Parenting, Uncategorized

Courageous parenting


Parenting is not about raising children. It is rather about raising people to become responsible, balanced adults one day. But it takes the courage of a lion to do what is best for our children in spite of their hefty explanations, bitter resentments and bright-eyed pleas. Proverbs 22:6 (NLT) says “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”

Your guidance influences the character your child will one day show at work and what kind of spouse he or she will be. You can’t avoid the fact that your child won’t always like your decisions. But it is not our job to be our children’s best friends, right? It is rather by God’s grace to prepare them the best we can for the life that lies ahead of them. Now and in eternity.

Courageous parents …

… discipline when necessary

We need to be our children’s conscience until they develop one and learn to listen to their own conscience when we’re not there. Discipline plays an important role in this process. It teaches the child whether something is right or wrong. And if it is wrong – to what extent.

Andalene Salvesen, international parenting guru and speaker, also known as Super Granny, warns: “Parents often avoid letting their children carry the consequences of their misdemeanours because it is too painful for them to see their children “suffer”. We must realise that what is better for the child on the long run is more important than the discomfort the child has to endure now. The most unselfish thing one can do is to put your own feelings aside and do what is best for somebody else.

… give responsibilities

Children need to learn how to take responsibility for their homework, their bedrooms, their belongings and their chores. It creates good work ethics and self-confidence which will later on be of utmost importance. It will also prevent them from becoming lazy adults!

Don’t take over when your younger child doesn’t to his chore perfectly, for example making his own bed neatly. What is important is your child’s progress, not perfection.

… give choices – within limits

Children must be allowed to make their own choices every now and then. With the younger ones it might be something simple, like choosing which shirt to wear. It practices decision-making.

… sometimes say “no”

It is parents’ duty to protect their children against those situations they are not emotionally mature yet to handle. Therefore it is our responsibility to wisely choose the experiences and things they get exposed to. Especially regarding what they see on television, DVD’s, music they listen to, Internet, computer games and social activities. Clear boundaries give a feeling of security and remove any uncertainty about which road to take.

… let their children learn from their mistakes

There are times when parents must show out the possible negative consequences of certain actions, but not forbid it. Experience is often the best teacher. Allow your children to make age appropriate choices and make age appropriate mistakes. Let them carry the consequences, have empathy and love them. Then help them to re-evaluate the choice and encourage them to persevere.

… love unconditionally

Sometimes we need to remind ourselves not to expect total perfection from our children. Allow them to make mistakes and don’t judge them. Don’t compare them with other children and allow them to be the unique persons they are.

Above everything children need their parents to give them a huge hug every now and then and hear how their parents (especially the dads!) say “I love you”.



Sources: Courageous Parenting by Jack and Deb Graham, Christian Art Publishers (2006); Kweek kinders met karakter by Hettie Brittz, Carpe Diem Media (2007); Ouerkuns by Ken en Elizabeth Mellor, Maskew Miller Longman (2001); Ouerskap wat werk by Arnold Mol, Struik Christelike Uitgewers (2007), Raising your children for Christ by Andrew Murray, Whitaker House (1984).

This article was originally published in Afrikaans in the June 2010-edition of LiG-magazine ( Published with permission. © Copyright reserved.

Faith, Uncategorized

Jesus laughed …



I grew up with the image of a mostly distant and angry God. It didn’t bother me much, since He wasn’t any more real to me than a fairytale character. I was 11 when I realised and experienced God is alive, and have come to know Him since as the God of love.

Many people have a similar picture of God. He has no emotions and is not really involved in His children’s lives. The God we see in Jesus Christ shows us the truth. Except that He got angry at the Pharisees quite a bit for only having the outward appearance of faith, He – just like us – had many and often intense emotions.

Jesus laughed

When Jesus saw that his disciples is starting to understand what the kingdom of God is all about and started living in his power, He rejoiced! He was excited about it and started praising God. (Luke 10:21)

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Jesus wept

When Jesus saw how his friend, Mary, cried over the death of her brother, Lazarus, he was deeply moved. He wept. Whether He was moved by their sadness or if He cried because they didn’t have faith, God do get sad sometimes. (John 11:33-35)

Jesus was amazed

An officer asked Jesus to heal his slave. But, he said, Jesus didn’t have to go to the slave. He should just say the word and the slave would be healed. The man’s faith and trust in the power of God that would be effective, even across a distance by just saying a word, totally amazed Him. May God also be amazed about our faith! (Luke 7:9)

Jesus had compassion

The people were so interested in what Jesus told them, that they followed him away from the towns to hear more. Sometimes three days passed in their pursuit of Jesus and they had nothing left to eat. Jesus was moved with compassion, healed the sick and miraculously provided food for them. (Matthew 14;14 and 15:32)


You can be honest with God about your emotions. He really knows how you feel and He is interested in your feelings. He cares about you. A lot.


Life, Uncategorized

Moving to an old-aged home – carefree


So, the time has come. Your parents can’t take care of themselves anymore. The search is on to find a suitable place for them to live. Making this life-changing decision can put high demands on the elderly person and the children. But, if everyone involved takes hands, it can be done with less stress.


Getting older, and the physical deterioration that is part of the natural process, is not something people like to talk about. Least of all moving to an old-aged home. It is thus advisable to discuss this subject before it becomes a crisis. All the different possibilities should be considered in a rational way so that an informed decision can be made.

When an elderly person moves to a care centre, he/she, the closest family and the care centre each plays an important role. It is very important that each one does his part to ensure that the elderly person is cared for in a humane way and still enjoys a good life quality.


When should alternative care seriously be considered?

  • The elderly person is lonely, distraught and starts to withdraw.
  • He can’t take care of himself properly, has an unbalanced eating pattern and forgets to take medication.
  • He can’t handle the responsibilities of a household anymore.
  • He lives alone in an unsafe neighbourhood.
  • Forgetfulness becomes a danger. Taps are left open and electrical appliances are left on.
  • If the elderly person lives with his children, there are additional problems – and that can cause tension. If an extra living unit can’t be built and he has to live in a room in the house, space can become a problem. The family’s privacy is limited and there are extra costs.
  • A parent who interferes with the children’s marriage or with the grandchildren’s upbringing can cause tension in relationships. Elderly often finds it difficult to adjust to small children or teenagers’ way of living.
  • If one or more people in the household can’t take care of the elderly person, a caretaker has to be hired. That causes the presence of another outsider in the house.


The family as part of the care team

Ready or not, the roles have changed. Suddenly the children are responsible for those whom they always asked for help. “Therefore it is very important for the elderly person to know that he still has some control over what happens to him and that he has choices about his life,” says Sonja Rossouw, nurse and general manager at Fairmed Care Centre. “Make the elderly person as much as possible part of the pending move. Investigate a couple of possible homes, and if possible, give the elderly person three options to choose from. Be open about the advantages and disadvantages of each option. Be careful though, not to overwhelm him with too many choices. Visit the possible homes together and try to choose a place that is closest to what he is used to.”

Sonja also suggests that the whole family – or everyone who carries responsibility for the elderly person – has an open conversation about the cost implications of the new living arrangements. Issues such as what expenses will be covered by the elderly person’s pension and how the shortage will be covered by the family, are the most important to discuss. Take into account that living costs rises every year, and that it could possibly be higher than the elderly person’s pension. If the residence becomes unaffordable a few years later, cheaper options should be considered. A second move would, once again, ask new adjustments.

Also keep in mind that the quoted living costs does not always include necessities like toiletries. Make sure you budget for this.

“The most important paradigm shift most people have to make, is that a care centre shouldn’t be seen as an institution, but as a new home,” says Marlene Bernhardt, a social worker and the co-coordinator of elderly care at BADISA.”

It is a new place to live, with more services, help and opportunities, but is still only a resource for the family. They should know that they will always stay responsible for the elderly person. Therefore the family must keep informed about the functioning, service levels and rules of the care centre. As a partner they can, together with the care centre staff, help with orientation, support and motivation – especially during the first few weeks when the adjustment is very hard.”

Regular visits and outings are very important for the elderly person’s healthy adjustment. He should feel that his children feels at home at his new “home” – and the he is still welcome to visit their home.


A new beginning

The older one gets, the harder it is to adjust to new circumstances. It can take up to six months or even longer before the elderly person starts to feel at home. Family members must be sensitive to the multiple adjustments the elderly person has to make in a short time.

At the new home everything will be new. A new routine, new friends and more people. The senior has to get used to set times when things happen. If he gets taken in the frail care unit, he is suddenly dependent on nursing staff who are initially total strangers.

  • Try to make the new place as homely yet functional as possible.
  • Don’t squeeze too many things into the room. It can obstruct the care.
  • Make sure, especially in the frail care unit, that there are personal items in the room: photo’s, a painting, a favourite chair and own bedding.

Moving homes also involves farewells. One has to part from old friends who always provided a support system, pets that were like children and gardens that were cherished with great care. Sometimes the elderly person has to move to a different province to live closer to the children – which causes adjustments to a new climate. For many people the hardest parting to do is to give away belongings that were collected over many years. Everything that doesn’t fit into the new (usually smaller) home, has to find a new owner.


Tips for new residents:

Old age shouldn’t be seen as a problem. The challenge is to reconcile quantity – years of life – with quality. The fact that one gets physically weaker and becomes dependent on others’ care, doesn’t mean you can’t have a quality life anymore.

Visit the centre with your family to find out if it will be a suitable home. When that has been established, the following can help:

  • Share your skills and life experience and help to make the care centre a home for everybody.
  • Discover and enjoy the new way of living!
  • Be tolerant with the other residents and staff. Remember: Where you live with a loving attitude, you will feel at home.
  • Join the activities that are presented and it will be easier to become part of the group. Reach out to the other residents. Don’t withdraw yourself from others!
  • Don’t sit and wait for others to do everything for you. Especially not if you still have the physical and mental strength.

This article was originally published in Afrikaans in the May 2011-edition of LiG-magazine ( Published with permission. © Copyright reserved.