Author: Parent Cue

Family Voice

Here’s an article we pulled from the archives that is worth taking a second look. Leave us a comment! What does your family voice sound like? by Carey Nieuwhof There’s this thing that I believe every family has. I don’t actually know what to call it. If we were having a conversation, I wouldn’t be able to imitate it. But I know it when I hear it. I hear it in shopping malls, in crowds, when families get into and out of their homes and cars, at resataurants, and when I’m a guest in someone’s home. I’ve heard it for years in my home. And I have one too. What is it? This isn’t the scientific name for it at all, but in my head I call it family voice. You know what I’m talking about. It’s the tone of voice you would never use except around the people closest to you.  It contains hints of expectation, exasperation, frustration and quiet fatigue. Add in tones of command, whining and a touch of rudeness, and you’ve got family voice. Sometimes it’s strong.  Sometimes it’s subtle. But all the time it’s reserved for the people you live with. If you used it at work, you’d be shunned or maybe even get fired. If you used it in your social circle, you’d have no friends. You’re likely distant enough as a grown adult...

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The Art of Discipline: Making It Helpful

Shepherding the hearts of our kids is one of those daily behaviors that does more to refine and challenge me than anything else in my life. In my interactions with my kids, God reveals more to me about my own humanity than I care to know. Particularly in disciplinary situations. One thing I’ve learned about kids is that I cannot control their actions. There are times when I try. There are times I guide, nudge, remind, even harass… yet, in the end, they decide what action they will take. Not me. I don’t know about you, but that really gets under my skin. It’s something I have to actively submit to the Father asking Him for guidance and patience. Recently He brought Ephesians 4:29 back onto my radar. “Don’t say anything that would hurt [another person]. Instead, speak only what is good so that you can give help wherever it is needed. That way, what you say will help those who hear you.” (GWT) It’s a timely reminder for me that my role as mom is to Fight for the Heart of my kids, to create a culture of unconditional love in my home that fuels their emotional and moral health. Approaching discipline in a way that is helpful takes practice, planning and patience. I’ve got to practice they way that I talk to my kids. That means that through my everyday...

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What Every Dad Should Know About His Daughter

by Gina McClain Several weeks ago I was dropping my daughter off for a birthday party. As I was leaving a man stopped me asking for directions. He was standing with one of my daughter’s school friends.  Immediately recognizing her, I put my hand out and introduced myself explaining that our daughters sit together at lunch often. His reaction was sarcastic as he gave his daughter a side-ways glance. He made a negative comment regarding his daughter as he looked at her. Her response to him led me to believe those interactions are common. Witnessing the exchange made me sad. I drove away thinking of all the little things we can do as parents that either build up or tear down the hearts of our kids. It’s challenging to articulate the influence a father has on a little girl. How much of his attitude and actions toward her can determine her future relationships. I remember how much stock I placed in what my dad thought of me. I remember how much I wanted him to be proud of me. To affirm me. To show me my value. I remember how he would brag about me on the sidelines of the soccer field. How he would tell me I’m beautiful. How he would hug me so hard I couldn’t breathe. How often he reminded me as a teenager, “Never date...

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Growing Roots Deeper

by Cara Martens I’ve got to be honest—I’m more of a planter and less of a water-er. Around this time of the year, I begin to get a little itch to add some color to my world. With great care and excitement, I check out all the local offerings of plants—looking for just the right mix and price. I take most of a day to trim back (or pull out) anything that didn’t make it through the winter. Then I add in new potting soil, chock full of ingredients I can’t say or spell. And I carefully place my young new plants in a hole dug just for them and gently fill and pat the soil all around their new home. Finally, I dust off my dirty gloves and stand back to admire the overall effect. Unfortunately for my new green-stemmed friends, at this point, my passion tends to run a little dry. It’s pretty hard for me to remember to water these guys, even though I know they’re at a fragile stage of life and struggling to make it through the transition from nursery to the big world outside it. And my sweet Goldendoodle, Boomer, certainly doesn’t make it any easier for them—he’s quite fond of pulling these sweet annual blooms right out of the ground or pot for an afternoon snack. After years of battling my predisposition...

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The Includers

The summer before my 8th grade, we moved to a new state. My dad’s job relocated our family from a non-descript Midwestern community to an affluent East Texas town, steep in Southern culture. As soon as we arrived in our new city, one of my dad’s business associates introduced me to Lizzie. Undoubtedly my father’s colleague recognized that making new friends amidst middle school would be no easy chore, and certainly not in a town with generations-old cliques and social circles. So on my behalf, he invited a young family friend who was also my age to attend a small dinner gathering welcoming my family. Within seconds of first meeting Lizzie, she was coaching me on who to know and how to survive my new middle school. Over dinner that night, a friendship was begun. In many regards, Lizzie and I were unlikely peers. I was a pudgy 14 year-old with short bangs and a limited wardrobe. Lizzie was the well-dressed, perfectly manicured offspring to Texas oil aristocracy. I came from both a family and a culture where life was understated. Lizzie’s family mingled among famous names. Her world was colorful. And while it was sometimes overstated, it was always entertaining. Lizzie had a million friends. If there was something big going on, Lizzie was in the middle of it and usually in charge. Frankly, Lizzie didn’t need another...

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