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Why America Loves the Robertsons
By now, if you haven’t heard of Duck Dynasty, you probably don’t have a pulse. For those who know the story, what is behind the infatuation with this southern Louisiana family? And why do we love them so much? I think it comes down to one simple idea. They appear to have what most people want in life. The simple things: a faith they can hold onto, a family who loves each other, and a way to financially take care of themselves.
They are grounded in their faith and it is unwavering. It provides a foundation from which they can make sense of the world. It gives them stability. It gives them purpose. It gives them hope and assurance that no matter what comes their way, there is One who loves them unconditionally and will see them through every victory and every defeat.
They have a family that is completely committed to each other. Although we don’t see much of it, we can be sure that at times they bicker and disagree. But what we do see that cannot be faked, not even on television, is a love and commitment to one another that any family would covet. Research bears out the fact that families who eat together have stronger relationships by far than those who don’t. It is no coincidence they end every show around the dinner table. It is a visual reminder of their strength and commitment as a family.
They have found a very successful way to provide for themselves financially. Financial security is something that we all want. Most of us fall into the category of Proverb 30.8-9: ‘give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal and so dishonor the name of my God.’ Most of us just want to be able to afford everything we truly need, and a little of what we want. By God’s grace, they have been able to do that and more.
In our ‘in the moment’ world, the Robertson’s fame will be fleeting. It won’t be long before America tires of them and moves on to something else. But I hope the lessons they leave us with will last. If I could sum up the Robertson’s in one word, it would be ‘commitment,’ In a world devoid of commitment, it is echoed in everything they do. Commitment to the God they worship, to the family they cherish, and to the labor they love. Their priorities are in order.
And that’s why I love the Robertsons.
Communicating Through the Home
When I work with couples, one of the things I like to use is analogies. Often, an analogy can communicate a point better than just talking about whatever the issue is. One that I like to use involves discussing communication between husband and wife in relation to the home. The idea is that in the same way we invite people into different areas of our home based on our relationship with them and the health of that relationship, we also invite our spouse into different areas of the home based on those same things.
For example, when a stranger comes to the door, we hold our conversation at the door. We don’t know or trust this person, so we are reluctant to do much more than open the door and have a surface-level, fact-based conversation. It is the same in a marriage that is in crisis; the spouses appear to be little more than strangers. We are only willing to give the facts, and keep the conversation at a basic level so no one gets hurt. We can easily slam the door if things get to dangerous. However, if we have some relationship with that person, we might invite them into the foyer. Here, we are willing to give a little more information to our spouse, but only to see what they will do with it. If they hurt us, it is only a few feet back to the door to show them the way out.
If we feel even a little more secure, we might invite them into the living room. This is the area where we get to know people a little deeper, and we are willing to share a little more about ourselves. We risk some vulnerability for the sake of getting to know someone a little better. When we feel we really know someone, the family room is there to say ‘welcome to my home.’ It is where life happens. From the craziest, happiest moments, to the most somber and serious ones, the family room is often where intimate marital discussions happen. And for those who are closest to us, we freely offer to them this invitation into our lives.
Finally, for the marital couple, the bedroom is the innermost place of intimacy. No one is allowed here except for the spouse, because it is the one area of the home that is reserved for the one person who knows us better than anyone else. We are at our most vulnerable with our spouse in this one area of the home, because nothing can be hidden here. And unless the relationship is one based on trust and mutual love and respect for one another, it is a place that many couples will not spend much time in.
So, how about you? Which room in the house are you and your spouse currently in? And where would you like to be? Will you put in the effort to move through the house and build the best relationship this side of heaven with your spouse? I hope so, because it is well worth the effort.
The Importance of Healthy Families
If you were asked to complete the sentence, ‘As the family goes…,’ what would your answer be? If your answer has something to do with the phrase, ‘…so goes society,’ then you would be on the right track. The importance of healthy families cannot be overstated. The family, for better or worse, forms the foundation of every society that has ever roamed the earth. Let’s take a look at why this is the case.
The family is the initial training ground for children on how the world works. It is where they learn basic values and skills. How our homes operate is what our children will grow up knowing as ‘normal.’ What will they learn in your home? Will they learn how to handle conflict in a redemptive way? Will they learn healthy nutritional habits? Will they learn how to put others first? Will they learn the value of an education? The answers to these questions and many more form the foundation of growth for our children. It is a huge responsibility that we parents have in instilling proper values into our children. And it starts the day you bring them home for the first time.
Why is this so important? Because it sets the stage for lifelong patterns in our children’s lives. Much of what our kids learn early on will stay with them through their entire lives. The core of a child’s personality is formed by the time they are about five years old. So while there is certainly room for growth and change as our children age, the basic patterns for how they will handle life are developed very early. It is vital that we take this into account in the teaching and training of our children. As we encourage positive attitudes and actions, and train out negative ones, we do our children a great service in starting them off on the right foot. This will enable them to build on a solid foundation with their own children down the road.
God has granted us special favor in entrusting us with children. He has given us a microcosm of society to oversee. Within this little society are all the same issues the larger society faces: what is acceptable behavior? What is the right response to injustice? What should our reaction be when something of ours is taken? How should we treat those we are closest to? What about strangers? So much to teach and so little time to do it. Before we know it, our children are grown and gone, and we are wondering where the time went.
So do not take your responsibility lightly parents. Train your children. If you are not sure what to do, find the parents of those kids you admire and find out what those parents are doing. Do all you can to make your little society a healthy one, and watch how that transforms the larger society. If we want a healthy society, we must have healthy families. And it starts with you and me.
Now that I have your attention, let’s talk about geometry…oh, and marital relationships. The triangle is typically known as one of the strongest, if not the strongest geometric shape. Look at most any bridge or building under construction. Observe construction cranes, geodesic domes and the roof rafters of your house. They are full of triangles. Each side is fixed by two other sides for ultimate strength. They can handle immense amounts of weight for long periods of time without collapsing.
What do triangles have to do with marriage, you might be wondering. Only everything. Let’s look first at how a marriage might typically operate; then turn our attention to how a marriage, operating like a triangle, can bear the weight of a life of ups and downs, while staying as strong as ever.
Over time, many marriages fall into what is called a pursuer-distancer relationship. In an effort to get closer, one person moves horizontally toward their spouse in an effort to have his or her needs met. This can result in the spouse moving away to gain some space, as they begin to feel suffocated in the relationship. When this happens, the pursuer pursues even more, resulting in the distancer moving even further away. The pursuer responds by stepping up the pursuit, leading to further distancing. This cycle can continue for years until either the pursuer gives up and moves on, or the distance gains enough space by leaving for good. Even if they stay together, the pain and heartache for both parties increases, as they begin to believe that nothing will ever change.
Contrast this with a relationship that looks like a triangle. Imagine a triangle with the spouses at the corners on the bottom and God at the top. Now imagine both spouses making it a priority to grow closer to God first. As both spouses grow in their relationship with God, moving up their side of the triangle toward Him, what happens? They grow closer together. The relational space between them grows smaller. Why? Because they are working on their issues first, and putting those of their spouse where they belong – in God’s hands. When we are working on our own stuff first, we find ourselves wanting to be the best for our spouse. For the husband, it will enable him to love his wife better. For the wife, it will enable her to respect her husband deeper. This will result in each spouse desiring to grow further so that they can continue to be the best for one another. And over time, this will lead to a solid marriage which will be able to withstand the storms and burdens of life without collapsing or buckling.
Like real structures made of triangles, there is maintenance and repair that needs to be accomplished over time. But the maintenance will usually be preventative and not restorative. And preventative maintenance can fun and fulfilling in many ways. But that is for another time.
Making Obedience Attractive for your Children
As you read this title, several things likely went through your mind. “Wow, words I never thought I would see in the same sentence.” Or perhaps, “You don’t know my kids.” Hopefully though, you thought more along the lines of ‘That would be great. How can we do that?’ Believe it or not, there are things we can do to make obedience attractive to our kids. Some of it has to do with our kids, and some has to do with us as parents. Here are three things to try as you work toward this end.
First, borrowing a phrase from FOX News, be fair and balanced. Is what you are requiring within reason and able to be accomplished by your child? This doesn’t mean you have to be easy. And it certainly doesn’t mean you need to excuse poor behavior. But be aware of what your child is truly capable of. And be balanced. Every parent establishes what is allowed and not allowed in their home, and extremes are never healthy. Find a healthy balance of the goals of both you and your children and work to those ends.
Next, provide your kids with age-appropriate explanations for what you require. Parents, your two-year old does not need an explanation for your instruction. ‘Because mommy (or daddy) said so,’ is very appropriate for them. Young children need to learn that your instructions mean something. Getting into a long discussion with a young child is pointless. Young children cannot process abstract reasoning. Don’t frustrate yourself by trying to justify your requests with children who cannot process it in the first place. As they get older, into late childhood and into the teenage years, you can provide longer explanations as to why you are requiring specific things.
Finally, be consistent. This can be the hardest one for many parents. Kids are gamblers by nature. They will push you to see if you will relent and change the rules. And once you start to waffle, you will have a fight on your hands every time you give an unwanted answer. When kids are young, our responses need to be the same today, tomorrow, when you are happy, when you are tired, when time is short, and every other situation that you come across that would tempt you to change the rules. Once kids are older, they will understand those rare occasions when things need to change due to a specific non-normal situation. Let your yes, be yes, and your no, be no, every time.
Being fair and balanced, providing age-appropriate explanations, and maintaining consistency. Will it make for a perfect family? No. But it will go a long way toward making obedience attractive to your children. And as they come under your authority, you will find that you enjoy them more. This sends them the message that you care about their world. And isn’t that the message you are really trying to communicate anyway?
De-Stressing the Holidays
The coming holiday season is supposed to be a time when families get together, too much food is eaten, football dominates the television, fun and games carry the day, and wonderful memories are created. Instead, far too often, the holiday season becomes a time of great stress and heartache for many people. So, how can we “de-stress” the holidays? Here are a few things we can do to help make this time of year the blessing it supposed to be.
First, remember why you are gathering. We gather with friends and family to celebrate the season; a season of joy celebrating the things that God has provided over the course of the past year. Many times the holiday season is the only time you will see some of these friends and family. We gather to rekindle relationships, make memories, and celebrate the birth and goodness of God and the good things of life. We all play a part in making these joyful or sorrowful times over the course of the season. When we keep the proper perspective, we go a long way toward making positive memories of the season.
Secondly, plan extra time into your activities. Last minute gift shopping, heavy traffic from the number of people traveling, bad weather, tired children and parents, and the normal frustrations of life can lead to short tempers, burnt food, and bad memories. Whenever possible, allow extra time to get everything accomplished. Have extra supplies on hand for the season, get adequate sleep, and think through the process of what needs to happen in the coming weeks and formulate a plan. It is a good time to remember the old adage, ‘those who fail to plan, plan to fail.’
Finally, display extra patience and grace for those around you. While it is meant to be a time of joy and peace, the holiday season can often be a time of frustration and hurt for many people. Financial concerns, painful past memories, the busyness of the season, and being with some people with whom you may not get along have the potential for low tolerance and patience levels. Remember, others want the same joyful experience during this time that you do. Do your best to extend the same patience and grace to others you would like for yourself during this time, and watch how others respond in kind.
Remembering why we gather, having a plan, and displaying patience and grace toward others will help provide a positive experience during this hectic season and ensure many joyful memories are created for the future. Remember, when it gets right down to it, celebrating the season, spending time with loved ones and cherishing the memories that are created are why we gather in the first place.
If you are need of services contact Brent Ketring LPC-MHSP: by phone: (502) 413-1949:
by email: firstname.lastname@example.org