Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What all Children Need to Hear

Q. My husband and I were praying about our children the other night. We really want to make sure we get this parenting thing right. What would you say are some of the important things to do for our children?

A. Steven Trader, Pathways Professional counselor in Linden, Grove Hill, and Selma will be answering your question today:

Have you ever met a parent that was not a good parent? I think we all may have. At times we may also feel as though we are not doing a good job in parenting our children. This can be frustrating, to say the least. Tragically, so many of us fail to see the desired results we want when it comes to our own parenting situations. What can we do to become the parents that we all desire to be? The answer is to model ourselves after the greatest Parent of all, God the Father. We need to do what He did with His Son, the Lord Jesus. In Matthew chapter three, at the baptism of Jesus, we hear powerful words of affirmation spoken to the Son by the Father. All children need words of affirmation from their parents. Sadly, many may never hear anything but words of criticism and harshness.

What were these powerful words spoken on that special day? Matthew 3:16-17 says, “After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well- pleased.’”

In that passage, the Father said two things that every child needs to hear and every parent needs to say.
  1. “I love you!” — “This is my beloved Son” … Children need to know that Mom and Dad love them. You would be amazed at how many people who I have talked to through the years admit that one or both parents never said these powerful and precious words. More often than not, it is their father who never said these words. How tragic this is for a family. People long to know they are loved. This is a great need that all people have and many never receive. Parents, tell your children you love them!
  2. “I am proud of you!” — “with whom I am well-pleased.”… Parents, let your kids know that you are proud of them. Let them hear those exact words. A man shared with me that he told his adult daughter these words just recently. He had never said this before. He said, “She broke down crying over the phone, and said how much that meant to her.” When these words are spoken, a child feels approved. Many people spend their entire life seeking the approval of Mom and Dad. Parents, tell your children you are proud of them!
Mom and Dad, remember that when it comes to parenting, the days may seem long but the years will be short. Make the most of your time with your children by speaking these powerful and life-transforming words!

Come back next week to see 15 ways to show your kids you love them.

*This column is not intended to substitute for an actual session with a licensed counselor.

If you have a question you would like to ask, EMAIL US: askanne@abchome.org or leave a comment. We would love to answer one of your questions.



Thursday, February 10, 2011

15 Valentine or Antyime Dates

We asked you, our readers, and staff at the Alabama Baptist Children's Homes (ABCH) and Pathways Professional Counseling to submit some ideal dates for Valentine's Day or Anytime. Here is what you had to say:

1. One Spouse Plans Everything - From childcare to where or what you are going to do, one spouse takes charge, allowing the other one to relax and enjoy the date. It might be a great idea to ask grandparents/friends to keep the kids overnight.

2. Romantic Spa Night - Before your spouse gets home, fill the bath tub with a warm bubble bath, light candles, turn on their favorite music and set aside their favorite book. Sometimes having that time to unwind and be by yourself will set the perfect mood for later.

3. A Local Car Race Track - Might be out of your comfort zone, but be willing to try something different. Grab a blanket and snuggle up together to watch those cars go 'round and 'round. Or head to the drag strip to watch them go head-to-head.

4. Indoor Picnic - Spread out a blanket, grab dinner from a local restaurant, turn out the lights and have a wonderful picnic indoors.

5. Surprise Weekend Getaway - For those that can afford a little more this holiday, surprise your spouse to a wonderful weekend getaway. Have their bags already packed, all the details planned and for an added bonus, have flowers at your destination ready for your spouse.

6. Unplugged night - Turn off those cell phones, blackberries, and iPhones. No TV, computers or game systems. Simply enjoy one another and connect through conversation. Not sure what to talk about? Click here for some conversation starters.

7. Scavenger Hunt - This can be as simple as looking through your home for the gift you are giving or a more elaborate walk with your spouse through some of your favorite memories in your home or town. This is a great way to remind you both why you love each other and why you married in the first place.

8. Favorite Things Night - Each spouse could plan to bring home the other's favorite things. This can be as simple or elaborate as you want it to be - candy bars, drinks, food, game, movie, etc. Having a night where you honor one another with your favorite things could be a very memorable experience.

9. Do Something Your Spouse Enjoys - Get out of your comfort zone for the sake of connection. Go hunting, fishing, shopping, camping, watch a chick-flick or a macho movie. Whatever you choose, don't grumble or continuously remind your spouse you are doing this for them, but rather embrace the experience. It will mean a lot to your spouse.

10. Pursue a Hobby - You could take this holiday to start a new hobby together - art classes, cooking classes, concert going, or a craft. No matter what you choose, this will give you something as a couple to pursue for years to come.

11. Romantic Coffee Date - There is nothing like sitting at a local coffee shop and letting conversation happen. Good things can happen over a simple cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Don't just get it to go though. Sit, relax and enjoy one another's company.

12. Serve Together - The Lord has called us to serve the least of these. What a great opportunity as a couple to fulfill HIS commands together. Find a local soup kitchen, homeless shelter, after school program or church and serve the community. You could even shop for a local non-profit, like Pathways or ABCH. Click here for our needs lists.

13. Take a Romantic Walk - Bundle up and find a lake, walk around your neighborhood, or simply enjoy the park. Get outside and get moving together.

14. Recreate Your First Date - Take the opportunity this Valentine's Day to reminisce with one another about your first date. Go to the same restaurant or same type of restaurant, do the same thing or watch the first movie you ever watched together. Start a conversation, too, about what first attracted you to one another. This can really spark a romantic mood.

15. Read 52 Ways to Have Fun Fantastic Sex - Written by a Christian therapist, this is a great book to spice up the bedroom and explore some fun new ways to be intimate with one another.

Whatever you choose to do this Valentine's Day, we hope you take time to enjoy your significant other and rejuvenate your relationship. Remember to make this Valentine's Day about more than flowers and chocolates, let it be a time that you check up on your relationship and check in with your spouse. Read here for more information on how to give your relationship a check up.