One of the greatest ways, as a parent, I have been able to teach our children things I really wanted them to know, was by relying on my personal experiences. Telling them true stories of things I have experienced and how I handled them. I have found that kids will “TUNE IN,” no matter what the age, if a good story is involved. Over the years I have learned how to package my story!
To “package” my story means to cut out the fat, the unimportant details, but making sure the story gets told in a reasonable amount of time. Not dragging on and losing their attention and making sure the Main point of the story gets made. It has taken me a while to learn how to “package” my stories. I have learned to give some thought to how to tell the story so that I have the greatest chance of success for making my point.
Some of the more important stories I have wanted to get across are stories of my personal struggles. Realizing quickly, as our kids were growing up, there were going to be struggles in every area of their lives because that is how we learn, grow and mature. I have come to realize that personal testimonies of personal experiences speak the loudest to them. (Side note here: It is the circle of life–God’s purpose–for us to struggle so then we can turn around and help others. For if we have not struggled ourselves, then how in the heck can we help someone else?)
As a young parent I learned a key ingredient to teaching our kids an important principle was to include Scripture with the story application. In Hebrews 4:12 it states, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” I found whenever I included Scripture along with real-life experiences, I was teaching them how to apply God’s word to their everyday lives. It gave me great confidence because I knew, and know to this day, that God’s word is more POWERFUL than any word I can speak.
When Thomas and Brewer were young, but were old enough to fight and know right from wrong, I worked on “tone” with them. It was exhausting at times and when Collins was old enough to add a third child to the mix, it was challenging. I can remember using the Scripture found in Proverbs 15:1, “A gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up danger.” It was a perfect Scripture to help our kids and me with our tone of voice. We still, to this day, work on our tone. At times, even as adults, we fail miserably. I often send emails, now that they are all out of the house and on their own or in college, to continue to parent by influence, not preaching, but reminding them of such things.
Our children and Bill have called me out on my body language and facial expressions. This was something I was totally unaware of. My tone could be right but my face told a different story. As I have intensified my reading on communication over the last 2 years I have been reminded that in communicating effectively, if you don’t have an appropriate tone, your success rate is less than 10%. God’s word is so RIGHT ON!!! SO ACCURATE for all of life!
Even when Jesus was in the desert fasting for 40 days, Satan took the most opportune time to tempt Jesus three times. Three out of three times Jesus answered him using Scripture. The story is found in Matthew 4:1-11. Isaiah 55:11 tells us that God’s word never returns empty.
To “package” this story and make my point, God’s word is powerful, more powerful than any word we speak. If we choose to USE IT AND APPLY IT in our everyday lives, our lives will become POWERFUL AND FULL OF MEANING AND NOT EMPTY.