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Whether it's a friend, a spouse, and even our children — a relationship is something we have to "build."

It takes time and it takes work, but no matter what situation you find yourself in, it's not too late to start now.

Today we're going to talk about three areas of building and enhancing a relationship. These topics work with not only our children, but with our our spouse as well.  

Commuinicating and Listening
1) Communicate and Listen - Be slow to speak and quick to hear (James1:19)

Parents are all the time saying to me, "I've tried to talk to my kid about that, but they won't even listen."

Let me tell you, Mom and Dad, you will never be able to have a deep conversation with your child if you don't have some silly  conversations first. If you aren't willing to listen to all the seemingly silly things that kids can say at times, you won't be able to talk to them about all the important things later.

It's called communicating.

As parents, we have to learn to be good listeners. There were times when my young children would start talking and you know how it is when you're busy with bills and work, you feel like saying "I'm too busy to listen right now. I have important things I've got to do, so sit down and be still."

However, if we will listen to our children, "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks." (Matt. 12:34) They will tell you what they're thinking about and what's in their heart if we listen long enough.

You'll find out what interests them, what their concerns are, what their God-given gifts are. It's an investment in the future when you listen and ask questions.

Getting Involved
2) Be willing to get involved with your child.

If I am not involved with my childen, I have no idea what's going on in their lives. My conversations with them would be very shallow; it's important to get past the question, " How did school go?" You've got to go deeper then the response "pretty good."

If your children are playing a sport or are involved in a club, be interested enough to learn about it even if it's not your area of expertise. Don't just dump them and run. Be invested and be educated about what they're doing.

Despite numerous mistakes, the best thing my wife and I have ever done was just to be there for our children; if not physically, they knew we were there mentally.

When I talk to my kids, I'm a normal parent, but because I have a relationship with them, I can get specific.  I can confront and help and they're open to it because we have a relationship. As the Scripture says, I am like iron sharpening iron. By being specific I am helping them and they know it. I'm not just flapping my gums and blowing air, I'm talking specifically to them and their situation.

When we as parents get involved, we can talk to our kids about serious things because they know we love them.

There will be tough times, when our children go through things, but because we've been involved, when the time comes we can know what to say because we know them.

It's not always easy and not always convenient, but it's time well spent in the long run.

Time To Reflect
3) Help your kids to reflect on things.

This is how to make your children feel better about themselves. It says in Proverbs, "As in water, face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects man." (See Prov. 27:19)

Take some time to sit down and talk with your children. It might only be for five or ten minutes, but it will be well worth it.

Sometimes, as a parent, I'm there to remind my children about things God has done for us as a family and for them. That's what God did with Israel. After doing something big, He would say, " Pile up some rocks right here; I want you to remember what I did for you."

This helps build their faith to see the testimony of their parents and their family unit — to see that God has been faithful and that He will continue to be.

Sometimes when things got tough and one of my kids was going through a trial, I would make them sit down and think for a minute. I said, "Look, we've been through things before, and other people have been through them too. Now let's sit down and think about this. It's just not that big of a deal, so don't let it get you down. God has brought you out before and he can do it again."

When it looks to my children like everything is upside-down and backwards, it's time for me to cheer them on.  That's my job.

When you put these into action, you've laid the groundwork for a strong relationship with your children and it will pay off.

Don't be concerned if you're starting with older children — God can reedem the time. Start where you are and don't let the emeny tell you it's impossible or too late or hopeless. We can do all things through Christ Jesus!

Copyright © Joe McGee Ministries
All rights reserved.

Author Biography

Joe McGee
Web site: Joe McGee Ministries
Joe McGee, author, national conference speaker, father, and former school administrator, is the founder and director of Joe McGee Ministries, Inc. and Faith For Families Ministries.

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The online ministry of cfaith has been helping people discover faith, friends and freedom in the Word since 2000. Cfaith provides a unique and comprehensive collection of faith-building resources for the worldwide faith community.

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