The Four Building Blocks to Every Family (Part 1)
by Drenda Keesee
The foundation and structure you set for your children is like a table. It should be built on four legs to create a good foundation, and those four pillars hold up the family. Those four pillars are discipline, love, faith, and example. When you have a balance of all four pillars in your family, your family can stand strong even when obstacles and pressure come against you.
Continuing with this metaphor (I’m a woman, so of course I can speak fluent furniture metaphors), the centerpiece of your table should be God. That is what your table should be built around. That happens because your family obeys God. Your foundation should be focused on God. Everything you do and every decision you make should be centered on God. You have to decorate your table in accordance with your centerpiece—otherwise, you get tempted to…
…throw out that centerpiece and get a new one that matches the rest of your decor.
That is what people do with God. They set Him as their centerpiece, but then they like something that doesn’t match up with His Word, and they start adding things to their table that don’t line up. Eventually, they have to repent and clean the table, or else they throw out the centerpiece altogether.
The first pillar that your family should be built on is discipline. It is so important that I will expand on it later. For now, let me just assure you how important discipline is. In fact, the Bible says that you hate your children if you don’t discipline them (Proverbs 13:24). The Bible is black and white on this subject. Nothing says it stronger than Proverbs 19:18: “Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death.”
Wow! Do you want to be a willing party to the death of your children? When you look at discipline in this light, and you keep the vision before you, it makes it easier to make the hard choices while parenting. The next time you don’t feel like disciplining your child, remember that you don’t want to be a willing party to their death.
I know those scriptures don’t correlate with many people’s ideals of tolerance, but I choose the Word of God over the opinions of man. Discipline is driven by love, not violence. Discipline is there to help your children—it’s not abuse and should never be carried to that kind of level. The law kills and destroys, but the spirit of life in Christ Jesus brings liberty. When there is an understanding of restraint, personal restraint, there’s liberty.
One time I was riding in the car with friends, and their little girl was throwing a screaming tantrum in the backseat. The girl’s siblings tossed her toys to try to entertain her, but when she didn’t quiet down, the siblings were blamed by the parents. It got to the point where I couldn’t take it anymore. I asked my friend to pull the car over, and I looked at the father and said, “If you let her scream like that, she is going to learn to be selfish and expect other people to pamper her the rest of her life. You better discipline her!”
Many families pamper and spoil one child, giving them everything they want without boundaries. Then, when the next child comes along, the older one is dethroned. Suddenly the older child has to care and cater to the younger one’s every need and fix their problems. The parents get strict with the older child and let the younger one get away with treason, creating a sibling rivalry.
It’s easier to try to get a child to stop crying by giving them something or entertaining them than to deal with the root issue, but it’s not effective. Children are smarter than you think, and the younger child will learn to expect others to cater to their wants.
One of our children discovered that Gary and I were less likely to discipline them when we were at the mall or in public. I was shopping alone when one of my children started throwing a tantrum in the store—dragging on the ground, whining, and the whole works. So here I was, in the middle of shopping, and I didn’t know what to do. People were staring at me. Moms gave me sympathetic smiles, some people made comments just loud enough for me to overhear about the noise my child was making, and others raised their eyebrows and looked on in shock. I was too embarrassed to respond. While I didn’t want to give up my shopping trip to deal with the issue, I decided that mentoring my child was more important than my shopping list. I left the store, screaming child in tow. I wouldn’t let my children manipulate me by acting out in public.
I often see moms in stores who are not doing anything about a child who’s throwing a tantrum. The next time the child wants something, they know all they have to do is take the situation to a public level. On the other hand, you always need to use wisdom. If you have your child out shopping an hour after their bedtime, and they are fussy, you need to take that child home for bed.
The revelation of discipline in your family life, and how to do it the right way, can completely transform your family. The important thing is that it needs to be done the right way, and that’s where so many people get off track. I will dive into the topic in greater detail at a later point, but for now, just understand that discipline done in the right way is a part of God’s plan, and it is necessary to the health of your family.
Excerpt from “The New Vintage Family” by Drenda Keesee
Drenda Keesee’s contagious zeal and humorous personal experiences help make her ministry of spiritual, emotional and relational wholeness one that will bless your life and spark a new fire in your spirit.
A wife of over 30 years and a mother of five children, Drenda has ministered at churches, seminars, and conferences, and through the mediums of television and radio, for more than 20 years.
Her books, The New Vintage Family, Better Than You Think, and She Gets It are available wherever books are sold. In these heartfelt books, Drenda shares her personal journey and the life lessons that have brought her to where she is today, as well as practical answers that all people need to live a joyful life.
Drenda and her husband Gary founded Faith Life Now, a ministry designed to spread the message of freedom in the areas of finances, faith, marriage, and family. Faith Life Now hosts conferences worldwide, and sponsors both Fixing the Money Thing, which Drenda co-hosts with her husband Gary, and Drenda.
Through their own life experiences, the Keesees have found the principles from God’s Word to be powerful and effective. At one point, Drenda was a young, suicidal feminist with no hope of ever being “good enough” for her own standards of perfection. She never wanted the “inconvenience” of a husband or children, and she was on her own path to success. But the stress of trying to achieve perfection and perform for love left her broken and used. She had success, but it was nothing compared to the pain and loneliness it had also brought.
That’s when God got a hold of her heart. It was there—at her lowest point—that she found the One who accepted and loved her, faults and all. Since that transformation, Drenda has had a passion to reach women who find themselves where she once was.
She married Gary after attending college, and there she found herself in a personal boot camp of sorts. She says, “I cried and told God, ‘I can do anything but be a wife and mother.’” She committed to learning how to do it God’s way. Through the many years of raising their children and struggling to make ends meet, Drenda learned from their mistakes. “I didn’t know how to be a wife and mother, but God saved our marriage, taught us how to parent our children for success, showed us how to have financial success, and then irony of all ironies, He called us to ministry.” It’s truly because of these life experiences that Drenda can now share so many insightful principles for people who are now going through the same struggles.