Wednesday, August 29, 2012

FIRST Wild Card Tour: 31 Days to a Happy Husband by Arlene Pellicane

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!



Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2012)

***Special thanks to Ginger Chen of Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Arlene Pellicane is an author, speaker, and formerly served as the associate producer for Turning Point Television with Dr. David Jeremiah. Her audiobook and website Losing Weight After Baby has helped many moms achieve their physical and personal goals. Arlene and her family make their home in southern California.



Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

What does a man need most from his wife? Arlene Pellicane has identified five keys that will give wives a new appreciation and understanding of how to love and care for their mates along with practical instruction to motivate and equip wives to provide their husbands what they long for.



Product Details:
List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736946322
ISBN-13: 9780736946322


MY REVIEW:
Want to spice up your marriage and make your husband happy at the same time? This book offers readers 31-day guide on how to meet your husband's important needs: Domestic tranquility, Respect, Eros, Attraction, and Mutual activities. Lots of insightful & practical ideas! Relationship is never static; either you and your husband are growing closer together or growing apart. You can help your marital relationship by paying more attention to your husband's positive points and building him up/encouraging him. Arlene Pellicane aims to help you with that job (Notice Today and Nurture Today). The book includes a discussion guide which can be used for a small group study. This is an enjoyable and helpful read for wives!

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Are You Still Dreaming?
The year was 1999 and my big moment had finally arrived. I stood holding my father’s arm, ready to make my grand entrance into the church. James and I had decided to have one of his favorite seminary professors marry us. Ours was only his second wedding to officiate, but we didn’t care about his inexperience.
Just as I approached the door leading into the sanctuary, I was shocked to hear the sound of our professor’s voice, “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to bring James and Arlene together in holy matrimony.” The only problem was, I was still standing in the hall with all the bridesmaids. Our professor mistook a break in the music as his cue to begin the ceremony.
I couldn’t believe my eyes or ears. Our dear professor got all the way through his introduction before realizing his error. When he got to that famous line, “Who gives this woman to be married to this man?” there was complete silence. Our friends and family didn’t know whether to laugh or be mortified.
At this, my aunt started playing the piano, and I was thrust through the door of the church to join my ceremony in progress. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I’d miss the beginning of my own wedding, but it sure has given us many laughs over the years.
Do you remember the day you said “I do”? I hope the ceremony didn’t start without you. Remember walking down the aisle, feeling like the happiest woman in the world? Your heart was full of dreams for the future. Are you still dreaming today?
Keep Honeymooning
So many couples told us after we tied the knot, “Just wait until you’ve been married a few years. You won’t be so lovey-dovey anymore.” But there was one lone voice who gave us the opposite advice. “Never let the honeymoon end,” he said. “It’s much easier to keep love alive than to try to revive something that has died.” We vowed to follow his advice.
Fast-forward the tape twelve years to our aha moment. James and I were teaching a young-marrieds class at our church. On the first day of class, we noticed there was not a centimeter of space in between these newlywed couples. Wives were superglued to their husbands’ sides. Eyes were locked, hands were held, hair was twirled. I looked over at my James who was sitting about a foot away from me. We, the sage teachers, needed a refresher course on touch, affection, and romance.
Most likely you know what I’m talking about. The heat of passion turns into the warmth of companionship. But that warmth, if we don’t take time to stoke the embers, can slowly turn into a cool disengagement between husband and wife. And before you know it, you’re two roommates sharing a home, a bank account, and children.
I don’t want that dull fate and neither do you. Three kids later and in our forties, James and I are learning to flirt again. The good news is you can relearn how to do all the things you used to do when you were dating. Except that instead of being lovers on cruise control, you might have to step on the gas pedal once in a while for the ride of your life.
Time to Dream Again
I remember driving down the freeway and seeing a pickup truck with these bold words printed on the back window: “Happy to be here, proud to serve.” I’d like you to imagine those words hanging in a frequented place in your home. When you can say about your home, “Happy to be here and proud to serve,” your husband will want to hurry home every day because it’s the place he feels most valued and loved.
This book will help you create that kind of place for your man. It’s divided into thirty-one daily readings grouped into five simple sections that will help you demonstrate to your husband the love that hooked him in the first place. The titles for each section form the acrostic DREAM. After all, the marriage of your dreams doesn’t have to be a fairy tale that will never come true. You can experience the kind of marriage most people dream about by following these five guidelines:
D = Domestic Tranquillity—Your husband needs a
peaceful haven (Days 1-5).
R = Respect—Your husband needs to be honored in
his own home (Days 6-11).
E = Eros—Your husband needs a fulfilling sex life
(Days 12-19).
A = Attraction—Your husband needs to be attracted
to you (Days 20-26).
M = Mutual Activities—Your husband needs to have
fun with you (Days 27-31).
Ask any husband if he would be happy having these five things in greater measure, and I can assure you his answer will be a resounding yes! And you just might find yourself enjoying these things too.
Notice Him, Nurture Him
It doesn’t take much time or effort to see that our culture is pessimistic about marriage. A happy marriage seems more like a fairy tale that Pollyanna dreamed up fifty years ago. Today’s wives are complaining left and right about their husbands’ many shortcomings. In fact, many women would never pick up a book like this. Why should a wife make her husband happy when he’s not making her happy? I like what host Bob Lepine of Family Life Today says, “Our role is not to figure out how to fix our spouse. Our role is: How do we reflect Christ in the marriage?”  1
And check out this insight from one husband:
When a woman is engaged to be married, she pours all her nurture into her man. She holds him, kisses him, and talks sweetly to him. They have fun together, do interesting things together, and enjoy the physical affection of first love. Then after they marry and have kids, all that nurture that went originally to the husband is suddenly transferred to the children. The kids benefit from all the maternal instincts and become the primary focus of all her tender nurture. The husband is just as needy for that nurture, but he is too proud to admit it.
When you look at your husband, you’re probably thinking he looks pretty self-sufficient. The other people in your life vying for your attention are truly needy (your children, grandchildren, aging parent, depressed friend). Look again. Your husband craves your affection and care but doesn’t want to ask for it. He bites the bullet because he’s supposed to be the strong one. Yet he desperately wants tender loving care just as you do.
How to Get the Most Out of This Book
The thirty-one happy husbands I interviewed for this book will serve as your insider guides for the next thirty-one days. Here are a few suggestions for how best to glean their insights as you read through this book:
Commit to reading a chapter every day for one month. Choose a month to soak your husband in tender loving care. Maybe choose his birthday month or your anniversary month to make it extra special and more memorable. But don’t worry—if you want to start today and his birthday isn’t for months, I’m sure he won’t mind! If you fall behind one or two days, don’t give up on the “Happy Husband” month. The chapters are short so you can easily catch up and get back on track.
Read it in five chunks. Maybe you want to tackle more than one day’s reading at a time. Once you’re settled in your comfortable chair to read, you want to keep going. Then I suggest you divide your reading into sections. Begin with Days 1-5, which cover Domestic Tranquillity. This way you can concentrate your focus on one key DREAM factor at a time. After you’ve completed the action steps suggested, you can move on to the letter R for Respect (Days 6-11), and so on.
Read the affirmation for happy wives aloud once a day. You’ll find this daily affirmation on page 179. Put your affirmation on your bathroom mirror and read it out loud every morning. Expect to feel uncomfortable doing this at first. But after a few days, not only will you believe the words you are saying, you will be living them out. It’s tempting to skip this step, so when you’re done reading today, turn to page 179. Photocopy, scan, or type out the page and put it on your bathroom mirror tonight.
Start a “Wives of Happy Husbands Discussion Group.” Read the book together with a group of friends who also want to add some sizzle to their marriages. Use the discussion guide on pages 185-192. Plan to meet weekly for five weeks to discuss what you’re learning. I promise these will be lively coffee dates or meals together!
Do the action steps. If you just read the book without trying any of the action steps, your husband probably won’t be able to tell you’re reading a book about how to love him better. At the end of each day’s reading, you’ll find these two recurring themes:
· Notice Today —You’ll be invited to take a close look at your husband. It will take only a few moments, but it will make a big difference. When you notice something positive about your husband instead of taking him for granted or rehearsing his faults, you’ll experience a change of heart and greater warmth for your man.
· Nurture Today —You’ll get to put your attitude into action through the daily steps to nurture him. Remember, if you don’t do anything differently this month toward your spouse, your thirty-one-day journey to marital bliss isn’t much more than wishful thinking.
Every day of your life, you’re either building your husband up or tearing him down. Proverbs 14:1 says, “The wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” In the next thirty-one days, you’re going to launch a full-force, no-holding-back, life-changing building program for your marriage. Let other things slide while you make your husband the number one priority for the next thirty-one days. Your only agenda is to overwhelm him with attention and affir­mation.
Roll up your sleeves. It’s time to build and dream again.
Marriage Quiz
Do You Have a Happy Husband?
Before you begin reading Day 1, take this self-assessment to discover what areas in your marriage need the most attention. Be honest in your answers. You’re not trying to impress anyone here. Your goal is to gain valuable insight about your husband’s current level of happiness in your marriage.
The environment of my home is warm and peaceful on most days.
Yes No
I drop other things (even with my kids) to make time for my husband if he needs anything.
Yes No
I never say unkind things about my husband to others.
Yes No
If there’s a decision to be made, my husband has the final say.
Yes No
I enjoy having sex and look forward to making love to my husband.
Yes No
My husband and I talk regularly about ways to improve our sex life.
Yes No
I make an effort to look attractive with my clothes, hair, and makeup even on days when I see only my husband.
Yes No
I am a healthy body weight and exercise at least three times a week.
Yes No
My husband and I go on a date at least once a month.
Yes No
We still enjoy romance, kissing once a day for at least five seconds.
Yes No
Total the number of yes answers:
1-4: Your relationship is on shaky ground. There are some critical areas of unmet needs that you must identify both for yourself and your husband. Reading this book is perfect timing.
5-7: You have some good habits and attitudes to build on. As you make a few key changes this month, you and your husband will be laughing, flirting, and enjoying each other’s company more.
8-10: You have a happy husband. By the time you finish reading this book, he will be ecstatic. You’ll be moving from good to great (or great to unbelievable). Be on the lookout for other women to encourage and mentor


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mother of Pearl: Luminous Lessons and Iridescent Faith

  
About the Book: 
Like oysters, women often encounter unexpected grit during their everyday lives. In response, God’s love and grace covers this grit and transforms the pain into a precious pearl that leaves a layered, luminous lining within a shell: Mother of Pearl. This brilliant luster is strong, lasting, and purposeful—just like the love, lessons, and legacies left by the special women in our lives.

Mother of Pearl celebrates the collective iridescence of motherhood. Margaret McSweeney presents a collection of heartfelt vignettes from authors who communicate the importance of the unique relationships between mothers and their children, between granddaughters and grandmothers and between children and the mother-figures in their lives.

These stories tell of the power of faith, prayer, and values, exploring coming of age, the joy of becoming a mother, the importance of motherhood, the ways to heal from a bad relationship with a mother and weathering the death of a special loved one. Poignant and thought-provoking, the stories serve to inspire, encourage, instill hope, and strengthen faith.

The proceeds from the sale of Mother of Pearl will be donated to organizations helping struggling women and children. The charities include Wings (Women in Need Growing Stronger) to help fund the Safe House in the Chicago suburbs and to Hands of Hope to help build wells for schoolchildren in Zambia.

 
Meet Margaret: 
Margaret McSweeney is a well-published author often writing online articles for Make It Better (the former North Shore Magazine) and freelance articles for the Daily Herald, the largest suburban Chicago newspaper. In addition, she has authored and compiled several books including A Mother’s Heart Knows; Go Back and Be Happy; Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace, Mother of Pearl and Aftermath.

With a master’s degree from the University of South Carolina in international business, Margaret became a vice-president in the corporate finance division of a New York City bank and worked there 1986–93.

As founder of Pearl Girls, Margaret collaborates with other writers on projects to help fund a safe house for WINGS, an organization that helps women and their children who are victims of domestic violence, and to build wells for schoolchildren in Uganda through Hands of Hope. For the past 10 years she has served on the board of directors and leadership advisory board for WINGS. Margaret lives with her husband and 2 daughters in the Chicago suburbs. www.pearlgirls.info

MY REVIEW:
This book is a wonderful collection of motherhood stories. The delicate relationship between mothers and daughters...between grandmothers and granddaughters are shared by 57 different women, including several well-known authors such as Robin Jones Gunn, Debora M. Coty, Suzanne Woods Fisher, and Tricia Goyer. I enjoyed reading the book. Each story is only about 2-3 pages long. I was pleasantly surprised to see that there's such a variety of takes on this one theme (mother of pearl). Faith and family are the main focus. Each story is interesting and inspiring. One of them even made me cry. In "Mother Knows Best", Karen O'Connor describes the cremation of her mother. It triggered my grief about my dad's death because I just had a similar experience in June of this year. Check out this heart-warming, uplifting book and support a great cause at the same time :)!

FACEBOOK PARTY:
To celebrate the release of Mother of Pearl: Luminous Lessons and Iridescent Faith, Margaret McSweeney is hosting an evening of chat, laughter, and encouragement on Facebook!

She has invited the Pearl Girl contributors to join us on the evening of September 4th. She'd be so honored if you'd come too!

We'll be giving away a ton of fun stuff {books, gift certificates and a Beautiful Pearl Necklace set}.

Mother of Pearl celebrates the collective iridescence of motherhood. We'll gather to connect, be encouraged and make some new friends!

So RSVP today and then come back on September 4th (at 5pm Pacific, 6pm Mountain, 7pm Central, and 8pm Eastern) and join us for the "Pearl" party. Let's share our stories and encourage one another.

We'll also have an update from the charities involved with Pearl Girls, Wings and Hands of Hope.

(See what others are saying about Mother of Pearl.)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The American Bible Challenge and Giveaway!

My kids and I are excited about the new game show called "The American Bible Challenge"(premieres August 23 at 8/7c on Game Show Network). You can watch the "Making of 'The American Bible Challenge'" at http://vimeo.com/47560728. I'm glad to see that the host, Jeff Foxworthy, is a Bible-believing Christian. I enjoy his sense of humor and appreciate his reverence for God's Word. I especially like the concept of winning money for the charity of your choice. How wonderful it is to see people get excited about the Bible and about giving to a worthy cause at the same time! The show also includes a fantastic choir. We can't wait to see the premier tomorrow. I hope you will check out this fun, wholesome, entertaining, inspiring game show with your family. Please read on to find out how you can win a t-shirt and a Bible.

Twitter: #TheAmericanBibleChallenge and @GSN_Bible

About The American Bible Challenge

Comedian and author, Jeff Foxworthy hosts this studio-based game in which contestants compete based on their knowledge of the Bible.  Utilizing current as well as historical references, questions will be drawn from the rich, dense narrative found in the world's best-selling book.  The contestants will share their compelling back-stories and each team will be playing for a charitable organization. The American Bible Challenge is produced by RelativityREAL for GSN, with RelativityREAL’s Tom Forman (“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”) and Embassy Row’s Michael Davies ("The Newlywed Game," "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire") serving as Executive Producers on the project.  Nick Stuart and Maura Dunbar of Odyssey Networks are Consulting Producers.

About Host: Jeff Foxworthy
Comedian Jeff Foxworthy is the largest selling comedy-recording artist in history, a multiple Grammy® Award nominee and the best-selling author of 11 books. Widely known for his redneck jokes, his act goes beyond that to explore the humor in everyday family interactions and human nature. 

About Zondervan's NIV Quest Study Bible ($39.99 retail value)
With over one million copies sold, the NIV Quest Study Bible is designed for inquisitive readers who desire solid answers to their many questions. With thousands of notes and hundreds of articles by today’s most trusted scholars, this unique Bible addresses the common, uncommon, and perplexing questions people ask about Scripture. Passages that puzzle will snap into clarity as you explore God’s Word and use the many study helps. Features include: * Over 7,000 sidebar notes that clarify the Bible’s most puzzling passages * Nearly 350 articles by top scholars that address today’s most popular and provocative questions * Book introductions that identify themes, characters, and events in each Bible book * Article index and expanded subject index to help you quickly find the answers you’re looking for * Single-column Scripture text format * Color-keyed verse numbers that supply instant reference to articles and sidebar notes * Over 150 two-color in-text charts, time lines, and maps providing background information to help you understand different passages * Concordance, dictionary, 16-page full-color map section, and reading plans to assist your studies of the Bible.

GIVEAWAY: One of my readers will win a The American Bible Challenge t-shirt and a Zondervan NIV Quest Study Bible. Deadline: 8/31/2012 at midnight (Pacific time)

To Enter: Leave a comment here with your email address. What's your favorite Bible verse or favorite Bible account?
For Extra Entries (please leave a separate comment for each one that you do):
- Follow @GSN_Bible on Twitter
- "Like" https://www.facebook.com/theamericanbiblechallenge
- Follow this blog via GFC or NetworkedBlogs
- "Like" my page "Christ Alone" on Facebook
- Follow me on Twitter: @treasuredbyGod
- Share the link to this giveaway post on Facebook
- Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter

~I received the link to watch the "Making of 'The American Bible Challenge'". The opinions are my own. I do not receive either the t-shirt or the Bible.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Book Review and Contest: Live To Give by Austin Gutwein

About the Book:
Want to do something for God but don’t know what? Want to help others but don’t know who? Want to know what it is you’re really good at doing? Your gifts may feel small and insignificant. But God can use them to work a miracle!

Inspired by the biblical story of the feeding of the 5,000, "Live to Give" delivers a message of hope that we all have something to give. Written in the down-to-earth, candid voice of the gifted young man who as a kid founded a relief ministry that has saved and improved countless lives in Africa, "Live to Give" is the message that every teen needs to hear: You are more special than you know, and you can do big things.

Jesus proved that no gift is too small when He used five loaves and two fish to feed a crowd of thousands. And if no gift is too small, too ordinary, or too random, there is no limit to what the youth of today can accomplish!

A teenage philanthropist who has built a high school, two medical clinics, and a dormitory in Africa—all before the age of 16—Austin Gutwein shares how to take what may seem like the simplest of talents, gifts, and interests and use them for something Jesus can use to move mountains.

Meet Austin: 
As founder of Hoops of Hope, Austin started what is now known as the world's largest Free-Throw marathon. Austin's Hoops of Hope has raised more than $2.5M to help orphan children in Africa. Austin also serves as Co-Chair of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's Youth Council. As a highly sought after speaker, Austin has spoken and shared his heart in venues around the world. In 2009, Austin was selected into the Caring Hall of Fame as one of the top 10 most caring Americans.

Austin's first book, "Take Your Best Shot" shared stories that captured readers hearts and won a Moonbeam Award. For information on booking Austin or general inquiries, please visit austingutwein.com.


MY REVIEW:
God doesn't need our help but He still wants to use us. Isn't that amazing? We get to join in His kingdom work and get to witness His awesome power! God made each one of us unique on purpose for a purpose. What will you do with the gifts (not just talents, but also time and treasures) God has given you? Will you hoard them all for yourself or will you give them to help others in need...to make an eternal impact in people's lives? In Live To Give, the author helps teens to discover their gifts and encourages them to use their gifts for God and His kingdom. He also gives practical advice on how to prepare for challenges and how to deal with fear, envy, bullies, and doubt.

Each chapter ends with 5 thought-provoking questions that make readers think and hopefully spring into action such as "If you could do anything for God, regardless of how hard it is or what it would take, what would that be?" Live To Give is a wonderful book for preteens and teens (even adults :)) who want to make a difference in this world! "When you help change someone else's life, it changes yours!....Let's do more than just walk the earth every day. It is time to bless. It is time to give. It is time to be extraordinary--no matter how old or young we may be....To truly live...we give." (p.175, p.192)

"One thing I can tell you for sure is that we don't know all the answers for why God sometimes chooses not to intervene directly. But the thing we can know is that when we live to give, we get to partner with a God whose love has no end, and we get to play a part in His incredible plan--a plan that will last for eternity." (p.4)

"But there is one common theme throughout all of our stories: we all need to live to give because we were made for it. Nothing beats living this way! Nothing we could eat, drink, buy, play, watch, or win in life can compare to the feeling of giving ourselves away, using 'whatever gift we have received to serve others as faithful stewards of God's grace.'" (p.11)

"Jesus lived to give. He lived His life to give it for us. That's one way we can truly be like Christ! Our lives can have the same focus and the same point: giving." (p.186)


Austin's new book Live to Give is about "Letting God Turn Your Talents into Miracles"! Celebrate with him by entering his "Get and Give" Campaign - you could win a Kindle Fire for yourself AND Litfuse will donate $250 to the charity of your choice!

See what people are saying about Live to Give.


One winner will receive:
  • A Brand New Kindle Fire with Wi-Fi
  • Five copies of Live to Give by Austin Gutwein
  • $250 donated on the winner’s behalf to the charity of their choice
Hurry, the giveaway ends on 8/25/12. The winner will be announced on 8/27/12 on the Live to Give Landing Page!

Just click one of the icons below to enter. Tell your friends about Austin's giveaway on FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter
~I received a complimentary of this book from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review. The opinions are my own. You can find more reviews on this book here.

Monday, August 13, 2012

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Handbook of Family Advice by Dr. James Dobson

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!



Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

Harvest House (August 1, 2012)

***Special thanks to Ginger Chen of Harvest House for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

James C. Dobson, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist and counselor and host of the daily radio program Family Talk with Dr. James Dobson, is author of more than 30 books including the recentNew York Times bestseller Bringing Up Girls. He is founder and chairman emeritus of Focus on the Family. Dr. Dobson is married to Shirley and is the father of two grown children, Danae and Ryan, and the grandfather of Lincoln.


Visit the author's website.


SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Respected counselor and internationally recognized radio host Dr. James Dobson offers families godly wisdom, encouraging stories, and practical insights. With expertise and compassion, Dr. Dobson provides his sought-after advice on vital topics including: marriage, love, discipline, boundaries for kids of all ages, money, and God’s truths for decision-making.






Paperback: 288 pages
List Price: $14.99
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers; Reprint edition (August 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736943730
ISBN-13: 978-0736943734

MY REVIEW:
I have always loved and respected Dr. James Dobson's writing. Several of his books on parenting occupy my bookshelf. I'm thankful for his valuable insights. I really enjoyed reading Handbook of Family Advice. Each one-page commentary is concise and easy to read. These commentaries cover various topics from conflict and communication to homeschooling and single parenting. I appreciate Dr. James Dobson's wisdom based on the Scriptures and practical advice based on his research and experience. Want help in improving relationships in your family? Check this book out!

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:




Boundaries


The Security of Boundaries


Children feel more secure, and therefore tend to flourish, when they know where the boundaries are. Let me illustrate that principle.


Imagine you’re driving a car over the Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado, which is suspended hundreds of feet above the canyon floor. As a first-time traveler, you’re pretty tense as you drive across. It is a scary experience. I knew one little fellow who was so awed by the view over the side of the bridge that he said, “Wow, Daddy! If you fell off of here, it’d kill you constantly!”


Now suppose there were no guardrails on the side of the bridge. Where would you steer the car? Right down the middle of the road. Even though you don’t plan to hit those protective railings along the side, you just feel more secure knowing that they’re there.


It’s the same way with children. There is security in defined limits. They need to know precisely what the rules are and who’s available to enforce them. When these clear boundaries exist at home, the child lives in utter safety. He never gets in trouble unless he deliberately asks for it. And as long as he stays within those reasonable, well-marked guardrails, there’s mirth and freedom and acceptance.


Your children need the security of defined limits, too. They may not admit that they want you to be the boss, but they breathe easier when you are.


Mom’s Football Team


In the late 1960s, the phrase “If it feels good, do it” made its way around the counterculture. It meant, in effect, that a person’s flighty impulses should be allowed to overrule every other consideration. “Don’t think—just follow your heart” was the prevailing attitude. That foolish advice has ruined many gullible people. Those who ignore lurking dangers are casting themselves adrift in the path of life’s storms. We must be prepared to disregard ephemeral feelings at times and govern our behavior with common sense.


Not only can emotions be dangerous—they can also be unreliable and foolish. I’m reminded of a story told by my mother about her high school years. They had one of the worst football teams in the history of Oklahoma. They hadn’t won a game in years. Finally a wealthy oil producer asked to speak to the team in the locker room and offered a brand-new Ford to every boy and to each coach if they would simply defeat their bitter rivals in the next game. The team went crazy. For seven days they thought about nothing but football. They couldn’t even sleep at night. Finally the big night arrived, and the team was frantic with anticipation. They assembled on the sidelines, put their hands together, and shouted, “Rah!” Then they ran onto the field—and were smashed thirty-eight to nothing. No amount of excitement could compensate for the players’ lack of discipline, conditioning, practice, study, coaching, drill, experience, and character. Such is the nature of emotion. It has a definite place in human affairs but is not a substitute for intelligence, preparation, and self-control.


Instead of responding to your impulses, therefore, it is often better to hang tough when you feel like quitting, to guard your tongue when you feel like talking, to save your money when you feel like spending, and to remain faithful when you feel like flirting. Unbridled feelings will get you in trouble nine times out of ten.


So, before you chase after something that simply feels good, you might want to think it over. You could be about to make one of your greatest blunders.


Children and Materialism


It’s not easy to say no to children, especially in an affluent and permissive society. Toy companies are spending millions of dollars on advertising aimed at children—not their parents. They know boys and girls are the very best customers. But by giving in to this pressure, parents may actually deprive their children of pleasure. Here’s why.


Pleasure occurs when an intense need is met. A glass of water is worth more than gold to a person who’s dying of thirst, but it’s worthless to the person who doesn’t need it. That principle applies directly to children. If you never allow a boy or girl to desire something, he or she will not fully enjoy the pleasure of receiving it. If you give him a tricycle before he can walk, and a bike before he can ride, and a car before he can drive, and a diamond ring before he knows the value of money, you may actually have deprived him of the satisfaction he could have received from that possession.


How unfortunate is the child who never has the opportunity to long for something, to dream about that prize by day, and to plot for it by night, perhaps even to get desperate enough to work for it.


Excessive materialism is not only harmful to children—but it deprives them of pleasure, too.


Children and Television


There’s been considerable debate in recent years about television rating systems. That kind of information is desperately needed by parents who want to protect their kids from harmful content, and I’m among those who believe that the present system just doesn’t get the job done.


But even if changes are implemented, there’s a new wrinkle to be considered. Social research conducted by Yankelovich Partners, Inc., has analyzed the television-viewing habits of Americans. What they discovered is surprising. Forty-two percent of children between nine and seventeen have their own cable or satellite television hookups in their bedrooms.  1 The image of families gathered around a single TV set in the family room is fading. Instead, many kids are off by themselves where they can choose anything that they want to see.


Ann Clurman, a partner at Yankelovich, said, “Almost everything children are seeing is essentially going into their minds in some sort of uncensored or unfiltered way.”  2 Considering the explicit sex, violence, nudity, and profanity available now, especially on cable and satellite television, this is a disturbing revelation.


Children need to be protected from adult programming, and yet almost four out of every ten kids have parents who don’t really know what they’re watching. I fear that situation will come back to haunt us for years to come.