Starting Over: Restoring Trust

Starting Over: Restoring Trust

Have you ever been betrayed by someone? It’s a deeply painful experience. Maybe you’ve been blindsided by one major betrayal of trust. Or maybe your trust has been broken over and over again in small ways over a period of time until you finally realize it’s been completely worn out. So how do you start over?

When the offender is your son or daughter, it carries a special kind of hurt. Your relationship may seem beyond repair, but remember that God is still at work.

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Setting Boundaries as an Act of Love

Setting Boundaries as an Act of Love

Two Stories

Recently, I listened to the painful stories of two moms of Prodigal Sons. One of the women’s sons is a teenager, the other an adult with a wife and children. One son has a substance-abuse problem, the other has disconnected himself from his family. I love these two women; they are my sisters in Christ and they are hurting from the behavior of their sons.

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The One About Trust

The One About Trust

I have been thinking for a few days about the concept of trust. What does it look like? How does it play out in our lives? What does it mean to parents, especially parents of prodigal sons and daughters?

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Wise Advice From Moms: Part One

Wise Advice From Moms: Part One

Let years of wisdom teach us

I sat down with some moms the other day. These moms have been parenting, grandparenting, and even great-grandparenting for their entire adult lives. The collective years of parenting among the group are well north of a hundred years. It’s a great source of untapped wisdom, this group, and I have the pleasure to know the living results of their parenting wisdom.

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How to Say Good-bye

How to Say Good-bye

Graduation Day

I had a “moment” this week. It happened when I was helping out at a high-school graduation party for some of the teens in our church youth group. As I watched them joking around with each other, I had a feeling of wanting to keep that evening, to preserve it as it was. This moment can never be re-created because everything, including the kids themselves, will change.

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What Kind of Parent Are You?

What Kind of Parent Are You?

The buzz in the media is all about the bribery scandal: Parents bribing their kids’ way into college. I don’t know about you, but when I heard it, I said, “What kind of parent does that?” Certainly a rich one, but aside from that, what kind of parent feels compelled to go that far?

Everyone has a different style of parenting. Some are over- or under-protective. Some parents are strict disciplinarians from the cradle forward. Others follow the philosophy that you only have one chance to be a child.

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Don’t Be Discouraged

Don’t Be Discouraged

Default parenting is a thankless job. So is “regular” parenting. Sometimes, we’re trying to row upstream against the rapids, and sometimes we’re becalmed in the fog.

Wherever you are in your parenting journey, take heart. Help is on the way.

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A Prodigal Speaks: Advice for Parents

A Prodigal Speaks: Advice for Parents

My Prodigal, Ricky

It’s a rare opportunity. I have a prodigal son, soon-to-be-released from prison, who is clear-eyed, grown up, sober, and has returned to the Christ he has known all his life. In a phone call last night, I asked what advice he would give to parents.

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Default Mom’s Lessons in Love

Default Mom’s Lessons in Love

So, you’re a Default Mom. You have taken on the responsibility of parenting (or co-parenting) someone else’s children. You might be a stepmom, a foster mom, or a full-time caregiver. With Mother’s Day this weekend, your children will probably be with their biomom, and you’ll be hosting your annual no-presents-again pity party.

Put down your carton of ice cream and listen to me. This lesson is all about you, and how to be the Best. Default Mom. Ever. This is about changing your perspective and expectations, and it comes to us courtesy of a first-century writer.

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A Family Code of Ethics: Why It’s a Good Idea

A Family Code of Ethics: Why It’s a Good Idea

Corporations have them. Professional organizations have them. Sports teams have them. A code of ethics is a list of standards and expectations for the daily behavior and morals of a group of people working together.

Like any team, a family needs a set of standards for what is acceptable and what is not. I’m not talking about rules, but more about a set of guiding principles that everyone–parents included–sticks to. Your own ethics have probably grown out of a set of standards you have internalized throughout your life.

Having a family code of ethics, written and agreed upon by the family working as a team, helps our children make sense of the why of things. It gives them a filter by which they can judge their decisions and interpret the moral rightness of them.

How to write a family code of ethics

What topics should you include? Here are some general ideas to get you started. You know what your values are and what you want your children to learn:

  • Respect (for ourselves and others)
  • Stewardship (taking care of resources, maintaining possessions, etc.)
  • Trustworthiness
  • Responsibility
  • Perseverance
  • Kindness
  • Service to others
  • Fair play
  • Teamwork

First, have a family meeting, during which you talk about the definition of a code of ethics, and begin to brainstorm some ideas of what it should include. Write down every idea, without editing them. All ideas are welcome.

Give everybody time, a few days to a week, to mull over the list from the brainstorming session.

Get back together to narrow down the list. You may have to combine items, remove some, or make some suggestions more general.

Finalize the list. Stick to fewer than 10 items. Try to state each principle in one sentence, if possible [ Ex.–We have respect for ourselves and other people.]

Post the list in a prominent place, like the refrigerator door, where everyone can see it.

Refer to the list when conflicts or questions come up. Talk about how an issue or decision fits the family’s code of ethics. Talking about it can lead to better decision-making skills.

Finally….

Remember that it’s a standard of behavior for everyone, not a rule book to hold over each other’s heads. The rules for proper behavior in your family should–and probably will–grow out of this code. The bigger picture is that it will help grow in your family an understanding of the importance of being true to what they know is right.

As it says in Micah 6:8

He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?

Grace is real–

Judy