Wednesday

Teaching Men to Respect Women #3

Teaching Men to Respect Women #3

This is the third and last in a series about teaching men to respect women. The first part dealt with women. It makes it easier for men to respect women when the women give them something to respect. A woman’s attitude, speech and behavior either attract, or repel, a respectful attitude from men.

On the other hand, men can be respectful, and should, even if a woman’s attitude, speech and behavior don’t attract respect. By respect, I mean more than just being polite, although that is included. I’m thinking also of not using someone for selfish ends, such as pleasure or gratification. Our perfect model, Jesus, never used anyone in a demeaning or hurtful way.

In part 2 I gave the first of three points on preparing sons. They were one, we as the husbands and fathers must respect our own wives. Two, young boys should be corrected, even punished for improper treatment of girls. Three, dads should never speak of women as objects or as conquests to their sons.

Four, we should help our sons see every woman as someone’s wife, mother or daughter. This will help us resist reducing her to an object for our gratification. One man was able to break his addiction to pornography in part by realizing that every woman he was looking at was some father’s precious daughter, and his heart was breaking at how she was treating herself. He raised her for better. Can’t you imagine such a father praying for a young man to value his daughter and rescue her from that lifestyle, rather than affirming her in it?

Finally, fathers need to be very familiar with the scriptures that speak of respect and honor in general and toward women in particular. “Each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust ...” (1 Thessalonians 4:4-5a). Controlling his own body and mind is what enabled Jesus to treat all women honorably, no matter what their circumstance. It is also what will help a young man resist the aggressive attention of the Proverbs 7 woman. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her ...” (Ephesians 5:25-26a). The ultimate goal of a godly man is prepare a woman, particularly his wife, for Jesus. That calls for an immense measure of love and respect. “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” (1Peter 3:7). How can a man be degrading, abusive or sexually improper toward any woman when he is meditating on verses like these? Finally, consider 1 Peter 1:16: “Be holy, because I am holy.” God in his holiness is seeking to redeem all mankind, men and women, to himself, and he invites us to join him in his project. So, we live like him, holy.

To encourage respectful treatment, it is good for a woman to act in a way that is respectful. Her language, relationships, dress, and behavior project an image that encourage a man’s honorable or denigrating treatment of her.

But, our choice on how to treat a woman is not solely determined by her behavior. It is far more determined by the character that has been produced within us. We can choose to treat everyone respectfully, and God will give us the strength to do it.

There is a selfish motivation for men to treat women respectfully, and for dads to teach their sons to do so: the boomerang effect. The positive influence we send out may protect our own daughters with the expectation for respect we place within them, and with the young men who come calling to our homes.

Warren Baldwin

Thursday

Teaching Men to Respect Women #2

Teaching Men to Respect Women #2

To receive respect a woman needs to give a man a reason to respect her. (I've had some conflicting feedback on this opening line, which is based on part 1 (click here). That is true, but only to a point. Some women may feel unworthy of respectful treatment and invite ill behavior toward themselves. This often happens when she has been deeply hurt, usually in childhood, by someone she trusted. A male family member or friend taking physical advantage of her can crush her heart and damage her spirit. This sense of violation may leave her feeling she doesn’t deserve to be treated with respect and dignity (even though she most definitely does deserve it). But, she may settle for any kind of attention she can get, even being used, preferring bad male companionship to none at all.

Even if a woman, because of her brokenness, seems to invite ill treatment (see part 1), does that mean it is ok for a man to treat her accordingly? Absolutely not. Our character and actions are not based upon what another person allows, but upon the high standards a godly spirit calls us to.


In the four sections of Proverbs that discuss adultery (chapters 2, 5, 6 and 7) the man is always held accountable for his part in the sinful behavior. Even if the woman came out of her house to meet him in the street, kiss him, and invite him home, God does not excuse the man for accepting the invitation (see Proverbs 7 for this scenario). The man must reach deep inside his heart, summon the character, and treat the woman as a daughter of God, not as a woman of the street. He needs to respect her by declining the invitation without belittling her and reinforcing the sense of brokenness she already has.

How does this kind of character develop in a man? It starts at home, largely by the character of his father. Dads can do at least five things to develop the kind of sterling character in their sons that enables them to respect women as children of God and not as objects for gratification.

One, we must respect our own wives. Nothing speaks more loudly to a son than when he sees his father speak kindly to his wife, open a door for her, ask her opinion, and treat her royally. Of course, he will also hear their disagreements and arguments. But, even these heated exchanges can be conducted respectfully, free of name calling and belittling statements. Even under pressure respect can be maintained. Observing this plants a sense of respect deeply into a young man’s fiber and encourages respect to become the norm for his own life.

Two, young boys should be corrected for improper treatment of girls. It is true that children will bully each other. It is also true that we can teach them it is wrong. I’m thinking specifically of a time I was bullying younger cousins, two of them girls, and my dad made clear how severe my punishment would be if it didn’t stop immediately. He spoke specifically of my girl cousins when he said they are not to be treated like boys. That was nearly 50 years ago, and I still remember that conversation (which was very one-sided!) very clearly.

Three, dads should never speak of women as objects or as conquests to their sons. "See that one? Think you could get her for a date? Go for it!" Such conversations are based on physical appeal and pleasure. Those inclinations are already in the minds of teen boys, and it is a dad’s job to elevate the thinking of their sons to thoughts more noble and honorable. A woman should be valued because she is a person, not because she has certain appeal. When Jesus saw a crippled woman doubled over in discomfort and disfigurement, he didn’t treat her as unattractive and thus unworthy. He called her a daughter of Abraham. He saw her value even when no one else might have, and he treated her with dignity (see Luke 16:10-17). Likewise, when Jesus encountered streetwise women, who may have been attractive, he didn’t gratify himself in anyway at their expense. Instead, he spoke forgiveness and healing into their lives. That is the kind of spirit we want to instill within our sons.

Part 3 in a few days ...

Thanks for reading.

Warren

Tuesday

Teaching Men to Respect Women #1

Teaching Men to Respect Women #1

Dr. Laura Schlessinger wrote, "Most men don't love what they don't respect. A man will have sex with a woman, but that doesn't mean he loves her. It just means she was available."

Male disrespect for women can show it self not just by casual sex, as Dr. Laura addresses, but by degrading speech, course jesting or terminology, and general unkindness. Placing indecent pictures on social media pages would also qualify here.

Sadly, some women don’t think of these behaviors or the attitudes behind them as disrespectful or degrading. They may not recognize their own worth as they should, thus the attention received is valued above the dishonor accompanying it.

Disrespect can be stopped, but women are going to have to be proactive in making it stop. She suggests five things for women to do.

One, respect yourself. This isn’t the same as self-esteem, which is concerned with feeling good about yourself. Receiving attention, even if it is negative and harmful, can make some people feel good, but that isn’t respect. Respecting yourself means you have high standards and expectations for yourself, and you expect others to honor them. If they don’t, you don’t have room for them in your life. A man who uses humor that is crude, sexually-based or belittling toward a woman is flying huge red warning flags for a perceptive woman.

Two, act feminine. I’m glad Dr. Laura added this one. As a young man I wasn’t looking for a woman who was out to prove she could do everything a man could do. I wanted a woman who was willing for (and even expected) me to open the door, help with her chair, and pick up the dinner tab. Perhaps she could do all these things as well as me. That wasn’t the point. Dr. Laura adds, "Men like to pursue and be the man in a relationship ... the feminine brings the masculine out of men." A healthy masculinity, I would add. God made us different; respect those differences.


Three, don't be a piece of meat. Crude, but true. No one respects what is too easy. A Master’s degree earned on line in three months may look good on paper, but it doesn’t carry the same weight as one that takes two years of intensive work on campus. The same is true of relationship building. True love takes time to develop, and it is built upon respect and honor. Respect can lead to sensual pleasure later (ideally in marriage), but sensual pleasure enjoyed too early may never lead to respect.

Four, be honest and have integrity. Truthfulness generates respect. So does having a set of values and morals you adhere to, no matter how much pressure there is to compromise or forget them.

Finally, number five, don't underestimate the power of your words. Ephesians 5:33 exhorts a man to love his wife and a woman to respect her husband. The dynamic of love and respect should be exercised before the marriage; in fact, they form the basis for the future healthy functioning of the relationship. Constant correction and critical comments make a man feel disrespected, and unless he has very strong character, he will respond in kind. Or leave.

Dr. Laura closes her comments with this observation: "It’s a man’s duty to respect a woman, but it’s a woman’s duty to give him something to respect." (http://www.drlaura.com/)

Much of the immense suffering endured by teenage girls and young women who realize too late "he didn’t really love or respect me" could be avoided if the girls and women first respected themselves and then demanded it from the men in their lives. These five suggestions can help with that.

Warren Baldwin

Monday

Speaking to the Kids #2 - Motivation

Speaking to the Kids #2 - Motivation

Getting your kids to do what you want them to do can be a challenging. Success has a lot to do with how you speak to them and how you follow through. Here’s some dos and don’ts based on the previous lesson: Speaking to the Kids: General Principles. I will repeat the general principles and apply them specifically to motivating kids to do what you want or need.

The first thing to avoid is yelling for motivation. Yelling seems natural if you are in a hurry to get something done and the kids are dragging their feet. Maybe the verbal jolt is just what they need to get motivated and put their pajamas on, clean their rooms, or pile in the car. It may work at  first but, remember the problems associated with yelling. One, it can be demeaning. Two, like anything that provides a jolt at first, it loses its power and effectiveness when it is overused. To get the desired results yelling will need to be amped up. Finally, yelling promotes an angry and dysfunctional environment. Even if it gets the immediate results, is it worth some of the negative long term affects?

Secondly, do not curse at them. Cursing is much more likely to bruise than motivate.

Thirdly, do not threaten them. Some of the threats parents use are: “If you don’t do what I say I’m going to skin you ... I’m going to knock you in the head ... I’m going to beat you senseless.” Are you really going to do these horrible things to your kids? Really? If your answer is, “Yes,” then you are being abusive. That isn’t healthy motivation. If your answer is, “No,” then you are lying. How can your kids respect you when they learn you are lying to them? Not only will your empty words lose their threat, they will lose their meaning, and with it, your integrity and standing.

Photo compliments of Amy Free Photography. Please check out her great site.

To motivate our kids to do something it is far better to follow the three principles already mentioned for healthy communication. First, speak to them calmly. Simply tell them what it is you want them to do. Secondly, be respectful. No cursing, name calling or threatening, but a simple expression of what we expect for them to do. Thirdly, be firm. We don’t have to say, “Mommy would like for you to take out the trash. Please, oh please, will you do it for me?” We don’t have to beg and plead. We can say calmly, respectfully and firmly, “You is your turn to take out the trash.” And, with that, we can expect them to comply.

Why might our kids buck us at this point? One, because it is human nature to assert our will. Two, as they get older, they develop minds of their own and will say to themselves, “I don’t want to clean the kitchen.” Then, they will stall, argue, and even adamantly refuse. You are now on the spot. What do you do? Is it time now to yell, curse, or threaten? No.

One thing you can do is give them a swat. That’s not the same as beating, and it can be effective very quickly, especially when they are younger.

When they are older, and they refuse to cooperate with you in household chores or getting ready on time, you can simply refuse to cooperate with them on something they want. “Son, I need you to mow the yard this afternoon.” Then, you get home to find out the job isn’t even started. Now what? When it comes time for your son’s football practice, it’s time to teach him what a lack of cooperation looks like. “Mom, its time to take me to practice.” Now it is your time to ignore him. If you respond simply say, “I’ll be glad to take you. As soon as the yard is mowed.” Expect a very unhappy young man right then, and hold your ground. If he talks disrespectfully, go on the offensive by responding with, “And for speaking disrespectfully, you are not going to practice tomorrow, either, and you are grounded.” In my home, it was also occasion for a firm spanking.

I’ve had people tell me this approach doesn’t work, but it may be because they haven’t used it consistently over time. Started early, it ingrains in a child that they better listen to the voice of mom and dad, even when that voice is calm and respectful. And, it sure contributes to a more peaceful home environment.

Adults like to be treated with dignity. Children are no different. Though young, they can tell the difference between treatment that demeans or honors. With a little extra thought and care, we can speak calmly and respectfully to our children and when the occasion warrants, even firmly. Practiced over time, we'll find this to be a better way to motivate.

Warren Baldwin

Wednesday

Speaking to Your Kids #1: General Principles

Speaking to Kids #1: General Principles

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

Speech draws people closer together or pushes them away. Our words, tone of voice and facial expressions communicate either, “I love and value you,” or “I regard you as a nuisance and wish you weren’t in my life.” Words, tone of voice and facial expression tend to be consistent. If we are in a loving disposition, then all three features convey that emotion. But, if we are full of anger or hate, all three features will consistently reveal those negative emotions, too. Not only adults, but kids, too, can read the speaker’s attitude.

Here are three suggestions for how to not speak to our kids. First, do not yell at them. There will be times when stress over-loads our emotions and we lose control. But, yelling should not comprise our regular or normal means of communication Yelling can have several detrimental affects on people, and our own kids. One, it can be demeaning. Two, it loses its power and effectiveness when it is overused. Finally, yelling promotes an angry and dysfunctional environment.

Secondly, do not curse at them. This is so obvious it should be a given. But, I’ve heard this approach used by parents on too many occasions to ignore it. Do not curse at your kids. Like yelling, it is demeaning, loses its effectiveness (if it ever had any), and it promotes dysfunction in the home. Furthermore, it is just plain sinful.

Thirdly, do not threaten them. You’ve heard the various threats parents sometimes use. “I’m going to skin you ... I’m going to knock you in the head ... I’m going to beat you senseless.” I’ve heard all these, and some even worse. Such language contributes to anger and dysfunction, and can lead to some parents actually abusing their kids in the ways they threaten. In most instances, however, the parents know they won’t do what they are threatening, and the kids know it, too. The kids lose respect for their own parents when they realize their threats are meaningless.

Picture from blog BlueBirdMama

All three of these approaches are perversions of healthy communication and are hazardous to a child’s soul (see Proverbs 15:4). They issue from a strife-filled heart and produce strife in the one to whom they are directed (Proverbs 30:33)

Instead of the demeaning and strife-producing means of speech above, consider these three alternatives. First, speak calmly to your kids. Talk in a regular voice. Secondly, be respectful. There is no need to curse or call them names. Thirdly, when the situation requires, such as when you need to speak to them but they are not listening well, be firm. Be calm, respectful and firm without resorting to the demeaning methods of yelling, cursing and threatening something vile.

We need to engage in regular conversation with our children that utilizes the approaches just mentioned, especially being calm and respectful. From our speech they will learn what is normal and appropriate. If we yell, curse and threaten, we will replicate that in their lives since they will assume that is natural. We shouldn’t be surprised then when unholy expletives are thrown back at us by our own offspring. But, if we are calm, respectful, and firm when necessary, they will assume that is natural, and that is the tone and manner of speech they are more likely to adopt for their own. Yes when they reach those teen years there could be times when they are disrespectful. That is a time not to yell, curse or threaten, but to punish, because that isn’t normal or appropriate.

We may not give it much thought, but we are actually training our kids for life by the way we speak to them when they are little babies. So, let’s provide the kind of speech that promotes health and healing (Prov. 15:4) and is blessed by God’s influence in our lives.

Warren Baldwin

You might also like to read: 7 Things You'll Be Glad You Did With Your Kids When They Are Little (and, yes, I added an 8th item :).

For Mothers of Little Boys #2

For Mothers of Little Boys #2

David removed the king’s armor that had been placed on him. “I cannot go fight the giant in these,” he said. “I am not used to them.” Casting the coat of armor and the bronze helmet aside, David walked to the stream and drew out five smooth stones. “I’m ready now,” he said. And in a few moments this young man, possibly still just a teenager, would go face his giant, Goliath.

John Eldredge says there are three aspirations in the heart of every little boy, aspirations that must find some expression or the spirit of the boy will wither and die. The first aspiration was clearly still active in the life of the young warrior, David: A Battle to Fight.

A little boy only has to watch one cowboy movie to yearn for the wild west. Something in that genre speaks directly to his soul. If his parents won’t buy him a hat, holster and toy gun, he will fashion them himself. My brothers and I held cattle drives and shoot-outs in our living room as kids. When we out grew the cap guns we used dad’s tools to fashion our own out of scraps of lumber.

My son, Wyoming 1991. Age 5

Parents have to temper the fighting spirit of a boy, because he can express it inappropriately. While we don’t want our kids to fight, there are times that we have to let them stand up to bullies and for their own safety. Often times it doesn’t even require a fight, just the will to hold our ground, and the antagonist will back off. Grateful are the little sisters who have brothers stand the ground for them against male classmates with less than noble intentions. Suppressing the natural inclination of a well-trained boy to stand up for what is right and noble against those with bad intentions may ultimately hurt not only our boys, but our girls as well.

Secondly, Eldredge says all boys have An Adventure to Live. Boys don’t sit around dreaming about an office with  matching furniture. Little boys dream of the big play, standing up to bullies, and being respected in the hallway and on the play ground. Bravado, guts and decisive action fill their thoughts even as little guys. It doesn’t change as they get older. Dreams of older boys and young men are of hunting big game and dropping a charging bear.

When the boy grows into a man, and he realizes he actually needs the office job, that doesn’t mean the inner adventurer has been put to rest. You can tell that by noting the movies a man likes to watch: The Bourne Conspiracy, Quigley Down Under, and Braveheart. Which characters do you think he identifies with?  Even though maturity and responsibility have him carrying a briefcase and laptop, there is still something in most men that finds an “oh yeah” in action flicks.

Finally, every man needs A Beauty to Rescue. Eldredge writes, “It’s not just that a man needs a battle to fight, he needs someone to fight for.” He suggests Nehemiah may have been appealing to this instinct when he exhorted the men rebuilding the walls, “Remember the Lord ... and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes” (Neh. 4:14). There are times when a man must truly stand the ground and defend his family, as in times of war or community violence. But, most of the time, fighting for your family means earning a living, warding off the innumerable intrusions that invade your space and schedule, and defending the time you have set for your wife and kids.

When I read this section in Eldredge’s book about men one word kept coming through to me: Respect. A man wants respect, even needs it. It is what fuels his sense of inner worth. And while respect may come from many sources, the source that means the most to him over time is when it comes from his wife. Maybe that is why Paul wrote Ephesians 5:33 - “... the wife must respect her husband.” A man can withstand a lot of disrespect and abuse in the workplace and world if he is looked up to and admired by that beauty he fought for many years before, his wife.

Check out For Mother's of Little Boys #1.

Warren Baldwin

Friday

For Mothers of Little Boys

For Mothers of Little Boys

You may see your little guy doing things and you wonder, "What is this creature I gave birth to? He has no fear and thus, no sense. Is he trying to kill himself, or trying to kill me, with worry?"

One of the first things we have to teach our little boys is fear, because initially they have none. They really think they can slay dragons and bad guys. They may only be five years old, but already they are ready to tackle any danger with nothing more than their indomitable spirit.

From wildlifeextra.com

As soon as we moved to Wyoming we rented a movie about a family in the 1880s moving to Wyoming. The hero of the story, David Jansen, bought some land somewhere out west. When he moved his family there, he found the same parcel of land had been sold more than once by unscrupulous land dealers back east. The people who already claimed the land called Jansen and claim jumper and proceeded to beat him up unmercifully.

Wes was five years old at the time, and was watching the fist fight scene with rapt attention. When the bad guys were beating up David Jansen, Wes’ adventurous spirit kicked in. He yelled at the guys on the screen, "Hey, what are you doing! Leave that guy alone!" Then he stuck his thumb up, pocked his pointer finger out, and curled in the last three fingers. He made his hand into a pistol. He aimed his trusty weapon at the tv screen and yelled, "Pow, pow, pow! That’s what I would do to you if I was there." Five years old, less than five days in Wyoming, and he was already taming the wild west.

And moms, that is your son. They are full of danger, excitement, and adventure. They want to reenact the dangerous scenes they see on the tv movies. They want to charge the enemy lines, out-fast draw the bad guy, and climb the tallest mountain. Or garage.

I know three little boys that got GI Joes for Christmas. What does a boy do with a doll? These boys decided to turn them into real soldiers. They cut a sheet into three 8 inch squares, tied strings to the four corners, and tied the other ends to the GI Joes. Then they climbed onto the roof of the garage and threw the GI Joes off and watched them float to the ground. Ok, they didn’t really float, they plummeted, but we tried, my brothers and I, we tried to make something alive, vital and exciting about those lifeless pieces of plastic an aunt had given us. And when we grew weary of throwing the GI Joes off the roof, we jumped off ourselves. Our dad had something to say about that, in rather strong and convincing terms.

The Bible has a story of a teenage boy telling King Saul, "I’m not afraid of the giant Goliath. Let me go fight him."

King Saul says, "You can’t go fight that Giant. You are only a boy."

That boy, David, says, "Well, I’ve already killed a lion and a bear in hand-to-hand combat. How bad can a giant be? Besides, ‘The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." David then planted a stone in the forehead of the Goliath. (1 Samuel 17).

We don’t know what to do with adventurous boys today. We want to tame them, even shame them, into something soft and gentle. But, we lose something incredibly valuable when we do that. Yes, we definitely need to protect them from danger they don’t understand, and teach them to temper their impulses. But, if Jessie had robbed his son of his masculine nature, we wouldn’t have the story of David and Goliath in our Bibles today.

I’ll address this in a future article when I discuss the three aspirations of little boys.

Meanwhile, what adventurous spirit does your little boy show?

Warren Baldwin