Now isn’t that amazing

The solution to our problems and despair may not be as hard as we imagine.

Let’s say you’re going through a desperate time and have lost your bearings, or are experiencing loss, suffering, grief, or big changes in life, to the point that you question how you’re going to go on.  Sometimes in the midst of problems and hopelessness, you can barely even have faith that God will hear you. What can you do?

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Slow to speak

The importance of developing our listening ability is directly affirmed by James, a man who knew Jesus intimately: “Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak.” The two terse commands contained in the beginning of this verse fit nicely together. When we take time to listen responsively—and avoid the error of answering with authoritative pronouncements—the messages given back to us by our children are far less likely to be obnoxiously defensive. This, in turn, reduces the tension and may well help us avoid angry exchanges.—Dr. Bob Pedrick

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How would you feel if someone who was [in a position of authority over you] got angry and screamed at you?

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Talk time

Children will behave more responsibly and maturely if they are talked to with the same respect you would give an adult. If a child feels that you expect him to behave in a responsible way, then he’ll more than likely try to fulfill your expectations. We should try as much as possible to put ourselves in our children’s place and communicate with them in the way that we would like to be communicated with if we were them. Maria Fontaine

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Do you ever sit down with your child and talk for a few minutes only about his or her concerns? Finding a few minutes each day to do this will pay handsome dividends in building a relationship of loving trust with your child.

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Communicating with children

Evonne Weinhaus and Karen Friedman

Remember the old adage, “Silence is golden”? As parents, we have a hard time with this notion. We believe that when a child makes a statement, he is implicitly asking for a response. And, of course, we oblige, thinking that communication with our child is important. But here’s a new notion for you: You don’t have to respond to every comment that comes out of your child’s mouth. Sometimes the most effective form of communication is keeping silent. There are times when it’s okay for your child to have the first, the last, and the only word.

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How to win people to your way of thinking without having an argument

In Aesop’s fables there’s a story about the sun and the wind. In the story the argumentative wind boasted to the sun that he was the stronger. The sun maintained that he was. So the wind said, “I’ll prove I am! See the old man down there with the coat? I’ll bet I can get his coat off of him quicker than you can!”

So the sun went behind a cloud, and the wind blew and blew until it was almost a tornado! But the HARDER it blew, the TIGHTER the old man clutched his coat to him! Finally the wind calmed down and gave up!

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The thorn factor

I don’t think that God intended any marriage to be perfect. I think of it as the “thorn” factor that He allows into the equation — that element that we shrink from, but that He knows we need. You may ask yourself, “Why would we need differences of opinion, sensitivities, misunderstandings, jealousies, resentments, comparing, sacrificing, arguments, emotional upsets, fears, heartbreaks, and adversity? Those things don’t sound like they would build a very strong marriage.”

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Give up the blame game

By Renata Waldrop

One thing that is very damaging to a marriage is blame placing. When you place the blame on your mate, in a way you excuse yourself from being a part of the solution, and you put the onus on your mate to do all the work of changing whatever you’re unhappy with.

“Honey, where are my navy pants? Didn’t you wash them?”
“I can’t worry about your clothes because I’ve got to get your son ready! Who else is going to do that?”
“Well, I worked overtime last night! I didn’t have time to wash and press a pair of pants.”

This was normal conversation in our house – one spouse offering up a sacrificial responsibility, the other countering with greater sacrifice. I even recall one or two arguments over the fact that he keeps more pillows on the bed than I do. (It seemed important at the time.)

Our marriage had become little more than dueling to-do lists – a competition to establish who had the most hectic schedule, as if that were the secret of marital superiority: “She who works hardest wins.” But what did I expect to win?

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Eight lessons of love

By Mike and Debbie Breaux

Growing up, I (Mike) had all kinds of confusion about the crazy little thing called love. In the fifth grade, I got my first crush on Kathy. She had that Laura Ingles Wilder thing going, with the braided pigtails. So cute! I chased her at recess. I threw rocks at her. All the ways you show affection in the fifth grade.

By high school my dating techniques changed – thankfully! I started to date Debbie. I remember sitting with her in a movie theater. My heart would pound because I wanted to hold her hand so badly! But I was shy. I’d go into this countdown mode. Ten, nine, eight … ten, nine …

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