An appeal for a better parent-child relationship

In this blog post, I would like to talk about the importance of the parent-child relationship. And I want to study this concept by analyzing the creation of Adam and Eve.

When God created Adam and Eve, he intended that they should live in intimacy with Him and with each other. When the unborn baby is inside his/her mother’s womb, the baby begins to develop a bond or connection with her. This bond prepares him/her for the parent-child attachment later in life. This relationship represented the affiliation and interaction of the parent with the unborn baby. And also, the parents’ desire to welcome him/her.

Parent-child relationship since pregnancy

After pregnancy, the baby moves from his/her mother’s womb, where all his/her needs met automatically, to a world where the newborn has to depend on fallible humans to survive. At this moment, the child begins to form an attachment behavioral system that will guide him/her when relating to others and surviving in a sinful world.

For the infant to learn how to interact with the new environment, he or she needs to develop biologically and cognitively. Whereas many mammals are physically able to defend themselves or run away from a threat right after being born, God created humans in a way that requires them to be dependent for years before they develop the capacity to adapt to the world and live in it. Infants need to depend on a caregiver to defend them in the face of many threats.

Parent-child relationship and intimacy with God

This fact shows the importance of intimacy with God. The Creator intentionally created human beings to live in a community as reciprocating selves. A reciprocating self exemplifies an I-Thou relationship based on the Christian concept of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).

Just as God lives in a community with the other members of the Godhead, human beings are supposed to relate with other-selves. Adam and Eve were created to represent the relational image of God. It was a relationship of intimacy, but at the same time, one of differentiation.

Analyzing the process that human beings follow to establish relationships, it seems that first, the child needs to develop an attachment behavioral system with his/her parents, which will teach him/her how to reciprocate love with another self. Later, as an adult, he or she may form a romantic relationship that may lead to matrimony.

The profound message of this concept is that before the child can be an “I,” he or she needs to be a “we.” He or she needs to form an I-Thou relationship with another human self before being an “I.” The importance of this process of attachment formation should not be underestimated.

The importance of life

Bowlby argued that the attachment of a child to his/her parents is very influential in determining the quality of the child’s future relationships. For this reason, parents need to value the importance of their influence and develop a healthier relationship with their children.

The future of our communities lies in the type of relationship we build with our little ones. These little ones will live tomorrow through the same emotional dynamics they have experienced in their family during childhood. I think we could do better in this area. What is your opinion? Share it with us in the comments section. God bless you.

Who is educating your child?

.How important is the influence parents have on raising their children? Have we asked ourselves that question? The answer is: it is very important. The influence of parents may work for good, favoring personal growth, or for evil, destruction and, failure. Educating your child is not easy.

So important is the education that it becomes a determinant of children’s happiness and success in life. The influence parents have on their children may work for good, favoring personal growth, or for evil, destroying and leading to failure.

The importance of educating your child

The first school a person has is his/her own home, where he/she receives all the teachings from his/her parents, on moral, emotional, physical, and spiritual aspects. And, we have seen that there are homes in which children have almost no contact with their parents and where their education is not a priority because it is not important, or it is preferred that children receive education only at their schools. It becomes “someone else’s problem.”

The problem we cannot see (“iceberg effect”) is that parents are currently destroying their children because they are not meeting their children their educational needs. Nowadays, children are being educated by Satan. He uses his socializing agencies, such as public schools, the media, and their friends or classmates, to do his malevolent work, so a whole generation who does not know God can rise.

This is why parents must fulfill their educational responsibility and, when the time comes to go to school, the children will not be handed over to Satan to educate them. Instead, they will receive a Christian education that can endure for all eternity.

What Bible says of educating your child

In the book of Deuteronomy 6:4-7, the foundation of the educational process is established by using the imperative “LISTEN”:  “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

These verses show us a vital function we must fulfill if we want to help a new generation to know God. The people of Israel called this portion of the teachings Shema. In the Shema, the Lord established a basis that was vital for the church and education.

Shema in Israel

First, the church was called to establish God as a supreme priority in the life of each believer. That is why it says: the Lord is one. Therefore, since He is one, love and loyalty to God must prevail in the life of the believer. A person cannot change if he/she does not have a relationship with God. This is why when young people fall in love with God, then, they come to Him automatically.

Secondly, the content of Christian education can be found in “these commandments that I give you today,” as in the verse we mentioned earlier. The teaching content is embraced by these words. These words mean all the things God has revealed to His church.

Our children’s education must emphasize and at the same time must be guided by God’s Word. This is why, under no circumstances, should we send our children to public schools. There the basis of education does not emphasize God’s Word, nor is it guided by it.

Third, the vital element in education is the teacher. The Lord has commanded that our children’s teachers must have His Word in their hearts. No teacher who lacks the Lord’s Word inside his/her heart. No teacher who does not speak of it is qualified to teach the children of God. It means that the non-Christian educational system cannot be accepted by God’s children as the avenue to bring education to their sons and daughters.

“From the most ancient times, the faithful people of Israel paid much attention to the matter of education. The Lord had indicated that children, even from their first days of life, must be instructed about His kindness and greatness, especially as it was revealed in His commandments and the history of Israel.

Educating your child according to God’s Word

Through songs, prayers, and lessons about God’s Word, mothers had to teach their children. They learned about God’s commandments as an expression of His character. And as they received the principles in their hearts, God’s image would delineate in their minds and souls. In school and their homes, a big part of the teachings transmitted orally. But young people learned also how to read the Hebrew Scriptures, and the scrolls about the Old Testament Scriptures would be opened for them to study” (Christian Education, page 386).

Secular education is focused on helping students know what the teacher knows. By contrast, Christian education is focused on helping students be similar to their teachers. To reflect Jesus’ character through the fulfillment of the teachings that are in God’s Word.

Educating your child from home

If we, as parents, are dedicated to studying God’s Word, and to applying it to our daily life, Jesus’ character will be reflected through us. We will be showing our children a window through which they can know their Savior’s image. The influence we have on them will favor their personal growth, values, kindness, love, respect, and righteousness.

Thus, their faith will increase and will be reflected in their good deeds. We will be giving them the foundations of a Christian teaching for eternal life in our own homes.

And, if in addition, we can take our children to Christian schools, we will complement their formation. They will have teachers who know and teach God’s Word. And they also interest in contributing to children’s formation for eternal life.

Dear parents who read this post,

I invite you to read and deepen God’s Word. I invite you to strengthen the basis of God’s commandments in your life and the teachings for eternal life. This way, you can have a positive influence on your children that will help them grow and glorify God. There is no better school than our own homes, there are no better teachers than parents, and there is no better teaching than God’s Word.

Do you know any other ways we can have a good influence on our children? Share your opinion in the comments section! So we can all enrich our parenting experiences in forming children who live with the purpose of reaching eternal life in Jesus Christ.


Educating Children for Eternity

Educating children is not an easy task, but is worth it. Educating children for eternity is even more difficult, but is the best you can do.

Samuel is lost! We were at the amusement park with the family. Zory was with Samuel and they both got distracted, then, the worst thing we could have ever imagined happened. Samuel got lost. We started screaming his name, looking for him everywhere. I was not there with Zoraida, so, when I heard the screaming, I quickly went to where she was and asked her what had happened.

We started looking for Samuel desperately. The thoughts that went through my mind were indescribable, things like the ones you can see on a TV series like Special Victims Unit, stolen kids. It was a nightmare! Then we finally found him playing, as if nothing had happened. I would not wish the feelings we experienced back then on any parent.

Educating Children for Eternity and avoiding losing them

Today, some parents have lost their children and do not know it. Other parents have already noticed that their children are lost. But they are desperate and do not know what to do. I am not talking about the children who get lost in the mall, beach, or amusement parks, or who left the house and never came back. I am talking about children who have gotten lost because they do not want to have anything to do with church, much less know God.

We can see some statistics on what the relationship of young people is like with the church:

  • 59 percent of young people between 19 and 29 years old leave the church,
  • 50 percent of those young people are significantly frustrated church-wise,
  • 57 percent are less active than when they were 15 years old,
  • and 38 percent went through a period in which they questioned their faith.

I fear that today a generation who does not know God might be rising. The same happened when the fathers of the people of Israel did not follow the divine commandment to educate their children for eternity and they ended up raising a generation who did not know God.

An old story with teaching for us

Let us study a fascinating but sad story. The people of Israel had gotten out of Egypt to go to the Promised Land. But the journey that was only to last just a few days turned into a 40-year-journey because God said that due to their disobedience, that whole generation would not enter the Promised Land. Only Joshua and Caleb could enter.

Joshua led the people of Israel to the conquest of the Promised Land and had great experiences with them. They respected Joshua the same way they respected Moses. But while the people were celebrating their victories, something was happening behind the curtain that was undermining God’s people. The people and their leaders were neglecting the divine order, which was about to produce ravages on God’s people.

In the book of Judges, chapter 2:8-11 we can read the following: “Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten. And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heres in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.”

What happened to them

After that whole generation was brought to their ancestors, another generation grew up who did not know the Lord, nor what He had done for the people of Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served Baal. Here, we can see the sequence:

  • Joshua died at the age of 110.
  • The following verse says that the generation who knew God also died.
  • And later, a whole generation rose u who did not know Jehovah, nor the work He had done for the people of Israel.

How did something like that happen?

How could a whole generation who did not know God rise up.? Now, from Genesis to Joshua, the knowledge of God had been transmitted verbally. There were no books, papers, or computers.

How could the knowledge of God be transmitted if there were no computers or books? Parents had the responsibility before God to transmit all the teachings to their children verbally. If a generation who did not know God rose up, it was simply because their parents did not fulfill their responsibility to raise their children for eternal life.

The same thing that is happening nowadays happened back then. The only way we can stop this epidemic is by going to the Bible and studying the reasons these mistakes were made, and the solution God gives to those mistakes so that we do not have the same problems.

Educating Children for Eternity

It is imperative to understand that, as parents, we are God’s stewards. It is the message we can find in the first chapter of the Bible. God creates man in His image. God’s image has been interpreted in three dimensions: structural, relational, and functional images of humankind.

Humans have a structure that allows them to think, create, and act. That structure leads them to have an intimate relationship with God and with their neighbor because that is the reason for their creation. The structure and relationship lead them to fulfill the functional aspect of God’s image.

The purspose of humankind

Humankind was created to fulfill a function: to be God’s stewards for all that was created. Genesis 1:28 says: “be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” This means that God is the Creator of all things and humankind is the administrator.

Therefore, when God gives you a son or a daughter, He is not giving you a gift so you can do whatever you want with him or her. God is giving you that child so that you prepare him/her for Eternity. Now, this gets a little more complicated than that, because when you start seeing your parenting from the stewardship perspective, everything changes.

When we talk about stewardship, many times we think it is regarding tithes or offerings, but, stewardship is much more than that. God saved a tree inside the Garden of Eden that belonged to Him and He forbade Adam to touch it.

When I see myself as God’s steward regarding my children, I cannot see them as a problem, or as a burden. I must see them as a blessing because those children God gave me do not belong to me, they belong to God and He will hold me accountable for what I did with them.

Each generation must transmit a legacy 

God gave parents commandments about the spiritual legacy they must transmit. For us to understand how this is possible, we need to understand some sociological aspects. Each generation is held accountable for the generations that follow.

Zoraida and I made a mistake regarding our children, we did not encourage them to speak Spanish inside our house. If we, as parents, do not teach them Spanish, they will find it difficult to learn it at school. Likely, my grandchildren are not going to be able to speak Spanish because my children do not speak Spanish, and, that my great-great-grandchildren are not going to be able to speak to family members who only speak Spanish. Do you see the effect a generation has on other generations?

What Word of God says

I am going to give you some Biblical evidence about what I am writing here. 

  • Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them to your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9
  • “Your children will be taught by the Lord.” Isaiah 54:13
  • “Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation.”Joel 1:3

Analizing what Word of God says

Let us analyze these verses: parents are called to love Jehovah with all our hearts, with all our souls, and with all our minds. The teachings parents receive from God must be repeated to their children, they will speak of them inside the house while walking, and when they are going to sleep.

That means that parents will be speaking continuously of God to their children. They, in other words, will be educating their children for Eternity. Educating my children for Eternity is my priority.

If Joshua 2:10 says that a generation rose who did not know God, it is simply because parents failed to fulfill God’s order to educate for Eternity. God does not do things without a purpose. If God gave children to the people of Israel, it was for them to prepare those children for Eternity. The raising of a generation who did not know God brought great sadness to God’s heart.

Christian education is not optional for parents

Parents back in the times of the people of Israel must have educated their children in their homes and taken them to the temple and schools to be educated there. The prophets were their teachers. 

That is why I say that Christian education is not optional for parents. It is not the school or church’s responsibility, but the parent’s. One day we will have to be held accountable before God for the spiritual legacy we transmit to our children. If I have full responsibility, I cannot present any excuses for me to be released from that responsibility.

In your case, is the story repeating itself?

We forget that we are stewards of our children before God.

There is no time for personal study or to study with our children. The media is raising them now.

Helen White says that parents have neglected the responsibilities God gave them, and they must face this reality when the final judgment comes. Then, the Lord will ask: “Where are the children I gave you so that you could prepare them for me? Why are they not at my right hand?”

Many parents will see then that an unwise love blinded them from seeing their children’s flaws, unable to change the development of a character that is not suitable for life in Heaven. Other parents will see they did not give their children time and attention, love, and care. The neglect of their duties made their children what they are. (Testimonies for the Church 4:424).

Focus on eternity

Can you imagine being in Heaven with your children? The happiness will bring? Can you imagine what would happen if we, as a church, work together to educate our children for Eternity? Think of this church 10 to 20 years in the future. Where will it be?

God is answering my prayer not in a way I would have wanted Him to answer it, but since I am a steward, I cannot decide in my children’s place. It is God’s decision what He wants to do with them.

What God loves the most in this world are our children. In the book of Isaiah 49:25, we read: “I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save.”

“When you educate your children for Eternity, I will fight your battle”

Maybe you are saddened by the thought of how you raised your children and you did the best you could, but they are far from God’s way or the church. God says: when you educate your children for Eternity, I will fight your battle.

Maybe someone who is reading this post has not clearly understood these truths and feels guilty before God. But you still have time to help your children go back to God’s way, be active in church, have faith, and, do well. When raising your children for Eternity is your priority. God will defend you, fight that battle for you, and save your children.

These truths are also good for you since we are stewards of our own lives too. Seek God, His way, follow His commandments, keep His truth in your heart, and He will help you fight that battle.

I invite you today to share with us, in the comments section, what other ways we can be better stewards of our own lives and the lives of our children before God. Thank you and God bless you.

The Challenge of Raising our Children

One of the biggest challenges we have when raising our children is facing a rebellious child. Daily fights over power, aggression due to sibling rivalry, or crises, have led suffering parents to cry for help. I receive emails, phone calls, and petitions daily from parents who are desperately seeking help raising their children.

I think all parents, at some point, need to face a disobedient child. Then the same way we, as parents, are not perfect and have made mistakes, over time, our children will make mistakes too. The difference is that when we made a mistake, in our view, it was not a big deal. But when our child behaved unexpectedly, it was an alarm that led us to be worried and feels desperate.

It seems like we have forgotten that we were also the same age as our children, many times we behaved the same way they are behaving today. Why are we not more transparent with ourselves and accept the fact that our children are as human as we are? There are still parents who, when raising their children, demand they behave in a way that they, as parents, have not yet achieved themselves. I understand it is not easy to be a parent nowadays.

Raising our children

In my next blog posts, I will be sharing the strategy I have used all these years to raise my children. I do not expect you to agree with me. This is the method that has worked for us, and maybe you have a different one that has worked for you. In the end, nobody has a perfect method because when we receive the children God gave us, they did not come with a manual that explained what to do when behaving in certain ways.

How nice it would be if this was the reality! Do you remember the last time you bought a car? That car came with a manual, regardless of the model or brand. That user manual set out what to do if the oil needs to be changed if it has engine problems or any other situation. It is all written there.

When my daughter Jasmin was born, I did not have such a manual. I had to figure out what to do. A year after Jasmin was born, Samuel, came into our lives. And, I said: “Well, now I have a year of experience as a father. With Samuel, it is going to be a little easier because I already ‘have experience.’ How wrong I was! Samuel had a completely different personality from that his sister. The manual I used for Jasmin did not work with Samuel.

My strategy for raising our children

It has been to cultivate a relationship with them based on collaboration instead of power. And I know that for many parents, this is not the conventional way, but remember that unconsciously, we have had a collaborative relationship with our children throughout the years.

For example, when Jasmin or Samuel cried, we tried to figure out what was happening to them so that we could help them stop crying. If the method we used was not working, we used another method until we found the most effective one to help them stop crying.

Ideally, we continue to do this almost every day. It is simply trying to understand and focus on some of the most important aspects of being parents: understanding our children’s worries, perspectives, and opinions, considering what troubles them, and working together to find realistic solutions that are mutually satisfactory.

What parents need

A question many parents have asked us is: Will I still be an authority figure in raising my children in a collaborative relationship? Yes. Maybe not an “old school” authoritarian figure, but an authority figure indeed. It turns out that what parents are most commonly seeking is to be influential, not to control. And just by being parents, they are already influential.

In the beginning, when my wife Zoraida and I started with this plan, it was something we did unconsciously. In the sense that we have not read what neuroscience showed about our children’s development. We just had the Bible, and it showed us our children as the heritage of Jehovah, and that He was calling us to be a positive influence on our children’s lives. They had that influence when they benefited from our wisdom, experiences, and values while they were walking through complex and tough stormy waters.

I have discovered that an authoritarian method of power and strength when raising our children is not helpful in the long term. On the contrary, helping our children to solve their problems collaboratively was much more effective for us.

Raising our children according to Science

Today, science has provided many studies about this line of thought, which we have held onto in the last few years as parents. And in my case, as a therapist, to help parents who need orientation in this area. One of the researchers behind those studies who have contributed to this area is clinical psychologist Ross Greene. He has written several books and I will mention some concepts he uses in his book Raising Human Beings.

Greene presents a revolutionary concept: children do fine if they can. What does this mean? If Jasmin or Samuel could do it right, they would. Period. If they did not do fine, or they were not meeting expectations at home or in school, as a parent, I had to do well. My responsibility was not to criticize them or to censor them for not behaving properly or meeting my expectations as a father, but to find out why they were not meeting those expectations. If I could not solve the problem my children had on my own, then I had to:

  • go to the books,
  • search on the internet,
  • or ask for professional help in this area.

I had to find out why my children did not fulfill the responsibility they had in their hands. We cannot assume, as we have many times, that the problem our child has is motivational. Very is rarely correct to assume that a child is not meeting an expectation because he/she lacks motivation. Very often, skills are the engine that powers the train, and motivation is the caboose.

What children need

Children want to succeed. No child does not want to succeed. Society is configured to be a gratifying place for those who do things right. Any perceived incentive to do things wrong is going to be greatly overtaken by incentives to do things right.

Children need the freedom to grow as they go through different stages of their psychosocial development. That freedom must be by their age.

Besides, children need room to make mistakes and learn from them. If you try to control the result or become too critical when they stumble on their feet, you will fail. They will become too concerned about not making mistakes in the future.

They need opportunities to straighten their sheep on their own when they see themselves in stormy waters. And they need you to observe them closely to see how they are doing. If you do not look closely, they will likely get tired of stumbling and give up. But, if you throw them a life jacket at the first stumbling, they might never learn how to swim. A parent’s success lies in preparing the children to navigate a rough world.

What has been your experience raising your children like? What method have you used and how effective has it been? Share your story with me. Then, we will continue with this topic in our next post.

How to Fix a Toxic Relationship?

The Bible tells us that we were created to live in a community, not in toxic relationships. Our creator lives in the community and made us in His image, the image of a relational God (Gen. 1:26,27). A God manifested in three different people who are one in mind and purpose.

From the beginning, God intended to have a relationship full of love with Adam and Eve, and they were to emulate the same love-based relationship with each other. However, we know our first parents’ sad story. They broke their relationship with God and as a result, today we experience toxic relationships in our lives.

What is a toxic relationship?

When we talk about relationships, we tend to underestimate the influence of our sinful nature on developing healthy relationships with others. Our sinful state greatly affects every interaction we have with our neighbor neighbors.

It means that many times we find ourselves establishing toxic relationships unconsciously. As Pablo said, we do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do, this I keep doing. When are toxic relationships born, and when do they arise?

Thus, to answer this difficult question, we must consider how we develop our personality and how this affects the way we relate to others when we reach adulthood. It all starts when we are born.

According to Erickson, this is the stage of trust/distrust. At this stage, we can learn about the world through our parents’ eyes. If parents give love, affection, and attention to the child, he/she will develop a sense of trust and security in the parents’ arms.

However, if parents are too busy and so disconnected from the child that they do not have the time to become attached to him/her, expressing love and care, the child becomes confused and understands that he/she cannot trust those around him/her and develops a sense of distrust and insecurity.

Later in life, through the psychological mechanisms of integration and differentiation, the child begins to incorporate the parents’ traits into his/her personality and discards others. In other words, these traits begin to be a part of the child’s personality.

Children’s mental schemas

Then, the same way children have an innate ability to easily assimilate a language, they also have a system for adapting to a difficult environment and surviving. They assimilate what they see and build a defense mechanism to survive in their environment. These understandings about life and their environment become a part of children’s mental schemas.

What are these mental schemas? They are made up of thoughts, assumptions, and beliefs learned from experience with our family that help us to maintain a sense of personal identity during a difficult world when we are little, and also allow us to understand the environment in which we live.

In other words, the fundamental concepts are a structure that contains a representation of the reality in which that child lives. These mental schemas will have a great influence on the child’s life when he/she is an adult.

Adaptive or maladaptive mental schemas

These mental schemas can be adaptive or maladaptive. The problem with maladaptive cognitive schemas is that, like a map, they reveal approximations in the physical world. Cognitive schemas are also a map that helps us and guides us in our relationships with others. These maladaptive beliefs become the root of the relational problems we present as we go through life.

Mental schemas store in the subconscious and are not that easy to identify because they operate unconsciously. This is why you could be your best to have a healthy relationship with someone you love and still not see any progress.

These toxic behaviors often carry out unconsciously. This is why you might be stuck in a toxic relationship. People who are stuck in the past often need the help of a trained professional to identify toxic mental patterns.

How does a child develop a toxic relationship?

In general, there are four types of early life experiences that make a child vulnerable to developing toxic relationships.

  • Firstly, the toxic frustrations of needs. They occur when a child does not experience enough love and security to feel safe in his/her environment. This child learns not to trust others because he/she believes he/she could be mistreated and hurt again.
  • Second, emotional trauma occurs when a child is abused or victimized. A young person in this environment can learn to have a manipulative and abusive relationship with others, or can simply become a victim of an abuser.
  • Third, a child can be pampered or spoiled. This person may become highly dependent on others or feel entitled to special privileges. As a result, when this person does not receive what he/she expects from others, he/she can develop a mindset that is addicted to approval.
  • Fourth, the child may identify with or internalize the perspective of a dysfunctional parent. For example, a child who has been raised by an abusive parent may have the same emotional response as the parent when relating to his/her peers.

What can do with all these maladaptive basic concepts that lead to forming toxic relationships? The truth of the matter is that the damage that does a past toxic relationship cannot undo. However, there is something you can do about it.

How to deal with a toxic relationship

These toxic relationships formed from childhood can understand in the light of your new relationship with God. You cannot eliminate these mental schemas, but you can make sense of them and allow the Holy Spirit to renew your mind.

You are not alone on this journey, since we all have frustrations and disappointments when interacting with others. However, I have good news for you. The Holy Spirit’s mission is to restore the image of God in your life (Romans 8:29).

First, He will guide you to discover the full truth about who you are as a person (John 16:13). In other words, He will show you who you are in your mind and how your toxic relationships are destroying your life.

Secondly, He will renew your mind (Romans 12:2), bringing every thought (belief, mental scheme) captive to the obedience of Christ (1 Cor. 10:5).

Thirdly, the Holy Spirit will put the mind of Christ in you (1 Cor. 2:16) and He will make you a new creation so you can enjoy healthy relationships.

Set your mind up today to ask the Holy Spirit to transform your mind. May this be your prayer today: Give me a new heart, Lord

What’s the biggest thing you’re struggling with right now that I can help you with?

I can’t breathe – A Declaration Against Racial Discrimination

.This is a declaration against racial discrimination. I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe! It is the cry not only of Georg Floyd, who was calling for help seconds before his death but of millions of people around the world who are experiencing racial discrimination. Those are the final voices of Eric Garner and many others who have died at the hands of racial discrimination.

How can we explain that in the 21st century, we are still fighting against racial discrimination in our society? So, how is it possible that there is so much racism after so many articles, videos, and conversations about how this affects human beings?

How is it possible that we have not found a solution to a problem as degrading as this yet? Could it be that someday we will have an answer to the agonizing cry of those who are victims of racial discrimination?

Racial discrimination

Racial discrimination through time

No answer can calm the voice of those who suffer. I think the same commitment this country made to put a man on the moon in the 1960s when the civil rights movement was at its peak, must eradicate inequality. In 1980, the World Health Organization declared smallpox eradicated.

It was a reality thanks to the joint effort of experts from all around the world. If humanity has joined together to achieve incalculable achievements and has strived to eradicate destructive diseases such as smallpox and many others, how is it possible that the chronic disease of racism, which affects millions of people discriminated against around the world, has not yet been eradicated from the planet?

Raise the voice against racial discrimination

In this post, I do not intend to minimize the answers to complex questions like these, but I do want to raise my voice and try to bring solutions to a problem that does not seem to end. Albert Einstein said that if he had an hour to save the world, he would solve it this way: He would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution.

The real lesson from Einstein’s approach to this problem-solving technique is that we must spend much more time making sure we have properly and fully defined the problem, and less time looking for practical solutions.

First-order and second-order changes

One of the latent problems that our society is experiencing is that the changes that people have tried to apply to eradicate racial discrimination as a chronic disease have been first-order changes. In systemic therapy, there are two types of changes: first-order changes and second-order changes.


The first-order change

It refers to an adaptive and evolutionary change, in which the characteristics of the system are changed. But its fundamental nature remains the same. In the second order change, a revolutionary and fundamental change is experienced. In it, the nature of the system is significantly altered. The first order changes to eradicate racial discrimination are talking about:

  • better working conditions,
  • more government programs for minorities,
  • more protests on the streets to demand justice,
  • and changes in knowledge about existing racism.

All these first-order changes are important, but they will never bring the change demanded by the voices of men and women who say “I can’t breathe” daily.

If we want to see changes that can eradicate all racial discrimination at once, we must turn to promote second-order changes, changes that shake the foundations of our beliefs and perspectives on life. We need to see changes in people’s attitudes and changes in the worldview of human beings.

If we want to have a different society, the second-order changes that we must see must begin at home. All types of racism are eradicated at home. Trying to eradicate racism on the streets or at government voting booths is looking for solutions using first-order changes.

racial discrimination
racial discrimination

The second-order changes

That policeman who put his knee on George Floyd’s neck probably learned in his home that minority people are inferior to him. He learned this through the comments his parents made about minority people. The line he saw since he was a little kid that divided people; mocking, sarcasm and despotic comments that this young man later learned from his friends at school. All this was influencing the character that person developed and ended up leading him to commit a criminal act.

Not only that, I am pretty sure that the beliefs that the policeman learned in his home, that made him a racist, were not simply influenced by his parents. But they have likely run in his family for generations. So, no one ever dared to raise and break that generational curse of inequality, and injustice for all children of racial discrimination.

If you join me in seeking second-order changes, we must talk about parents who teach their children that we are all members of one family, the family of God. We have the same Creator who created us all equally. We all carry the same blood. Besides, we must see families sheltering people with cultural or ethnic differences that allow for breaking barriers of all kinds of inequality.

Second-order changes begin in churches. Yes, conflict is the continuity of an unsolved problem. We must preach more about this matter. We need to teach more and confront injustice more.

Second-order changes begin in schools. Schools that do not tolerate inequality, schools that look at all students equally and do not discriminate against the minority. I am talking about changes in people’s hearts, not just saying it.

Jesus and second-order changes

Jesus exemplified these second-order changes when he sat down to talk to the Samaritan woman. He broke the paradigms that existed in his society regarding this ethnic group. He did not care what other people might say, nor cared about his reputation. So, he simply challenged existing beliefs about inequality. He joined those who say: “I can’t breathe.” The change that Jesus brought was so influential back in his day that many Samaritans followed him. And his disciples learned to see marginalized people differently.

Readily, he healed Gentiles and praised their faith (Matthew 8: 5-13; 15: 22-28) and taught his church to do the same (Acts 10-11). The apostle Paul’s ministry was intended for the Gentiles. The inclusiveness of Jesus’ message is summed up in Galatians 3:28: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free, man or woman, but you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Teachings of the Bible

Sadly, many have distorted the teachings of the Bible to try to justify human fear and prejudice. The “curse of Ham” is considered by some as an excuse for hating Africa-descended people. So, others insist that Jews were responsible for Jesus’ death and deserve to be scorned by us. Both views are false.

The Bible tells us that God’s judgment is not based on appearances, but on what is within man (1 Samuel 16: 7). And those who judge according to appearances do so with iniquitous intentions (James 2: 4). Instead, we should treat each other with love (James 2: 8), regardless of ethnicity (Acts 10: 34-35) and social position (James 2: 1-5). Christian love denies all prejudice, and the Bible condemns racism.

I challenge you to raise your voice. Join many who try to say “I can’t breathe” with tears in their eyes. In the same way that Abel’s blood cried out to God from the ground, the iniquitous acts of injustice and inequality continue to cry out before the throne of grace for justice and equity. One day, God will do justice and bring revenge.

Thus, the question I am asking you is: whose side will you be on? Will you be on the side of those who broke the paradigms to join the voice of the marginalized ones? Or will you just let yourself be carried away by the humanist current that tries to justify human indolence?

Raise your voice today and join those who say: “I can’t breathe”. Please share with me in the comment below the solution that you propose to this chronic problem. We need to work together to eradicate all types of racism.

How Can I Help my Children Deal with Emotions?

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]How can I Help my Children Deal with Emotions?

How can I Help my Children Deal with Emotions? In his book, The Stress Factor, Dr. Harry Stanton says that the great enemy of human health is not a danger, an emotional convulsion, or an occasional crisis (like that of the coronavirus). On the contrary, it is the extended, unrelieved state of worry and anxiety.

There is no doubt that the moments in which we are living are moments of worry and anxiety. Isolation, uncertainty, and changes in our routines power a state of worry that we have never experienced before. In the previous articles, we have explained how to view emotions as the messenger who wants to help us collect the experience we are living and what is important about it.

How to help children deal with emotions

In today’s article, the question I will try to answer is the following: How can I help my children deal with emotions? If it is not easy for adults to navigate the turbulent waters of this crisis, how can it be for our children’s fragile minds? We are very concerned about the increasing number of cases of children with serious emotional problems.

They are growing up in a volatile environment, where schools are closed, nor can they go to the parks to freely play their favorite sport. The environment they are in has changed overnight, and now they wake up worrying about the coronavirus catastrophe coming to their homes.

What are the symptoms that show us children are experiencing anxiety? Children find it difficult to concentrate, they cannot sleep easily, wake up at night with nightmares, do not eat properly, get angry and irritated quickly, and are out of control. They have negative thoughts, they use the bathroom frequently, they cry more than usual, and they may have a stomachache or feel sick due to the stress they experience.

Even though parents may not feel capable of dealing with their emotions, they have the responsibility to look after the spiritual, physical, and emotional development of their children. Many times, we emphasize that we must take care of the spiritual and physical aspects of our children’s lives. We do our best to get them to go to church with us and ensure they eat well. But, how committed are we to our children’s emotional growth, especially in COVID-19 times?

Intelligence to deal with emotions

Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, Marc Brackett, says parents are co-creating their children’s emotional system. The first school of emotional intelligence our children have in their homes. They learn to relate to the world around them through their eyes.

The emotional dynamic that we are experiencing in the COVID-19 pandemic is the same emotional dynamic that our children are going to experience in the present and even as adults. Experts in this matter indicate that 80 percent of success in life is linked to the emotional intelligence of the individual. That is why, to help our children learn emotional intelligence, as parents, we must first learn to regulate our emotions because we are role models for them.

How should we respond to signs of anxiety in our children?

The system God placed in our brains to process our emotions is an alarm or signal system that lets us know the experience we are living within, and it determines the way we will approach the task or situation we have in front of us. When parents try to read and interpret emotions in their children, they also send a signal to their brains.

For example, if I look at you, and you are frowning, with anger showing on your face, the message my mind receives is “do not get any closer.” Normally, when we are dealing with adults, we can say, “this person needs space right now.” And, our reaction is to provide the space that the persona is looking for.

How can I help my children deal with emotions?

When it comes to raising our children, our reactions must be different. When they experience emotions of anxiety, anger, or frustration, they are saying: “I need you to get closer to me, not to get further away.” For human beings, especially for children, emotional security is as important as eating.

That is why when children experience a lack of emotional connection, their reaction is the same biological reaction that any human or mammal has: flee, fight or become paralyzed. Every father and mother must perceive the message that the child is sending through his/her emotions, get closer, and d not push them further away, to provide the emotional security that is so important for their survival.

Model your stress tolerance during the COVID-19 pandemic

As parents, we have the responsibility to be role models for our children to follow, and not only through direct interaction with them. The indirect interaction of the parents or their examples of how they handle their emotions or experience the outside world greatly influences the development of the personality and social skills of their children.

Put into practice the strategies that we taught you in the previous articles to be a role model in your children’s lives. Strategies such as diaphragmatic breathing is so important for us to connect with the neuro cortex of the brain. It is in charge of our decisions.

You can model your children how to manage stress through the anxiety box technique. That technique we learned to do in the previous articles. You can even invite your children to help you prepare this box. The way you manage your stress will influence the response that your child will have to the crisis that he/she is experiencing today.

Explain how you deal with emotions

Accepting the fact that we are human and full of limitations and imperfections makes us great. Our children need to see that reality that we often try to hide from them. Many parents hide their human frailty from their children. And that is why children grow up not knowing how to deal with emotions in times of crisis.

For example, if at one point you lost control and yelled at your child because you were worried or anxious, later, you can go to him or her and recognize your mistake in managing your emotion. And you can process that experience together, taking accountability for the way you expressed your emotions.

In the end, you can talk with your children about more effective ways to deal with emotions in the future. By talking to your children this way about your emotions, you are permitting them to experience stress and anxiety. And, it also lets them know that stress can be managed.

Have an action plan for dealing with your emotions

If you know that a particular situation is stressing you out, you can plan how to manage this situation more functionally beforehand. So that you do not have to regret later that you did not handle it more effectively.

For example, if being confined causes stress and anxiety. Or if you notice that at the end of the day you do not have patience with your children, do something. You can plan activities around your house. This way, you will be proactive and intentional in the way you deal with emotions. You will model emotional intelligence to your children.

Find a support group

Try to find a support group for parents. Trying to be parents in these critical moments is not easy. Support groups have proven to be very effective in treatments and self-help. Many churches have these community support groups. You can also find them on the internet. Or maybe you can create a support group that meets through Zoom.

Teach them how to trust God in difficult times

The last tip is the most important of all. Your relationship with God is the most powerful example you can give your children. The way you handle your stress and anxiety with God is priceless for your children’s emotional and spiritual growth. Therefore, take time every day to pray and study the Bible with them. Talk about how God’s men handled their stress in difficult times. Talk also about how God’s Word encourages you today and gives you hope for the future.

We all have times when we overreact, especially when we are under a lot of stress. But the good news is that we are more resilient than we imagine we are. We cannot change how we reacted in the past, but we can change how we will react in the future.

We can change the way we manifest our emotions. It is never too late to grow in your emotional intelligence and help your children grow. Your child’s brain is plastic. Thus, the moment you begin to regulate your emotions effectively, your child’s brain will reflect the change you are making. May your desire be to let Jehovah build your house and help you be an example for your children.


The influence of a mother in today’s world

When Kevin Durant won his first basketball MVP in 2014, he dedicated some time to honor the person who had made it possible for him to become MVP. With tears in his eyes, he said the following words: “When something good happens to me, I look back to remember what brought me here.” Referring to his mother, he said:

“You were 18 years old when you had me. You made me and my brothers believe in ourselves, took us off the streets, and brought food to the table. So, you sacrificed yourself for us. You are the true MVP”.

There is no other force in a child’s life that is as strong as the influence of a mother. Ellen G. White said that after God, the mother’s power for good is the strongest one known on Earth. Its influence reaches through time to eternity. (Good Health, March 1980).

Today, mothers can become the most powerful influence future generations will have. Some mothers may have succeeded in their role, and others may consider that they have failed in their tasks. It is never too late to influence the lives of children because there is nothing on Earth that can outdo the influence of a mother.

The influence of a mother

When Satan decides to destroy a nation, one of the ways to do it is to start from scratch. He begins to destroy children because he knows that if he destroys them, he will be eliminating the future generations of that nation.

In the book of Exodus, we see Pharaoh being motivated by Satan to destroy God’s People. Satan knew the prophecy that God had given to Abraham, that in him all the nations of the Earth would be blessed (Genesis 22:18). God would choose the Jewish nation to be the voice for the Good News of Salvation and in the end, the Messiah would come through this Nation. Satan said: “If I do not want the Messiah to come and fulfill his mission, I must destroy the Hebrew children so that the nation cannot fulfill its mission.”

Pharaoh, then, gave the order to the midwives of Egypt first to kill the boys (Exodus 1:15-16). The midwives feared God and did not follow Pharaoh’s order, and then he gave the order that all the newborn boys be thrown into the Nile River so that the crocodiles could eat them. Pharaoh thought that every child he destroyed was one less man who would rise tomorrow against him to attack his kingdom.

Mothers and God

In these circumstances, God calls a woman named Jocabeth to be a mother. In God’s economy, the mother has always played a supreme role. It all starts with a mother. All the wonderful work that human beings have been able to do in humanity have begun with a mother used by God to bring a man or a woman into the world to fulfill an important task. Mothers are instruments of God. For example, it took an Ana for a Samuel to come to the world. It also took an Elizabeth for John the Baptist, a Rachel for Joseph, and Mary for a Messiah.

In God’s mind, mothers have a mission to fulfill, and no one can replace them. Satan fears a mother who clings to God to fulfill her mission. So, he knows the power and influence that a mother will exercise in future generations. There is no system that Satan could build that can destroy or minimize the influence of an effective mother. And this is seen in Jocabeth’s story as a mother who is in God’s hands.

This story shows a mother’s influence in foiling the enemy’s evil plan. She showed her character, resilience, and trust in God by placing her child in His hands. When Pharaoh’s daughter asked her to: “Take care of him, I will pay you,” she understood that those words came from God. The boy himself was borrowed, but she only needed him for a certain amount of time to make a Hero of God out of him.

Nothing outdoes the influence of a mother when she teaches her child to know God, interact with others, and be resilient.

Mothers teach their children to know God

Jocabeth’s first task was to teach Moses to know God. There is no greater and more sublime duty for a mother than preparing her children for eternity. Children are a heritage from Jehovah. They do not belong to us.

Jocabeth taught Moses how to pray because she was a praying mother. This way, Moses became a man who spoke face to face with God because he saw the example in his mother. He fasted because she fasted, and he also learned to reflect when in solitude.

The influence of a praying and God-fearing mother will last for all eternity. She may go to the grave, but her work will endure (Testimonies for the Church, 4: 500).

A mother’s influence teaches children

Jocabeth taught Moses how to relate to others. The Bible says that Moses was the meekest man on Earth at that time. This matter of teaching children to relate to others in life, and develop emotional intelligence, is of utmost importance to their future.

What parents put in their children’s minds will greatly influence what that child will be in the future. Through the child’s interaction with his/her mother, he/she develops a blueprint, a map of what his/her life will be like in the future. The type of attachment the child develops towards his/her mother or primary caregiver will be the type of attachment he/she will develop when finding a partner to marry him/her.

Attachment is the emotional bond that the child develops with his/her parents (or caregivers) and that provides the emotional security that is essential to develop a good personality. The fundamental thesis of the Attachment Theory is that a child’s state of security, anxiety or fear is mostly determined by the accessibility and responsiveness of their main figure of affection (person with whom the bond is established).

Mothers face difficulties

The problem that some mothers face, for which they cannot be blamed, is that because the emotional dynamics of a family are transmitted from one generation to the next. Mothers nowadays are transmitting the same emotional dynamics that they experienced in their families. They are going to teach their children the same way they learned to relate to others when they were little. Unless these mothers find appropriate methods to relate to their children through reflection, counseling, or therapy.

Statistics say that 20 percent of children have grown emotionally distant from their parents. The parents of those children did not connect emotionally with them, only superficially. The focus of attention of these parents was on their children’s behavior and not on their emotions.

What happens then? Research shows that many parents are concerned only about their children’s behavior and not their emotions. So their children do not receive the essential tools to be able to connect with others. They don’t develop age-appropriate emotional intelligence.

In this mother-child relationship, children develop a secure or insecure attachment. If children feel that their mothers are available to them, are a haven, and feel loved. They develop mental structures that will allow them to trust the people around them and develop positive self-esteem.

Children relationship with their mother is determinant

On the other hand, if children do not feel their parents are available when they need help, they will believe they are not loved. And they cannot trust their parents to meet their needs. Then, they will begin to develop an insecure attachment style with their parents and others. It will lead them to experience low self-esteem.

Moses became the meekest man on Earth. This is because he was influenced by a mother who developed a secure attachment to her son. She taught him to know and identify his emotions, thus developing his emotional intelligence.

Moses learned from a very young age to relate correctly to those who were by his side. And when the time came to be the leader God had set him to be, and he did it with great wisdom. Today, you can begin to be that mother of influence that this generation needs. The challenge is in your hands.