12 Ways to Provoke Your Children to Anger (Lou Priolo)

Where your children angry today? If so, did you stop to ask why? In your search for a solution, did you consider that you may be part of the problem?

Unfortunately, parents and children often make life much harder for each other than it would need be otherwise. I know what it is like. All too easily our homes degenerate into mutual-maddening societies, where the words exchanged sound little better than the trash talk of opposing sports teams or presidential candidates.

Dads, the responsibility for our homes begins with us. Paul gave first-century fathers advice that we can’t afford to ignore today:

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Eph. 6:4)

How might I provoke my children to anger? Last spring I attended a homeschool convention talk by Lou Priolo where he answered this question. Today I found my notes from that talk. Parenting isn’t typical content for this blog, but I thought I’d adapt his thoughts here so I can toss my paper notes.

Here are twelve ways we dads (and moms) can provoke our children to anger:

  1. Lack marital harmony with your spouse. (Priolo noted that only marriage partners, not children, are described as being “one flesh”—literally, “one person.” Our children are not “one flesh” with us, and our relationship with them is not designed to be as permanent or intimate as our relationship with our spouse. This leads to the next point.)
  2. Establish and maintain a child-centered home. Allow your children to interrupt, manipulate, dictate the schedule, take precedence over your spouse, demand time and attention, speak to you as to a peer, and require coddling to come out of a bad mood.
  3. Model sinful anger. Show your children what real anger looks like. When life feels out of control, regain control by bitter cuts or dramatic explosions.
  4. Discipline in anger. Discipline to meet your own needs, not your child’s needs.
  5. Discipline inconsistently. Discipline (or don’t) for different reasons on different days—or differently than your spouse.
  6. Have double standards. Expect your children to do as you say, not as you do.
  7. Be legalistic. Raise man’s commands to the level of God’s commands. Fail to distinguish between God’s law (biblically directed rules such as honesty and love) and parental law (biblically derived rules such as curfews or table manners). Don’t allow your children to ever appeal your parental rules—after all, they can’t appeal God’s rules, right?
  8. Never admit you are wrong. Don’t be open to reason (James 3:17). Stick to your guns and never change course.
  9. Have unrealistic expectations. Expect children to want to do what is right all the time, not just do right even when they don’t want to. Expect unregenerate teenagers to act as Christians. Emphasize achievement over character, and perfection over confession.
  10. Abuse your children physically. Be like Balaam: Don’t worry about collecting all the data first. Just strike out of embarrassment, and don’t worry if you lose control.
  11. Scold them. You want to break their spirits, crush their pride.
  12. Train them with worldly methodologies that are inconsistent with God’s word. Talk lots about “the Lord,” but parent based on the “discipline and instruction” of people who don’t know or care about the Lord.

Come to think of it, many of these points are also relevant for others, such as church leaders. May God help us to bring peace to those who depend on our care, not provoke them to anger.

Thanks for reading! Add your insights in the comments below.


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Spring Leaves in Rain [Poem by Mom]

Mom’s poem this month is too good to miss, even if I’ve left it for the last day of the month. The poem grows from the image of “spring leaves in rain.” So I’ll surround it with photos of life outside our Iowa windows on this rainy spring day.

cowsdeck

“If haply…

cowbackground

they might feel after him,…

cowleaves

and find him,…

playset

though he be not far from every one of us.”
—Acts 17:27 (KJV)


SPRING LEAVES IN RAIN
(
Acts 17:27 KJV, Prov. 11:28 NLT)

Spring leaves in rain nourish me—
More skin than paper
They hang in soft folds
Of translucent baby green—
The colour of hope,
Draped like a lady’s delicate fan
From the old maple’s branches
Waiting to catch the breeze.
Pulsing with the potential
Of butterfly wings emerging
Flawless and limp
The doeskin softness fits with ease,
An almost transparent glove
Over my hand.
I trace the flow of life:
Liquid-sunshine slips
Through yellow-green veins
From stiff stem to tender leaf tips,
Through sturdy midrib lanes
To fragile feathering netted threads,
To waiting capillaries in weathered skin
To the deep veins feeding my hungry heart,
Blending with my warm blood life-red
To visit every cell that craves a reason to live.

Spring leaves in rain comfort me—
The softness is something I can grow into—
The feel of hope,
A kid-leather glove
Hiding my scarred skin
With a layer as vulnerable as love.
I would hold life as a pale young leaf,
As tender and unguarded,
As knowing as they are, as free of grief—
Fearing neither tear nor fall,
Knowing next year’s leaf already waits—
Winter bud of determination,
The Creator’s caring provision
For life’s scars and seasons.
I too can survive and reappear
Soft as a baby’s cheek,
Demanding no reasons;
Feeling after Him,
And finding Him, not far away, but near;
Tracing the abiding flow of life-sap—
The Sonshine in my veins—
From source to need,
As godly as a growing leaf.
             

—Elaine Gingrich, June 10, 2013/ February 2015


roadcorner

“The godly flourish…

wetleaves

like leaves in spring.”
—Proverbs 11:28 (NLT)


For the rest of the poems in this monthly series, see here.

And if you enjoyed this poem, leave a comment here for Mom, or send her an email at MomsEmailAddressImage.php.  Thanks!


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God’s Word and the Pastor’s Authority (Hebrews 1:1-4)

Pastor, why should anyone listen to your words? What is the basis of your authority? The answer is both simple and demanding: people should listen to your words to the extent that your words express the word of God.

I have been too busy to blog for a month now, which doesn’t sit well with me at all! But (a) this too shall pass, God willing, after we are settled properly into our Atlanta house, and (b) I can’t help sharing a little nugget this morning.

First, a happy random note: I’m sitting here in our new kitchen as I blog. In the past five minutes, right here in our own backyard, I have seen both a great blue heron and a hawk! Much nicer than the baby snake (harmless variety) I found in our basement yesterday morning. The wrens nesting in our basement will need to be removed after this season, too, despite the cheer they bring. Truly we are moving to an urban jungle!

Back to God’s word and ours. I have just begun reading Gareth Lee Cockerill’s recent Hebrews commentary as part of my morning Bible time. I’m really liking his insights and assessments so far.

CockerillHebrews

Here is the passage from his commentary introduction that provoked this little post today. Enjoy!

The pastor’s authority rests on the gospel message (2:1-4) that he holds in common with his hearers and on the persuasive quality of his exegesis.

I’ll interrupt briefly to say “Read that again!” When Cockerill says “pastor,” he is describing the author of Hebrews. But his words are equally valid for pastors today! Back to the quote:

Heb 1:1-4 enunciates the fundamental principles that underlie his interpretation of the OT. First, the God who “spoke” through the OT has now “spoken” in one who is Son. The inclusion of the OT under the rubric of “the prophets” (1:1) indicates that it anticipated God’s ultimate self-revelation. Thus this final word in the Son is both continuous with, and the fulfillment of, all that God said before the Son assumed humanity. Second, to the continuity of the divine Speaker one must add the continuity of the human recipients. Those to whom God spoke through the prophets were the “fathers” of those he addresses in his Son (1:1-2). God’s people have always consisted of those who hear, embrace, and persevere in the word of God. Both those who live before and after Christ have received the same call, the same promise, the same “gospel,” and are on pilgrimage to the same heavenly “city,” which all the faithful will obtain through Christ. There is one God and one people of God.

This firm confidence in the continuity of the divine speaker and of the human addressees underlies the pastor’s sense of the immediacy of God’s word. Thus it is no surprise that he prefers OT passages that are in the form of direct address and that he introduces them with verbs denoting speech rather than with “it is written.” What God has said in the past is of more than antiquarian interest. God “speaks” to his people in the present both by the words that he spoke to his people of old (Heb 3:7–4:11; 10:36-39) and by his conversations with his Son concerning the Son’s incarnation and exaltation (1:1-14; 2:11-13; 7:1-28); 10:5-10). God’s final revelation embraces more than what the Son has said. God’s final revelation is found in the fully adequate Savior he has become through his incarnation, obedience, self-offering, and session. The work of the Son enables God’s people to grasp his previous revelation more clearly and obey it more diligently. (Pp. 43-45)

Nearly every sentence there deserves meditation, helping us think more clearly about topics as varied as preaching, biblical interpretation, monotheism, and the identity of the people of God. God bless you as you listen to, obey, and proclaim the word of God today!

Share your insights in the comments below. Thanks!


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