I am getting a puppy in a couple of weeks. (Stay with me on this, I will bring it back to the subject) At my age, I have never had my own dog. I have bought plenty of dogs for my wife and children. My mother had a dog when I was growing up, but I have never had my own dog. I have watched buddies who had their own dog for years and I envied the closeness and joy they experienced from these dogs. So I decided it was time for me to reward myself and I can’t be more excited!
Since this is my first go of it, I thought it wise to bring the critter up right so he obeyed and was a proper, courteous dog. I have read numerous articles and have two books on rearing a “good” dog. To my surprise, all that I knew about rearing a dog was pretty much wrong. I guess this should be no surprise to me since I never pursued learning about it.
The one thing that I learned most and which relates to the topic in the heading is how you train the dog. It repeatedly says never to scold or demean the dog, but to use positive reinforcement for all the behavior you want from the dog; so no scolding for an accident in the house. The dog learns quicker and learns well what is expected from constant repeated positive reinforcement.
I have had the sad and unfortunate job of helping clients disinherit a child who has been obstinate, ugly or just absent. I have never felt good about it, but the clients were adamant. I always felt it would not solve anything, and in fact, it would make things worse, but the clients would not budge.
I am not going to suggest that we treat our children like training a dog, but there is a similarity to the positive reinforcement with the Biblical Blessing.
My father was pretty much an absent father. I had four siblings and he never attended any of our sporting or theater events. He drank a lot, worked and played a lot. In my early twenties, he cursed me. It took three years to heal and reassess my relationship with him. During that time, I read a book called ”The Blessing” by Smalley and Trent. It changed me. I knew that I needed to bless my father, not curse him back. I knew that he deserved the blessing because he did the best he could with what he knew and that he was a child of God just like me. My siblings signed off on it and I traveled to California at thanksgiving to give thanks through a blessing for my father.
You see, Jesus demonstrates that love is about forgiveness and blessing. He doesn’t tell us to forgive unless the person comes and asks for it, but He does say that we are to bless the person.
That is why He says to love your enemies. It is about positive reinforcement and positive love that persists and endures and never, ever gives up. If a person is to see and accept Jesus, it will be with the grace of God AND our love that demonstrates Jesus’s love. (I accept that discipline is necessary while a child grows up. I am referring to our adult children.)
I have incorporated the Culture of the Blessing in all of my family meetings and in how I communicate the message of an Eternal Legacy. Whatever reasons a child rebels, disappears or uses drugs, we should not get angry but have the same compassion that Jesus had with us. If we pour love and blessing on them, even from afar, and persist in that love, we have a chance that they will see clear and come to their senses.
We may be the cause for all of their angst, but by a constant flow of blessing and love, we can try to convince them that we have changed and want to be in their lives. All growth is progressive, even the knowledge of Jesus and His love is progressive. Our children may not know that at their age, but they will. My best advice is never to give up…ever. God said, “Take up your cross and follow me.” When he says follow me, he meant follow His example. If you truly have Jesus inside you in His Spirit, call on that Spirit to help you get to a place of love rather than anger and disgust. Ask every day.
I promise that if you do, you will find that loving and blessing that child will take YOU out of jail and bring you to a place of peace and joy and then you can WAIT on the Lord to do His magic.
You might say to me then, great story about the dog, Joe.
Download The Master’s Plan!
This is a book about transforming your family legacy – both today and in generations to come. It is for Christian families who want to eliminate estate and capital gains taxes, maintain their current lifestyle, pass on an appropriate inheritance to their heirs, maximize giving to worthy ministries, create healthier family relationships and leave a lasting legacy to impact God’s kingdom.
By Joe Sturniolo
Christian Family Legacy and Wealth Planning
Joe believes that stronger families are the vehicle God uses to bring about significant impact for His Kingdom.