Create Traditions

Create TraditionsTraditions often give a great sense of identity and belonging. People desperately need to feel like they are a part of a group that is conscious of their uniqueness, character and heritage. Make traditions of recurring events and behaviors that create closeness that is anticipated by your partner. Let them be experiences that provide for laughter and warm interactions throughout the day. This can be an antidote for loneliness and isolation.

Parenting God’s Way

imagesAs I write this article, I am being summoned to an overflowing kitchen. One of my children was trying to wash plates (he thinks he is old enough) and the water filled the sink and was just pouring down. Imagine the big mess that I have to clean up.

Sometimes in life, we feel like our life is on hold, our talents are lying dormant and that we have more to offer than to clean up after the mess that our children make. Other times we wonder what parenting is really all about. There is really more to parenting than cleaning up the spills and changing the diapers. We need to always remember that whatever we do for our children is never in vain. There is a purpose for it. It could be that we want our children to be happy and healthy or go to a great school and get a six-income job.

However, Christian parenting is more than that. Christian parenting is parenting on purpose. For us to parent on purpose and not by accident, we need to discover what that purpose is. Proverbs 29:18 says that people perish without vision. So also our children’s potential may likely perish if we parent without a vision. The main purpose of Christian parenting is to train up our children in such a way that they grow up to fulfil specific kingdom purpose. Every child has a unique God given purpose and has been endowed with specific talents and disposition to fulfill this calling.

In the book of Jeremiah 1:5, God says to Jeremiah “Before I formed thee in the womb I knew thee, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you a prophet to the nations. So every child has a unique calling and has been appointed for a purpose. Parents are called to help their children identify their unique purpose and send them to it. Parents are not to mold but unfold their children’s potential.

Here is a simple real-life illustration. Paul’s parents discovered that he loved to teach others what he had learned. Especially, he was passionate about teaching from the bible when he was young. He was very inquisitive and wanted to know the reason for everything. Before he was two years old, he was able to make complete sentences. He always wanted to tell others what he knew. He was very vocal. He was also very interested in the things of God. His parents constantly fed his curiousity and prayed for him. He eventually became a gifted leader and powerful teacher.

Parents can discover their children’s purpose through prayers and also by observation. Their talents start speaking at an early age. Parents who are vigilant enough can detect this and guide their children along that part. They could be called to be ministers, businessmen, scholars or into leadership. Good parenting identifies this unique calling and sets the children apart to fulfil it. It meets the children’s specific needs and equips them to fulfil their unique purpose. Parents are encouraged to raise their children on purpose, this is God’s way.

Written by Dr. Godwin & Blessing Ude.

Why The Need To Parent God’s Way?

imagesParenting isn’t about turning out cookie-cutter kids using perfect techniques and formulas. God has given every child unique traits that are a perfect fit for the heroic role he created them to fulfill in the epic story. God intends us to see childrearing as a noble calling, a mission to pass on truth and wisdom from one generation to the next. God looks at parenting children as one of the most important occupations adults are involved in. There are some benefits associated with parenting God’s way. They include:

Motivation
Raising children according to their God given purpose involves encouraging and training children to do the good things they love and are naturally gifted to do. This enables them to be eager and enthusiastic. Training that focuses on the children’s gifting rather than limitations, results in minimal coaching and prodding. Everyone enjoys doing what they are good at. The secret of self-discipline is motivation. Children are often motivated to discipline themselves when they are excited about what they are doing.

High performance
It is a known fact that people excel at what they are good at. The case is the same for children. Children who are trained to perform in their areas of gifting often succeed. For instance, a child who has the gift of administration and is trained in organizational systems is most likely going to be an excellent administrator. Those trained in communication skills and motivational psychology will most likely end up being a successful leader. It takes more effort for a child who is not trained in their area of giftedness to succeed than one who is trained in their area of giftedness. This sometimes threatens a child’s self-esteem.

This does not mean that children should not also be trained in areas outside their gift zones. The point is to focus on the child’s special abilities and their success will breed success as well. Parents need to bear in mind that the absence of certain talents does not equate weakness. It calls for parents to look elsewhere for their children’s purpose. God has deposited a measure of talents in every child. It is very important for the parents to focus on these talents and they will raise motivated and successful adults. Those who focus on their weaknesses, raise up demoralized and misdirected children who are full of shame.

PERSONAL FULFILMENT
Ecclesiastes 2:11 ”Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun”.

Personal research has shown that about 3 out of every four are working jobs not right for them. This combats enthusiasm and initiative. A study by Jan Halper, PhD, of 4126 male corporate executives showed that 58% of all middle managers said that despite years of striving to achieve their professional goals, their lives seemed “empty and meaningless”. 68% of senior executives said that they had neglected their family lives to pursue professional goals and half said that they would spend less time working and more time with their family if they could do it over again. Children raised God’s way have a greater advantage of deriving meaning in their vocations than those who are not. Most importantly, they have eternal security. So parent God’s way.

Jan Halper, PhD., Quiet Desperation: The Truth about Successful Men. New York, N.Y.: Warner Books, 1988.

Written by Dr. Godwin & Blessing Ude

Ways To Appreciate Your Children

imagesFathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. Colossians 3:21.

Focusing mainly on the wrong things that our children do could embitter them and get them discouraged. We need to learn to direct our focus on their positive abilities.

Sarah Lewis a single parent of a 12 year old Noah and 6 year old Jessica recently attended a parenting class where she learned about the importance of appreciating her children. She realised that her children became more confident because of that. They became proud of what they do for themselves and for their mum.

Let’s look at how to appreciate our children.

 Seek out something good. Make a conscious effort to find something worth praising and blow the trumpet. Celebrate him for doing that good. Look for progress not perfection. Encourage when getting better on working at the bad.

 Affirm the good. Do not be afraid of pride resulting from the praise. Studies have shown that it takes ten compliments to balance the negative emotional impact of one criticism. As your affirming responses begin to outweigh and outnumber the critical ones, the atmosphere in your home begin to change and become more positive and inspirational.

 Be sincere. Let your affirmation flow from your heart. Flattery is manipulative and seeks selfish ends but appreciation builds up the recipient.

 Make your home a rejection free zone. Desist from cuts and put down statements.

 Focus on the character. Compliments attach value to something. Observing acts of kindness and responsibility and applauding attitudes of thankfulness and cooperation shift the spotlight to character and attitude.

Appreciation is a powerful tool for developing character qualities in children. By acknowledging good behaviours, we are likely to see more of them manifest. Children have a fundamental need to be appreciated. They long to know that they are not only accepted but approved. Complimenting their abilities, initiatives and job well done satisfies their need for recognition and sets them on course to please God.

Written by Dr. Godwin & Blessing Ude

The Irresistible Man

images“As the apple tree among the trees of the wood so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples: for I am sick of love. His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me” Songs of Solomon 2: 3-6.

Love is a powerful thing. But true love is not an emotion, but an action, a longing to fulfill the heart desires of the one who is loved. This is the level of love and fervent commitment that Jesus Christ has for the Church, as a bridegroom for the bride. Waters cannot quench it, floods cannot drown it. And time cannot dilute or erase the love between God and His people, or a husband and wife who are committed to each other for life. This love flourishes when the needs of the couples are met. Here are some of the needs of a woman:

Affection: Affection is the binding force in a relationship. It is a symbol of security, comfort, protection and approval to a woman. Women love the feeling that comes with the bestowal and reception of affection. This has nothing to do with sex though sometimes it may lead to sex. Affection is the atmosphere of a marriage. It is the umbrella that covers and protects a marriage. It is an expression of love that gives sex a more appropriate context to women. They need affection for sex to mean much to them.

Communication: Often times we find women complain that their husbands hardly talk to them and we rarely find men asking the same questions. This is because women are made to talk, they desire communication attention, and they enjoy having conversations especially with their husbands. Men do not really have much need for that. A husband who wants to meet his wife’s needs of feeling close to him will have to provide her with sufficient time and attention. While dating, women usually fall in love with their partner as result of the time they spent talking and exchanging affection. Having good conversations help couples communicate their needs to each other and learn how to meet them. It also can keep a couple from growing apart.

Openness: The feeling of insecurity is a bright golden thread that strings through all of a woman’s emotional need. A husband who is not truthful and open is his communication with his wife, undermines her trust and eventually destroys her sense of security. A woman has no foundation to build a solid relationship on if she can’t trust the information her husband provides or the signals he sends as well. Also the absence of openness and honesty presents a lack of ability to negotiate. Negotiation is an essential component to building a successful marriage. Honesty is said to be the best policy for ensuring a good marriage.

Financial support:
Women often want to be assured that they will be adequately taken care of by their husband even if they are making money themselves.

Commitment: Women often want their husbands to take the leadership role in their family and commit to the moral and educational development of their children. A woman often wants to be married to a man who they can respect and look up to and who also is a model to his children. A father usually has a great influence on his children and this is important to a woman. Fathers who get involved with their children’s lives often earn greater respect and admiration from their wives and also help increase marital fulfilment.

Written by Dr. Godwin & Blessing Ude.

How To Create Feelings Of Admiration And Respect For Your Spouse

images“What an amazing write up”. Jane’s eyes lit up with excitement. I was really inspired. You are a genius. I’m not sure of that, I have a long way to go. Oh sweetheart, you underestimate yourself. You are so good at it. I have read so many write ups and I can’t tell when I come across a good one. I am so proud of you.

Jane always complimented Chris before they got married. However, after they got married, this started to change. The compliments started to dwindle. This is often the case in so many marriages. Like Jane and Chris, couples start off on a high note and eventually the pressures of life hit them and they lose steam of the things that bond a couple together. There is still hope though, these feelings can be recaptured. Here are some tips that can help:

Discover those things that can build and destroy your feelings of admiration and respect for your spouse: You may start by making a list for each category. You may focus on areas such as affection, finances, truthfulness, conversation, commitment.

Show it to your spouse: Both of you should take time and go through it. Look out for areas of improvement and agree to overcome the things that destroy your admiration for each other.
Focus on changing your habits and not your traits: Try to change the way you think about your spouse. Do not dwell on his personality but on his actions bearing in mind that specific habits can be changed.

Adapt new habits: You may start by defining which habits you desire and then plan a strategy for developing that habit. Give enough time to learn this new habit and evaluate it after. Bear in mind that there might be some setbacks. The virtues of patience and optimism are very crucial to this task. Don’t forget to voice it out.

Written by Dr. Godwin & Blessing Ude.

Help, I’m Having A Hard Time Communicating With Spouse

images“The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly” Proverbs 15:2.

Good communication is one of the keys to a great relationship. It is not usually natural but has to be learnt. However, there are some things that are obstacles to our being able to appropriately communicate with our spouse. Some of these things include:

Making demands and not request. Demands sends out that you do not care how they feel when fulfilling it. All you care about is what you want even if it’s at the expense of your spouse. Making demands destroy love and also inspires rebellion.

Verbal abuse: Verbally punishing your spouse is no

thing short of mental and emotional abuse which causes more harm than physical abuse. Sometimes couples develop phrases designed to hurt each other. This leaves a lasting, hurtful expression that is unforgettable. Resentment from past verbal battles could cause a couple to hate each other.

Insisting on one’s own way: Forcing your opinion on your spouse can be very irritating. Couples need to bear in mind that the accommodation of their feelings should not require their spouse to loose their personal values or judgement.

Focusing on past or current mistakes: Most people resent criticism or corrections. This often leads to justification of their act and casting the blame elsewhere. In that case, it is hard to communicate. One’s defense level is high. People can willingly accommodate others with some change in their behavior if they are not criticized.

Written by Dr. Godwin & Blessing Ude.

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Getting His Attention

imagesOften times, women use the tool of yelling to get their partner’s attention. This sparingly works. How about try this three things?

Find the right time: Discover the moment when your partner is typically more responsive and pleasant. This could be in the morning, evening or after a good meal and relaxation.

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Create the right atmosphere: If you are financially okay, you can plan an overnight trip or weekend trip to a pleasant place. If not, find a time when there is no distraction ( such as children) and take the phone off the hook. This makes for a better communication.

Have the right attitude: When speaking to him, do not appear to be attacking him or else he might raise up his defense. Be warm, loving and as supportive as possible. Communicate your deep feelings as effectively as possible and desist from emphasizing on his inadequacies.

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How To Help Our Children Overcome Fear

images“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”. II Timothy 1:7.

The powerful web of fear can envelop us and zap our natural spontaneity and joy at any phase of life. A lot of young children struggle with vivid, fearful pictures springing from their imaginations. As they mature, their fears grab at them in diverse ways. They become fearful of the world through stories they hear, shows they watch and real life situations they encounter. Children have different perspective of the world than adults. It is natural for children to develop fear at one time or another. Helping our children overcome their fears can alleviate emotional stress and promote a sense of mastery. This we can achieve by:

Helping them develop the ability to trust: Trust is like a spiritual umbilical cord which allows nourishing emotional resources to travel to and fro between souls. Children who are raised in an environment with love, warmth, and stability and are free to honestly express their feelings develop a healthy capacity to trust and have faith in others. This also enables the child to be able to freely lean on God completely. We can build trust and confidence in our kids when we demonstrate respect and understanding for what they feel.

Helping them identify their feelings: When we help our children acknowledge their fears, we help them overcome them and embrace boldness. In order to do this, we mus

t discover and destroy the underlying belief that sustains it. For example, a child with low self esteem will probably be hurt when ridiculed. Helping your child discover who they are in God disarms fear and builds confidence. Be sure to display a high level of understanding for their need to be understood.

Encouraging them to come up with solutions to their fearful situations: Often times, our parental instincts drive us to run amuck and solve all of our children’s problems. However, when they sense that we are limiting their abilities to think for themselves or gain independence, they rebel.

Being an example to them when faced with uncertainty and fear: Children learn most from what they see us do. Sometimes discussing our battles against fear with our children can teach them how to handle their anxiety. For instance, we can let them know that being afraid is a part of life which we encounter from time to time but in those moments, we find strength in talking to God about it and we believe that our God who is always with us will help us overcome. God always advised Joshua not too be fearful but to “be strong and courageous” because he knew that fearful times will always come. (Joshua 1).

Be aware of what your children are exposed too: It’s important to control the flow of fear-provoking information that our children receive especially from the media. Information can be a heavy burden for kids. It is extremely important to limit their exposure to frightening news coverage, movies and video games.

Never forget that the spirit of boldness that God has given us if for us and our kids to walk in.

Written by Dr. Godwin & Blessing Ude.

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Honoring Your Mate

images“ With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love”. Ephesians 4:2.

Words like “honor” are not often heard in our daily conversations. Instead, they are saved for wedding days and church services. Yet, these words should be front and center in our marriage every day. Our society has managed to lose track of the place of honor in our marriage relationships. We have actually lost track of it in not just our marriages but also in all areas of our society. We have become so intent on “looking out for ourselves” that we’ve forgotten that other people are worthy of honor.

To honor someone means to hold them in high regard, and treat them that way. Still, when you hear people talk about their spouses, it sounds more like they hate each other, than love each other. There is no honor in their hearts, so there is no honor in their speech. When we don’t honor our spouse, we are in essence saying that they have no value to us. Honor is the foundation of a good relationship.

Here are some tips on how to demonstrate honor to your spouse

Touch each other: Successful couples touch each other, hug, squeeze, embrace, hold hands, sit close together and enjoy sex. There is something amazing that takes place in touching. Even the psychiatrists say that something happens in the life of a child when y continuously touched. The same applies to couples too.

Listen to each other: Communication is invariably the number one problem in relationships according to marriage survey. We attach high volume to our mates when we listen deeply without given overtly quick response that gives advice or criticize. Listening lubricates marriage and reduces friction. It makes deposit in our love bank.
Spend time together alone: How you spend your time shows what is important to you. Read your bible and pray together as a couple. A couple that prays and plays together, stays together.

Encourage each other with words: Encouragement is the food of the heart. Successful couples make the most of it; they verbally affirm each other at every opportunity. Affirm always and not only when you need one yourself. Create an atmosphere of encouragement in your relationship. Try to catch each other doing something right.

Unconditionally accept each other: Unconditional love and acceptance form a crucial foundation in successful marriages. Happy couples feel they don’t have to perform to be loved. They don’t feel they will be rejected if they don’t meet a certain standard. Remember you are united by covenant and not feelings.

Be committed to each other: Successful couples are committed to work through their troubles. It’s important that couples learn to resolve conflicts amicably. Start by praying, affirming, acknowledge your part in the chaos, accept blame and bring solution to the table.

Take care of your financial future together: Money problems create more stress on marriage than any other outside stress. Couples who live within their means are careful that they are able to provide for their tomorrow.

Remember if you honor your spouse, you honor God.

Written by Dr. Godwin & Blessing Ude.

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