Life in Abundance

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On Seeing Red

by Fylvia Fowler Kline

When Sky came along, it was Roy’s turn to play stay-at-home parent. Every day, they both spent time in anticipation of mommy coming home (which made me feel very special). Every day, there’d be a card or a handmade trinket waiting for me. But once in a while, they’d surprise me and personally deliver my gift.

A visit to mommy’s office was always very exciting, but Sky would get impatient during the trip. It was only 11 miles to the office, but distance and time are, of course, beyond a toddler’s comprehension.

One day, Roy came up with a clever way to address Sky’s impatience. He said, “Mommy’s office is five red lights away. You can count them and know when we’re there.”

Sky looked at him, “You are wrong, Daddy.”

Patiently, Roy assured her that he knew what he was talking about. “I have driven on that road many times,” he said. “And I have counted the number of traffic lights. You just trust Daddy. Count the five times you see a red light and we’ll be there.”

Sky narrowed her eyes, let out a big sigh and clearly emphasized each word, “You. Are. Still. Wrong.” She continued impatiently, “You can’t drive through red lights to get anywhere. You have to wait till they turn green. So there are five green lights to get to Mommy’s office.”

That conversation told us a lot about the person Sky was going to grow up to be. And since those early toddler days, she has continued to reinforce in us, over and over again, the importance of a positive perspective.

You can spend your life seeing red, the stuff that slows your pace and cramps your style. Or you can live in anticipation of the green, the things that herald new opportunities and exciting options.

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Love Spelled T-I-M-E

by Virginia Smith

We have all heard about the importance of “quality time” spent with children. On the flip side, we also hear that the quality of the time is more important than the quantity of time.

I beg to differ. Can we as parents, grandparents and friends truly believe that a few quality minutes per day will counteract the many hours spent on television, computer games or other secular activities? Children will grow to reflect the environment in which they are reared.

A person’s capital is the various kinds of wealth available to him. Social capital is an important kind of wealth that represents a person’s relationships. The more social capital—or time spent with positive adults—available to a child, the more enriched his environment, the greater his learning and the better the likelihood of a successful life.

The best way we can show love for children is to spend time with them. The best gifts we can give them are related to time. Take them to church. Go with them on a nature walk. Talk to them about what they hear and see, and help them make sense of life. If possible, enroll them in a wholesome community club or program. And when the time comes, send them to church school if it isn’t possible to home school them. Each of those times together will grant them more opportunities for social capital with an adult of positive influence.

But, if that is where we stop, we have still deprived them of the best. No matter what other sources of social capital are provided, the most important thing we can do is lead them to a personal relationship with Jesus.

When bonds of love and friendship tie them to us, we have lots of influence over their choices and decisions. While that is a weighty responsibility, how important it is for each of us to cultivate our own daily friendship with Jesus, so that we are always prepared to give positive social capital to children.