Tuesday, October 13, 2015


At one of our seminars Brian talked about effective discipline. Having just had a session on creating family values, the audience now understood that kids need a clear explanation of expectations and boundaries.


Brian demonstrated the most effective method for handling a situation where a child has violated the boundaries. He said, “Get down to the child’s level. Make them look at you, and in a firm voice tell them what you expected, what they did wrong, and what the consequence will be.” He used a member of the audience to demonstrate the difference that the tone of voice makes. At first he spoke quietly and in conversation style. Then he really eyeballed the person and added the sound of authority to his tone of voice. It made the other person really take notice. After the seminar was over and we were packing up, the Children’s Pastor came back into the room and said, “You will never guess what just happened! Jonnie, the little boy we have most behavioral problems with in Sunday school, just threw a tantrum because he didn’t want to leave child-care after the seminar. His parents (who had attended) took him kicking and screaming to another room, closed the door, and applied the principles they had just been taught. Jonnie just left the church like a little lamb!”

It really does work! Here were parents with a 5 year-old who had never been controlled appropriately. Yet when they eyeballed him, and spoke with authority, the change in behavior was dramatic.



Kids want to know 'WHY' you have created particular family values and why they need to behave certain ways. They not only want to know ‘WHAT’ your expectations are, but as they get to an age of reasoning (about 10-12 years of age), kids also want parents to be consistent. The best way to ensure this happens is by role-modeling the desired behaviors and by having clear expectations. You will know you have done a good job with discipline when your kids behave well at home, and when they are out of your sight. How can you make this happen?


Kids need to mature past the mentality that negative behavior always means punishment. They need to understand that such behavior shows disrespect and that their misbehavior affects others. Unacceptable behavior may also damage a person’s reputation for later life. The term, ‘Say what you mean, and mean what you say’ is very true when it comes to giving clear messages to your children.

Written by Sally and Brian Burgess, Forefront Families


                                     Forgiving someone is often a very hard thing to do.


The natural response is often to:
1.  Build a wall of protection to prevent that person hurting you EVER AGAIN.

2.  Believe what they said/did. Take on the perceived value that that other person placed on you.
3.  Lose confidence in yourself and withdraw.
4.  Become angry and seek revenge.
5.  Lose a friendship.  The other person may move on or you may choose not to have such a
     close friendship again.
6.  Be less trusting of others in general.


It takes real courage to forgive because, in doing so, you are making yourself vulnerable.  It is the same when you apologize to someone.  You are admitting you made an error in judgement, a mistake.

Some situations are much more easy to forgive than others.  We forgive our children while they are learning our expectations.  It is harder to forgive them when they should know better.  It takes a huge heart to forgive someone who has taken the life of someone dear to you.  Yet, the examples we have seen e.g. The Amish families who immediately forgave the guy who shot and killed their family members.


I think we are all too often too hard on ourselves.  We believe that it is not acceptable to make mistakes or make the wrong turn.  How else do we learn? Yes, there are times when we know it is wrong, but we do it anyway.   Yes, we are disappointed in ourselves.  Yes, we feel stupid.  Yes, we let ourselves and/or others down. We need to apologize and, if necessary, ask for help to make the right choices next time. This applies to any age.  Sometimes we pay dearly for our mistakes.  If we break the law there will be serious consequences. You will likely need professional help to pick up your life and keep going after a major error in judgement, especially if it has caused loss.


Refusing to forgive creates ongoing bitterness and an all-consuming mindset of revenge.  We think we are binding the other person.  We hold back our forgiveness...but we are binding ourselves.  We have a young friend who felt he had been duped out of property by a stepmother.  He felt he had been unfairly treated by various Government Departments and was set on suing them all.  I told him that he spent so much time looking backwards in revenge that he was cheating himself out of his future.


Best summed up in a beautiful song of God's forgiveness written by Bruce Carroll

In a moment of weakness, you slipped and you fell.
Now you're feeling the emptiness, you needed someone to tell.
The enemy is condemning, trying to get the best of you,
But God his love since forgiven, and the next thing that He wants you to do, is,

Forget it, don't let it, keep on bringing you down.
Be strong, press on, on to higher ground.
Don't let the sins of yesterday, keep standing in your way.
Forget it, don't let it, keep on bringing you down.

In our moments of weakness, it's hard for us to understand,
Why we lay our burdens down, then try to pick'um up again.
For in the eyes of Jesus, the moment we first believe,
as far as the east lies from the west, our redemption is complete. So,

Forget it, don't let it, keep on bringing you down.
Be strong, press on, on to higher ground.
Don't let the sins of yesterday, keep standing in your way.
Forget it, don't let it, keep on bringing you down.

Don't ask the Lord about a sin that you confessed.
He can not remember what He's promised to forget. So,

Forget it, don't let it, keep on bringing you down.
Be strong, press on, on to higher ground.
Don't let the sins of yesterday, keep standing in your way.
Forget it, don't let it, keep on bringing you down.

So, don't keep bringing up negative things your kids, your spouse or friends have done, you have discussed, and all is forgiven.   IT IS OVER.  LET IT GO!

Blog written by Sally Burgess


I heard a question on the radio the other day. "Do we over-value our children?"  I was puzzled by the question.  How could we possibly 'over-value' our kids when they are so precious that we consider them priceless?

As I listened to the discussion I realized that what the speaker was referring to was when we tell our children they can reach whatever star they choose.  They can fulfill any dream they wish.  In reality, that cannot always be true.  We DO live in the land of opportunity and we DO each have tremendous potential to fulfill many of our wildest dreams.  I know.  I have shocked myself sometimes.  However, our individual potential does not encompass all skills and all abilities. 

Not all of us have the operatic voice of Pavaroti, the body type of medal winning swimmer Michael Phelps or the brilliance of Albert Einstein.  Some people have a natural aptitude or gift for becoming a virtuoso musician, while others have to practice very hard to achieve half the skill.  Some people seem to ace every test at school while others, like me, had to toil over our books for hours to pass exams.

So what is the point of all this?  Sometimes we lead our kids to believe they are amazingly gifted in some area when they really, and obviously, are not.  We only have to look at the talent shows on TV to see that some contestants have absolutely no idea that they just aren't anywhere near good enough in 'that field'.

Are we being fair to our kids when we lead them to believe they can 'walk on water'?  The answer clearly is, NO.  They race into the activity fully expecting to win and when they don't make it they feel embarrassed, crushed, hurt and/or angry.  Where did they get the idea that they were so great at that activity?  Maybe in the exuberance of wanting the very best for our kids we slip into unrealistic expectations of them, or maybe we try to live out our own unfulfilled dreams in a child who finds out the hard way that they simply don't excel in that particular area.  We need to protect our kids from disillusionment by preparing them well and providing reality checks.

Yes, we think our own children are the most talented little beings ever born. Yes, we want to be proud of them, but let's not get carried away with what we think they can do.  Let's encourage them to dream lofty dreams and to be the best they can be.  Let's put those dreams into action while, at the same time, exploring whether our children have an aptitude to fulfill them.

Written by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families


This week I will be running a Father/Son Fun Friday at the school where I work.  Already we will have around 130 fathers and sons.  At the last school I worked in I ran two of these a year until the fathers and boys were bugging me for more. These evenings were such fun.  It was so incredible to watch the expressions on both fathers and sons as they had a meal followed by fun activities.  Laughter and cheering were the hallmarks of these evenings.  As the fathers came in they shook my hand.  As they left I received many two-handed shakes and, "Thank you so much!"

The role of a father is so necessary.  Fathers have a role to uphold the discipline in the family, not to do it all, but to ensure that family values are instilled and that consequences are applied when expectations are not met.  Does this mean that a woman cannot do it?  Not at all, but she has so many other roles to play and fathers need to step up and take a lead.  The second role of an effective father is to affirm his children.  Most mothers already affirm their children in many different ways, but boys especially will go to 'the ends of the earth' just to hear their father say, "Attaboy!" or "I'm proud of you, son!"

‘Fatherlessness’ has caused repercussions in our society that we did not anticipate twenty years ago. While marriages have always broken down, divorce and reconstituted marriage is almost pandemic in its proportions.  Too many mothers have born the brunt of raising children alone and have generally done a great job.  However, the lack of fathers in homes has led to a generation where too many adolescents are running wild in the community, some even killing each other.  Father-modeling is just not available to many youths who so desperately need a positive example to exemplify what ‘being a man’ and ‘being a father’ is all about.

Partially, as an over-compensation for not having a father around, many mothers have overindulged their sons.  Sons are often not expected to pick up after themselves, to cook, or to do other household chores.  This is hardly fair on the woman they eventually marry who certainly doesn’t want to be the man’s mother-figure and do for him what he has expected his mother to do.  Further to this, even fathers in good marriages have not always had effective modeling from their own fathers.  We men tend to pass down to our children what we learned and have experienced, and this has not always meant effective father-modeling.

Spending regular, dedicated time with our children is one of the keys to growing emotionally-healthy children.  Children would rather have a less-successful father than one who is never around, one they barely know.  It's not worth the loss of relationship or the possibility of dysfunctional children.

Written by Sally and Brian Burgess, Forefront Families