The Curries

The Curries
Keith and Patricia

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Walk up and down the aisles of Wally World and you will get several lessons in the wrong way to treat your kids.

“Mama, Mama, Mama, I want that. Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama, I want that.”

Mama says, “If you don’t hush, you won’t get anything. Now hush.”

“Mama, how about this, Mama? Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama, can I have this?”

This type of interchange is repeated until finally mama says, “If I get you that, will you shut up?” Mama’s resolve bites the dust as she falls for “the old broken record trick.” She gives in to the little guy and breaks her own word.

Dads are often in the same boat. The little guy takes off running and laughing, and dad calls after him, “Come back here, Bubba; don’t make me have to spank you.” But little Bubba is long gone, too late for simple reasoning. So, dad goes chasing after him, catching him in a swoosh, and swinging him over his shoulder. Of course, the whole scene is repeated until Dad gets a little sharper in his tone and raises his voice to show that this time he means it. But he really does not mean it. He is embarrassed that he can’t control his two-year old and turns the whole thing into a game to hide his lack of clear authority. As they get older the embarrassment increases because other people are watching.

Note: Never discipline your children because other people are watching.

Discipline them because God is watching.

The centurion told Jesus, “I too am a man under authority. I say to this one ‘Go’ and he goes; and I say to this one ‘Come’ and he comes.” A person must receive authority before he can have authority. That is what the the two Wally World parents lacked—authority. They end up breaking their word because they don’t take charge.

Authority comes from God; it doesn’t start with us. “Because I said so” is not a good enough reason. We do what we do as parents because God says so. We teach right and wrong. We encourage, we train, we correct, we discipline because God says so.

Here are three strategies that can help:

1) Before going in the store explain what you expect. Anticipate the problems and handle them ahead of time. I have seen Patricia do this hundreds of times in many different situations. This idea pays off again and again.

2) Tell your kids that you will give them a chance to choose one item. You narrow the choices to two or three things. They can choose from the things you show them. As they get older, you can give them a price range. This privilege can be lost by bad behavior.

3) If necessary, you can exercise the nuclear option by leaving the basket in the aisle, packing up the kids and taking them home. There you can explain, correct, and discipline without the pressure of other eyes watching.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

INTEGRITY/DISCIPLINE: Three enemies of consistency

Enemy #1: Anger

I had sent Will to my bedroom (our spanking place), and I was hot on his heels when Patricia grabbed my hand and held it firmly. “You are too angry,” she said; and she was right. I walked up and down our hallway, asking Jesus to help me calm down. He did. I went in and Will got his spanking, but not from an angry dad.

Patricia knew from past experience that anger clouded my judgment. My words and my spanks were in danger of being overcharged from the adrenalin that comes with anger. She slowed me down because she knew “man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” (James 1:20)

When we discipline in anger, our perspective is skewed; and consequently, our message to our children is obscured. Instead of disciplining our children in a clear Godward direction, we leave them confused, hurt, and often angry, too. Anger does more harm than good.

Enemy #2: Lack of clarity

Another enemy of consistency came up in the first question at our most recent discussion: “The discipline area is where it is hardest to be consistent, and we have difficulty keeping the standard. What kinds of things call for a spanking?”

This is a great question because an uncertain parent will produce an uncertain child. Why do we spank? Dennis and Barbara Rainey recommend the following scripture, and we think it is a good place to start. Their thinking was that we should hate what God hates.

Proverbs 6:16-19 There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

We shortened the list for our own family to disrespect, disobedience, lying, and stealing. These things were always a big deal, and we spanked for them. You may make your own list, but have a list that you believe deserve a spanking. Discuss it with your spouse until you agree, and then remind one another as situations arise. Just having this list will help you become more consistent.

Enemy #3: Quick tears

Finally, don’t be taken in by tears. In Exodus 34:7, God says this about Himself: “He never lets the guilty go unpunished.” Tears come for many reasons: fear, pain, regret, repentance, even joy. Even genuine tears and forgiveness do not erase consequences. And we certainly cannot allow tears to negate our God-given responsibility.

A large percentage of what a child learns, he learns by age five. This young, cute age is the best time to impart respect and attention for God. Let’s adopt God’s ways and “never let the guilty go unpunished.”

All of us need to be aware of these three enemies to our own consistency:


Lack of clarity

Quick tears

As we build our consistency on God’s eternal truth, we will open a door for God to work in the hearts of our children.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

INTEGRITY: A surprising discovery

As we think about integrity, we define it as “wholeness; as soundness all the way through.” When Jesus healed people, the scripture often says that “he made them whole.” As Chelsea mentioned in our LifePrep discussion, “Integrity is being the same in public and in private.” As followers of Jesus, we want our children to walk with God in a real way. For that to happen, we can’t just point the way, we must lead. We must walk with God first.

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children.(Deuteronomy 6:5-7)

Deuteronomy means “second law.” This is because Moses was giving the law for the second time, this time to the second generation. The older generation had perished in the desert because they had been disobedient to the law God had given them at Mount Sinai. Now their adult children were at the border to the promised land forty years later. Moses was impressing on the adults that loving God themselves was the key to teaching their children to love God.

It just makes sense. If we don’t love God, our children won’t either. Our example makes the greatest impression.

Our words and hearts and actions are to be one. That’s integrity, soundness, wholeness.

On the other hand, integrity does not mean that we do everything right. That’s perfection and we are not perfect. Therefore, integrity would include admitting that we are not perfect. We all have flaws and weaknesses that trip us.

I remember one discipline episode with Jean-Luc, one of our sons. He would not admit his guilt. I knew he was guilty, but he was stubbornly resistant to my correction. For me, it was frustrating that he would not admit the obvious. A few days later, God’s Spirit convicted me that Jean had learned his stubbornness from me, because I had trouble admitting my own sin. The following scripture reminded me that Jean and I were both part of sinful humanity.

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. (Galatians 6:1)

We were both in need of the same solution, the death of Christ on our behalf. As I recognized that he and I shared a common weakness, I was able to approach him in a way that opened his heart to admit his own guilt. The result became confession, forgiveness, cleansing, restoration.

We are examples to our children, not the standard. God’s commands are the standards that call us all, parents and children, to the high mark of Christ.

As parents, let us love God, all the while admitting our human weakness. He dwells with the lowly and broken of heart. Surprisingly, that is a key part of integrity for followers of Jesus.