"Mental Health Day"

So I’m a few weeks behind, but apparently, the World Mental Health Day was to be observed on October 10. I know of some schoolteachers who have what they call a “mental health day” which they can use in their planning. I’m wondering why all of us haven’t incorporated this into our lives. As my wife and I keep close tabs on the speed of our family’s lifestyle, we both sensed that the pace was becoming overwhelming. We work hard at squeezing every ounce out of the days that God gives us! But in the drive to live life to the fullest, we both sensed that an overload was coming soon. While many times our natural response to these types of anticipations lead to planning more activities that leave us stressed, exhausted, and frayed (like adding vacations or weekend getaways), we didn’t want to sacrifice the joy of worshipping God together with our church family nor did we feel like spending a lot of money. Consequently, we took a “mental health day.”

Do we really need to be reminded that school, extracurricular activities, or even work do not rule our lives? God rules our lives. He wants us to work hard, play hard, and rest well. Taking a day of rest, however, has become more about resting from God instead of worshipping God. So, in our family, the value of weekly worship is not up for debate. We won’t sacrifice this responsibility and privilege at the altar of self-serving priorities. As we planned our special family day, “mental health” was not our only determining factor. Emotional, spiritual, and physical health also came into play (and play, we did!). The entire day was spent together as a family: away from work, away from school, and away from media. The success of this day (which we had to calendar and fight to protect) will inevitably be seen more in the days to come. But at least, and I am convinced of this, the day will forever be remembered as a highlight for our family for years to come. Memories were made that will last us our lifetimes. As I look back on the success of the Stone family “mental health day” let me share with you a helpful list of parenting tips we rediscovered from notes we gleaned from Charles Stanley on Parenting:

  1. Give them quality time. Time spent is time invested! They need time with you! Parents are the most important people in children’s lives.
  2. Listen to them carefully so that they will listen to you! Stop whatever you are doing and listen. No education is needed to give your kids time or to stop and listen! TV off, phone down, undivided attention!
  3. Admit when you are wrong as a parent. It’s a lie from the Devil that they won’t respect you. It actually builds you up in their minds. It builds relationships and then they will come to you when they are wrong. When you don’t admit you are wrong, it places barriers between you and your kids
  4. Love them unconditionally. Love never fails! Grades are secondary compared to the love a parent. Your loving attitude can motivate your kids.
  5. Discipline your Children out of the motivation to protect them, not out of anger or punishment. We have to train them.
  6. They are motivated by your desire for them to be all that they can be. Say – do your best, look your best, be your best! There are ways to correct without demeaning someone!
  7. Lead them to fully understand that their ultimate accountability is to God. We won’t always be with them! This makes a difference! Tell them to talk to God about it! You ask God and whatever y’all agree to will be fine with me.
  8. The most important thing in your life is your personal and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ! If we don’t have it, we can’t give it to them.
  9. Have them daily spend time in the Word of God and praying! God is the one who guides your life. He has all of the answers! You can’t lead a Godly life with a closed Bible.
  10. Etch in their minds that God has a plan for their life! God is interested, has your future in mind! They will start asking what that plan is! They will seek God!
  11. Obey God and leave all of the consequences to Him! Recognize the sovereignty of God, His personal interest in them, and trust in Him!!

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