Summary: Is Your Family a Fortress or a Facade? Strong families have these 5 things in common... [COMMITMENT, COMMUNICATION, COMMUNION, COPING SKILLS, CONSECRATION]

Is Your Family a Fortress or a Façade?

Josh. 24:15

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Here’s some things strong families have in common:

1. Strong sense of commitment

Seems obvious, right? But over the last decade, I’ve counseled w/ dozens of couples…pre-marital and post-marital counseling, and it’s proven to me that people today don’t understand commitment. What a relaxed attitude people enter into the holiest of unions w/ in these days of the disposable marriage. “If it works, fine, if it doesn’t, fine…I’m sure it will…I like them!”

Commitment is the assurance that this family will stay together, value each other, for a lifetime, no matter what. Whatever problems we face, we face them together/challenges. Strong marriages take the following words, and carve them in granite: I’m committed to you, no matter what. And they take the word divorce out of their vocabulary.

Parents, there’s 2 ways you can convey the sense of commitment to a child: [when we learn it!]

1. by conveying to them that they are a blessing, not a burden. This generation of children has been labeled, the unwanted generation. TV today sends the message that children are an unwanted expense, and interference in careers, or an untimely accident. There are no mistakes, accidents, or surprises w/ God. The abortionist claims there’s a clear difference between an unborn child and one that’s been born…try explaining that to a child who is looking for relevance!

Ill.—last one picked for ball team…who has to take him? I had him last time! (standing there in right field thinking, I’m here because they’re stuck w/ me!)

Suicide note from teenage girl: Dear mom, I’m sorry I was ever born. It seems to me that I’ve ruined your happiness. I’ve chosen this way out so that you can be happy again.

(chances are, this girl was genuinely loved and wanted, but somehow they failed to communicate it to her!)

2. By letting them know they are loved unconditionally. We live in an achievement oriented society. Where significance equals performance, and importance equals ability, and where self-worth equals achievement. Sorry to say, that mindset has crept into many homes.

Parents, do your kids know that there’s nothing they can do to be more loved, because they’re already loved w/ a measureless love?/nothing they can do to be more accepted, because they’re already totally accepted?/nothing they can do to be more valued, because they’re already infinitely valued?

Nothing will alienate a child more than making them work for something that should be given freely…love, acceptance, and self-worth.

If you raise a child on conditional love, to some degree, always feeling like they have to do something to make you proud of them, you will almost always wind up w/ 1 of 2 results when they’re grown:

1. Workaholic who never feels adequate, but quite self-conscious.

2. A quitter, who just gives up all-together. “I can’t please dad/mom, so I’ve decided not to even try.”

“But, aren’t I supposed to motivate my child?” Yes.

“Aren’t I supposed to encourage them on to excellence?” Yes.

“Don’t I want them to reach their full potential?” Yes.

The key is: What are you using to motivate them?

Never motivate on the basis of love and acceptance/treatment…they must be given freely.

Never motivate on how they compare to others… “Johnny can do it, why can’t you…try harder!”

Motivate on the basis of what THEIR best is.

Did you know you can be proud of your child, even if you’re displeased w/ them? You can show them love and acceptance, even when you’re disgusted w/ their attitude…even if they embarrass you out in public!

I’m convinced that some people who claim to be motivating their child for the child’s sake are actually doing it for their own sake… “so I’m not embarrassed, so I can be proud of you, so no one thinks less of you because they would then think less of me!” A parent like that was no doubt raised that way themselves. Hey, it’s time to break the cycle!

Ask yourself now: Do my children know they are a blessing, not a burden?/Do they know they’re loved unconditionally, and there’s nothing they can do to make me love them more?

That’s commitment. It’s the first thing strong families have in common. Couples: commitment to each other is just the same!...

Secondly, strong families have communion.

In a survey, 1,500 children were asked, What makes families happy?

Over 90% gave the same answer. It wasn’t a big house or lots of money…it was “doing things together”.

Are we talking quality time or quantity time? Both!

One of the biggest false bills of goods we’re being sold these days is that it doesn’t matter how much time you spend, just make it quality time! Yes, it does matter. Time together is how you get to know each other, really know each other in a deep way, where you can eventually see right into their heart just by looking into their eyes, and where you can tell when they’re lying right away!

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