RELATIONSHIP TRAINING: Teach in the calm; apply in the crisis

Problem? Name-calling, hurting words, flashing tempers, getting even, slamming doors, shutting out, feeling pain, causing pain. Always a crisis.

The best time to train and to teach is not in a CRISIS situation. Unfortunately, that’s when we usually try to do it. But when we’re doing that, we are way behind, and “playing catch-up” is hard.

As a teacher, I had been taught the absolute necessity of schedule and routine for running a class. I found that it was just as necessary for running our home. Although it was a flexible schedule, I often included time to teach the kids from the Bible. Here’s what I learned:

Teach in the calm; apply in the crisis.

There is just a certain amount of plodding along that must be part of the process of training children.

Isaiah 28:9-10
“Who is it he is trying to teach? To whom is he explaining his message? To children . . . ? For it is: Do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule ; a little here, a little there.”

The adults of Isaiah’s day were insulted at Isaiah’s repetitions, but repetition for kids is necessary and enjoyable. They like doing the same things over and over. Often as adults, we find it difficult. My kids laugh about how Keith would fall asleep while reading a story to them. His eyelids would get heavy, his words unintelligible, and then his chin would drop to his chest. They would poke him awake and say, “Da-ad, finish the story.” He had read some of those stories ten to twenty times.

But back to the crisis. When the same things kept happening over and over, I planned a time to look for answers from God’s word. We would read together, discuss it, and talk about how to apply it. The next time the “crisis” occurred, we had our discussions to refer to. We took God’s word and applied it.

Having a designated time in the week where the children and I got together to learn was an important step in their building and learning processes. Usually a couple of times a week I would gather them and we would sit and talk.  Often, our talks revolved around Scripture. It was part of plodding along, not always fun, not always easy, not always exciting, but vital.

Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates . . . judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Often, we learned about relationships—how to get along, how to love each other, how to treat one another, how to respond, how to forgive. We saw relationships with the Lord and with one another as primary. This was a constant need. Relationships are like fragile plants in the garden of our homes. They need care and attention. Left unattended, bitter weeds grow up.

One of my great encouragers was“Nanny Duke.” She convinced me of the importance of reading scripture with the children. We saw its effect in her grown children. Her influence sharpened my determination to “get the word” into my own kids. Now she is ninety-six and I still enjoy my conversations with her. She never fails to bring God’s words into our talks.

An additional note: Sometimes it is hard to find the scriptures that you need for the moment. We found that Touchpoints for Students by Ronald Beers is a great little resource for finding the scriptures to fit certain situations. Arranged alphabetically by topics, you can quickly find scriptures that address the various needs of young lives. You can order it from our website: www.parentwisdom.net.  It is a great reference book to just grab off the shelf, look something up, find it in the Bible, and prepare your kids for life.

Teach in the calm; apply in the crisis.

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