Growing Wholesome Families
Strong families share important aspects of communication skills, a friendly and safe environment, and a good network. Growing wholesome families of faith also includes studying the Bible and prayer.
We’re not perfect! That’s okay…
Families are unique and there’s no such thing as perfect parents because we cannot control our children’s reactions or personalities. We are human but God gives us grace, forgiveness, and love. And, thus we can say we are sorry and work at making better choices.
Learn from failures, for your children will see you are authentic! Forgive yourself and let your children see you make new choices and adjust after something goes wrong.
God chose to give children and he believes in you. Therefore, invest time in each child. Show and express your love but also maintain a sense of humor, Some missteps become inside jokes.
I recall a time at dinner I said, “I am so full, but what I really want is an apple.” My son Michael got up and brought me the shiniest apple in the bowl on the counter. I stared at it until my husband said, “You said you wanted an apple.” I laughed and replied, “I looked at that bowl but wanted a napkin. “Michael got me a napkin and we all laughed. Whenever a person did not listen or said something silly, another would say, “But what you really want is an apple.”
It helps when parents agree on how to raise children, so be sure to have regular meetings as a couple to discuss your children’s needs and how to raise them. Enjoy your children rather than comparing yourself to other parents.
Live Your Faith
If you want your children to follow God, you need to let them see how you live your faith. Be sure to spend time studying the Bible, praying, and including family faith activities. This keeps you growing in your faith.
Hopefully, if you are married, you and your spouse will guide your family in faith activities together. It’s good to have planning meeting as a couple to look at family needs and to pray together for your family and each child.
Make investing time for spiritual growth for yourself and your children a priority by scheduling family spiritual activities first each month. Experience creation together with nature walks, sunrises, sunsets, and gazing at the stars and read Romans 1:20 that creation is a witness to the existence of God. Therefore Rejoice together when you pray and see God answer prayers. When problems arise, you can use those as opportunities to pray together.
After church services, make a practice to share what you learned that day and how you can apply the principles that week. Share the joys of the past week and how God has worked in your life. Then, faith looks real to children.
Love Like 1 Corinthians 13:4-11 to Grow Wholesome Families
As two become one, the marriage partnership serves as a single witness to children and the world. In growing wholesome families model a love relationship pattern of your actions of the great chapter on love, 1 Corinthians 13:4-11.
Gently remind spouse of problems
Do little tasks to please spouse
Praise spouse with words
Willingly admit wrong and ask for forgiveness
Willingly forgive hurts
Listen and accept spouse’s constructive criticism
Consider spouse’s feelings/desires first
Cook, clean, and care for home to please family
Work at building a home that is loving and open
Say please and thank you to spouse
Disagree gently and with clearly stated reasons
Not angered easily
Learn to have an attitude of gratitude
No counting wrongs
Forget past hurts, forgive, and don’t bring them up again.
Remember and treasure acts of love
Rejoices in truth
Understand problems are God’s way of disciplining
Do not gossip about spouse’s habits/actions
Believe in spouse’s words
Share future dreams with spouse
Keeps trusting God’s plans
During hard times, works hard, wait on God
Support spouse’s choices
Help find solutions to problems
Never give up, even in hard times
Always remember love is a commitment
Do not belittle anyone
Do not spend money foolishly
Keeping children safe and protecting their innocence is difficult in a society that includes so much violence, sex, division, and bad language. Thankfully there are devices and software to limit the negative influences. Know what your children watch and see. Let Proverbs 4 be a guide and prayer to guard their hearts, eyes ears, and skin. That also means to guard their senses. Choose to use good language and watch what is uplifting yourselves.
One of the best choices to guide children in wholesome choices and build strong families is to eat meals together. That gives you time to encourage miners, healthy eating, and conversation skills. It’s also a time to celebrates the day and empathize with challenges encountered. Studies continue to show that children in families who eat together are happier and more successful and emotionally balanced. That’s all part of being wholesome.
Surrounding children with supportive friends and family also fosters a wholesome lifestyle. Get to know the families of your children’s friends. It’s great to make friends with other families in your church with whom you share values. That nurtures the healthy growth of your children.
Balance Order with Spontaneity to Develop Wholesome Families
Home life is easier if you keep the clutter down. Children tend to resist order, drop things anywhere, and make messes very fast. So, establish routines that include cleaning up regularly and rules about putting one game or toy away before taking out another. However, that takes consistency.
Balance rules with freedom to play and explore. Children thrive when they can play, be creative, and experiment. Children enjoy surprises and also thrive when they have routines that help them know what to do and gives them boundaries that provides a sense of security. Thus, beginning and ending days with routines helps children feel that life is predictable. It also helps them know what is expected and how they can please their parents.
Surprise them with a day trip, picnic, or other unexpected activity. Balance that with a regular weekly game or movie night. This helps them look forward to scheduled fun and rejoice in surprise fun. Capture the memories with photos and writing down quotes and comments made.
Embrace Joys while Growing Wholesome Families
Children and adults: laugh more during social interactions, so spend time engaging as a family. Nurture laughter and smiles with stories, jokes, and noticing the blessings from God. Sprinkle joy into daily life with complimenting each person, hugs, and pats on the back.
Note what pleases each family member and sprinkle those into your days. That might include favorite healthy foods, games, clothes, and books. Make a habit of ending the day with gratitude where everyone states a few reasons they are thankful and then give thanks to God. Get outside and exercise too. That produces endorphins that reduce stress and promote happy feelings.
Minimize stress and slow down by limiting activities for each member. We need rest and down time. This also helps you have more time for one another. Observe what helps each person relax and destress and encourage those actions.
Inspire kindness among family members by serving your family and praising children when they serve. Challenge family members to think of new ways to get others to smile and to help one another.
Share stories and recall fun memories. Children enjoy hearing about their parents as children, and their antics when they were younger.. It develops a sense of belonging.
Build Faith Memories
We spend so much time taking photos of activities but that seldom include photos of faith related activities. Be intentional about taking photos of prayer time, faith explorations, and devotions. Regular and consistent time with God’s Word and prayer as a family makes a difference, so choose to do family devotions on a regular basis and build faith memories.
Make a prayer journal and add photos there. Post some of the faith photos in your home. Those will also spark conversations with visitors.
With each week try to joy down a note in a faith scrapbook of what you did as a family to praise God, serve others, and how God blessed you. That will become a memory book to treasure and a legacy for the next generation.
Struggles and Challenges
All families encounter challenges, grief, and tough times. These are the moments that build character as we persevere and pray together. When we are growing wholesome families we find we are stronger and more easily face and overcome challenges.
Be empathetic and let each person share their feelings.
Be encouraging and inspire each pores that he or she can overcome the challenge and grow stronger.
Ask each individual to share what they learn along the journey in the struggle.
Equip each person with prayer and scriptures.
Strengthen Your Family
Be sure you invest time in your family as that is key to a close-knit family. You’ll be stronger if you spend time together in both work and play. Involve children inn home projects as well as fun times.
Add power with prayer and recording prayer answers. That helps children see how God works in your lives.
Set boundaries. When it’s family time, including meals, turn off technology and don’t answer or even glance at your phone. Invest that time in listening to family members, laughing and talking together, and being wholly with them.
Serve Loved Ones First
We should first look to the needs of our loved ones, according to 1 Timothy 5:8 while also noticing needs of others (Philippians 2:4). However, part of the need for our family, is the need is to train them to serve others. As your spouse and children respond to your blessing them suggest that they join in your little blessing ministry. Pray together as a family for opportunities to serve one another.
If we take time to really focus and serve family members, we will help them feel affirmed and loved. This does mean spoiling a child or giving in to whims, but to create a loving home and provide for nutritional needs, physical affection, spiritual nourishment, and physical needs. That helps children feel loved. Then they are more confident and willing to help others.
Notice when your children help someone and praise them for their generous hearts.
Putting others first also begins with the right attitude. Discover the positive in others and encourage them. Look at people’s facial expressions, body language, and listen to the words said. If they are happy let them know their smile lights up your day and you are happy for their joys. Or, if they appear sad, ask how you can pray for the person. Be empathetic to their feelings.
Help your children be emathetic this too. Give your children compliments and listen when they speak. Show empathy. Discuss how compliments make them feel and what words give them encouragement. Chat about how they choose to speak words to help people smile and to encourage others.
Growing Wholesome Families in Parenting
During his time on earth, Jesus lived in an earthly family. Mary and Joseph’s example shows us important goals of a PARENT
Prioritize by placing your child’s well-being first.
- So he [Joseph] got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt. Matthew 2:14
Joseph acted immediately when an angel urged him to flee to Egypt to protect Jesus.
Always be a supportive Anchor and Advocate for your child, even during their
- Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister…. John 19:25a
Stay loyal even in the hardest times.
- His mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” John 2:5
Exercise authority.Raise a child to be Responsible and trusts a grown child to do the right things.
- Then he went down to Nazareth and was obedient to them [his parents]. Luke2:51a
Nurture a child to grow in mental, physical, relational, and spiritual areas.
And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. Luke 2:52
Treasure the uniqueness of each child.
- But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. Luke 2:51b
Mary did not understand others’ comments about Jesus or her son’s words and actions, but she cherished them.
Get the Right Attitude for Growing Wholesome Families
Our feelings are natural, but we can choose how to respond. People hear your attitudes in your words, facial expressions, and actions. Share good attitudes, but change bad ones. Be understanding and forgiving of a family member who is struggling. Check your attitude below then take the next step.
Forgive. Remember that people make mistakes.
Relax. Trust God. Try to understand to what is causing the fears. Memorize Joshua 1:7
Green with envy…
Thank God for all you have. Find ways to earn money or obtain other goals.
Grumpy. . .
Stop complaining and think of three reasons to smile.
Check out Bible people who felt hopeless: Moses (Numbers 11:10-18); Elijah (1 Kings 19:1-8), and Paul (1 Corinthians 12:7-10.)
Think of 5 reasons to compliment the person (even yourself) you are judging.
Lazy, lacking purpose in life...
Rest, if needed. Get a check up if you might be ill. List life goals and work toward one.
Reach out and touch someone with love. Join an activity to help others.
Fill your mind with good thoughts. Ask God and a good friend for help.
Share Positive Attitudes
Powerful feeling! Be active and face your most challenging projects.
Wow! Share your smiles and let your joy bubble over into the lives of others.
Speak out those happy thoughts to encourage others.
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24
Honoring others shows you care for the person. People who are growing wholesome families raise children to be respectful.
- Showing respect honors the person and shows we appreciate them and what they do.
- Give family members respect and they will appreciate you even more. Here’s how:
- Rejoice in each person’s success. It validates the individual’s efforts and shows your approval
- Esteem family members. Support their goals. People feel valued and appreciated when you ask for their help. Say thanks when a loved one helps you.
- Safeguard your relationship by not gossiping about or anyone down. Remain loyal. It gives assurance that you care and will keep confidences.
- Praise the abilities and talents you notice. Encourage a family member who shares dreams and when you catch anyone doing acts of kindness
- Effectively listen. Value each person’s words and opinions.
- Consider each person’s needs. If someone is tired let that person rest and offer to do his or her chores. IF someone is sad, ask if he or she had a rough day and show empathy.
- Trust your family members. Praise those who show integrity.
Connect Your Child’s Interests to Faith
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6
The Lord created each person with special talents. Connect Christ to a child’s natural interest so they will see that Jesus is relevant to their own lives.
Enjoy the artwork of sunsets and rainbows the Lord paints in the sky. Study word paintings in the Bible especially the Psalms. Start a scrapbook of drawings of Bible stories. Enjoy creativity.
Cooking and celebrations
Try making foods Jesus ate. Taste dates, nuts, figs, and flat, round, wheat bread. Celebrate a Seder meal to remember the Last Supper (Mark 14:22-25). Enjoy a picnic at the beach as Jesus did with his disciples (John 21:1-14). Read about Bible feasts and celebrations (Exodus 12:24-27, Leviticus 23, Esther 9:28-32). Invite Jesus to parties and set a special place for him.
Study Bible friends such as David and Jonathon, Ruth and Naomi, Dorcas and her friends, and Jesus and his disciples. They had problems, conflicts, and good times together. Read and discuss the disagreement between Paul and Barnabus (Acts 15:36-39) and how a friend denied Jesus (Matthew 26:69-75).
Listen to the Psalms, sing verses, read about singing and musical instruments in the Bible. Even Jesus enjoyed a hymn with friends (Matthew 26:30) Read Psalm 150, then make joyful noises to praise God and create your own songs. Listen to Christian music and song videos.
More Ways to Connect Your Child’s Interests to Faith
Read about animals and creation in the Bible (Genesis 1:24-25). Talk about how God did not make any two things the same. Discover how many different flowers and leaves you can find near your home. Buy and read devotions about animals. Go stargazing, take nature walks and stop to thank Jesus for all creation.
Do experiments with Biblical analogies, such as yeast (mix a cup of flour, 1/2 cup of water, and yeast then watch it bubble as it rises).
Investigate scriptures that point to the multitude and differences of stars (1 Corinthians 15:41), and dinosaurs in Job 40. Investigate science and the Bible.
Compare the Holy Spirit with a coach. Discuss how discipline and training improve a person’s natural ability. Relate how discipline in Bible study also improves attitudes and skills. Use Paul’s comparison of an athlete’s training in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.
Discipline in a Godly Manner in Growing Wholesome Families
Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul. Proverbs 29:17
Discipline has two meanings.
Discipline means “training” and “instruction” on how to develops character and talent. However, it requires practice, such as athletic or musical training. Parents should help children become self-disciplined. Regular Bible study develops spiritual character as the receive the instructions from God and apply it (the training).
- Establish and follow routines, such as brushing teeth and other hygiene in the morning and evening.
- Create study areas and schedule for schoolwork/homework (at a set time or after dinner).
- Reinforce good habits (stickers for little ones, extra playtime or treats for young children, phone time or TV/computer time for older children).
- Discuss how training helps people mature. Read and discuss1 Corinthians 9:25 and Ephesians 6:4.
- Let children have some control. You may set the time of day, morning or afternoon for a chore, but let them choose the specific starting time.
- Encourage stewardship. Let them choose where to give their tithe or to skip dessert once weekly to sponsor a child.
- Follow through with commitments, such as regular practice times for music lessons and attending practices for sport teams and timely arrivals.
Correction for Growing Wholesome Families
Discipline’s other meaning is “correction” It eliminates bad habits and develops good behavior. Correction is not abusive. A shepherd used a rod to guide and protect sheep, not to beat them.
- Partner with your spouse to lovingly correct children.
- Be consistent (same problem/same consequence).
- Set appropriate consequences for infractions of rules.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it [discipline] produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11
- Pray together for forgiveness.
- Explain disappointment and trust issues.
- Consider what to do for restitution (like serving the person injured).
- Don’t correct while angry or argue. Cool down.
- Use tough love when needed. (seek professional help when needed)
- Set rules. When new situations arise pray and set a new rule. Be specific. Show your child how to follow rules.
- Establish consequences with appropriate discipline. Examples:
- A tiny dab of bitter tasting food or withholding of a sweet snack/dessert for bad and unkind words.
- Write a kind letter to the injured person.
- No playtime with friends if room is left messy. Use time to clean.
- After hurting a sibling, serve that person or do his chores.
- Model good behavior.
- Be consistent.
- Follow through quickly with consequences.
- Praise correct behavior.
- When everyone is calm, discuss actions, reactions, and consequences.
- Express love after carrying out discipline. Pray together.
Guard Your Child’s Heart
The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever. Psalm 121:8
It is vital to pray with and for your children upon their going out. In growing wholesome families we want to be sure their hearts are whole and they feel loved.
Guard the going out
- Know where each person is going and with whom.
- Let your family know how to reach you.
- Get to know parents of your children’s friends.
- Get to know coaches and teachers in authority over your children.
- Check movies to know what you and your children choose to watch.
- Check movies reviews from a Christian perspective and give discussion questions for families.
- Enjoy movie nights with Christian activities and discussion prompts.
- Once a child can drive decide when they can transport family members or friends.
- Do not leave or let others leave home angry. Stop and settle problems first.
- Watch the clothing your child chooses. Discuss what messages clothes can send out to others. Set dress codes. Be sure your clothes are also well chosen.
- Guard how much fast food is being consumed. Discuss nutrition and good choices for eating out as well as limiting how often the family dines or orders out.
- Come up with a list of free activities outside the home, such as nature walks, bicycling, playing in a park, the library, and church events.
- Guard the tongue. Discuss honoring and respecting family members and what subjects should not be shared outside the home.
Guard the Words Coming In
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Proverbs 4:23
Guard what is brought into the home as that guards the hearts of the family members. Limit electronic entertainment. You may want to let your children earn extra time by one minute of reading or sports = one minute of entertainment. The incentive promotes reading and physical activities
Friends and Their Language
Let your children’s friends know that swearing and cursing are off limits. Be around to listen to them and give gentle reminders when needed. Also pass out a breath mint as children come in as a reminder that clean mouths in the home means clean language!
Reviews for many books can be found at online bookstores. So, if a book a child desires to read is questionable agree to read it together so you can discuss the world views presented. And also agree not to keep the book if it does not belong in your home.
Discuss how to curb gossip and practice it yourself. When anyone hears rumors that scare him or her, the best thing is to talk about it with a parent but don’t dwell on it.
Remember that in a thriving family children know they are loved and accepted.
Guard the Coming in with Media
Process television viewing, including commercials. Watch new shows together and discuss values in the shows and ads. Ask, “What would Jesus do?” to decide if the show is permissible in the home.
Check Christian web sites that review shows. Some even have discussion questions to talk about with friends who are not Christians.
Sometime you may want to buy something advertised and test it to see if it lives up to the ad. Thus, it can teach discernment and help children see that commercials often exaggerate.
Check the rating on games and set a bar for what rating is okay to play.
Play video games with your children.
Listen to words of songs and discover more about the artists. If you cannot understand the words look up the lyrics on the Internet.
CCM magazine and Plugged In magazines provide reviews of music groups. Also look up reviews of top artists, bands, and the songs.
Choose Internet screening to block out pornography. Discuss responsibility in Internet use and that information is not always be reliable. There are many urban legends and propaganda as anyone can put up a web page.
When children want to use the Internet for school research help them learn to discern what is true and what sources are reliable.
Growing Wholesome Families builds lasting bonds
The goal for growing wholesome families is to develop bonds that last a lifetime and keep children faithful. That will be valuabe than any treasure.