10 life-changing words to tell your kids every day

10 life-changing words to tell your kids every dayMy 7-year-old son is like a lot of boys his age—energetic, jovial and somewhat loud.

He also has this peculiarity that is prominent among his peers: He pretends he doesn’t like to be praised.

“Great job, son!” I’ll tell him—to which he responds with a shrug of embarrassment or a stare of indifference.

But I know my words impact him—greatly.

One time he and I were having a candid father-son talk when I—unwisely—told him that the Bible says I should love his mom more than I love him. Oh, sure, it was a super-dumb thing to say, even though it had a biblical basis (Ephesians 5) and was factually true. But his 7-year-old heart wasn’t ready to process that, and he went to his room and sobbed. I nearly cried, too.

Sociologists have conducted dozens of studies demonstrating the power of words, but Scripture—more than 2,000 years ago—beat social science to the punch.

“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body,” Proverbs 16:24 tells us.

If we were to analyze the thousands of words we say each day to our children, would they be mostly negative (“I can’t believe you did that!”) or positive (“let’s clean that up together”)? Our words, both good and bad, shape our children in the same manner the talented potter molds the unformed clay.

My wife and I have become intentional in recent months about using more positive words around our children, and we’ve seen our home become an even happier one. The results, though, aren’t always seen overnight. Just as honeycomb and other healthy foods don’t lead to instant good health, sometimes our words have to be sprinkled on our children each day and every week, until months later we see fruit—whether that is obeying better, treating their siblings and friends better, or even making better grades.
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4 (more) New Year’s resolutions for a more Christ-centered family

4 (more) New Year’s resolutions for a more Christ-centered family My youngest son was born six months ago this month. During that time he has learned to hold his head up, grab toys, roll over, and — my favorite — smile.

It’s been an incredible short journey, but it certainly doesn’t seem like he was born six months ago. In fact, it seems more like five minutes.

A friend warned me years ago that when you have children, time accelerates. It’s as if “Back to the Future’s” Marty McFly and Doc Brown are in charge of your life, driving you from year to year in their magical DeLorean—all with the power of that much-needed flux capacitor.

But we don’t need to depend on Hollywood movies to understand and appreciate the brevity of time. God warned us long ago that our lives are like a “mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:14). The Bible’s point isn’t to depress us but to give us a sense of urgency—to encourage us to treat each day as if it could be our last. Life, after all, is a gift, and we should live with a spotlight on eternity (Hebrews 13:14).

But with so many distractions in our day-to-day lives, how do we stay focused? Here’s one way: Make meaningful New Year’s resolutions. Last year I listed five resolutions on this blog: Each day vow to read the Bible with your child; get home from work earlier; say more positive words around your child; spend less time on your smartphone and love your spouse more in front of your children). This year, I’m listing a few more—for me and perhaps for you, too.

If you’re looking for a few resolutions for 2016, consider these:

1. Pray for your kids. I’m not referencing the weekly or monthly “dear-God-please bless-my-child” prayer. I’m talking about pleading with God each day—and even throughout the day—for your kids. Yes, pray for their health, their grades and their relationships, but also pray for their future. Do you want them to have a great career? Marry a godly spouse? Give you wonderful grandchildren? Then pray for it. The Bible says there are blessings from God we don’t receive because we don’t ask (James 4:3). That’s convicting, isn’t it?
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