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by Connie K Cameron  
2/18/2012 / Christian Living

I have five wonderful kids. When my older three were small, I went through a time of learning how to be an effective parent, with them. I would ask them to clean up their room, allowing them plenty of time, but when I got back the room would still be a mess. Every stuffed animal off it's shelf, every toy out of the box and on the floor. I tried threats like, "If you don't clean up that mess, no dessert." I would come back and the room would still be a mess. Then I would have to go through with my threat to show them, I meant business.

After that, they understood that I meant what I said, but they were just sad and angry and their room, still a mess. I tried all kinds of things. I couldn't believe some of the things I would catch myself saying. "While you are living under my roof." And, "Someday when you have kids of your own." They could tell I was angry with them, so they would put a few things away, but only enough effort to get mom off their backs for a while.

One day I was sitting in the middle of their room, every toy on the floor around me, thinking, "I really hate this." When I thought of something new and I tried it.

I asked my daughter, Christina, "Will you put this ONE toy in the box?" She said, "Okay." As soon as she did, I praised her saying, "Oh, thank you!" She liked that, it made her feel good, I could see it on her face. Then on her own, she picked up another and put it away, and looking at me for the same approval, I gave it to her.

My son, Joe, saw how happy I was with Christina and he put a toy away, then my youngest, Elizabeth joined in. Pretty soon they were racing each other to put away as many toys as they could, and I was praising them all! I didn't have to get angry and they didn't have to feel bad, it was so much easier when I began to focus on what was good instead of only the bad.

I think we can use this learning experience to help in any relationship. We would do more good, strengthening and encouraging each other. Try love and praise with your kids, try love and praise with your husband or wife. Try it in your Church or at your work. Make a list of every good thing you can think of about the people in your lives and let your focus be on those things.

Philippians 4:8, "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praise worthy-think about such things."

I grew up in the Catholic Church but I just didn't get it. I met my husband in 1989, he was saved when he was a boy. He told me all about the Bible and I was saved just a while after. We've had our ups and downs, mostly downs but we keep going!

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