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FamilyLife Blended® with Ron L. Deal


Rock, Paper, Scissors

Friday, August 16, 2019

Ron L. Deal

Sometimes, to settle an argument, flip a coin.


I know that sounds simplistic, but the Bible in Proverbs 18:18 has practical guidance for solving a problem. “Casting the lot settles disputes and keeps strong opponents apart.” Apparently adding chance to the equation gets you beyond the impasse. Hey, Rock, Paper, Scissors settled fights between my kids about who goes first! And, going second taught our kids about delaying their wants, considering the needs of others, and being less selfish. Now, there’s a life lesson for us adults, too.


Slow to Anger (Proverbs 19) - Thursday, August 15, 2019

Okay, I’m going to let you in on a little secret.


I always try to get parents and stepparents to understand kids better so they’ll be more patient with them and agents of healing for them. Proverbs 19:11 says, “Good sense makes one slow to anger.” Children in stepfamilies have been through a lot. That doesn’t excuse their behavior, but making sense of it is vital if you’re going to know how to respond. Like, seeing sadness behind a child’s frustration. That insight will add compassion to your response and that changes everything for a child.

Gentle-Respectful: Make a New Friend - Wednesday, August 14, 2019

To make a friend, be gentle-respectful.


Let’s say you got a new neighbor and I told you to make a new friend. What would you NOT do? Well, you wouldn’t barge your way into their home uninvited and declare yourself their new BFF. No, you’d enter when you’re invited. Stepparents need to be gentle-respectful of the boundaries of kids; meet them where they are. If the door is wide open, step on in. If they keep it shut, talk through the door until they open it. You can’t force friendship, but you can grow it one step at a time.

Gentle-Respectful, Part 2 - Tuesday, August 13, 2019

In stepfamilies, be gentle and respectful.


In blended families biological parents need to be Gentle-Respectful of the concerns of their spouse, the stepparent. Automatically shutting them down with, “No, my kids aren’t disrespectful to you behind my back” isn’t helpful. In fact, it’s dangerous. Your spouse has a different perspective so listen, consider, empathize. Then figure out what to do. Also, be Gentle-Respectful toward the caregivers in your child’s other home. Respect their time, their space, their authority, their relationships.

Gentle-Strong, Part 1 - Monday, August 12, 2019

Do you want to be strong? Be gentle-strong.


Jesus said in Matthew 11:29, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Jesus was gentle in how he dealt with unbelieving people; fickle apostles; especially the downtrodden but he wasn’t weak. He was strong, but his presentation of strength was gentle. In the same way, strive to be gentle, not harsh when dealing with a child. Be gentle-strong.

Whooped By a 9-Year-Old Kid - Friday, August 9, 2019

“Yeah, Ron, I guess I got whooped by a 9-year-old.”


Tim was looking back over his marriage and how it ended in divorce. We had been talking about how the health of a stepfamily marriage is intertwined with the overall health of the entire family. In his case, he and his wife couldn’t come together around how to parent her son. And in the end, a 9-year-old ruined his marriage. Now let me be clear, couples in first marriages can lose their relationship to the kids, too. But parent matters can rapidly divide a stepfamily couple. So if someone you know is facing struggles encourage them to find parental unity and learn from us so they don’t get whooped by a 9-year-old.

Don’t Jump: Be Determined - Thursday, August 8, 2019

Why would you jump out of a perfectly good airplane?


Once, during a flight, the pilot came on and said, “We’re experiencing some turbulence and have turned on the fasten seat belt sign for your protection. If you get out of your seat and break your arm, it’s on your nickel.” While we didn’t appreciate his tone, we did value the caution. Okay, anyone trying to blend a stepfamily should heed this caution, “Buckle your seatbelts and remain seated. The ride may be bumpy for a while, but it will smooth out. Press on, and don’t jump out of the plane!”

End of Summer Swap - Wednesday, August 7, 2019

For many kids the summer visitation schedule is over. It’s time to transition back to the other home.


This is one of those occasions where people are a little sad about leaving, glad about arriving, and perhaps a little confused about how to manage the transition. Initially, a lot of emotion can be bouncing around so give each other some space. Parents, you may be eager to hear about your kid’s summer, but sometimes they need a little adjustment time. Let them tell you when they are ready. And, both of you need a little space to get back into the household routine and prepare for school.

Creating a Family Comes at a Cost - Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Hey, we respect you enough to give it to you straight.


Every relationship commitment comes with a cost. Any marriage, for example, that creates a blended family comes with a cost of sorts to the pre-existing relationships. Couples forming blended families naturally romanticize that they can orchestrate family togetherness without any cost of time or energy to the people they love. You can do this with compassion, patience, and empathy and make it easier, or you can force it in ignorance and make it worse. Let us help you manage the blend.

We’re Here to Help - Monday, August 5, 2019

We are here to help.


It is fun to tell ministry leaders how many resources there now are for blended families.  “I’m not sure where to start,” one leader said. Well, if you want an event we can help you find a speaker. “Really?” Or if you want a DVD or streaming video series there are options. We have books, articles, and an annual two-day ministry equipping event. “No kidding!” You don’t have to figure this out alone. And you can make a big difference in your community. “Wow,” he said, “I feel like we can do this.”

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, August 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19
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