Monday, December 7, 2015

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Like most families, our family looks forward to Christmas traditions. And several of those traditions have to do with calories. Maybe the best of those traditions would be Christmas cookies! One year when our kids were young, my wife broke her hand in a traffic accident. And she has been the baker of the cookies. So, the kids went into mild shock, "Oh no! Christmas without Mom's cookies?" So she attempted to explain what it took to make them. Friends of ours, who knew the tremendous trauma our kids were in, offered to bake some of her recipes.

So I would hear her explaining to various people, including the members of our family who may have needed to make their own cookies! You know, we love these little jam prints, and raspberry tea cookies, and snowballs, and stars and bells. (I'm going home and get some.) Now, as I listen to all those instructions, one thing is clear even to a culinary klutz like me. You have to shape them, and that's the problem. My wife was unable to shape them with one hand. And you have to shape them while they're soft. Once the cookie gets hard there's no more molding it. You know, you're probably in the shaping business.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Shaping Them While They're Soft."

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Deuteronomy 6, beginning with verse 5, where God says, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul and your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."

You notice here when important ideas get communicated? It's in the unstructured times; it's in the classroom of everyday life: sitting down at home, walking along the road, getting up time, going to bed time. The fundamental building block for raising straight children in a crooked world is unstructured time together.

If you've ever tried to run real fast and talk to somebody or have them talk to you, it's very hard to communicate when you're running. That's true socially as well. And some of us have been running so fast our kids can't catch up. There's no communication while we're running.

The most important time for them is a daily debriefing with you. How do you communicate with them the Lord's view about friends, or sex, or your concerns, about God Himself? It's not so much in those formal talk times, "Let's talk." It's in those relaxed, no agenda times. Why? Because that's when we're soft like those cookies; we're soft when we're relaxed.

Take them to the store with you. Take them to the gas station with you. Take them on an errand with you. Go away with them on a weekend. Find things you can do together. Capture that chauffeuring time. There's plenty of that! Capture bedtime. Capture the send-off time to school. See, all too soon the soft years will be gone. It's a strange thing isn't it that when they have time we don't? And when we finally have time, they don't. The time is now; no days to waste.

We need to make a commitment to relaxed time together with the people whose lives we want to mark, because all too soon the heat of a lost world will turn a child's heart too tough to mold.

Maybe you've had a very rushed life and it's just been hard for them to get in. Maybe you've had a forced communication time or a formal communication time, and there's a wall there instead of a willing heart. Well, just remember, a child is a lot like those Christmas cookies; you can make them into something beautiful, something attractive, but you need some soft times together to do the shaping.

            

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Ron Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

(870) 741-3300
(877) 741-1200 (toll-free)
(870) 741-3400 (fax)

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