The Curries

The Curries
Keith and Patricia

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

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:  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.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

RELATIONSHIPS: Getting along is not natural

Getting along is not natural; it is supernatural. It will require godly parental involvement and judgment.

Last week, we began to discuss relationships in our homes. We saw that conflicts need our involvement. As parents, we have to stop what we are doing in order to bring help and healing into the relational conflicts that occur in the course of daily living.

So what do we actually do? How do you stop two fighting children who really are angry and hurt?

Here’s what we learned along the way.

First, go to the place of quarreling. As a parent you carry God’s authority into the situation. Your presence may be needed to stop the escalating behaviors.

Secondly, find out what happened by hearing both sides. Allow each one to tell his full story with the other one listening. This keeps the story honest. Clarify the facts as much as possible.

Acknowledge their feelings: anger, hurt, frustration. Ask, “How did you feel when ___________________?”

Uncover their actions and responses. "So, what did you do?"

Help them evaluate their responses before God. “Was it OK that you _____________?” What does the Lord say about this? (At this point, you are appealing to truth from previous Bible study times. You are attempting to draw out what they know and apply it to this situation.)

Resolution: let the one who did the wrong ask forgiveness.  In many cases, they will both be wrong. Forgiveness must be asked on each side. One will ask, “Will you forgive me for _____?” Then wait for the response: “Yes, I forgive you.”

Have them pray for each other. James 5: 16  “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”

Many times this is enough, but other times, you may need to follow up with discipline so that the resolution is just. Things should be made right. You may also want to follow up with a Bible study at a later time when tempers have cooled and emotions are calmed.
As they grow older, they will use these tools in resolving their conflicts with one another and with others.

Psalm 133:1 in the Message expresses our goal:
“How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along!”

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

RELATIONSHIPS: “A little heaven on earth” at home

    Occasionally as I am grading papers, I find that there is a little window into the souls and lives of my students, which actually is what I hope for.  I hope to build relationships, to get to know the kids that I teach.
    Here are a couple of samples from the past:
       “My brother loves to torment me about many things.”
        “When I was little, my sister would taunt me with toys until I cried.”

    When I read these, I was sad.  I saw that the relationships in their homes had brought pain instead of strength and comfort. Too often these hurts and resentments that happen in childhood go unresolved and are carried into adult years.  That’s why so many people don’t enjoy family get-togethers.

    Another longtime friend related to us that his daughter was coming home for a few days, but he wasn’t looking forward to it.  “It’s only a matter of time before arguments break out between her and her sister,” he confided in me. “Actually, I dread it when they are home together.” 

It doesn’t have to be this way.

    Didn’t Jesus pray, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”? If we use heavenly wisdom, we can build a heavenly family. Building is intentional and purposeful. You trip accidentally, you run into things accidentally, you break things accidentally; but you build on purpose.

    Yet, it is a typical statement made by adults to kids, “Now, you two get along!”  THEY DO NOT KNOW HOW TO GET ALONG! It is not possible for kids just to “get along” while the adults in their lives do “important things.” Since nothing is more important or more eternal than our kids, we have to be involved in their squabbles and teach them how to work them out.

    In Exodus 15, when Moses was leading the children of Israel through the desert, his father-in-law came to see him.
“When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What is this that you are doing for the people? Why are you sitting by yourself, and all the people stand around you from morning until evening?”Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God.  16  When they have a dispute, it comes to me and I decide between a man and his neighbor, and I make known the decrees of God and his laws.”

    As a mother of six children, when I read this I thought, “Even if I think I am super busy, I can’t be too busy to help my children know the ways of God. Even this great man, Moses, stopped what he was doing to listen to the disputes of the people and help them decide who was right and who was wrong.
    What am I doing that is more important than helping my children walk with God and value others? If Moses stopped to resolve disputes, shouldn’t I?”

    The answer is, “Yes.  I should stop what I am doing.  I am not too busy.”  People are the only thing we have in this world that we can take with us to the next.

    “...on earth as it is in heaven.”  If we want a heavenly home, we have to involve ourselves in helping our children understand God’s ways, take responsibility for their own actions, ask for and receive forgiveness for wrongs committed.

    If we don’t do this, the issues go unresolved and fester . . . even into the adult years.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

DISCIPLINE: # 1 mistake parents make

    George Barna’s research team uncovered the number one mistake that parents make. Do you want to know what it is? Inappropriate discipline. At least,that’s what their kids say when they grow up. They say their parents’ discipline was too lenient, too harsh, too inconsistent, too much, too little, too bad.

    And here’s the kicker: THAT STATISTIC DOESN’T SEEM TO BE IMPROVING. When it comes to discipline, we as parents face a lot of uncertainty. We want to know what works. We want results. We want our kids to love us and to know that we love them. And we want it by this weekend.

    Added to our uncertainty is an ever-growing list of disciplinary techniques, child psychologies, societal warnings, new magazines, Oprah, and the “Daddy Daycare” movie.


    There is the Bible. There are the words and thoughts of God. The Bible makes numerous recommendations: instruct, direct, lead, show, rebuke, admonish, spank, encourage, correct. When appropriate. Obviously, spanking is not the only means mentioned in the Bible, so spanking is not always appropriate—but it is sometimes.

    And it is not all that simple. Having the words of the Bible does not mean that we can easily see how to apply its truth. We all need help. We can learn from those who have gone ahead of us. Patricia and I learned a lot from older couples whose children were like what we wanted ours to be like. We encourage you to ask for help, advice, and prayer.

    Following are a few Biblical principles that are clear:

    Build the context for discipline. That context is a loving relationship. LOVING YOUR KIDS WILL COVER A LOT OF MISTAKES.  If you have little or no relationship, if your kids don’t know that you love them, your discipline will be ineffective. By the way, you spell love T-I-M-E.

    IT IS RIGHT THAT PARENTS DISCIPLINE THEIR KIDS. IT IS WRONG IF WE DON'T. We are not their buddies; we are their parents. God expects us to discipline them out of our love for them. To fail to discipline them is to fail to love them. The worst kind of discipline is none at all.

    DAD AND MOM MUST AGREE. Your kids cannot serve two masters. Go to your bedroom and discuss your disagreements until you can come out on the same page, for the sake of your children. Your family will work out the specifics differently than Patricia and I did. That's okay. Your methods will not be exactly like ours. That's okay. We don't have to agree with you, but you will have to agree with each other. This is a powerful key: Dad and Mom must agree.

ONE MORE VERY IMPORTANT THING. YOU WILL HAVE TO PRAY. Accept that fact. Ask God for help, on your knees, together. More than anyone else, He knows how to do this thing we call family. That’s the real secret. For God’s glory and purpose are best passed on at home, in the family. In your family.