FamilyLife Blended®

Ron L. Deal

Celebrate Veterans Day

November 9, 2018

Courage means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die.


Throughout history, men and women of great courage have adopted the readiness to die in order that others might live. In a different kind of battle, I see people displaying the readiness to die to self in order that others might live. Many sacrifice their personal desires on a daily basis in order to serve one another. Parents and stepparents fight for the well-being of their children. This Veterans Day let’s celebrate both those who have fought for our country and those who fight for our homes.

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One way to develop faith in your children is to think out-loud.   Thinking out-loud is sharing with kids how you came to a certain decision. The next time you’re in the car, think out-loud. “Hey Buddy, we decided not to buy that big screen television. Instead we're going to use the money for a service project. I think this honors God and buying another thing for us really doesn’t.” Thinking out-loud shapes the faith of your children and shows them how life and faith connect. And, when stepparents think out-loud, kids see your heart and they grow to trust it.
November 8, 2018
Parents are lying to their kids…for personal gain. And, it’s got to stop.   I’ve worked with divorced parents for over two decades and it drives me crazy when a parent is lying to their child about the other home. Often it's a selfish motivation--money, custody, or winning the favor of the child--and all it takes is blaming the other parent or skewing the story to make yourself look good. It’s all a cowardly lie. Proverbs 12 declares that truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment. Eventually your kids are going to figure it out and then what?
November 7, 2018
Parents need to be reminded: Kids don’t think like us.   Kids don’t always see it the way we do. Like at the end of a hard day, you want peace and quiet, but they want to play and be with you! Kids don’t always see co-parenting the way you do either. You want a 50/50 visitation time because that’s fair. But kids don’t keep track of time. They want to love and have reliable, predictable contact with both parents. Or you think your former spouse is a crazy loon. Your kids don’t care. Be a parent and think like a parent, but let your kids be kids.
November 6, 2018
So, what’s the moral of that story?   Writing for, one personal finance contributor noted that about half of his firms disputed probate, estate, and trust cases were between a stepmother and her stepchildren. The writer said distrust was a common factor in the disputes. Say the father died, the children didn’t trust their stepmother to manage the estate if she hadn’t been married very long or if she favored her kids financially. What’s the moral of that story? Close relationships and trust are your most valuable assets.
November 5, 2018
I’m not sure you want to do this, but if you want to push a friend or family member away, just lie to them.   Lying, breaking a promise, or deceiving someone—yeah, those are all good ways of destroying trust and adding distance to a relationship. Proverbs 12:22 tells us that “the Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in those who are truthful.” We hurt our relationship with God when we’re dishonest and we hurt earthly relationships, too. Many marriages and families are ripped apart by lies. I know the truth is very hard to say sometimes but telling the truth is always less harmful that a lie.
November 2, 2018
Good parenting is in part about managing your children. But often more about managing yourself.   Hector’s daughter pushed his buttons. She was direct and assertive. All of which made him overreact to the point of crushing her spirit. Yes, parenting is about strategies, but it's also about managing what goes on inside us. Hector figured out that assertiveness threatened him. Overreacting didn’t work out with his ex wife and if he didn’t want the same result with his daughter, he needed to change his response. Hey, if you can’t manage yourself what makes you think you can manage your kids?
November 1, 2018
One sure sign of a mature person: grace under fire.   How someone responds to an insult tells you about their maturity. Proverbs 12:16 clearly distinguishes fools, who are quickly annoyed by insults and the wise who calmly overlook an insult. We’re all challenged by this passage, but let me speak to stepparents. When a stepchild criticizes how you care for them or your spouse’s ex calls you a dirty name it is grace under fire that wins the day. Without a doubt, insults hurt, but in Christ you can stay calm, rise above, and respond in love.
October 31, 2018
Do children keep a marriage together?   Single people assume having a child brings and keeps couples together. One woman said, “Better than a wedding certificate, we have an amazing daughter who will bind us together…till death do us part.” This is part of a confusing cultural double-message that says you don’t need marriage to have a baby, but you can rely on that baby to remain coupled. This is not true. A strong couple relationship requires dedication to each other, not a child. And, strong parenting flows from a strong marriage.
October 30, 2018
Are you sure you want to post that?   Parents, help your kids learn what to post and what not to post. Here are some filters to share. Filter 1: Is this “corrupt talk” or “helpful for building others up” talk? This one puts Ephesians 4:29 into action. Don’t say negative things about people, just encourage. Filter 2: Would this give a future employer a reason not to hire me? Why get yourself fired before you even get hired? And Filter 4: Am I chasing affirmation? Don’t post for the applause of men. Rest in the affirmation of heaven.
October 29, 2018
Have you ever felt caught between two people you love? Stuck between a rock and a hard place?   Children in blended families really don’t like having to choose between family members but they often feel like they have to. I think it’s up to the adults to untie the loyalty knots that kids find themselves in. Give your kids permission to enjoy themselves in the other home. A mom might say, “Hey, have a great time at your stepmom’s house this weekend.” When she says that it really liberates her child’s heart. To untie the loyalty knots for kids is to set them free to love.
October 26, 2018
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About FamilyLife Blended®

FamilyLife Blended® provides  biblically-based resources that help prevent re-divorce, strengthen stepfamilies, and help break the generational cycle of divorce.

About Ron L. Deal

Ron L. Deal is the Director of blended family ministries at FamilyLife®, and is the author/coauthor of the books The Smart StepfamilyThe Smart Stepdad, The Smart Stepmom, Dating and the Single Parent, and The Remarriage Checkup. Ron voices the FamilyLife Blended short feature and is one of the most widely read authors on stepfamily living in the country. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist who frequently appears in the national media, including FamilyLife Today® and Focus on the Family, and he conducts marriage and family seminars around the countryRon and his wife, Nan, have been married since 1986 and have three boys.

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