The Curries

The Curries
Keith and Patricia

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

RELATIONSHIP (Interacting in family/community)

Richard Mouw tells of a man from New Jersey in the South for the first time. He noticed that several menu items included grits, so he asked the waitress, “Miss, what is a grit?” She replied, “Honey, they don’t come by themselves.”

In a sense, Christians are like grits. We don’t come by ourselves, we come in relationships. Of course, this would be true of people in general, but it is especially true of those who follow Jesus Christ. We are baptized into community, the body of Christ.

A child’s identity comes out of the relationships within his family and community. He doesn’t get it by words alone, but by interactions that involve awareness of others, conflict resolution, conversation, interpretation, ceremonies, community events, and more.

We cannot allow our children to isolate themselves from others because Proverbs 18:1 says,

“He who isolates himself seeks his own desire.”

Inclusion begins in the family. Allowing our children to spend a lot of time alone in their rooms is simply not healthy for the development of their personalities or character.

Unfortunately, in our day it is easy to let media entertain our children. We have interactive media that can hold our children enthralled for hours. But it is just not real. One hour is okay, but six hours is too much. We must not let our children grow up in a virtual world.

I often notice cars driving down the road with mom on the cell phone, kids watching the DVD player in the back seat, and no interaction taking place. Turn travel time into game time, conversation time, catch up time, question and answer time, books on tape time for all (you pick the books), learn a language time. Zig Ziglar calls travel time in the car a “university.”

If you have a trip to take, plan activities for the family that include interaction as well as time alone. Patricia would often help our kids pack their own backpacks for trips that included books to read, a game to share, and a snack. In addition, she brought books-on-tape for all of us to listen to and discuss together.

Our travel to school became fun and purposeful. In the spring we counted dogwoods in bloom. One year we listened to short Spanish lessons from PowerGlide. We guessed who “Mr. Walker” might be as we passed him each morning on our way to school. Once we stopped and gave him a loaf of homemade bread. Was he a surprised exerciser! The next morning he saw us coming and gave us a thumbs-up.

I hope you get the idea.
Community begins in the family.
Be intentional; be together.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

COMMUNICATION: Special Events (Holidays)

Our society has commercialized and consequently trivialized our holidays. Thanksgiving has become “turkey day” and “Merry Christmas” has become “Happy Holidays.”

How do we overcome this in our own homes?

We begin by asking, “What is the purpose of holidays?” A holi-day is a holy day. Holy means “set apart;” that simply means that it is a “set apart” day, especially set apart for God.

In our country, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter are true “holy days.” Other holidays like the Fourth of July can also fit the description when we observe the history of the founders of our country.

We moan and groan because our society seems to be moving quickly away from the real meaning of these holidays and remaking them in its own image. More disturbing: Christian families are not taking the time to explore these holidays and chart a different course. To chart a different course is not difficult, but it will take a little preparation. Visit the library and check out a children’s book on a particular holiday. Get on line and visit some family websites. I know that the Lord will help you discover resources that will help your family.

Our Old Testament reasons for holidays are briefly outlined in Deut. 16: 1-3. Contained in this passage about Passover are three reasons to observe the holiday. They are

1) to remember,

2) to honor the Lord,

and 3) to rejoice.

The Biblical mandate gives us this reason to have feast days and holidays. First of all, let us remember the real purpose behind each holiday. Secondly, let’s give God the honor that he is due in our lives and history. Thirdly, rejoice in the blessings of God. In other words, have a good time. It is like God is the host of the party, moving among the guests, saying, “Enjoy, enjoy! Eat up. Refresh!”

Three reasons for the holiday from the passover feast: rejoice, honor the Lord, and remember your history.

Are we going to tell our children that it really isn’t “turkey day” but it is Thanksgiving Day. Are we going to tell them that this day in the history of America is a day set aside to give thanks to Jesus Christ? If we don’t tell them, who will?

This year, let’s make the holidays count. Let’s remember, let’s honor the Lord, and let’s rejoice!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

COMMUNICATION: Special events

In the C.S. Lewis story The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Father Christmas shows up and gives some unexpected gifts to the four children. With each gift, he explains its purpose and use so that each hero will be prepared for what is coming. Then he concludes by saying,
“These are not toys; they are tools.”

In our day, we are guilty of doing the opposite. We give our children gifts with this hidden message, “These are not tools; they are toys. Have fun!” Consequently, we are not preparing them for what is to come. We put today’s happiness above their future survival, their effectiveness, and their purpose.

We are raising kids who do not know who they are, why they are here, or where they belong. When I was growing up, we called people like that “lost” and spent time and energy trying to get them “found.” The church today has its greatest harvest field of “lost” people right in our own homes.

Over the next few weeks, I want to encourage you to see that special events are opportunities to give our children tools that communicate identity, community, and purpose.

In the future, when your son asks you, "What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the LORD our God has commanded you?" tell him: We were slaves in the land of Egypt and the Lord our God brought us out with a mighty hand. (Deut. 6: 20)
Paraphrased: When your children ask you, “Why do we have these special events each year?” tell them what you know about it and include God in your explanation.

Maybe they will ask “Why do we celebrate birthdays? anniversaries? graduations?"Tell them why these things are significant for you.

One of your greatest responsibilities as a parent
is to interpret life for your children.

Your interpretation of how God has worked in your life can be put together with a special event. Special times are important because they carry emotional weight. This emotional weight marks events and conversations with significance and makes them memorable.

Today, let’s just focus on a birthday as a special event, close and personal to a child. The next time a family member has a birthday, have a time that is just for family. Include a time to eat a special meal, share special memories, give family gifts, and end with a time of prayer for the birthday person. This does not have to be elaborate, nor overly serious, but it does need to be done.

In doing this, you communicate belonging, identity, and purpose.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Patricia is teaching our kids to drink!

She has discovered this secret: the more they drink, the more their tongues are loosed, the more they share what is in their hearts. So she sets about to drink with them.

With the girls, she has often planned little tea parties, just Mom and daughter. A special flavored tea, a special little treat, a special teapot, special cups, a special time. She has done this since they were very small and it has created special moments for one-to-one time with each girl. (Sometimes it is a threesome.)

With the boys, she often drinks warm milk and honey or fixes them a special shake. The point is that she takes the time to create a special moment and she communicates acceptance, value, and love.

In her mind, she plans to have these special times on their birth date in each month. Anna was born on the 3rd; so each month on the 3rd, Patricia tries to connect with Anna.

Put priorities on your calendar!

Day to day events can also turn into one-to-one opportunities. If I have to make a trip to Home Depot or run an errand downtown, I intentionally ask one of the kids to go along. We “encourage” them to go if they do not have something definite planned; we operate under the belief that our will does trump their will. We tell our children that family is important. We speak about being open in relationships, open to stop what they are doing for the higher goal of spending time with one another.

So we teach them to say, “Yes, I’ll go.”

These trips together can often have "a little planned surprise,” or something unexpected may occur that becomes a shared memory. Dan and I witnessed a car accident; Will and I were in an accident together. You don’t plan those things, but they do build relationship! Just because we were together.

So, one on one time doesn’t have to be planned and complicated, it can be spontaneous and simple.

If you are together enough, you will grow together.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Danny was about three. Patricia, being the loving mother that she is, spoke her love for him in a tender moment, “Danny, there is nobody like you.”
Danny burst into tears!
“Nobody likes me?” he cried out, completely crushed.
Patricia was appalled. It took her several minutes to clear up the misunderstanding between what she said and what a three-year-old heard.

This is why communication takes time. It involves more than what is said; it involves what is heard. It takes some feedback, conversation, listening, questioning, follow-up; and without them no one knows if communication has occurred.

First, relax. You have twenty years to communicate what is important. Secondly, be on guard, because “the power of life and death are in the tongue.”

Your child knows you better than you know your child. She studies you, watches you, listens, imitates, and comes to understand you far more quickly than you come to know and understand them. That’s why your own children can push all your buttons at the same time and get you so worked up.
We must get to know our children.
Chuck Swindoll, in his book You and Your Child, encourages parents to get to know your children. He interprets the scripture “train up a child in the way he should go” as “train him up in the way he is bent;” in other words, discover how God has made him and encourage him in that direction.

Patti Cumbest strives to know her children. This year Rachel, her older daughter, had to complete a personal inventory on group interactions. As Patti observed Rachel writing in answers, Patti realized that she knew all the answers before Rachel wrote anything down! Patti said, “All my time and effort to intentionally know my children has been worth it. I know Rachel. I am more than a chauffeur, a cook, a fashion consultant…I know who she is, and what she is about.”

Discover motivators:
1) what each child’s love language is
2) what preferences does my child have
3) tie these two things together as often as possible to communicate love

Instead of standing over our children, learn to come alongside and benefit them. This is what the Holy Spirit does for us; He comes alongside. Jesus called him the Parakletos (Greek for “one called alongside).

Barna’s research shows that 90 minutes a day should be spent in conversing, talking, sharing, listening with your children. 90 minutes coming alongside. Ten minutes here, fifteen minutes there begin to add up. Make it your rule of thumb.
90 minutes a day!