Change your life | Change your world
(but shouldn’t have to
learn the hard way)
Decision making in the
You may just be getting
SPECIAL ISSUE FOR PARENTS
They say iT’s The liTTle Things in
life ThaT ofTen bring The greaT-
esT joy. This is true of the hour I spend
first thing each morning with three toddlers
so their mothers, all fellow volunteers from BY sTEPHANIE PAONE
the Family International with whom I live
and work, can get on top of their day. I must As I read to them, I was surprised at how
admit, though, that this hasn’t always been much they already knew. Each would point to
the case. something familiar on the page and identify
It was a great plan in theory, but with all it using their baby language, or try to imitate
three still in diapers, one or the other of them the sound of one of the animals.
usually had a smelly “surprise” for me upon We read book after book, and I discovered
arrival, while another would be a bucket of anew that toddlers are like sponges, absorb-
tears, crying over the fact that her mother was ing everything. They were learning just by me
leaving her with me for a while. “Believe me,” reading to them, and I found myself enjoying
I often found myself muttering, “I wish this it as well. I decided then to put my heart into
wasn’t happening more than you do!” my times with them and to come up with
In those early days of this venture, I would other activities to do together.
greet them with a cup of coffee in hand, and Now that hour with them is one of my
as soon as I could I would plop myself down favorite times of the day. Whatever it is we’re
in my beanbag chair and prepare to wait out doing, without fail one of them will shout out
the next hour. Of course that state of affairs “Den!” (“Again,” in their baby language) each
usually came to an abrupt end when a toddler time the activity ends, and they all break out
fight would break out with screams that could in fits of laughter when I start it up again.
be heard within a five-mile radius. What was Being able to help them learn and dis-
I supposed to do with the three of them for a cover new things and hearing them laugh in
whole hour? delight is far more rewarding than anything
After a few days of this, one morning one I expected in the beginning. There are still
of them picked up a book from the floor, some smelly surprises and the occasional tod-
walked over, and sat herself down in my lap. dler tantrum, but I’ve learned that my times
“Book?” she said, looking at me with her big with them are what I make them, and they
round eyes. can be magical!
“Okay, why not?” As I began reading, the
other two waddled over and sat down beside sTEPHANIE PAONE Is A MEMBEr OF THE FAMIlY
us. INTErNATIONAl IN MExICO. ∏
ACTIvATED vOl 9, IssuE 5 | www.activated.org 3
START they will be able to discipline
Discipline is not only about
correction or the consequences
for unacceptable behavior,
although those are each a very
important part of it. Discipline
The Need for Loving, Consistent Discipline starts with step-by-step teach-
ing, setting clear boundaries
and guidelines, setting a good
example in your own behavior,
BY MArIA FONTAINE
and being consistent.
ParenTing is more Than If you’re like most parents,
comforTing children it was initially difficult for
when They fall down, you to administer correction,
or making sure they get and perhaps it still is. You
proper nutrition, and brush love your children and don’t
their teeth, and so on. Parents want to see them unhappy.
are responsible for their You wish with all your heart
children’s spiritual training that there was some way
as well, and the founda- around it, that they could
tion stone of that training learn the lesson some easier
is loving and consistent way, but because you do
discipline—and when I say love them, you correct them
“loving,” I mean reasonable, because you know it’s what
even-tempered, and nonvio- they need and what will keep
lent. Children begin forming them from being hurt worse
behavior patterns and their later. As the Bible says, dis-
ideas of right and wrong very cipline “yields the peaceable
early in life, so the earlier you fruit of righteousness to those
can start teaching them, the who have been trained by it”
better. (Hebrews 12:11).
Discipline means training You can’t expect children
your children to lead a disci- to learn good behavior on
plined life, and eventually to their own; it’s a long-term
discipline themselves. If dis- process that requires consis-
cipline is something that you tency, love, and fairness. It’s
only do “to” children, the end probably the biggest chal-
result will be that as soon as lenge and the hardest job
they get out from under your you’ll ever face as a parent.
control, they will go wild. It’s easier in some ways to
But if you discipline them just let them run wild and
in the sense of consistently entertain themselves, but in
trying to teach them to lead the long run you’ll find that
disciplined lives, eventually it’s much more worthwhile
4 www.activated.org | ACTIvATED vOl 9, IssuE 5
to do the hard work that is necessary, that your children for whatever reason, is con-
needed to discipline your not only need it in order to fusing and even damaging for
kids. In fact, you’re in for a lot grow up to be productive and children and will only make
of heartache if you don’t. useful members of society, it harder on you and them. By
Until children learn the but also to be happy and disciplining consistently, you
simple, basic lessons of secure in their relationship will need to discipline less,
obedience, respect, concern with you, their parent. Deep because your children will
for others, self-control, and down inside, children know learn their lessons quicker.
discipline, they won’t mature they need boundaries and If you’re going to disci-
or reach their full potential. want their boundaries to be pline your kids, you have to
They’ll also be less happy and defined, and they’re happier be involved in what they’re
fulfilled in life, and they’ll and more secure when they doing. When you make the
probably make those around receive consistent, loving commitment to train your
them less than happy too. discipline. children to lead disciplined
And if you don’t give children Once you make the com- lives, you’re also making a
loving, consistent discipline mitment to be faithful in the commitment to spend more
when they’re young, then training and discipline of time with them, because it
when they get older they’ll your children, there’s another does take being with them
be much harder to handle. hurdle to cross, which is and tuning in to them. You
You’ll wind up having to consistency. There will be might not enjoy the moments
really crack down on them times when you’re busy with when you have to correct
to keep them from hurting other responsibilities, times them or discipline them, and
themselves or others—and when disciplining would at the time it will seem like a
it won’t be their fault. It will be inconvenient or you will lot more work to teach them
be your fault for not teaching worry about what others the right way to do some-
them earlier, when the stakes would think, times when thing rather than just letting
weren’t as high. you don’t want to “spoil the them do what they want to
When you look at it that moment,” and times when do. But in the long run, you’ll
way, you’ll see that the loving your children will try every find that you’ve saved your-
thing to do is to teach your trick in the book to talk you self a lot of work, and you’ll
kids from the beginning, out of it. Unless you’re care- enjoy your times with your
gently, lovingly, and consis- ful, situations and your own children much more.
tently showing them how mood or energy level will Consistently administer-
to make the right decisions, have a greater bearing than ing loving discipline has
laying the boundaries for they should on how you mete great rewards. In the end, not
acceptable behavior, and out discipline; you will either only will your children love,
administering some form of ignore misbehavior because respect, and enjoy being with
consequence when they cross you feel that would be more you more, but you will feel
those boundaries. expedient, or you will resort the same way about them,
So the first step is to to sharp words or nagging. because you will have helped
believe that discipline is But inconsistent discipline, bring out the best in them. ∏
ACTIvATED vOl 9, IssuE 5 | www.activated.org 5
ONE OF A KIND
BY ElIsABETH sICHrOvsKY
almosT anyone’s lisT of “PeoPle who She also had a knack for making each of
have influenced my life” includes at us feel special, and one way she did this was
least one teacher. What kind of teachers are by speaking positively about us to others,
these?—The kind who use their talents to often even when we were within earshot. I
help develop their students’ talents, the kind can still recall the pride I felt upon overhear-
who strive to shape not just the mind but the ing her tell another teacher how well I was
heart. For me, it was a teacher we students doing in spelling. It was satisfying to know
came to affectionately call Auntie Marina. that my efforts had not gone unnoticed.
At the time, my family was living in Japan, Auntie Marina’s care and love extended
where my parents were involved in adminis- beyond the school years. For quite some time
trative work for our international Christian after our family moved to Taiwan, she sent me
fellowship. Auntie Marina was my first- and notes and cards. Ten years later, I still have sev-
second-grade teacher. eral of them. When I reread one of those notes
She was level headed and stricter than recently, I marveled at the concern and interest
most of our other teachers and caretakers, she had shown in corresponding with an eight-
firm in her sense of right and wrong, and at year-old: “Yesterday I came across your picture
first we kids grumbled about that. Before as I was preparing a photo album of ‘the
long, however, we learned to trust her because children in my life’—those I’ve cared for and
we sensed that she cared about what kind of taught over the years—and I was reminded of
people we would become. We felt secure with how much I love you, my dear young friend.”
Auntie Marina because she clearly defined our On my ninth birthday she wrote: “A very
boundaries. happy birthday to you. I pray that it will be
While she set limits and enforced the rules, a wonderful, special day for you, and a great
she demonstrated equal amounts of positive- new year of your life, full of good surprises
ness and love, and she also had an appropriate and love-filled experiences. I’m happy to
sense of fun. School with her wasn’t limited know you!”
to worksheets and textbooks. She took us on On June 9, 2005, after a prolonged struggle
excursions and trips to the park, and used her with cancer, Auntie Marina passed on to
artistic talent in order to get us interested in Heaven. I know I am only one of many who
arts and crafts. One day we children asked, are better for having experienced her love,
“Can we have coffee like you and the other which she always reminded us was God’s love
adults?” and the next day for snack we were poured through her.
delighted when she served us “kid coffee”—
milk that she had turned coffee color with ElIsABETH sICHrOvsKY Is A MEMBEr OF THE FAMIlY
molasses. INTErNATIONAl IN TAIWAN. ∏
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What to do when you feel frazzled
BY DErEK AND MICHEllE BrOOKEs
Whatever you do, don’t give in to feelings of frustra-
tion and discouragement. Shoot up a prayer and ask Jesus
to give you power for the hour and grace for the space,
and He will. Ask Him to help you see your children as He
sees them, to see what they are going to become. He will
There are going To be Times in The help you view the situation optimistically and with hope.
day-To-day rouTine of ParenTing The outlook may be bleak, but the “uplook” (looking up to
when you feel overwhelmed by situations and Jesus) is always bright.
circumstances. You’ve had an especially trying Because children are often a reflection of their parents,
day at work, your eight-year-old won’t do her it’s very easy to get discouraged and feel that you have
homework, your teenager’s stereo is shaking failed when one or more of your children isn’t doing well in
the house, your toddler didn’t make it to the some area. But remember they’re also God’s children, and
potty in time—and your dinner guests will they are a work in progress, just like you are. “It is God who
be here any minute! You feel pushed to the works in you, both to will and to do for His good pleasure”
brink. (Philippians 2:13).
Every parent faces days like this. You’re All He expects is that you try your best, give them your
not alone. And you’re not alone in a greater love, and leave the rest up to Him. Now that doesn’t mean
sense: Jesus is right there with you. He you should just throw up your hands in despair, let “God
understands, and He waits with encourage- take care of it,” and quit when the going gets rough. He
ment and solutions. If you have the opportu- probably intends for you to be part of His solution. You
nity, talking with someone else—maybe your need to find out from Him what He wants you to do, and
spouse or a friend—can help you see things do it; then put the rest in His hands and let Him do what
differently, calm your spirit, and give you a you can’t do.
chance to pray together for the Lord’s help.
You can even ask your children to pray with “WHAT TO DO WHEN YOu FEEl FrAzzlED” Is ExCErPTED FrOM THE
you. Their faith and simple prayers can be a BOOKlET PoWer for PArenting BY AurOrA PrODuCTION. OrDEr
wonderful encouragement. YOur COPY FrOM ONE OF THE ADDrEssEs ON PAGE 2. ∏
ACTIvATED vOl 9, IssuE 5 | www.activated.org 7
but you’ve got to win their confidence. They’ve got to know
Decision Making that you love them and are trying to help them.
When children become young teenagers, they start want-
in the Teen Years ing to make their own decisions and run their own lives.
That’s a natural part of coming into adulthood. Of course, by
BY DAvID BrANDT BErG, ADAPTED that time their parents should have taught them how to make
by The Time children reach Their right decisions, and if they haven’t, things are likely to go
early Teens, they have grown to nearly the haywire. When that happens it may seem like it’s too late, but
physical stature of adults, but often still think better to start late than not at all—and it’s never too late, with
and behave like children. That’s the age when God’s help.
a lot of young people do wild, crazy things When my first four reached their teens, I tried to guide
and get into trouble, and of course if they them through the decision-making process, but then I’d get
start going that direction and no one is there them to make their own decisions. I’d say, “You know what’s
to help turn them around, things are likely to right and what’s wrong. What do you think you ought to do?”
go from bad to worse. They’d often try to get me or their mother to make the
Teens are at the age of decision, and that’s decision for them, so they wouldn’t have to take the blame if
a troubling, perilous time. They’re trying to things went wrong. Or they’d try to persuade us to say yes to
find their place in life, where they fit, and it them doing something that they knew they shouldn’t do, so
worries them. They can be pretty difficult we’d be guilty and not them.
to live with, and they even find it difficult But I would tell them, “Don’t ask me. You know what’s
to live with themselves, because they are in a right and wrong. What do you think you should do?” After-
quandary, in a state of flux. They can be very wards they were usually glad that we made them decide,
idealistic, and at the same time very critical because they knew that was the way it was supposed to be
of their parents and other adults who aren’t and it helped them feel trusted and respected, which is a very
perfect. important thing at that age.
Making the transition from childhood to Most of the time they knew what was right, and they
adulthood can be like walking a tightrope, wound up making the right choices. Even after they had made
a high wire, and teens need someone there, a wrong choice or two, they usually turned around and made
a parent or other strong role model, to help the right one after a little wisely presented advice. I believe
them find their footing and steady them as that most teens will do the same, if shown enough love and
they cross over. patience and understanding.
Teenagers may not act like it, but they Parenting or mentoring teens is a difficult, sacrificial, and
actually want leadership, they want direction, sometimes scary job, but it also has thrills and rewards that
and they know they need it. They want help, are all its own. ∏
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to supply not only love and understanding in
trying times, but also practical solutions to
the problems you face.
For parents, the only thing more wonderful
than having that kind of personal relation-
ship with God themselves is knowing that it’s
just as freely available to their children. “For
the promise is to you and to your children”
The greaTesT discovery ThaT any of Families that share that common connec-
us can make in life is that we can have a tion with God, whom the Bible calls love
close personal relationship with our heavenly itself (1 John 4:8), are closer, more loving,
Father through His Son, Jesus, because that more unified, and have far fewer serious
connection puts us in touch with every other problems among themselves than families
good thing we need. that don’t. Why?—Because they have the
Such a relationship is not only possible, it’s most important things in common, besides a
only a short prayer away. “Jesus, I need You. clear standard of right and wrong—the spiri-
Come into my heart and life. Forgive me for tual guidance and support they need to make
my sins, and be my Savior, my ever-present the right decisions and stick to them. When
companion and counselor, my unfailing help. problems and irritations arise, real solutions
Amen.” and heavenly help are only a prayer away.
Making that connection is instantaneous, If you want more for your family and
but that is only the start. Like any other haven’t yet discovered Jesus, connect with
meaningful relationship, it develops and Him and start growing together.
matures over time, and it grows the quick-
est through daily interaction. As you learn KEITH PHIllIPs Is A MEMBEr OF THE FAMIlY
to turn to Him in prayer and get to know INTErNATIONAl IN THE uNITED sTATEs. ∏
Him and His plan better through reading
His Word, you will come to understand how
deeply He loves you personally, how much He
wants to see you happy, fulfilled, and living
up to your full potential, and how directly He
wants to be involved in your life. You will be
amazed at how ready, willing, and able He is
TOGETHER BY KEITH PHIllIPs
ACTIvATED vOl 9, IssuE 5 | www.activated.org 9
Things every parent
(But shouldn’t have
We worry about what a child will become
tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone to learn the hard way)
You can learn many things from chil- If there is anything that we In bringing up children,
dren. How much patience you have, for wish to change in the child, spend on them half as much
instance.—Franklin P. Jones we should first examine it money and twice as much
and see whether it is not time.—Author unknown
Every child comes with the message that God something that could better
is not yet discouraged of man. be changed in ourselves. What’s done to children, they
—Rabindranath Tagore —C.G. Jung will do to society.
There’s nothing that can help you understand Children have more need of
your beliefs more than trying to explain them models than of critics. You have a lifetime to work,
to an inquisitive child.—Frank A. Clark —Carolyn Coats but children are only young
There are no seven wonders of the world Each day of our lives we
in the eyes of a child. There are seven make deposits in the memory Kids spell love T-I-M-E.
million.—Walt Streightiff banks of our children. —John Crudele
—Charles R. Swindoll
Making the decision to have a child is The guys who fear becoming
momentous. It is to decide forever to have What a child doesn’t fathers don’t understand
your heart go walking around outside your receive he can seldom laterthat fathering is not
body.—Elizabeth Stone give.—P.D. James something perfect men
do, but something that
Before I got married I had six theories about If you want your children to perfects the man. The end
bringing up children; now I have six children, improve, let them overhear product of child raising is
and no theories.—John Wilmot the nice things you say about not the child but the parent.
them to others.—Haim Ginott —Frank Pittman
To bring up a child in the way he should go,
travel that way yourself.—Josh Billings if i had My Child to raise over again
It’s not only children who grow. Parents do If I had my child to raise all over again,
too. As much as we watch to see what our I’d build self-esteem first, and the house later.
children do with their lives, they are watching I’d finger-paint more, and point the finger less.
us to see what we do with ours. I can’t tell my I would do less correcting and more connecting.
children to reach for the sun. All I can do is I’d take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
reach for it myself.—Joyce Maynard I’d take more hikes and fly more kites.
I’d stop playing serious, and seriously play.
Don’t worry that children never listen to I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
you; worry that they are always watching I’d do more hugging and less tugging.
you.—Robert Fulghum —Diane loomans
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TH E I M PORTANC E
OF USI NG HANDS
BY HéCTOr MEDINA
my grandPa used To say, “If you whom they and we will ultimately need
see well-behaved children, you can be to give account of our lives.
sure that someone is using both hands There is a lot of talk these days
in bringing them up—the right hand of about troubled teenagers and the expo-
love and the left hand of discipline.” In nential impact they have on society as
the 25 years that I have been a teacher, their influence spreads to their peers,
that maxim has been a cornerstone of younger children, and eventually their
my daily interactions with my students. own children. And the same questions
Perhaps you’ve heard the analogy keep being asked: How did we get in
that likens youngsters to small plants. this state? And how do we get out?
Plants need water and sunshine, but Can we steer our ship back on a godlier
they also need attention in the form course, or is it too late?
of fertilizing, pruning, fumigating, I believe there is always hope, with
transplanting to larger pots, etc.— God’s help, because all things are pos-
attention that requires work on the sible for Him (Matthew 19:26). But He
part of the gardener and can be a can’t and won’t do it alone. He needs us
temporary shock for the plant. In parents, teachers, and other adults to be
the case of young people, that means mentors and role models for our young
giving them tender loving care first people. Our part is to buck the trends
and foremost, while not neglecting the of passiveness, permissiveness, and a
other things that are necessary parts general lack of definite moral standards
of character building, like providing that sadly have become norms in par-
a healthy environment for their enting and education today. But if we
social development and emotional will each do what we can, God will do
and spiritual growth, setting limits, what we can’t. He will bring about the
teaching them to take responsibility inward changes that our children need
for their actions, and allowing and help them want to do their part, to
them to learn through suffering do the right things with the right moti-
the consequences of their own poor vation. With time, they can become
decisions, if necessary. These more forces for positive change themselves,
difficult aspects of parenting and but it starts with us adults. We need to
mentoring are usually also the ones that take the reins—with both hands.
are the most difficult for young people
to accept, especially in the beginning, HéCTOr MEDINA Is A MEMBEr OF THE FAMIlY
but we owe it to them and to God, to INTErNATIONAl IN COlOMBIA. ∏
ACTIvATED vOl 9, IssuE 5 | www.activated.org 11
THE EVOLUTION OF
By MAriA Doehler
when my husband sam and i had only
one child, I thought I had a handle on par-
enting. I needed to adapt and bend and give up
some of my independence, but not too much.
I was absolutely on top of Cade’s appearance,
and he never wore dirty, stained, or soiled
clothes. Cade was very “portable,” and we toted
him with us wherever we went. When some-
thing needed to get done, we calmly set out to
do it and got it done. I knew things would get
harder as we had more children, but I wasn’t
worried; I was pretty good at this.
Brooke arrived next. Brooke was an angel
of a baby, waking only to gurgle and coo, and
putting herself back to sleep. I had gained less
weight during that pregnancy, so I was back
in shape in no time. If I could ace it with two,
I reasoned, I could handle anything. I was at
the top of my game.
Enter Zara. Exit all parenting confidence.
It’s not that Zara was difficult on her own,
but suddenly “spontaneous” meant 45 minutes
later. I often had kids crying in three differ-
ent parts of the house. Doing anything as
a family required the painstaking planning
and execution of a mission to the moon. We
began hearing comments like “Just watching
you wears me out!” But babies aren’t babies
forever (before you can brace yourself, they’re
toddlers!), and we learned to work with it.
We learned that we didn’t have to be perfect.
Neither did our kids.
At this point I think I started to better
understand that being a mother goes far
beyond giving birth and caring for my
children physically; it means living my life
through my children—not by imposing my
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PArENTING GOD’s WAY: lOvE, uNDErsTANDING, INsTruCTION,
children are to respect and Parents are responsible to
obey their parents. both teach and set a good
Exodus 20:12 example for their children.
Ephesians 6:1–2 Deuteronomy 4:9
Colossians 3:20 Deuteronomy 6:6–7
Pray for god’s guidance and
help in raising your children. Parents are responsible to
Judges 13:12 correct their children when
Proverbs 3:5–6 necessary.
James 1:5 Proverbs 3:12
treat children gently and in Proverbs 29:17
luke 1:17 godly parenting will guide
Ephesians 4:32 children all through life.
Colossians 3:21 Psalm 37:31
1 Peter 4:8 Proverbs 6:20, 22–23
ideas and dreams on them, but by rejoicing Proverbs 22:6
at and taking pride in their triumphs. Every- Patience, mercy, and John 10:27–28
where we went, people would tell us “Enjoy reasoning are the most 2 Timothy 3:15
them while you have them. They will grow up effective.
so quickly!” That truth started to sink in. Proverbs 16:6
Four kids. Emma is every bit as special 1 Thessalonians 2:11
as her brother and sisters. Spontaneous now
means at least an hour. We still have to plan NEVER OUT OF STYLE
everything, of course, but we only plan one —A Message from Jesus for Mothers
activity a day, max. We have lots of play clothes
and just a few “special” clothes. Once when old-fashioned moTherhood never goes ouT of
Zara got blue marker on Cade’s shirt just as sTyle because iT’s all abouT love. I made people to
we were finally ready to go out, I found myself need love, and I intended for them to first experience that
thinking, Well, at least it’s on a blue shirt. It love through their mothers. Mothers are the embodiment of
almost matches. We are a spectacle, but a happy love and care and tenderness—love that even the tiniest baby
spectacle that people seem to enjoy watching. can feel and respond to.
So if you think you’re missing out on life because you’re
I’m continuing to learn about love in ways stuck at home “just” caring for a baby or raising small chil-
that are slowly changing the most stubborn dren when you could be furthering your career, think again.
parts of my nature. Each child and each day Love is the best thing in life! To be able to love to the full is
reshapes me a little more, but I wouldn’t have the most important lesson anyone can ever learn, and love is
it any other way. It’s fun to be a family! the greatest gift anyone can ever receive—and mothers teach
love and give love like no one else. Life would go on fine
MArIA DOEHlEr Is A MEMBEr OF THE FAMIlY without many things, but not without mothers. “Old-fash-
INTErNATIONAl IN MExICO. ∏ ioned” motherhood is here to stay! ∏
ACTIvATED vOl 9, IssuE 5 | www.activated.org 13
A Spiritual Exercise
Praying for oThers is a Power-
ful way of PuTTing love inTo
acTion. You’re not only thinking of Say a prayer for each in turn, claim-
them and wanting to help, but you’re ing an appropriate promise of God
doing something about it. Prayer, as from the Bible (see examples below).
millions of people worldwide will Work your way down your list for 10 or
attest, does change things. Prayer 15 minutes daily, spending a minute or God’S promiSES…
moves God’s hand and heart to do the so praying for each person.
things we ask. It doesn’t always happen Add people to your list as their …for those who need
right away, but eventually those prayers needs come to your attention. As your healing:
are answered in the way God knows is list grows, you probably won’t be able “‘I will restore health
best for everyone involved. to pray for every person each day in to you,’ says the Lord”
Praying for others not only benefits the time you have allotted. Pray for (Jeremiah 30:17).
those people, but you too. It brings a the most serious and urgent situations “The prayer of faith will save
spirit of faith, a positive spirit, because first, and as many of the others as you the sick, and the Lord will raise
you’re focusing on God’s goodness and have time for. Whenever you reach the him up” (James 5:15).
power and expecting Him to answer. bottom of your list, start again at the
When you manifest faith by praying, it top. …for those in danger:
pleases God and He goes to work in the When God answers one of your “God is a very present help in
situation or in the person’s life. He loves prayers, thank Him for doing so, and trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
you and the one you’re praying for, and then drop that entry from your daily “The Lord is a stronghold in the
He wants to effect positive change. Your prayer list. You may want to keep a day of trouble” (Nahum 1:7).
prayers set His power in motion. separate list of answered prayers and
Start by writing a list of people take a moment to review it at the …for those suffering loss
you’re concerned about, who need beginning of your prayer time to boost and hardship:
God’s help. Perhaps they’re sick or your faith that He will also meet the “I, the Lord your God, will hold
have had an accident, or are lonely, needs still on your list. your right hand, saying to
or are in a financial bind, or are in Make praying for others a daily you, ‘Fear not, I will help you’”
danger, or have suffered loss. Include habit, and you will not only help make (Isaiah 41:13).
both those you know personally and their lives better, but your faith will “Peace I leave with you,
those who you have heard about in the grow and your spiritual life will be My peace I give to you”
news or from others. enriched as you see God work. ∏ (John 14:27).
14 www.activated.org | ACTIvATED vOl 9, IssuE 5
brightly. I soon found an abundance of
venerable role models.
The Swiss mountaineer Ulrich
Inderbinen recently passed away at
103. He climbed the Matterhorn 370
times. He made his last ascent when he
was 90, and he climbed other moun-
tains until he was 95. In one of his last
interviews he said, “I have no idea how
I got to be 100 years of age, but I no
longer know any stress. For sure I have
no fear of death. I have lived a full and
happy life. Why should I be afraid?”
BY CurTIs PETEr vAN GOrDEr At 95, Olivia Neubauer still teaches
reading five days a week to eager
when i was in Primary school, kindergarten students. One of her
I wrote a report about Juan Ponce fellow teachers said the children get
de León , the Spanish conquistador excited whenever they’re around her.
who in 1513 went looking for the “It’s a fascinating thing to watch.” Her
legendary fountain of youth but found principal added, “She comes in every
Florida instead. The story fascinated morning, willing and ready to work,
me, though I couldn’t quite grasp why and she does a fantastic job.”
people would search so arduously for a The legendary Cuban bassist Israel
cure for aging. Growing old was some- “Cachao” Lopez, known as the “father
thing I saw happening to only a few of the mambo,” set off on a three-week
folks, most notably my grandparents. whirlwind concert tour of Europe at
Back then, old age was something far, age 88. When asked how he has so
far away. But now that I’m in my mid- much energy, he says simply, “I don’t
50s, that port of call is on my horizon smoke or drink.”
and gets closer with every passing year. Despite being diagnosed with
While I was recovering from a Parkinson’s disease at age 72, Pope
recent ankle operation, I had plenty of John Paul II continued his rigorous
time to think about what my twilight schedule of world travels into his 80s.
years might be like. I also had more When media giants CBS and
time to read, and I came across an arti- Viacom split in 2005, Sumner
cle about the Portuguese film maker Redstone, who was 82 at the time,
Manoel de Oliveira, who at the age of remained chairman of both companies.
98 entered a film in the Venice Film Mother Teresa continued minister-
Festival. Oliveira’s Egyptian colleague ing to the poor of India well into her
Youssef Chahine said, “I am young. I 90s.
am only 81. First of all, I never look at After reading these and other
myself in the mirror. I think it’s silly seniors’ stories, I am feeling younger
to do that and tell oneself that you are than ever.
getting older, especially when I look at
Manoel still going strong.” CurTIs PETEr vAN GOrDEr Is A MEMBEr OF
This set me off on a search for THE FAMIlY INTErNATIONAl IN THE MIDDlE
other old-timers who are still burning EAsT. ∏
ACTIvATED vOl 9, IssuE 5 | www.activated.org 15
FROM JESUS WITH LOVE
hearts Love has creative power, and in the home
love does its magic by engendering unselfish
acts and helping each family member see the
others in a positive light. Everyone wants to
be understood, accepted, and loved for who
he or she is, and the home is a God-created
environment where these things can thrive.
There are also things that work against
love in the home—enemies of love, if you
will. Disagreements between children and
parents and sibling rivalries are a couple of
the obvious ones, but there are other problems
that are more subtle and therefore even more
dangerous—selfishness, laziness, indif-
ference, criticalness, nagging, taking one
another for granted, and thinking and talking
negatively about one another, to name a few.
These usually begin with small, seemingly
innocent incidents—finding excuses to not
help out, squabbles over petty issues, little
putdowns and sarcastic remarks—but unless
you recognize these as attacks on your fam-
ily’s love and unity, they will develop into bad
habits that will take a terrible toll on your
The root problem is a lack of love. The
only thing that will cure a lack of love is love
itself, so ask Me to bring more love into your
home, and then work with Me on it. If you
ask Me to give each of you genuine respect
and appreciation for the others, I will put that
kind of love in your hearts, but then it’s up
to you to cultivate that love through loving
thoughts, words, and actions.