The Curries

The Curries
Keith and Patricia

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

SPIRIT TRAINING: Getting God’s Word into your kids

Patricia and I had this outrageous idea to teach our two oldest kids the scriptures by saying them together at each meal. The idea was to build the scripture into our routine, just a part of what we do. At the time, Patrick was almost three and Anna was four. We started with the 23rd Psalm. . .THE WHOLE THING! We were so disappointed after several weeks of saying it together at each meal, and yet they still looked at us like two owlets, not even an attempt to say it with us. We discussed throwing out the whole idea when the Lord let us in on a little secret.

They were playing together one morning, Anna leading the way with her dolls and Patrick dragging one by the hair. Anyway, they decided to say the blessing before their pretend meal and they started with the 23rd Psalm. . .THE WHOLE THING! We were stunned. It was the first time that we had heard them say it, but they did it. We knew we were on to something. Ever since we have made that practice of saying a scripture part of our blessing over a meal, one way of weaving scripture into our family’s day.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

In other words, weave God’s truth into your routine; integrate it into all that you do. Little bites are better than big mouthfuls.

My pastor Billy Duke shared with me once about the Bible his mom gave him when he left home. She had written on the front leaf: “This book will keep you from sin; and sin will keep you from this book!”

Psalm 119:11 “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Let’s be committed to helping our children hide God’s word in their hearts.

Gathered tips on teaching the scriptures: Bill and Susan Hightower love sharing after the mealtimes. Bill is very intentional in bringing to the table something of value to challenge his children to follow the Lord. It may not always be scripture; it may be manners or news items or situations that stimulate discussion.

We agree that it is a great time to train; and those short mealtime discussions accumulate over the years to shape the mindset of our children. Keep it short; think of it as planting seeds. If your kids ask questions that make it longer, that’s what you want.

Question for next week: Share with us the “who, what, when, where, and how” you teach your children to pray. We love to hear your ideas and pass them on.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Safety Net

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

“Peanuts, Candy, Popcorn! Get it before the Big Show starts!” Painted elephants, crazy clowns, roaring lions-- the responsible ringmaster was hosting the show with charm and dignity. Sitting with my brothers and sisters in the Cow Palace in San Francisco, our eyes absorbed the delight before us.

Remember the trapeze artists high up in the air performing stunts, twirls, walking so courageously on the tight rope? While we would watch, breathless for their safety, we hardly noticed there was a net spread out in case of a fall.

Imagine having a safety net spread underneath your children as they are walking the tight rope of life, of growing up, of maturing.

After becoming a Christian and while I was growing in the Lord, the “Paul-Timothy” model was very alive in my life [it still is]. Older Christians were the stakes; I was the limp tomato plant. My naiveté, simply my ignorance of God and His ways, was my biggest obstacle. These “stakes”, the Christians who were older in the Lord, taught me and helped me through life circumstances.

As parents, we were very intentional in building intergenerational relationships. As our children have grown, we encouraged them, too, to find “Pauls” within the church community.

When our second child was in high school, there was a restlessness in him. He was searching and searching in some dangerous places. Out of the relationships we had built in the community, an older guy in the church community began to reach out to him, to be a friend, to help him through the turbulence, to help him find the personal God who loved and cared for him.

The family is part of the church community. The church community is the safety net that God Himself has provided. Build intergenerational relationships as a family. Encourage your children to find Pauls and build relationship.

Question of the week: How do you maintain unity with your family and your church community?

Last week's question: How do you maintain consistency in your parenting?

Here are a few thoughts we have picked up through the years. 1) Stay involved in church and be accountable to someone in particular. The blind cannot lead the blind; the church helps you know where you are going as a parent. 2) Find parental models you can imitate and that you can talk to. Then. . . talk to them. 3) Fellowship with "cutting edge Christians" inside and outside your own church. Be connected to those who are growing and who are doing the will of God productively. 4) Always PRAY. Short little prayers, "on your knees" prayers, individual prayers, corporate prayers, PRAY!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


William, our third child now 20, had a baby blanket. As he grew, he carried the blanket everywhere, sleeping with it, traveling with it, always needing this blanket. Deriving a measure of security from this blanket, he would gently rub its corner against his face; he was never without it until only that small corner was all that was left. Of all of our children, change was hardest for him. Weaning him from the blanket took longer than weaning from his mother’s milk.

Many times, as our kids were growing, we stopped and looked at one another and said, “What’s wrong? Things are not as good as they were. The kids are not obeying as well, our lives are out of sync.” Then we would take inventory. Often we would find that it was not the kids that had changed, but we had changed. We had not stayed the course; we had not taken the time; we had not allowed ourselves to be incovenienced. We had not been consistent.

As long as we blamed the kids, “The kids do this, the kids do that,” we made no progress. When we took our parental responsibility, when we said, “We are the problem!” we made progress. We sat down and talked. We agreed to get back on track; and when we did, the kids did.

Let’s face it. Children need consistency; they like doing the same thing over and over and over. It is part of the joy of youth. When they know what to expect, when the rules don’t change, when the boundaries are clear and firm, it is like they are wrapped in a blanket of security. Home, mom, dad: your kids need to know that they can count on you to be consistent.

“Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.” How’s that for consistency? Let’s follow his lead.

Question of the week: How do you maintain consistency in your parenting? What keeps you on track? Do you write down your plans? Do you have mentors or models you look up to? How do you keep your parenting goals in mind so that you can stay the course?

Last week’s question: How do you and your spouse maintain your oneness or unity?

In our workshop, we mentioned three ideas that are worth repeating here. 1) Set aside 15 minutes a day of uninterrupted time to spend with your spouse talking and listening. Make sure that the kids know this time is to uninterrupted. If you are insistent, this time can become invaluable. 2) Have a date night each week. This event comes highly recommended by Dennis and Barbara Rainey of Family Life. Enjoy one another, keeping business at a distance. 3) Chris and Suzanne Lynch have two small children and no family nearby. They keep a date night by getting the kids in bed early; then they alternate Friday nights cooking a special meal for each other.