Late Adulthood: Fulfilling Reflection

22 03 2016

Late adults (65+) are those who’ve been blessed to live a full life. They’ve entered a time of harvest from all they’ve experienced. They are to be highly honoured and not forgotten. They have much wisdom to offer. But here, despair can set in if regret overwhelms. Before you enter this stage, ask yourself, “Will I have lived a meaningful life?” While you live out this phase, ask yourself, “What are the best parts of my life that I can share?” The next generation greatly benefits from the wisdom of its ancestors.

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Life ought not be wasted.

-John Piper

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

-Psalm 90:12

Life in this phase, as hard as it is, can be lived with fulfilling reflection. 

Whatever has happened in your life to this point, there is something positive to reflect on. If you’ve lived with many regrets, set those regrets aside and search, as for treasure, for what you can be grateful for. If you’ve lived well, finish well also. There is much from your life that you can share.

In your biological family and church family, honour your elders. Spend time with them. Interview them for their life experience and wisdom. Value them.

Let these final years (or decades?) be your best years. Stare death in the face with hopeful joy. Connect with those closest to you. Mend broken fences. Teach, encourage and strengthen others. As Paul wrote to his protégé Timothy towards the end of his life, you can also say,

I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.

2 Timothy 4:7

Here are some suggestions for finishing your race well:

  • Journal to aid your reflection
  • Beware of cynicism or arrogance taking away your joy
  • You are nearing death so face it with dignity and integrity
  • As your body continues to decline, treat it well with regular exercise and beneficial eating habits
  • Tell your life story
  • Spend time with children and youth for their sake and yours
  • Exercise your brain. Examples:
    • learn an instrument
    • read with a pen in hand
    • take up an art such as drawing, painting or crafting
    • solve puzzles and problems (the game kind and the real life kind)
  • Your habits may seem to be set in stone, but continuing to learn new skills and try new things will add to your enjoyment of life
  • List 100 things you’re especially grateful for and make them visible
  • If you’ve stayed married to this point, congratulations! Satisfaction in this relationship will likely increase so pour out your best energy for the other.
  • Don’t let retirement be an excuse to give up!
  • Volunteer often
  • Seek leadership opportunities and roles in your community
  • Find creative ways to benefit your children, grandchildren or other close family members or church family members:
    • write a letter
    • babysit
    • offer advice, but be careful of meddling
    • create something as a gift
    • put together a family tree or, even better, learn about genograms
  • Continue to find ways to connect with a local church
  • Remember that life is greater than you and reflect on God who transcends our understanding

What suggestions would you offer for maximizing the joy in this phase of life?

Lord, thank you for the heritage of our elders.





Young Children: Learning Wisdom

28 01 2016

Younger kids are learning how they fit into the world.

-Jeff Land

Do to others what you would want them to do to you.

-Luke 6:31

Children at this age are exploring everything! They see, touch, run and jump. They test boundaries and make connections. They discover their unique place. Show them how to treat others. Explain to them that others like to be treated in a similar way they want to be treated. Encourage them to make decisions that benefit themselves and others.

Helping children make wise decisions is a critical goal for this phase of life.

Consider these ideas for helping young children make great choices:

  • show them how to jump, hop, throw or catch in a way that is pleasing to others and not painful
  • draw with them
  • dream up fantastic stories and join in their make believe games
  • use characters and stories to illustrate wise or unwise choices
  • imagine out loud how another child may feel in specific moments to teach empathy
  • don’t simply say what is wrong, but give positive and constructive alternatives
  • use repetition when teaching phrases to be remembered
  • be clear with appropriate boundaries and consequences
  • demonstrate cause and effect relationships (ie. lying hurts friendship and fun)
  • use words they understand and explain words they don’t know as visually as possible
  • laugh…a lot
  • attach words to describe how their actions affect others
  • allow separation during emotionally heated moments, then come back later to review and make sense of the situation
  • show the difference between preferences and moral absolutes
  • fists can hurt, but so can unkind words
  • model deep breaths and prayer in difficult situations
  • model, model, model (ie. forgiveness, thoughtfulness, mercy, kind responses, etc. will be mimicked by these young children)
  • be cautious of shaming children into “right” choices
  • celebrate great choices

Lord, help me guide them well.





Questions: Stimulating Wonder

17 11 2015

Wisdom begins in wonder.

-Socrates

What do you think about this?

-Jesus (Matthew 21:28)

 

A good, well-timed, thoughtful question can turn drab into fab! Here are some qualities of a great, relationship-building question. Open-ended not closed allows for more than one word answers. After asking, allow silence to process. Follow it up with, “Tell me more about…” Listen for understanding without interrupting. What compelling question will you ask a child this week?

Starter examples:

  • What if…
  • Rate from 1-10 (why?)…
  • Tell me…
  • Why do you think…
  • How would you feel when…
  • Can you help me understand…
  • What did you learn from…

Lord, you asked questions that moved people to wonder about God. Help me to be like you.





Boundaries

24 02 2015

My post last week on love is an important foundation to provide for children who make many messes. A loving relationship is crucial for any rules or boundaries put in place. Enforcing rules outside the context of deep caring can lead to deep resentment.  But rules, nonetheless, matter and are important to understanding how to best live according to God’s design.





Help! My Child is Making Bad Choices!

6 04 2011

As parents, we want to pass on good values to our children. We want them to grow up making right choices. We’d love to see them develop great character, excel in school, have long-lasting friendships and live with wisdom. As complex and pressure-packed as these goals may feel, accomplishing them doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

The Bible talks about having conversations with your children regularly about faith and God’s Word. Talk about faith when you’re hanging out in your backyard, when you’re driving to your camping destination, when you sit down together at dinner, as you help your children doze off at night and during the rush of getting ready for the day (Deuteronomy 6:4-7). Just talk. Tell lots of stories (personal, Bible, missionary, friends), ask open-ended questions (ie. questions that require more than yes or no answers) or give a word of encouragement.

Read on for a great video clip and resource ideas. Read the rest of this entry »





Top 100 Children’s Ministry Blogs

15 09 2010

Check it out: I’m number 79 on the Ministry to Children top 100 blog list.

I’m not sure how I made this list as I’m quite certain only my mom reads these posts. 🙂 Some of my favourites on the list are Sam Luce, Lemon Lime Kids, Kidologist, Jim Wideman and Belly Flop (Roger Fields).

While I am certainly no leading children’s pastor/thinker by any means, I enjoy blogging my thoughts. I’m just a guy searching for wisdom and sharing it as I can. Proverbs 23:23 says, “Buy the truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction and understanding.” I believe we should be spending our time, resources and energy searching for wisdom in a generation that simply spends everything on self-serving pleasures. I pray my writing moves someone on to a closer walk with Jesus and to a life filled with right choices.

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