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Summary: Much of family life is spent in the blender. How do we keep our familes intact during the chop and mix cycles.

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Much of life is lived out in the Blender.

We find ourselves whirling through the days at differing speeds depending upon what it will take to conform us into the likeness of Christ. As the old saying goes, the apple does not fall far from the tree, God has entrusted us as parents to assure that we raise up our children in the way they should go so that when they are grown they will not depart from it. God shapes the parent; the parent shapes the child.

78% of U.S. adults have been married at least once and 33% of those have been divorced at least once says a new Barna Group study. 84% of born-again Christian adults have tied the knot, versus 74% of people aligned with non-Christian faiths and 65% of atheists and agnostics. Those with the most prolific divorce rate are downscale adults (39%), Baby Boomers (38%), those aligned with a non-Christian faith (38%), African-Americans (36%), and people who define themselves to be socially and politically liberal (37%). Those with lowest likelihood of divorce are Catholics (28%), evangelicals (26%), upscale adults (22%), Asians (20%) and those who deem themselves socially and politically conservative (28%).

Barna Update 3/31/08

One million children a year see their parents divorce.

[i] Judith Wallerstein, Julia Lewis and Sandra Blakeslee, states in The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce (New York: Hyperion, 2000), 26.One of the many myths of our culture is that divorce automatically rescues children from an unhappy marriage . . . . However, when one looks at the thousands of children that my colleagues and I have interviewed at our center since 1980, most of whom were from moderately unhappy marriages that ended in divorce, one message is clear: the children do not say they are happier. Rather, they say flatly,

“The day my parents divorced is the day my childhood ended.”

During one day over 3,000 children in America see their parents divorce.

70% of all children will spend some time of their childhood in a single parent family. 35% of American children live apart from their biological fathers. Boys who grow up in homes without fathers are two to three times more likely to commit crimes.

$150 billion dollars is spent each year by state and federal governments to subsidize and sustain single parent homes while only 150 million dollars is spent on keeping marriages and families together.

The website, www.successfulstepfamilies.com, states that “approximately 1300 new stepfamilies are formed every day in the US, and it’s predicted that by 2010 there will be more stepfamilies in the US than any other type of family.”

There are mixed up families throughout the Bible. Men who married more than one wife and for the most part the children did not fare well. When life in the blender sped up, as it always does, the kids of these blended families in the Bible headed for the blades:

Abraham had two sons by two wives and the boys and their mothers could not get along.

Jacob had 12 sons and one daughter by 4 wives. What followed was anger, resentment, and jealousy among them and their descendants for centuries.

King David, as most kings did, had multiple wives and his kids didn’t blend well. His first born son raped his half sister and was later murdered by his half brother in revenge. That child decided he should be the next king and had a love-fest, sleeping with ten of King David’s concubines. Another son tries to establish himself as king in his father’s place only to be dethroned and executed by his half-brother. Another child of King David was conceived out of wedlock and died as a newborn. The son who would follow David as King himself fell to the lure of many wives and led the Kingdom into straying away for God.

Luke 11:17

17 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: "Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall.

(NIV)

Healthy communication takes time and practice to achieve. A good book on healthy communication is a must! But here are some tips:

• Begin conversations by affirming “We’re here for the sake of the kids.”

• Make your goal to understand, rather than to persuade.

• Choose your issues carefully. Is it really about the child, or about your need for vengeance?

• Ask sincere questions: “What do you think we should do?” “How do you feel about this?”

• A parent who wants to break a child of the new habit of lying will communicate the problem and the strategy to the other parent.

• Give your full attention to the other person. Don’t plan your response, interrupt, blame or accuse the other person.

• Communicate like an adult both verbally and nonverbally, even if the other person doesn’t. (80% of communication takes place non-verbally!)

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