes and reach to meet the needs of parents in crisis.  A big part of that change within the church will be the priority of creating ministries specifically focused on the needs of the single parent family.

Our interview today explores some of the ‘stigma’s associated with Single parent living, and how to engage with your local church in a way that will help and not hurt you! We invite you to listen in as Nikki tells her story of redemption and renewal!

 About Nikki Leonti Edgar:

Nikki Leonti started her music career as a successful teen gospel singer. She went on to lend her vocals as a backing singer for artists such as Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, CeeLo Green, Demi Lovato & Amy Grant to name a few. As a sought-after vocalist in Los Angeles she contributes her talent to Fox’s hit show “Glee” as well as “American Idol”, “The Voice”, CW’s “Oh Sit” and many others!

Author of “All things Beautiful” 31 Devotionals for single moms!

Interview Links:

Podcast Interview Link:  https://soundcloud.com/brilliantlybrave/ep59-nikki-leonti-edgar

YouTube Link of interview:  https://youtu.be/5CgGxmHJLMk

Solo Parent Society Link: https://soloparentsociety.com/

Brilliantly Brave Parenting Website Link: https://brilliantlybraveparenting.com

“All things beautiful” Devotional Link: https://www.amazon.com/All-Things-Beautiful-Devotions-Single/dp/1424556287

Notable Quotes:

Fact: 34% of parents are single parent families.

“In the middle of struggling… that’s where the GOOD stuff happens” – Nikki Leonti Edgar

“Single parents struggle with feeling like a ‘failure’ when dealing with the issues single parents face in raising a family.”

“It’s difficult for Single Parents (SP) to know how to ask for help when you feel isolated and alone”

“SP’s need lifelines. Take the time to throw a lifeline to a single parent you know.”

“Ways to help SP’s in your life or church. – Babysitting – handyman services – errands – meals at home!”

When you want to give up on your marriage…

Families are designed by God with two parents. The essential traits of men and women combine to form a fantastic set of skills and sensitivities perfectly suited to raise children into mature and well-adjusted adults.

Why then is it so hard and becoming so rare for two adults to get married and successfully raise their children without the tragedy of a divorce before they are done?

safianmediation.com

Current statistics hover around a fifty (50%) divorce rate in US households. (Source – CDC Faststats) That’s half of all marriages not surviving the challenges and temptations of life long enough to keep a traditional family intact. Pastors and therapists will tell you their offices are full of the broken pieces that remain of a family when one spouse simply walks away.

As I type out this blog I am considering soberly that some reading this are seriously considering giving up on your marriage. Before you do, PLEASE consider five things…

1- Love is NOT just a feeling. It’s an act of Faith.  I Corinthians chapter 13 is the definitive text on love and it includes not a single mention of love being an emotion or feeling, instead it’s chalk full of actions & behaviors that expresses love to another, and in doing so kindles anew the “feelings” that drew you initially.

2- The commitment that you made to join yourself to another before God is one that He takes seriously. It’s a Covenant. This is not a light or trivial thing to God, He requires us to honor Him in the relationship that is bound by the covenant. That means, walking away from a marriage for reasons other than infidelity or abuse become pretty weak in the light Biblical illumination.

3- Your family will suffer more after a divorce. Period. Breaking up a cohesive mother-father parenting team will impact the future growth and maturity of your kids, not to mention increasing the risk of lifelong scars of guilt, shame and anger that can cripple their adult relationships.

4- There is a devil. He hates you, and he hates the image of marriage and commitment and lasting love. He hates what it represents and he is determined to destroy your home, your kids and your life. Don’t under-estimate his tenacity and cunning to provide every kind of counterfeit and beautiful distraction possible. Don’t try to fight this with the strength of will alone. It takes a Faith community to get through the tough spots.

5- Singleness is not usually much of  a relief, in fact it’s harder. Just ask any single parent…. If there is ANY chance of recovering your marriage, ANY possible way to go back. GO! It’s so much harder to recover what’s lost than to rebuild what you have. (This is NOT true for those trapped in an abusive marriage)

So don’t be deceived, walking away from your marriage because you feel like things are somehow different, that you’ve changed, you don’t love him-her anymore isn’t the simple solution you may be hoping for. Those feelings may all seem valid currently, but are certainly not wise actions to consider in the heat of the moment.

For single parents who have already sustained the loss of a spouse, you know what I’m trying to say here. The burden and the pain of trying to raise your children alone is…. well, inexpressible. The church is rife with single parent homes that are in constant crisis and stress and our public schools and courts are jammed with the legal debris of the custody and alimony battles they host. (Soloparent.TV is an encouraging and free resource for single parents struggling to figure it out)

all-about-motherhood.com

Take a breath….

Pull back your emotions a bit and ask God if it’s time to see a counselor,  a trusted Pastor or a Priest. Share with a professional of your feelings and ask for their help in putting those in their proper perspective. There are certainly serious issues that can occur in marriage that may require a divorce or separation, but many- many -many divorces are simply escape mechanisms. We try to retreat from the difficult and often overwhelming sense of failed expectations, broken dreams and the sense of unresolved isolation – frustration that can come from sharing your life day in and out with the same person.

Jesus will be your only salvation. Literally.

Spending time with your savior daily is the first and best advice I can offer. Putting Him first will allow you to start to recover and restore your love for a spouse who may not be lovely to you right now. Hang tough, don’t surrender.

Please take the time to spend with God before you give up. Read the bible, (Link is to a Free daily Podcast) Pray…do it every day for 10-15 minutes for thirty consecutive days. I’ll guarantee you a huge shift will occur in your perspective and in your attitude. He cares, He can soothe your pain and He can touch the part of your heart that no one else can.

How do I know all of this?

Simple… He did it for me and He will do if for you, but only IF you’re willing to make the greatest leap of faith you’ve ever made. Trust God to change your spouse and in that process…don’t be shocked if the biggest change occurs in YOU.

Peace out,

RTP.

PS – for those who need to vent or get unbiased advice… bam567@msn.com for Pastor Brad.

Having “the” talk with your pre-teen.

So I get a lot of questions from friends, fellow parents and observers… how do you bring up “the conversation” with your kids about… you know “THE TALK“? I pause usually for a few seconds and consider carefully before I reply. Not sure what you mean…. “the talk”? Usually they reply somewhat sheepishly, you know… about Sex.

Oh… “that ” talk.

Well… that depends. What age are they, what gender, what is their personality type and how mature are they? Critical details that need to be considered before responding. So here’s my best advice based on my own failed attempts and ill – timed, well-intentioned parental excursions into this sacred and yet incredibly intimidating rite of passage.

Couple of my own guidelines to consider when it’s time for “the talk”…

1 – Under the age of ten, consider keeping any discussion intentionally vague and non-specific.

2– Pre-teens are curious, but easily embarrassed. Extra so if they are discussing this with a parent. If you didn’t bring it up… it would be wise to carefully inquire as to “why” they are. Often it may involve something they have heard at school, on the bus or from a friend. Don’t blow it off. Be alert and cautious as to their level of maturity and innocence. Some parents jump all the way into the deep end of the pool here and discuss anything and everything. I would be hesitant to do that with young girls and boys under the age of 12.

3- For 12-13 year olds, prayerfully consider the setting and time/place to ask your children if they have any questions about growing up. Be able to devote some time and attention to them without distraction or embarrassment. Be prepared to answer awkward questions about your own teen and young adult years, and respond with honesty and a PG-13 level of detail.

4- Use an example to illustrate the key point you want them to remember. I use the classic CS Lewis analogy from the “Four Loves”… of Fire. Describing the attributes of fire and then comparing them to sex is a very cool way to help a pre-teen or teen grasp the inherent truth of what you’re saying without graphic and lurid details. Fire is beautiful, it is essential to life, to comfort us and for our living… but it is only good in an environment that is safe. Fire outside of a fireplace or stove top can destroy and burn or kill. It can’t be controlled once let loose, and outside of those situations, much like sex it is a disaster in the making…. you can take it from there.

5- Keep the discussion door open for the future. You don’t have to cover the entire discussion in one setting. Be sure to back off if they are processing and quiet, and let them know your available anytime to resume or expand on this conversation. If they don’t take you up on that offer in a few days or weeks, then you might want to re-start the conversation in time.

The bottom line is this… if you avoid this topic, if you shy away from or gloss over the content as a parent, someone or something else will fill in the blanks for your kids. Someone who most likely has a different viewpoint, value system and moral code than you. Doing nothing is choosing to let someone else have the ‘talk” with your kids. Take courage and step up.

If you’re a single parent trying to talk with a child of the opposite gender, you may want to avoid the details and hit the high points, deferring instead to a trusted Christian friend of the same gender as your child  to help explain the more gender specific issues of sexuality and adolescence.

I’m pretty comfortable talking with people about any subject, but when it comes to my own kids and sex… not so much. Especially with two teen daughters, it scares me to death. When I think of how badly I blew it as a teen and young man… i really can feel overwhelmed, guilty…like a hypocrite etc… but trust me, you must. Go ahead and own what you need to with your teens and share edited versions from your own personal pain and regrets as to the validity of our biblical beliefs of waiting until marriage to experience sex.

Be careful with the tone in how you communicate your views as parents. In your fear for their purity, you may un-intentionally make this a hard core, very negative – “thou shalt not” talk… (as a dad, that’s definitely what I do when I’m afraid for my kids) Take a deep breath, let it out slowly… and then maybe another and prayerfully ask for God to help you as you dive into one of the most important topics we as parents will ever consider with our kids.

Be approachable and fight the urge to over simplify this talk. Sex isn’t dirty or wrong or evil, it’s just very complicated and when you engage the heart and body before the safety of a martial vow, hearts get broken and lives maimed. God knows what he’s doing, His directive to not defile the marriage bed is very timely for our culture and our children to grasp, process and respect. It’s important to let them know their feelings and curiosity is normal, healthy and nothing to be ashamed of. It’s in the discussion that they gain the freedom to share and exchange ideas, if you just “shut them down” and discourage any conversation… you will risk the likelihood of your kids figuring things out on their own, without the benefit of your adult perspective. Not recommended.

Remember your kids are getting an average of 70+ hours a week of media ingestion… at least a third of that has sexual innuendo, images or outright open encouragement to experience sex before marital covenant. That’s a lot of mixed messages hitting their brains and hearts, combining that with hormones, peer pressure and insecurity and you have a huge recipe for disaster.

The good news… you can influence your children more than any other voice in their lives… even ones as enticing as Beyonce’s or Sports Illustrated or MTV.

RTP invites you to respond.  Readers and fellow parents, we all can use some help with this area of raising our kids. Feel free to share and respond.  Peace out,

brad…

If topic this was helpful or of interest; consider these other posts regarding love, sexuality and parenting –

 Today’s (2-20-12)  relevant.com post is very timely – The Secret Sexual revolutionhttp://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/relationship/features/28337-the-secret-sexual-revolution

 Learning about Love –  http://wp.me/p1jVqv-ey 

Reclaiming Romantic Lovehttp://wp.me/p1jVqv-hO

Bisexuality is hiphttp://wp.me/p1jVqv-4R

Are there more kids than parents ?

You don’t have to go to the subcontinent of Africa to find an epidemic of orphaned children anymore….

Seems every week I discover another tragic tale from a teen or tween whose parents have decided to separate or divorce. A Christian teen or tween.

Todays blog is not just about our own kids. It’s not just about understanding the unbelievable privilege we have to raise children to adulthood, or the joy of watching our kids embrace their dreams and hopes…its about seeing with new eyes and greater awareness in our own world. Seeing with Jesus eyes. Parenting with a Jesus heart, and with a Jesus faith.

What I’m talking about is the painful reality that there are way more kids than parents these days.  Oh sure, there are lots of biological fathers and mothers and statistically there should be a consistent 2:1 ratio for conception etc… but there is a significant lack of “Parents” around. Have you noticed ?

Please understand, let me be SUPER CLEAR. I am not in any way judging, condemning or thrashing on single parents. Completely the opposite, I’m asking for those who are able to reach out and go intentionally to help single parents. I don’t believe there is a greater mission field in the US for the church to reach than single parent families.

If you read the bible you are going to encounter repeated scriptural references in both the old and new testaments about the urgent and passionate love that God has for widows and orphans. Regardless of the cause of the single parent tragedy, in Gods eyes it’s an orphaned child and widowed parent. Men and women who are left vulnerable and often unjustly abandoned, desperate for someone, anyone to help.  

Consider if it’s time for you to expand your parenting eye beyond your own mini-van and over to the driveway next door. Could it be, that God is calling you, me, us… to step into the lives of those who are seriously struggling to just make it through another day. YES. Let me speak presumptuously here… YES. Definitely its a YES. I have no doubt in my mind that if Jesus were walking the earth, He would be ardently engaged on behalf of the single family. And… since we are commanded to be Jesus to our world, I can speak with conviction in saying this is a significant and undeniable call to comfortable Christianity for us to stop being “Fan’s” and become “Followers” of Jesus.

So, look more, listen more.. and pray more for your friends, co-workers and neighbors who are struggling emotionally, physically, financially with the incredible pressure of being a single parent. Don’t wait, engage them… they are counting on you to notice, to care and to support them.

Take the time, slow yourself down… consider this. Act upon it. Make a difference in the life of a single father or mother and love without condition, with a whole and sincere heart and watch and see what God will do through you.

If you are one of over 20 million single parents, I want you to know… YOU ARE NOT ALONE. God is not going to “drop” you, He can’t. His nature is love, His heart is to be your solace and hope and healer. He will send you help, in every way and everyday. Look for His hands and feet in your life and hold on to Jesus. (great support links below)

So, thanks for your time… todays blog is more statistical than provocative… I hope those figures speak louder than I ever could. Peace out…

US Census – Statistics for Single Parents

by Single Mothers (and Fathers) on Sunday, January 16, 2011 at 7:29am
So what’s the “average” single parent really like? According to the U.S. Census Bureau…

She is a Mother:

  • Approximately 84% of custodial parents are mothers, and
  • 16% of custodial parents are fathers

She is Divorced or Separated:

Of the mothers who are custodial parents:

  • 45% are currently divorced or separated
  • 34.2% have never been married
  • 19% are married (In most cases, these numbers represent women who have remarried.)
  • 1.7% were widowed

Of the fathers who are custodial parents:

  • 57.8% are divorced or separated
  • 20.9% have never married
  • 20% are currently married (In most cases, these numbers represent men who have remarried.)
  • Fewer than 1% were widowed

She is Employed:

  • 79.5% of custodial single mothers are gainfully employed

49.8% work full time, year round

29.7% work part-time or part-year

  • 90% of custodial single fathers are gainfully employed

71.7% work full time, year round

18.4% work part-time or part-year

She and Her Children Do Not Live in Poverty:

  • 27% of custodial single mothers and their children live in poverty
  • 12.9% of custodial single fathers and their children live in poverty

She Does Not Receive Public Assistance:

Among custodial single mothers:

  • 22% receive Medicaid
  • 23.5% receive food stamps
  • 12% receive some form of public housing or rent subsidy
  • 5% receive receive TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families)

She is 40 Years Old or Older:

  • 39.1% of custodial single mothers are 40 years old or older

She is Raising One Child:

  • 54% of custodial mothers are raising one child from the absent parent
  • 46% have two or more children living with them

References:

United States. Census Department. Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2007. By Timothy S. Grall. Census, 2009. 26 Feb. 2010 [http://www.census.gov/prod/2009pubs/p60-237.pdf].

Single moms – http://www.momlifetoday.com/2011/06/single-parenting-an-adventure-in-exhaustion/

Single fathers – http://robertbeeson.com/

Single parent issues – http://factoidz.com/life-as-a-single-parent-convert-minuses-into-pluses/