12 Lessons I Want Our Son to Learn Before He Turns 12

12 Lessons I Want My Son to Learn Before He Turns 12

Isn’t it amazing how much you can learn in one trip to the library?

Most every week I take one . . . or more . . . of the boys with me for a Library Date.

Yesterday, I took all three boys – ages 8, 10, and 12.

The boys raced for the entrance door, but then the oldest stayed behind and held the door open for the person who had come up the walk behind us.

Warming my mother’s heart.

Still smiling as we walked toward the Children’s section, I watched as our youngest boy cut right in front of this white-haired lady. Nearly knocking her off her feet. Whoosh! 

I gasped a little.

Thankfully, she was sweet about it.

But honestly!

I pulled my son in close to me and whispered in his ear, “Son, don’t you see what you just did? You ran in front of that lady and nearly tripped her to the ground.”

His intelligent response went something like this . . . .

“Huh??”

The word oblivious comes to mind.

And that’s what got me thinking . . .

I’ve got some teaching to do. Maybe it’s not the end of the world to have your 8-year-old racing through the library and nearly taking out every elderly lady in his path. But I wanted more for him than that.

Way more than that.

I want our young sons to learn to look after others, to be mindful of the world around them, and to be ready for their calling when God gives it.

So we still have some important things to learn around here—some things that you don’t necessarily learn from the library.

And some . . . that I guess you do.

12 Lessons I Want Our Son to Learn Before He Turns 12

 12 Lessons I Want Our Son to Learn Before He Turns 12

1.    The Benefit of Kindness.  Offering kindness to others is a both a blessing to the other person and to yourself. Go out of your way to show kindness to others and you’ll be the better man for it.

A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself. ~ Prov. 11:17

2.     The Value of Hard Work.  It might not feel pleasant at the time, but there’s nothing like the satisfaction of a job well-done and the reward of giving it all you’ve got.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men ~ Col. 3:23

3.     The Power of Self-Control.  Learning to get a grip on yourself and your temper will make you the true winner.

He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty. And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.  ~ Prov. 16:32

4.     The Gift of Good Manners. Taking the trouble to choose politeness will more than pay off. Good manners will open more doors than kicking one down ever will.

“Courtesy is as much a mark of a gentleman as courage.” – Theodore Roosevelt

5.     The Walk of Humility.  The world would have you strutting around, showing off your “stuff” but God has a much better approach. Walk humbly in His strength rather than your own.

What does the LORD require of you . . . but to walk humbly with your God? ~ Mic. 6:8

6.     The Blessing of Obedience.  Listen to God’s instructions and you’ll experience great blessings—not necessarily in the way some people view blessings, but in much deeper and richer ways than the world will ever know.

Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments. ~ Ps. 112:1

7.     The Honor of Justice.  Always uphold that which is good and right – no matter what the personal cost.  And fight against injustice wherever you come across it. It’s your privilege and honor to do so.

Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. ~ Isa. 1:17

8.     The Strength of Serving Others.  As God has equipped you, so use those gifts – not to build yourself up – but to offer your talents and skills to help others.

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace. ~ I Pet. 4:10

9.     The Dignity of Respect.  Showing respect might be considered somewhat old-fashioned, but it says as much about you – maybe even more – than it does about the other person. Speak and treat others respectfully.

Outdo one another in showing honor. ~ Rom. 12:10

10.    The Courage to Do What’s Right.  It takes a brave man to stand up for what is right. Be that man and don’t back down from evil. Not ever.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. ~ Rom. 12:21

11.    The Delight in God’s Word.  Learn to love the Word of God for it is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword” (Heb. 4:12). Arm yourself with His Word and you will be prepared for whatever you face in life.

Blessed is the man who(se) . . .  delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night.~ Ps. 1:1-2

12.    The Unfailing Love of Christ. No matter what you might encounter in life, nothing . . . no, nothing will keep you from Christ’s love.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? ~ Rom. 8:35

All that from one trip to the library.

Pretty amazing, huh? ;)

*The free printable of these 12 Lessons is now available HERE.

In His grace,
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P.S. S. And, yes, this would apply to daughters too.  Our girls are past 12 now and still learning these lessons and a few more of their own. Kinda like me. 

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson
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Why Big Differences Make for the Best Marriages

Why Big DIfferences Make for the Best Marriages

You think by now we’d know.

I mean we’ve been married for years and years. Over two decades.

But somehow it hit us anew.

It all began with our son who is back east at college. He called to tell us about how he and his friends were all taking this personality test. And he thought we should do it too.

Oh, sure! That’d be fun.

So we sat down one evening and filled out the questionnaire.

A piece of cake.

Matthew took his and I took mine. The questions were simple and straightforward and we were done in less than 12 minutes.

But the conversation that followed lasted several hours.

 The personality test went something like this:

You need to retreat and have some “alone time” after spending some time talking to other people.

Him: Nope. Not usually. (Extrovert)

Me: Absolutely. (Introvert)

You often do things spontaneously or in a rush.

Him: Pretty much.

Me: Not if I can help it.

You would rather call yourself down-to-earth than a dreamer.

Him: More like Mr. Visionary.

Me: Down-to-earth and practical to a fault.

Keeping your options open is more important than having a to-do list.

Him: The more options the better.

Me: Love my to-do lists!

So you can see how it is.

Big differences.

We each have our own way of looking at the world. We think differently. Respond differently. Feel differently

Not necessarily opposites. But definitely not the same.

When we first married, I don’t think we factored in these differences. It didn’t matter all that much to us, but as the years went on the reality of these things became increasingly clear to both of us.

We were different.

Not just male and female, mind you.

But different in our personalities and perspectives.

You don’t need to take a personality test to discover you’re different though.

All you have to do is to watch how you each respond to certain situations. What appears to you as a disaster is merely a challenge to him.  What is an exciting possibility to you is an impractical pain to him. What fills you up, drains him and vice versa.

And so on down the list.

The world looks at this scenario and will declare you “incompatible”. The secular viewpoint considers this an impossible situation.

Irreconcilable.

But this is not how God views it. He has reconciled you. He says He is the one who joined you together (Mark 10:9). He is the one who makes you one flesh – not your similarities or common experience (Eph. 5:31).

God brought you and your husband together because of your differences . . . not in spite of them. Just think: God knows your husband even better than you do. He knows all too well how you both are made and how you are bent.

God put you two together because He knew what was best for the both of you. 

How Big Differences Make for the Best Marriages

You Can Make the Best Marriage Out of Your Differences

Appreciate his strengths. Rather than getting frustrated at how quiet or loud, relaxed or uptight, he is – decide to be thankful for how God has made Him. I can choose to be upset by the way my husband “ruins” my well-laid plans with his spontaneous projects . . . or I can be thankful for the fun that he brings into our lives with his wild ideas. The second response makes it more fun for all of us!

*How do you respond to your husband’s strengths? Do you let them annoy you or are you grateful for them? 

Grow in the areas you are weak. I said I can be “practical to a fault”. Well, my husband is a very generous person and that’s an area that I’ve needed to grow in. My “practical” nature can hold me back from giving as freely as God would have me give.

*What are some weak areas that you can grow in and learn from your husband? 

Develop similar interests. Rather than settle in your different camps, seek to do what things you can together. Enter into his world and invite him into yours. Talk about what activities you could both learn to enjoy together.

*What are some things that you both like to do? Activities, recreation, or hobbies?

Establish common goals. Maybe you see and respond to things differently, but if you’re both working toward the same goals? Then this helps you pull together to achieve those things that you’ve both set out to do. At least once a year, we try to get away for a few days and talk over our past goals and write out new ones. These goals can fall in any category—ranging from family to career, from spiritual to house projects.

*Have you purposed together what goals the two of you – as a couple – are choosing to pursue? 

So if you discover that you and he are rather different – with or without a personality test – then make the most of your differences.

Because big differences can be made into the best of marriages!

CHALLENGE: Rather than just saying to your husband that you love him today, tell him a few of the reasons you love and appreciate him (including some of those differences). 

Embrace Your Marriage - A Virtual Marriage Retreat

Every Monday in September, these five bloggers and I will be offering a word of wisdom and inspiration to encourage you in your marriage. I hope you’ll hop over to see each one of them!

And here are the topics . . . .

  • September 1 – Embracing Grace 
  • September 8th – Embracing Change  
  • September 15th – Embracing Your Differences  
  • September 22nd – Embracing Unity 
  • September 29th – Embracing Friendship 

I hope you are being blessed and refreshed by our Virtual Marriage Retreat!

In His grace,
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100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

 

The Power of Grace to Hold Your Marriage Together

Embrace Your Marriage - The Power of Grace to Hold Your Marriage Together

So strange.

So strange that it would be one of the first things they told us.

Stranger still, perhaps, that this is what continues to stand out in my mind. Out of all the things that the doctors at the hospital shared with us, that this statement would be the most memorable.

“Most parents who give birth to this kind of child end up in divorce. We just thought we should prepare you for that.”

Yeah, thanks.

It was like hearing two pieces of devastating news.

As if one wasn’t enough.

The first news was that our sweet baby had suffered a massive stroke before she was even born. She would likely never walk, talk, or know us as her parents – if she lived at all.

The second was that our marriage would not likely endure the tragedy of it all.

More news than a couple should have to take in at one time, wouldn’t you say?

Basically, “This is the beginning of the end.”

I glanced over at my husband with desperate grief and fear in my eyes.

But he wasn’t having any of it.

No way, Babe. We’re not going to take the “likely” path, you and me.

We serve the God who continually surprises us with the unlikely. The God of miracles. The Restorer. The Redeemer.

And He is more than able to hold us together.

So how did we get through the years that followed? Those pressure-filled, emotionally, physically, and financially draining years?

The grace of God.

Grace from Him and grace for each other.

And you can cling to that same grace as well—in both the good times and hard times.

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. ~ Heb. 4:16

The Power of Grace to Hold Your Marriage Together

Grace that offers compassion. When the other person is weak. Sometimes I was too tired to see straight. Or even talk sweet.  He overlooked that snap because he knew I wasn’t “myself” from fatigue and worry.  And I tried to do the same for him.

Grace that doesn’t keep a grudge. He said things that hurt my feelings or made me feel like he didn’t really understand. He let me down and didn’t always hold up. And it was the same here. But we knew we needed to let it go and not let bitterness settle in.

Grace that goes the extra mile. At times each of us had to give more than we had—and certainly more than “our fair share”. We couldn’t keep records or simply take turns. We had to learn to give . . . and then give some more.

Grace that accepts the gift of others.  Grace also comes in the form of support from friends and family. We can’t do this by ourselves, but recognize that we are needy. We are part of the body of Christ for a reason and were never meant to walk alone (More here: On Why It Is So Critical To Connect With Friends).

Grace that doesn’t give up.  No matter how dark some days were – and especially the nights – we refused to give up. We believed God had us in His hands, even when the situation seemed impossible. You are in those same loving Hands.

The Power of Grace to Hold Your Marriage Together - Embrace Your Marriage

So, yes, our marriage held together. By God’s grace, we will be celebrating twenty-two years this Friday!

Grace to Hold Your Marriage TogetherAnd if you’re wondering what happened to that dear little girl of ours?

She is a miracle. While it’s true she never did learn to walk, she can definitely talk…and talk. She calls me mommy and says how much she loves me.

She prays for us and for this blog. Every day.

And so in a very real sense, she prays for you too. All because of unlikely grace. Powerful grace. 

The same grace that  is available to you too.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us,even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. ~ Eph. 2:4-7

CHALLENGE: Before you can extend grace to others, the best place to start is with the preparation of a pure and tender heart. Pray, asking God for wisdom and guidance in this area. Think of how God’s grace has impacted your life, and acknowledge the areas where you have been forgiven.

Embrace Your Marriage - A Virtual Marriage Retreat

Every Monday in September, these five bloggers and I will be offering a word of wisdom and inspiration to encourage you in your marriage. I hope you’ll hop over see each one of them!

And here’s what you have to look forward to . . . .

  • September 1 – Embracing Grace 
  • September 8th – Embracing Change  
  • September 15th – Embracing Your Differences  
  • September 22nd – Embracing Unity 
  • September 29th – Embracing Friendship 

So mark your calendar and join us each week as we all share on these very important topics in marriage. And be sure and invite any friends who might be blessed by this event as well.

Looking forward to seeing you on Mondays!

In His grace,
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100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

On Why It’s So Critical That We Connect With Friends

On Why It's So Critical That We Connect With Friends

No one ever thought it would happen.

Least of all her.

She was a pastor’s wife and a homeschooling mom. A lovely lady with four beautiful children.

And now it’s completely fallen apart.

Heartbreak, divorce, and she’s left them all.

Not that everything was perfect because it wasn’t.

But what actually happened? Something went wrong somewhere.

Left her family behind – bewildered and searching for answers.

What would have made a difference? And what would have helped? These are the some of the questions we’ve all agonized over.

The answer isn’t simple and I don’t pretend it to be. But there is one thing that I’m certain would have helped.  Might have even changed the course of this family’s history.

And that one thing is pressed upon my heart today.

A close friend.

I believe a good friend could have helped tremendously in that situation. Possibly turned it around.

Because when you’re left alone with your own thoughts and your own struggles? Your own pain and your own sin and weakness? As well as the the pain and sin of those around you?

It’s easy to get confused and off-track. To spiral downward. To listen to those negative, destructive voices.

And this is right where the Enemy wants you to be.

Which is why Christ urges us – commands us, really – that we are to love one another.  Deeply.  Fervently.

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. ~ John 15:12-13

We are made to walk closely with one another.

Not alone.

Yet so many of you have written me telling me how lonely you are and how your heart aches for someone to understand and care about you.

And I get it. I really do.

It is increasingly difficult to find friends in this busy, fragmented world we live in. Friendship is risky and it’s rare. And yet  I believe it’s essential for us as believers to be walking closely with others.

We need each other, sisters. 

Why It's So Critical to Connect With Friends

How Do You Closely Connect with True Friends?

Pray for friends. I’ve found over the years that I’ve had to pray for friends. Ask God to bring women in your life who will love you. Support and challenge you.  As iron sharpens iron (Prov. 27:17).

Reach out. Don’t wait for someone else to make the first move. Swallow your fears and your insecurities and take a chance. Some of my closest friendships came out of my shy and hesitant, “Hi, I’m Lisa and I was wondering…..?”

Get creative. Don’t limit yourself to your small circles, but be willing to seek out friends from various places and stages in life. Some of my friends are local and some live all over the world. Some are older and others are younger than me. Each has something unique to offer in friendship.

Share openly. Be real with a few trusted friends – using discretion – and be willing to be honest and vulnerable. Feels risky, I know, but it’s a risk worth taking. God doesn’t want us to live in the shadows, but to walk out into the light.

Speak truth. I am grateful for friends who are willing to speak truth into my life. Sometimes we can be so hesitant about “hurting” a friend –  that we hurt them worse by not being willing to be honest with them.  So let’s lovingly, graciously, speak truth to each other too.

Communicate love. True friendship takes both time and effort. Show your friends by your words and by your actions that you love and care for them. Yes, pour into your family, but invest in good friendships too—friendships that will encourage you in your spiritual walk and ministry.

Friends, we were never meant to walk alone. And it’s not enough to give a quick hug between church services, or wave to one another from across the parking lot. We were meant for so much more.

God intended for us to be closely connected.

Love you, Sisters!

*What do you think is essential for deep friendships? How have you been able to find friends in this swirling world we live in?

In His grace,
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(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

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