Boys, Family, Fatherhood, Homemaking, Motherhood, Parenting

The Obedience Trifecta: Or the “Three-finger Strategy”

Harry-Potter-Fingers

Lest you think by looking at the picture that this post is about the three Harry Potter children, it isn’t. I just thought the little fingers were cute, are they not?.

This post IS about fingers, though…..sort of.

When our children were young my husband and I really wanted to focus on their obedience.  We knew obedience would be key if we wanted a peaceful home.  We weren’t sure, being young ourselves and having four small children, how to carry out this goal.  To gain some wisdom on this I listened to cassette tapes (yes, I am that old) of the same name by Elisabeth Elliot which taught the importance of instilling obedience in your children:peaceful home lI listened to my “Peaceful Home” tapes over and over again.  They were a tremendous help.  Soon after I had all but memorized these tapes, I became aware of an additional component to obedience that I hadn’t heard before – for lack of a better description, I call it the Obedience Trifecta (OT).  This OT answered a concern we had (not from what we learned on the tapes, but with our own parenting style): we didn’t want our kids to just mindlessly obey like robots; we wanted them to obey well.  I can’t remember how I first heard about this trifecta (the author of the concept didn’t call it a “trifecta”, that was just my name for it).  The idea came from either reading a book or listening to a radio show.  (If anyone knows of its author/origin please let me know so I can give them credit.) The OT had three components: a child’s obedience must be 1. right away, 2. all the way, and 3. the happy way.  To help children remember this, the parent held up three fingers to remind their kids of these expectations.  I loved the idea and we decided to give it a try. Here is how the concept played out in our home.

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Education, Family, Fatherhood, Homeschooling, Motherhood, Parenting

Ten Things To Include In Your Child’s Education, pt. 1

child helping childWhether our children attend a public school, private school, or a home school, their education must include more than just academics.  As parents we need to teach our children “life” skills.  While having book smarts is good, having humility and integrity is better. Here are ten things to teach our children that aren’t academic.  To keep from being too long, this will be the first of two posts, covering 5 suggestions each.

1.  Teach them how to answer the phone and take a message.

With the household phone becoming a thing of the past, this skill is becoming trickier to teach, but children still need to know how to answer a regular phone or a cell phone when needed.  Teaching them simple phrases such as “Hello, this is Mommy’s phone; this is Julie speaking” enables children to practice phone courtesy and interaction with adults.  I have a friend who has taught her children to answer the phone like this:  “Hello, Smith residence. This is Mary speaking, how may I help you?”  Now that’s how you answer a phone!

Good phone skills should also include learning how to take a message.  Teach your child to write down the caller’s name, phone number and reason for the call.  By doing this they will learn responsibility and gain confidence talking to someone over the phone.

2.  Teach them how to call someone on the phone.

This obviously has many of the same benefits as #1:  Calling other people teaches children to be more comfortable conversing with adults they have never met. It also teaches them how to speak politely and appropriately when they make a phone call.  Children may be taught to say something like, “Hello Mr./Mrs. Smith.  This is Bobby Jones.  Is Jason available to come to the phone?”  If Jason is not available then they could respond with, “Then would you please let him know I called?” And then finish with a “Thank you very much.”

Often, before making a phone call, we would sit down with our child and role-play the potential conversation.  That way, when our child made the actual phone call they felt a little more comfortable with what to expect.

We occasionally asked our children to call businesses for information, such as their operating hours.  Truth be told, they never really liked doing it; it definitely put them out of their comfort zone when they were young.  But living out of your comfort zone for short periods of time is not a bad thing.  It seemed to help our kids overcome their fears of talking to a stranger on the phone.

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Family, Fatherhood, Motherhood, Parenting

Even God, the Perfect Father, Doesn’t Have Perfect Kids!

the_prodigal_son_You may know the story of the Prodigal Son.  It’s a familiar parable.  You can find it in Luke 15 of the New Testament.

The focus of the Prodigal Son story often centers around the wayward younger son (i.e. The Prodigal) who demands his share of his father’s inheritance and leaves home to go spend it on wine and women.  Eventually, the son returns home, broken and contrite, and his father welcomes him back with open arms.

Prodigal Son by Charlie Mackesy

But wait!  There’s more to this story!

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Boys, Christianity, Fatherhood, Parenting

Well Then, Let’s Go

father & son working on car engineOver the weekend a group of teenage boys came to our home to join our son in a building project for school.  The project required the use of multiple power tools.

At one point in the afternoon a sander, a circular saw, overhead lighting, a speaker and a space heater were all running at the same time and…..

Can you guess what happened next?

Trust me, it’s not a hard guess…. Continue reading

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