Ask Jonathots … February 18th, 2016

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Parenting question: What is the best way to discipline young children? Do you believe in time-outs? How about spanking?

If you arrived on a new job and your boss walked in the room and said, “Don’t touch the water cooler, the copy machine and don’t drink more than three cups of coffee,” and then strolled out of the room, what would you think?

Well, since it was a new job, you wouldn’t know exactly what you were supposed to do–only informed of what was forbidden.

That’s the mistake we make with parenting.

A child, who is full of energy, hopes, dreams and wants to have a good time, is instructed in all the things that are unacceptable, without being channeled in a direction to use all of the creative explosion bursting within.

Although you may want to discuss discipline, I think the most important thing for any parent to consider are ways to avoid needing discipline.

By the time you get to the point of discipline, the issue is usually too much or too little, no matter how hard you try. So how can we avoid disciplining our children so much, and still have them grow up to be fantastic human beings?

It’s a two-step process:

  1. Decide what you want them to do.
  2. Shrink the situation and give them a chance to practice.

In other words, if you want your kids to play with a puzzle for an hour, find an area where you want them to play, provide a snack, and do puzzles with them until you ignite their interest.

Put a time limit on it, and then come and retrieve them for the next project.

You cannot expect to leave a child in a room with no guidance, no floor plan for activities, only telling them what’s bad, and think you won’t have a mess.

Find what you want them to do and then shrink the room to that activity.

Remember: life is based on a reward system, not a punishment.

So just as you are given a paycheck because you followed the rules of the company, which includes doing your job, your kids should likewise be rewarded for good behavior and contributing to the cause.

So the answer to your question?

Try to eliminate discipline, but when you do find a need to do so, make sure you have created a reward system.

Tell your children, “If you will play with this puzzle for thirty minutes and then pick up your toys in the corner and throw away this trash by the time I get back, I will let you watch your favorite show.” Then follow up on it.

  • You control the food.
  • You control the entertainment.
  • You even control the water.

Use it to your advantage.

But don’t expect children to follow rules without having a plan of action to fill their time and exhaust their energy.

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Confessing … November 28th, 2015

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XXX.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

For the sake of this essay and season of confession, let me refer to it as “Thanksbumping.”

It’s that uncomfortable moment when older folks such as myself decide to openly share some insight with younger folks who absolutely have no interest in the input whatsoever.

It is tricky. It can slip up on you when you merely believe you’re sharing your heart, and almost always is interpreted as intrusion.

I thought I had outsmarted “Thanksbumping” this year by controlling the amount of time I spent with my family, while also promising myself to keep my convictions to my own inner pleasure.

I did really well the first night, but at the second joining together, subjects came up for which I had great passion.

I spoke up.

It did not go well.

I quickly retreated and spent the rest of the evening trying my best to imitate invisibility.

At the Thanksgiving meal the next day I was much better, and had learned my lesson.

But I must apologize to myself, to my Father in heaven and to those who once sat under my tutelage, for accidentally continuing to “tutle.”

Before you become self-righteous and insist that you never do such a thing, let me gently and mercifully explain that our children perceive any intervention which they have not requested as a breach of their territorial waters.

So as I confess this to you–that I did better at “Thanksbumping” this year but am still not without reproach–let me give you three hints to keep you out of this iniquity:

  1. Avoid giving opinions without hearing a question coming your way.
  2. Don’t offer contrary views in a climate where well-established ideas are being revered.
  3. And certainly, don’t attempt to do any sideline parenting.

It may be difficult to succeed at being a bystander when you feel as if you should be included and treasured, but it is the nature of our species.

It is the changing of the guard.

And to have a good Thanksgiving, you must make sure you dodge the “bumping.”

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … November 25th, 2015

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PoHymn Nov. 25

Little People

Little people, not quite human

Need some time for gentle groomin’

Before they’re ready to take their place

And understand our noble race.

Mistakes aplenty they will need

Sow and reap their furtive seed

Room to grow, things to know

Moments to vent, ways to repent

For the breath of Father is in their flow

Some they sense, so much to blow

Hold them close so they can feel

The power to share is our appeal

Then when it’s time to let them go

Just step away–it’s now their show

The baby is born, the child arrives

The youngster is torn, the teenager drives

Then one day, they bring another

A little sister or a brother

It’s time to walk another soul

To a place where they can reach their goal.

Dedicated to my 16 sons, daughters and grandchildren, with one more due in 2016.

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Click here to read all about Mr. Kringle’s Tales…26 Stories Til Christmas! Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

 

“The best Christmas stories I’ve ever read!”

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We need a good Christmas this year.

Mr. Kringle’s Tales will help you make it so.

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Ask Jonathots … November 19th, 2015

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I am a working woman, a wife and a mother of two teenage girls–one age 13 and the other 14. I have just come to an odd realization: my girls are brats. We have spoiled them. They don’t appreciate gifts, they demand the newest everything and I see trouble coming in spades. Sometimes I don’t even like them. I feel like I’m in this alone, especially since my husband thinks I’m blowing everything out of proportion? What should I do?

First and foremost, let me explain that if you did not go through a moment or two as a parent of thinking your kids are brats, you probably can be declared legally insane.

We have a source problem in this country. What do I mean by that?

We buy products, we see end results and we view the culmination of effort… without ever having any idea on the source of how it came to be.

Your daughters are not brats, but they are completely unaware of the effort that goes into the events and conveniences which they now take for granted.

In earlier years, when families lived on farms, young kids were not better than they are today, but they had to go to the barn and grab a cow teat if they wanted milk for their cereal. They had to go out into the field, plant seeds and hoe weeds if they were going to take a product to market in order to acquire the pair of shoes for which they yearned.

It wasn’t a better time but the system took you from seed to corn, from cow to milk and from chores to completion, when playtime could begin.

I’m suggesting you create that environment for a season, so your daughters will be aware of what goes into making a meal, what is involved in paying bills, how a car is maintained, and what people have to do to make sure that the Big Mac has special sauce.

Take your girls back to the source.

There are many farms in this country where you can go pick your own berries, or you can go to a fish pond to catch a fish to bring it home, scale it and fry it in the pan.

Your girls are victims of a society which expects perfection without ever seeing the trial and error.

Now, they will be reluctant to do anything since they are teenagers, but if you wade through their bad attitudes and throw them into the waters of discovery to learn to swim, they will gain a whole new appreciation…for what it takes to turn a cow eating grass into a cheeseburger.

 

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Mr. Kringle’s Tales … 26 Stories ‘Til Christmas

Click here to read all about Mr. Kringle's Tales...26 Stories Til Christmas! Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

Click here to read all about Mr. Kringle’s Tales…26 Stories Til Christmas! Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

 

“The best Christmas stories I’ve ever read!”

From the toy shop to the manger, an advent calendar of Christmas stories, beginning on November 30th and ending on Christmas morning.

We need a good Christmas this year.

Mr. Kringle’s Tales will help you make it so.

Buy today.

"Buy

 

 

PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … September 30th, 2015

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PoHymn 9 30

A Well, Defined

Precious must confirm some value

Faith is better with substance

Love requires a commitment

Hope is energized by a vision

Kindness is empty without action

Belief, annoying minus fruit

Equality should prepare for the challenge

And peace must outsmart all war.

God is mean without mercy

Church comes alive through heart

Music is tuneless when heartless

Money mocks without a companion

Salvation begins in the here and now

Heaven, the sequel to a well-written Earth

Hell is always denying there is more

Romance, the culmination of great conversation

Failure is the chance to humbly succeed

Success, the spotlight on our remaining need

Parenting is God’s therapy for wounded children

Childhood, the time to question blind tradition

Freedom is what allows the truth to be told

Truth is what grants us the freedom to be bold

Knowledge is the book, but understanding, the eyes

Patience is the learning that makes fools wise

Time is our friend if we don’t surrender

Surrender, our savior when it’s time to remember.

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Ask Jonathots … September 10th, 2015

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I am a fourteen year old boy and have a little brother who is 8. I may sound like a whiner, but my parents act like he can do no wrong. If he breaks something, it’s my fault because I let him pick it up. If he wants more time on X-Box, I have to give it to him. When I say they’re not being fair, they say that I should be mature enough to understand that he’s just 8. But he’s turning into a brat and I’m getting mad. What can I do?

Being fourteen years old, let me clue you into a valuable lesson. You are old enough and smart enough to understand that not every problem in life can be resolved. Matter of fact, true maturity is understanding that most problems in life get handled by being avoided.

The situation with your little brother is very simple–he is secretly your fan, but could never express that without coming across as appreciative or loving. So instead, he follows you around and try to take over what you are doing or what you’re playing with so that he can be close to you but also dominate the situation.

Since your parents believe that he is the younger and therefore weaker brother and you should adjust your life to him, then you should be smart enough to adjust what you do to control his attitudes.

For instance, if you’re not interested in playing X-box, then sit down and start playing it and let him come and take it away from you. Then go do what you really wanted to do.

You may even want to explain to your mother and father what you’ll be doing, so that they can note that your little brother may have the problem of just wanting to be aggravating instead of desiring to be involved.

You can’t stop a little brother who wants to be annoying. What you can do is channel his interest in a direction that you’ve selected, and trap him in his own decision to pursue it.

Let me give you another quick example.

Let’s say you want to watch a show on TV that comes on at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Here’s what you know–if you try to watch this show and your little brother knows it’s your favorite, he may decide to be mean-spirited about it, come in and change the channel, and then hide behind your mother’s interference.

So if your goal is to watch the show, make a plan to get him involved in something else. And then explain to your mother that you plan on watching this show, so that she can see your little brother in action.

You will never solve this problem by trying to change your brother’s attitude or by disciplining him yourself.

Get him to focus on what you want him to focus on, and then maybe he’ll leave you alone. If he doesn’t, make sure your mom and dad know what your intentions are, so they can see the little fella being selfish.

Parents tend to support the weaker child in a family. Honestly, it’s not terribly intelligent. Weakness is not strengthened by being supported, but rather, by being challenged.

So help your mom and dad understand that you are dealing with a little brother who is trying to be aggravating to get attention. Do this by trapping him in a situation where he shows his true colors. Then your parents will do the rest.

Remember, the key in life is not to out-muscle problems … the key is to out-smart them.

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G-Poppers… June 19th, 2015

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G-Pop’s youngest son asked him, “What was your dad like?”

G-Pop took a long pause. He realized that often in his conversations of discussing his childhood and his relationship with his father, he was not very generous. Maybe it’s the lot of all children–to simultaneously be offended by parents while also defending them out of tradition and respect. G-Pop wanted to be honest with his son, but not overly critical.

“My dad was like all dads in the sense that he wasn’t prepared to be a dad, but was frightened to admit that. For after all, the word ‘dad’ begins with ‘da.’ Nobody knows how to do it. Most men don’t plan much beyond their orgasm. So it’s rather remarkable that the male of our species was actually able to come up with a rendition of fatherhood that is passable enough that all the children on the earth are not permanently damaged.

My dad was quiet, somewhat self-involved, but deep in his heart wanted to be closer to his sons. But by the time he ended up with five of them, he was pretty well overwhelmed and decided to kick into survival mode. So he had favorites. And even though that sounds terrible, we are human beings and we do tend to favor one thing over another.

He also was older. He was gazing at his 50th birthday when I was born. Now that I’ve reached that age, I realize how terrified he must have been to start all over again with a new bambino. So he did what he could.

I don’t think he was always happy with my mother. One of the things that men need to realize is that children often evaluate Father based on how much Dad loves Mom. So I give him a pass. Not because he’s dead and gone and I want to speak good of his departing spirit, but because now that I’ve become a father, I realize the job is ill-suited to humans–especially men. Yet it is our job.”

G-Pop’s son sat and listened patiently and intently. There was a question brewing.

“So what does it mean to be a good dad?”

“There are three things that are involved in being a good dad–a trio of needs that every child has,” said G-Pop. “First, love the me you see. Secondly, work with the child–meek or wild; and finally, pray for the one he or she will become.

Yes, every kid born needs to believe they are loved–if not unconditionally, then mercifully. But every child needs to be worked with. Nobody comes out of the womb with any idea of what to do. And then, somewhere along the line, when they become adults, you need to pray for them, knowing that the work is done and most of the love they require will come from other sources.

It’s not that we ever stop loving our children–it’s just that our love will never be the only love they require. Instead, they need to become lovers and parents.

So you love, you work and you pray. You put each one in the right season, and then, finally, you hope that by some miracle all your mediocre efforts will pan out.”

G-Pop’s son nodded his head and smiled.

G-Pop felt good about the fact that he understood his dad’s weaknesses and had tried to improve upon them. But he did comprehend that his dad didn’t have much of a chance to find ways to be better.

Fatherhood is not a natural happening because one is a man with a sexual appetite. Fatherhood is finding the piece of God breathed within, mingling it with virility and adding the more gentle parts of the woman–in order to create a workable and helpful teacher.

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