Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Do The Small Hard Things Now At Home

It was just discovered that I have melanoma on my scalp. Thankfully my dermatologist caught it, removed it and the odds of a full recovery are nearly 100%. However, I also know what can happen if it isn't found. People can die. My doctor told me just that.

Having it removed is frankly a bit painful and certainly not a fun process. It was not the highlight of my day. But I'm thankful I could go through a little pain now to avoid some tragic consequences later.

Unfortunately many spouses and parents avoid doing the little things now that could have great dividends later. It just doesn't seem like a big deal, perhaps, but let me suggest a few things that probably matter big time down the road.

First, if you're a parent hold to your boundaries and guidelines. No, you don't have to be a tyrant but don't give in, be consistent. Make sure your rules are fair and age appropriate but disobedience gets chipped away at a little at a time.

Second, make time for each other. Build margin into your life, have time to talk as a couple or family and have significant times of play and relaxation. Too many families have every hour of every day other than sleep programmed with enriching activities but enjoy too little time to just be together.

Third, do more with less. Most of us need far less than we have and if we're honest much of that stuff steals even more time from us because we have to take care of it, clean it, repair it or maintain it. We probably don't need as much car, house or amount of clothing as we think we do.

Fourth, give more away. If we want to teach our children to be generous they must see our generosity as a normal part of our way of life. Give to local agencies, your church, other needy people who live nearby.

You see, any of these simply acts could easily be neglected. And to do them may cost us something. They may be a challenge. But it will be far less than what we might lose if we don't do them. Start now.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

In Marriage Challenges Think About the Kids Too

Many have known or been the parents who decided to stay together because of the kids. At at times that may be noble or at least a wise decision.

But unfortunately some parents are more about the divorce and their own feelings and think little of the children and the impact their warring and selfishness have on the kids.

And while everyone's situation is certainly unique there are some principles and guidelines that would be worth considering if you and your spouse are going through hard times or already well down the road to separation or divorce.

First, limit how much of the angst your children see and feel. You're adults so wait to have your major blowups and disagreements for when the young ones aren't around or sleeping (and make sure they are). Yes, children must eventually know some things and if they are old enough probably already do. In those cases bring them into the situation carefully (more on that in a moment).

Second, don't do anything on purpose to add more antagonism in your children toward your spouse. Some spouses bring negativity on themselves and you can't help that but we can at least do our part to keep the children's relationship with their mom or dad as healthy as possible. If your marriage fails the kids deserve to still have a meaningful connection with both parents if possible.

Third, as things get worse, if they do, see that your kids have someone to talk to. A pastor, counselor, same-sex adult friend, therapist. They will need someone outside your relationship with whom they can speak honestly and share some of the emotions they most likely do not understand. Get some recommendations from clergy or local agencies as to who might be best.

Fourth, make sure that you and your spouse are getting help. If you're working on things then the things you learn can translate into your home and perhaps your marriage can be saved.

Don't stay in your marriage just for the kids. But don't leave your kids out of the process - they have feelings too and your example is one of the few they will have to follow.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Someday Our Words and Actions Will Be Our Last Ones

Recently we saw some of the worst loss of life by tornadoes in the history of our country. These wild and devastating storms rolled through the Midwest and killed dozens of innocent people and leveled complete towns. One little toddler was found miles from her home but her immediate family had all died.

Not one of those people who lost their lives woke up that morning believing that day was their last. And neither should we. But we can do more of what the country song suggests and "Live like we're dying." I think that means making the most of every day and filling it with words and actions that we would include if it were our last day.

Some suggestions? Say words of life. I've spoken on this in other posts but it's a pretty simple concept. Communicate with words that go deeply into the soul of those you love, that speak to their personhood, who they are. Have you told people that mean the most to you that you love them, you're proud of them and that you are thankful for what they've done for you?

Second, do some of the important things you've always wanted to do. We had a pastor friend who was going to retire soon at age sixty-five and he and his sweet wife had all sorts of travel plans. The only problem was that he got a quick-spreading cancer and died within months. Don't wait if possible to do some of the special things on your bucket list.

Third, slow down and enjoy more daily moments. Stop and look at the stars, talk longer to your spouse or kids, sit and drink your cup of coffee for a few more minutes and be thankful. Play more, do less and spend time with people. Relationships are the most valuable human asset we have.

So I hope today is not your last day and that you and I have thousands more. But if you'll add a little more life to every day you live, you'll likely not get caught having missed opportunities to say and do what you'd always hoped to do with those you love.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.