Q&A: iPods for Christmas

December 19, 2014

Q: We are considering buying ipods for our kids for Christmas, but my husband says they are “time-wasters”. What do you think?

Gary: I think it all depends on the age of your child. The American Pediatric Association suggests no screens at all for children two years and under,  and after that only two hours a day on any kind of device. If you think they’re old enough, you need to have guidelines that you’re going to give them— in terms of the amount of time, in terms of what programs they get involved in, and you need to monitor those things. Otherwise, they will become time-wasters. They have to be monitored if it’s going to be positive. For more on this topic: Growing Up Social by Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane

Understanding Homosexuality

December 18, 2014

I am meeting more and more Christian parents who are struggling in their efforts to understand homosexuality. Almost all parents – even those who say we should tolerate all lifestyles – will feel shock and deep pain if one of their children announces that he is homosexual. The initial reaction is that they have failed their child in some critical way. The fact is that research has failed to discover the causes of homosexuality. We simply don’t know why some people have “same sex” attraction. So what’s a Christian parent to do? The example of Jesus would lead us to spend time with them, communicate with them, and demonstrate love for them, even though we do not approve of their lifestyle.

The Loving Person Is a Generous Person

December 16, 2014

The loving person is a generous person. Generosity is giving your attention, time, abilities, and money freely to others. I watched as the cashier rang up the purchases. When the lady went to pay, she was six dollars short. The lady behind her stepped up and said, “I’d be happy to give you six dollars.” “Oh no, the lady said, I can take some things back.” “I insist she said, take it as a gift from God.” “ Oh, well thank you very much, and God bless you.” That is an example of generosity. Generosity is one of the seven characteristics of love. The others are: kindness, patience, courtesy, forgiveness, honesty, and humility. In my book: Love As a Way of Life, you’ll find help in becoming the lover you want to be.

Humility

December 11, 2014

Humility is the mark of a true Christian. Jesus humbled himself when he became a man. Humility is stepping down so someone else can step up. It can be exhibited in small ways such as allowing someone else to go before you in the check out line. Or larger ways such as donating a kidney so your brother can live. We are not trained in humility. By nature we are looking out for #1. Humility comes from the realization that “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” The scriptures say that God “resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Humility is one of the traits of love. When love becomes a way of life, humility will flow naturally.

A Mark of a Loving Person Is Courtesy

December 9, 2014

One of the marks of a loving person is courtesy. The popular conception of courtesy is to be well mannered. However, the word courtesy is much richer; it means to be ‘friendly minded’. To treat everyone as though they were a friend. Courtesy is rooted in the belief that behind every face is a person worth knowing. If we believe that every person we meet is valuable, courtesy will be inevitable. In my book: Love As a Way of Life, I explore what courtesy looks like in a marriage, or in the grocery store. Everyone we encounter gives us an opportunity to extend courtesy. Today, initiate every conversation as though the person you are talking to is a friend.

Accepting Imperfections of Others

December 4, 2014

Patience is accepting the imperfections of others. By nature, we so want others to be as good as we are; as on time as we are; as organized as we are. The reality – humans are not machines. The rest of the world does not live by your priority list. Your agenda is not their agenda. Patience is giving people freedom to be different. When is the last time you were impatient? Did your impatience not come from someone failing to live up to your expectations? The bible says, “love is patient”. Love apologizes when in impatience I lash out at you. What if all Christians were patient? My book, Love As a Way of Life is designed to help you get there.

Being Kind

December 2, 2014

“Be ye kind one to another.” We memorized it as children, but have we forgotten it as adults? Kindness is one of the traits of love. Do you consciously think of being kind to others throughout the day? Kindness is expressed in the way we talk as well as what we do. Yelling and screaming are not kind. Speaking softly is. Then there are acts of kindness – things we do to help others. Mowing the grass for a neighbor who is in the hospital or on vacation is an act of kindness. Washing dishes for the family is also a kind thing to do. Imagine what life would be like if all of us were kind. In my book: Love As a Way of Life, I’m trying to help you make that vision become reality.

Q&A: I’m The Disciplinarian

December 1, 2014

Q: As the mom, I have the reputation as the disciplinarian toward the kids while my husband is looked at as the “fun one” who stays out of conflict. What steps can we take to balance this out?

Gary: You and your husband need to talk. I think that one of the key issues is learning how to make rules together and decide on consequences together. So that no matter who is at home the same consequence for the same crime is going to be dished out. You’ll find a lot of help in the book, The 5 Love Languages of Children, where we deal with making rules and consequences. I suggest you discuss that chapter together.

Meaningful Dialogue

November 25, 2014

One of the things that motivated me to write the book: Love As a Way of Life is what I see on television day after day. Watch any talk show and you will see that we have lost the art of meaningful dialogue. We have little respect for those who disagree with us. Politicians and religious leaders seem to be in an attack mode most of the time. Someone recently asked me, “Do you really think that love has a chance in today’s world?” I believe that love is our only chance. If we come to respect all people as persons for whom Christ died and we treat them as potential brothers and sisters, we have a chance of bringing them to Christ. He is their only hope.

Q&A: Boundaries for an Ex Spouse

November 21, 2014

Q: What should be the boundaries for an ex-spouse who is still in the family picture?

Gary: This is one of the difficult things about second marriages. Whenever divorce takes place, that person isn’t dead, they’re still there. Chances are they’ll be at the wedding of the children and they may be there when the children are sick. And just a lot of other interactions that you cannot avoid. We have to accept that as reality, they’re going to be in the picture, they are part of the family even though the divorce is final. They are still the parent of your children and they’re still your ex spouse. As long as it is not destructive behavior when you are together, you need to make the most of it, you need to accept each other where you are, and you need to ask God to help both of you.