The Curries

The Curries
Keith and Patricia

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Punish with the big picture in mind (Tip #8 out of 8)

Have you ever said, “Because I said so, that’s why!”?

If you have, stop saying it.

Who do you think you are?

Pat Williams tells the story of the Alpha male in the airport who simply loses it when his flight is delayed. He throws an “adult” tantrum, berates the airline, raises his voice, and finally screams at the attendant behind the boarding counter, “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?” The attendant calmly reaches for the microphone and makes this announcement: “Ladies and gentlemen, we have a man here who does not know who he is. Would someone please come and identify him?”

My point is this: Too often we punish because we have been inconvenienced or our wishes have been infringed upon. We are upset because we have made ourselves “god” and our little universe is not obeying our commands.

Let’s identify who we are. We are made in God’s image; we represent the Father to our children (who are also made in his image).

Our goal as his imperfect representatives is to lead our children to the One who is perfect, who is always faithful, who always keeps his word, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. “Because I said so” is just not good enough. Our “say so’s” are too small.

Let’s try saying: “It’s not right.” “That doesn’t reflect who we really are.” “Our family doesn’t do those things.” “That doesn’t please the Father.” You don’t have to be preachy about it, but we do have to keep in mind that the buck stops with Jesus, not us. This is the big picture: My kids belong to God, not to me.

How will this look in real life?

Correct quickly. Punishment is mid-course correction for God’s purposes, not mine. We all need it. Children especially need it and they need it sooner rather than later. (Ecclesiastes 8:11 When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong.) Correct quickly.

You are the main interpreter of life for your child.

Don’t separate your child from yourself; he needs your interpretation of what he did wrong. If you use “Time out,” do it nearby, not in his room. Proverbs 29:15 says, “A child left to himself is a shame to his mother.” Punish, then explain. Your action gets his attention so that he will hear your words. Your goal (Heb. 12:11) is the peaceful fruit of righteousness. When you explain, you train.

Time out rule of thumb: One minute per year of age. Four years old=four minutes of time out.

We’ll continue next week with more on tip #8.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

DISCIPLINE: Use anger early in small doses. (#7 out of 8 great tips)

We all saw it coming. Patricia and I were visiting with a friend, calmly chatting at the kitchen table, sipping iced tea. The resident four-year-old came in, opened the fridge, and with one hand began to remove a full gallon pitcher of freshly made orange juice. You see it coming, too. Disaster in the making. As the pitcher came off the shelf, it tilted, dropped, and splattered orange juice all over the floor and nearby cabinets.

Our friend lost it. She was on her feet, screaming, belittling, name-calling. Her anger was too much and too late, doing more damage than good. Harmful and sinful, we’ve all done it.

She became angry too late.

Let me explain. Too often, we hold back our anger because we want to be sweet and kind. But inside we are building up pressure. Too much pressure and the top blows off.

Measured anger, released in a timely way, serves as a preventive action. It stops the child from a serious mistake and it maintains dignity for us and them.

A sharp word spoken at the right moment could have avoided the disaster of our uncontrolled temper. “How good is a timely word!” (Prov. 15:23) The teaching in the scripture acknowledges that anger has a time and purpose; it just needs control. “Be angry and sin not.” (Eph. 4:26) Apparently, God thinks it is possible to be angry without sinning. Let’s look at some ways.

Here are some ways for using instead of losing your temper:

Develop the ‘look’. Look angry. Grit your teeth, compress your lips, knit your eyebrows, focus your eyes on his eyes and lock. Review tip #1 “The Stern Look.” Of course, they have to look at you for this to work.

Develop degrees of angry tone in your voice. Instead of going from 0-60 in two seconds, go from 0-10. Raise your voice slightly and use one or two words. When they look at you, give them the look. A clear, sharp, controlled “NO” or “STOP” will often solve a problem before it happens. Raise your voice one notch; that’s all. But raise it enough to get their attention. God gave you degrees of volume. That’s where Sony got the idea.

Use the full name. This is a gentle but firm warning. Don't use the little pet names like “baby” or “honey” but use the full name: “Keith Waldon Currie, you had better stop and think about what you are doing!”

Early preventive action will help you avoid ultimatums like, “You will never eat again for the rest of your life.” That’s the purpose of our list of tips; fill up your discipline toolbox and then use the right tool at the right time. It takes practice, but it is worth it.

Manage yourself, manage your kids. They go together.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Summer Tips: Scheduling, Part 2

Last week we challenged you to take some time and create a daily schedule for your family this summer. We hope that you did that.

This week we will give you a sample of our summer days with our kids. The benefits of directing and leading your children far outweigh the abstract idea of just "hanging out." Keep in mind that God worked six days and rested on the seventh. 1:7 is a good ratio for free time.

Here is a sample schedule followed by some comments.

7:00 arise—morning responsibilities (wash face, make bed, personal Bible time)

7:30 breakfast and clean up

8:15 Bible study (together, usually a Bible story)

8:45 outdoor play (not structured)

9:45 math and reading and writing skills review (practice workbooks are available in many stores)

10:45 snack

11:00 household jobs or yardwork (time varies)

11:45 recreation / a game together or something else fun

12:15 lunch and clean up

12:45 individual reading or resting time (time depends on age)

1:15 afternoon activity time (pool, park, slip-and-slide. . .)

4:00 return from pool, showers and all

4:30 music practice, drawing, hobbies, or new skill practice

One child plans and cooks the meal (with help)

6:15 Mealtime and conversation about the day

7:15 Clean-up

7:30 family time (games,movie,read aloud,walk. . .)

9:00 Bedtime preparation (pajamas, teeth, 10 verses from Proverbs, a song, a prayer)

1. Don’t be rigid; be flexible. The schedule is to help you, not drive you.

2. Change the schedule as you need to. Some days you just don’t need it.

3. Have fun; enjoy your children. Your lives together last for such a short time. Time passes much too quickly for a mom.

4. Do the same things over and over each day. They like repeating the same kinds of things.

5. If you are a working mom and have a babysitter, it is even more important that you build a schedule into the day. Give it to the babysitter and expect her to follow through.

Areas to keep in mind: [1-12 years]

I determined the GETTING UP TIME, because that put me in control of the day; so even though I may have let them sleep later, it wasn’t random.


MEALS TOGETHER whenever possible. As the kids get older, you may want to do breakfast and dinner as a family and allow snacking for lunch with paper plates.


EXERCISE or cardio activity (I had a 20 minute kids’ aerobic DVD that used fast and slow animals to give the kids a workout if we didn’t have a pool day), or slip n slide, or an early morning bike ride

READING AND MATH time (Anyone can buy books at the teachers’ supply store. Choose a grade and do one or two pages a day.

DRAWING--When my kids were growing up there was a 30 minute show where the host showed children how to draw. I also bought a book called “Teaching Children to Draw” We would sit around with paper and different art media and follow the instructions to create masterpieces!

LEARNING A NEW SKILL, craft, or hobby [This takes involvement from you to get them started] This could also include computer skills: power point, designing web applications, keyboarding

Each child had a night where he had to PREPARE THE EVENING MEAL. It involved going through the cookbooks [kids cookbooks are fun and are available through the library], making a shopping list, and doing the preparation [with help if needed]. Lots of fun and variety emerged as each one’s adventurous tastes had an opportunity of expression.


INDIVIDUAL READING-- The video game time was determined by how much reading time one had. It was equal. 30 minutes of reading = 30 minutes of video games

GAME TIME outside, or inside board games



PLANNED TRIPS are great if you can do it every week or every two weeks. Try to take advantage of what is available in the city where you live: hands on science museum, art museums, take tours (We scheduled a family tour in the government building one year—a learning experience for all of us). Just ask.

Kids have their own BIBLE READING, but in the summer I do a study with them. We have studied individual character qualities, friendships, and the tongue. Have each child select a Bible character to study, identify with, and imitate.

Quote: The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it. Michelangelo

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